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Samhain 2002

 

0: The Sacred Grove is arranged as described. The celebrants hallow the Grove; the Fire is lit, the Well is filled, the Tree is blessed.

Procession

With singing ("Come We Now as a People"), arrive and circle the hallows deosil. The Druids complete the sigil, then give the opening prayers.

Opening Prayers

A: Universal Spirit: Senior Druid speaks:

That which is without name
That which is without gender
That which is without form
Spirit which exists in all Creation

We, the Children of the Earth
Call out to you
And ask that you bless this work and our lives.
So be it.

All: So be it!

B: Earth Mother: All kneel and touch or kiss the earth. The Seer speaks:

O beloved mother of all
From whose starry womb
The green earth springs

You who are the bearer of all life
You who are the Mother of all Gods
We pray you bless and uphold this rite.

All: So be it!

C: Awen: The Bard invokes, saying:

Power of inspiration that attends us
Voice of the Fire of Wisdom,
Voice of the Well of Inspiration

I call on you to place the clear heart in us
Come into our hearts' shrine
Guide our rite in the way of Truth

O power of inspiration in this holy place
O power of inspiration at this holy time
So be it!

All: So be it!

Purification

A: Outdwellers: An offering is made to the south of the Grove, saying:

Ancient and shadowy ones, we make this offering to you.
You who dwell in the outer dark
You who stood against our Gods

You twisted and misshapen
You cold of heart and dim of mind
Take this offering and trouble not our working.

Likewise we acknowledge within ourselves
Weakness and doubt
Hatred and spite
Cowardice and ignorance

We contemplate these ills and enemies
And for this sacred time
We purify ourselves
And set them aside!

B: Fire and Water: Seer draws water from the Well and Bard lights a censer from the Fire. They quickly cense and asperge the company.

Purpose and Precedent

We have come together as a Sacred Grove in celebration of the Feast of Samhain.  This is the beginning of a new year, the sun has set and the wheel begins anew.  As darkness comes before the light, so must winter come before summer, and so must we live the dark half of the year before we may see the light again.

Today we commemorate Cernunnos, the antlered God of the Underworld, who guards the gate to the realm of the dead.  We commemorate also Brigantia, wise battle Goddess and lady of fiery inspiration.

We look to the world around us so we might better understand the cycles inherent in all things, and our place in those cycles.  As the leaves turn to fiery oranges and reds, we know that they will fall soon, only to be reborn as green buds in the coming year.

We stand now at a time between worlds, a place between life and death.  Let us honour the ancestors and the patrons of this rite!  Behold, the Winter Lord is come!

Grove Attunement

Now, let us begin to open our minds to Magic, to the presence of the Gods. Begin with your body. Plant your feet firmly on the ground, balanced and upright. Shake out your arms and shoulders. Let gravity pull you evenly toward the Earth, as you release the everyday tensions in your flesh.

Now, begin to breathe deeply and regularly. With each inbreath fill your lungs slowly and completely. With each outbreath empty them entirely. For a moment, simply watch your breath. In and out . . . Slowly . . . Completely.

Now, as you continue to breathe deeply and regularly, imagine, feel that roots are springing from the soles of your feet, reaching down into soil and stone, down to the World below you. A strong taproot slides down, going deeper and growing stronger, down to touch the cool, dark waters beneath the Earth. The dark, cool, magnetic powers of the land.

Breathe deep, and with each inbreath draw the Earth Power up through your roots.  Feel it flowing into your feet, tingling and energizing. Rising up from the Earth . . . into your legs . . . rising up through your legs . . . feel it pool in your groin. Breathe deep, and draw the Earth Power up your spine . . . rising through your belly . . . rising through your heart . . . rising up to pool in your head . . . Filling and energizing you . . . rising still to fountain out the crown of your head and flow back to the Earth. Flowing back out through your head and hands, to return to the Earth.

So are you now filled with the Power of the Earth.

Now imagine, feel, that from far overhead, from deep within the turning Wheel of the Sky, a single ray of light shines down, out and down to bathe your body and your spirit in the warm, electric Sky power. Shining down over your head . . . over your heart . . . over your loins . . . touching and warming the Earth Power.

Everywhere the light touches becomes bright, shining like the sun on the water. Now, raise your shining hands to the Sky and let the Earth Power flow into your hands. Feel . . . see . . . your hands brighten and energize with the combined Powers of the Earth and the Sky.

