Aries in it last degrees was rising, the Sun was setting in the early degrees of Scorpio and the Virgin Moon was in her last phases. As the ritual started the good folk who came were gathered outside at the gate to the circle to begin. The Sun was near setting beyond the western ridge. The Sun light shone through the autumn landscape reflecting gold off few remaining leaves and bare branches.
The Samhain fire was roaring in the circle and the altar set. The grass shone through the leaves on the ground. The torches and pumpkins were lit guiding the good folk along the path in darken wood. The wind blew overhead singing Samhain’s song. The priest and priestess bid the good folk to enter the circle and blessed them each with incense, rose oil, and word; “May your head, heart, and path always be in harmony”.
The priestess and priest honored the directions with hand made incense and a “singing bowl” whose voice stilled the moment, touched the heart and flowed through the woods. All were all joined together to ground in common heart and give a great tone of “AH” to the season and a heartfelt tone it was. Then the priest took spring water from the cauldron with a jar and the good folk charged the water jar by passing it around from loving hand to loving hand as they spoke in word or song for Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Ancestors, Descendents and Community.
When done the Priest took the water jar and pour a water libation upon the western altar, the altar of rebirth, for all life that had died and been so sacrificed for the land of Sweetwood Temenos and in doing so remembering all life that has died. The priest came back to the fire and poured a libation at the foot of the fire “To the Powers of God and Goddess, whose love and wisdom manifest the Trees of Life and their flowers, the Universes and their planets where life can arise and speak these words, and to our Tree of Life and flower, our Universe and planet, Blessed be! After this libation the priest placed the Water Jar back on the altar and so the circle was cast.
The priest told of ancient lore where a God and Goddess of the Sun and Moon who came to Earth to live and die as humans and who were given new life in the Summerland. So began the round of seasons, of birth, death and rebirth, the spiral path leading to the stars, the rainbow bridge, that connects the human soul with Divinity and immortality for all time. He spoke of the time between the Autumnal Equinox and Yule that was for the good folk of Northern lands the season of the 3rd harvest festival where life and death were close at hand. This time became their new year and a time to remember the ancestors, those who have died before them.
The priest asked all present to meditate and remember those who had died. All sat around the fire and each were given yarrow stalks to cast into the fire as they spoke of the remembered. The burnt yarrow was a prayer of thankfulness released by fire to the 4 winds and a blessing upon the dead and living.
When the remembering was done the priestess invoked the God of the winter sun, summoned from within the priest and he spoke of his promise that all upon death will return to the Summerland, be reunited with loved ones, family and friends and celebrate with the Goddess and God in joy life eternal. Further he promised that there too would be a season for rebirth, among friends, lovers and family as the soul spirals toward immortality and realization of Divinity. Then the priestess called upon the spirit of the God of the winter sun to release the priest and join in spirit this celebration and so it was.
Whereupon a chant was sung by the good folk in this celebration; “We are a circle within a circle, with no beginning and never ending” and around and around the chant went for 5 times and let go with appreciation. Then the priest invoked the Hag, the Goddess of the winter moon, summoning from within the priestess the crone who is a keeper of fates and omens. She spoke of her realm, carrying her lantern in hand and invited all to choose a card from her as she sat in her chair of fate. Each chose a card, a symbol that will be a focus of contemplation to guide the seeker in the coming new year. One by one each seeker came before the Hag and drew their omen. The priest came last, drew his card and then with staff in hand took the cards and bid the Hag to draw her fate. She did and returned to the circle whereupon the priest called upon the spirit of the Hag, the Goddess of the winter moon, to release the priestess and join in spirit of this celebration and so it was.
The priest fetched the water jar from the altar and All began to chant and danced to “We are an old people, we are a new people, we are the same people, deeper than before”. The good folk dance around the fire and the chant changed with each round from deeper to stronger, to wiser and finally to more beautiful than before, which ended the chant with a great shout.
The priest and priestess return to the altar, she brought forth the bead and he a chalice filled with water from the charged water jar. She gave blessing for the Bread and passed it around. The priest then gave the priestess the chalice and she started the water sharing with “Water shared is life share is love shared, Thou art God, Thou art Goddess, may you Never Thirst”. So it was passed from hand to hand and each soul drank and shared in this water communion. The Chalice of water came back to the priest for one final libation, and the libation was to joy for, as there is death in life, there is also life in death, So Mote it be!
The priestess and the priest then released the magic of the celebration, opened the circle and began the feast. All gathered around the fire, saw the evening star Venus, talked of life, ate some harvest and drank blueberry-flavored mead. Into the night they discussed the omens they received, felt the enchantment of the celebration and were awed by starry night shining down through the crown of trees into the circle. Merry Meet, Merry Part and Merry Meet Again, the lit torches and Jack O’ Lanterns showed the pathway up through the darken woods for homeward bond good folk as they left. Blessed be the Folk who came and celebrated this Sweetwood Temenos Samhain! Finally the priest and priest after some fire scrying, talking of omens and seeing into the future that is to come, what winds of change will be bring, also followed the enchanted path homeward. Samhain at Sweetwood Temenos has done its magic once again!