Our Samhain celebration was a wonderful gathering, with a few new faces joining in our Grove’s celebration. we had 10 people in attendance for the ritual, with additional family and friends joining us for the feasting and celebration through the night. After opening the gates and calling to the Morrighan (who was the patroness of the rite), we had an ancestor meditation to honour those who had come before us. As is our grove tradition for this festival, we left the ritual space with the gates and invitation to the kindreds open, and proceeded inside for an amazing potluck supper – setting aside a plate at the ancestor altar for our honoured dead. Once all the desserts had been “sacrificed at the altar of our appetites” and the night was winding down, we went back out to our altar space to close the gates and thank the kindreds for their presence and the blessings bestowed.
The feast of Samhain comes from the ancient Celts, meaning “summer’s end.” This day is a holy in-between time, that sits opposite Beltaine in the wheel of the year. This is a time when we perceive the veil between this world and the next to be at it’s thinnest, and we might glimpse beyond to the otherworld.
Whereas Beltaine is a celebration of new life and vibrant fertility, Samhain is a celebration of our ancestors and those who have passed beyond this world. It celebrates and venerates the year and the lives that have ended, so that the cycle can begin anew. This is our “Pagan New Year”, for the ancients observed their calendar as beginning in the dark half of the year, much like our lives – which are begun in the darkness of the womb. It also marks a time of feasting and a celebration of the final harvest, so that the tribe could put on that needed layer of fat in preparation of the cold winter months ahead.
The meditation in our ritual was inspired by the Ancestor Prayer written by Rev. Michael Dangler from Three Cranes Grove, ADF,