So are you now the Sacred Pillar, the World Tree, the vertical axis of all the Worlds.

Now, reach out to those beside you. Join your shining hands together. Let the Waters and the Light merge and flow through us all . . . the Power flowing upward from below . . . the power flowing downward from above . . . through each and all of us . . . making us one light, one depth, one united and Sacred Grove.

Fire, Well And Tree

Druids or members of the grove make offerings to the Sacred Center. Silver is offered to the well, saying:

O sacred waters that flow and swirl beneath all being
Accept our offering!
Let us know the elder depths within ourselves
The source of all,
The well of elder wisdom

Sacred Well, flow within us!

All respond: Sacred well, flow within us!

An offering of oil is made to the Fire, saying:

O sacred fire that consumes and transforms
True and holy light of the Shining Ones
Accept our offering!

O sacrificed and sacrificer
Let the holy flame of the Gods
Warm our spirits and our lives.

Sacred Fire, burn within us!

All: Sacred fire, burn within us!

The Bile is censed and sprinkled, saying:

O sacred pillar, boundary of all worlds,
Stand at the center of the sky,
Stand at the center of the sea,
Stand at the center of the land on which we dwell.

Let us be deepened in your depths
Raised to your heights
Strengthened in your strength

Sacred Tree, grow within us!

All: Sacred tree, grow within us!

Opening The Gates

The sacrificer makes an offering to the Raven, saying:

Raven,
Battle Maiden, Lady of the ways,
Open the ways for us.

Guide us as we follow in your steps,
Guide us as we walk the Sacred Road.
Share your magic with us,
Ward us as we travel to meet the Kindred.

Raven, accept our sacrifice!

All: Raven, accept our sacrifice!

An offering of oil is given to the Fire. The Druid then conjures the Gates, making an opening triskel on the Fire and Well, saying:

Now, Lady of Ways
Join your magic with mine

And let the fire open as a gate,
Let the well open as a gate,
Let the tree be the crossroads of all Worlds.

Open as a road to our voices and to the Spirits.
Let the gates be open!

All: Let the gates be open!

Kindred Offerings

The druids make proper offerings to each of the kindred, standing at the fire.

Ancestors

The Children of the Earth call out to the Mighty Dead.
Hear us, our Ancestors, our Kindred.

To all those whose bones lie in this land,
Whose hearts are tied to it,
Whose memory holds it;
Ancient tribes of this place,
We offer you welcome.

To all of our grandmothers and grandfathers,
Our own beloved dead,
Blood-kin and heart-kin,
Ancient tribes of our blood,
We offer you welcome.

To all those elder wise ones who guide their people,
Poets and seers,
Judges and magicians;
Wise women and men of ancient days,
We offer you welcome.

So, O Mighty Ones
We call to you as our kin,
In the love of the All-Mother,
To join in our magic.

Come to our fire, Spirits
Meet us at the boundary
Guide us and ward us as we walk the elder ways.


Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!

(an offering of food and/or drink is made onto the ground or into a shaft)

All: Ancestors, Accept our sacrifice!

Nature Spirits

The Children of Earth call out to the Spirits of this Land.
Hear us, companions and teachers!

To all our allies,
Kindred of stone and stream,
Crystal and fertile soil,
Pools and every water;
Earth-kins,
We offer you welcome

To all our allies,
Kindred of the growing green,
Herb and flower,
Shrub and mighty trees,
Root and stem and fruit.
Green-kins,
We offer you welcome.

To all our allies,
Kindred of fur and feather and scale
All who walk or fly or swim or crawl
Animal-kins,
We offer you welcome.

So, O Noble Ones
We call to you as our allies,
In the joy of life upon earth,
To join in our magic.

Come to our fire, Spirits;
Meet us at the boundary.
Guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways.

Nature Spirits, accept our sacrifice!

(an offering of herbs, flowers and/or trinkets is scattered around the nemeton's edge or hung on the tree)

All: Nature Spirits, Accept our sacrifice!

Deities

The Children of Earth call out to the Shining Ones.
Hear us, eldest and brightest!

To all the Shining Ones,
First children of the Mother,
Wisest and mightiest,
Loving and comforting;
Gods and Goddesses,
We offer you welcome.

To the Goddesses and Gods of this place,
Ancient and powerful,
Known to us or unknown;
Gods of this place,
We offer you welcome.

To all the deities of those here gathered,
You whom we worship,
You who bless our lives;
O patrons and matrons,
We offer you welcome.

So, O Shining Ones,
We call to you as our elders,
In reverence and love,
To join in our magic.

Come to our fire, Shining Ones;
Meet us at the boundary.
Guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways.
Deities, accept our sacrifice!

(an offering of scented oil is poured on the fire)

All: Shining Ones, Accept our sacrifice!

After all the offerings have been made, the druids recenter the company and lead an attunement to all the spirits that have been called, and a proper chant or hymn is sung to the three kindred.

Key Offerings

Druid speaks, saying:

Welcome to the Gods and Goddesses, the Mighty Dead and the Noble Sidhe!

To all of you who have gathered at our fire, we pray you join us in worshipping the patrons of this holy rite here in our sacred grove.

Invocation of Cernunnos

Great and mighty Cernunnos!
Winter Lord, Stag King
Guardian of the Otherworld and the Dead.

You who dwell in the deep forest
You who lord over the wild beasts
You who gives the bounty of nature

Cernunnos!
Hear Your people's songs of praise
See Your people's gifts of love
Receive the sacrifice Your people give!

Come to us, great Stag King
Come to us, Guardian of the Dead
Come to us, Winter Lord
Meet us at the boundaries, Lord Cernunnos

Great and Mighty Cernunnos,
Accept our sacrifice!

All: Cernunnos, accept our sacrifice!

Invocation of Birgantia

Heavenly Brigantia!
Well of Wisdom, Keeper of our Flock,
Healer of the people.

You who Inspire us to Victory
You who Reveal long lost secrets
You who Keep us under you watchful eye

Brigantia!
Hear Your people's songs of praise
See Your people's gifts of love
Receive the sacrifice Your people give

Come to us, High One
Come to us, Powerful Healer
Come to us, Winter Bride
Meet us at the boundaries, Heavenly Brigantia.

Wise and Mighty Brigantia,
Accept our sacrifice!


All:  Brigantia, accept our sacrifice!

This is followed by any proper customs for the occasion, and by praise offerings.

Customs:

Senior Druid holds a wreath in front of himself:

We remember our ancestors on this Holy Day:
Those whom we loved, and who loved us in return.
We honour their memory, and show that they are not forgotten.
Take your ribbons now and, as we come to you with the wreath
Tie the ribbon to the wreath, and remember those who have gone before us.

[Wreath is taken to each person]

We remember you, our ancestors and those whom we have loved
But cannot join on this journey yet.
As we remember you, listen to our silent words
As they arise on the fire.

[Wreath is lain on the fire]

  If any have praise offerings, please give them now.

Final Sacrifice and Omen

The druids prepare the final offerings and say:

So we have given of our love and our wealth
To the Powers.

Now let our voices arise on the Fire
Let our voices sound in the Well
Let our words pass the boundary to the Otherworlds.

Shining Ones
We give you our love
Our respect, and our devotion
as we pray you...

Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice!

All: Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice!

All are led to send their energy through the gates to the powers, meditating on the deities and the nobles. Then druid speaks:

Having sacrificed to the Powers
Let us open to them
Asking what blessings they offer us in return
And the needs they have of us.

Omen is taken as usual. The seer then interprets the omen, leading the company to contemplate the things they would ask of the powers, especially as suggested by the omen. Company recenters in preparation for the blessing.

The Blessing

A: The litany of the waters:

Druid speaks:

Ancient and Mighty Ones we have honored you
We pray you honor us in turn
For a gift calls for a gift
Hear your children:

Shining Ones, give us the Waters!


All: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

We thirst for the Waters of Wisdom
The Waters of Bounty
The Waters of Rebirth

From the Well of Wisdom
From the Spring of Renewal
From the bosom of the Earth

Hear us:
Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

All: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

We open our hearts to the Great Ones' blessing
We stand in pride, honor and friendship
With all the Powers of the Worlds
Hear us and answer us now:
Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

All: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

B: Hallowing the waters:

Ale is poured into the horns and elevated. Druid speaks:

We draw blessing from the Cauldron of Blessing
We pour the Mead of Inspiration
Behold the holy Cup of Magic
The outpouring of Blessing from the Great Ones

When we share the draught of the Gods
We drink in wisdom, love and strength
To do as we will in the worlds
In service to the Shining Ones.

Hear us Shining Ones:
Hallow these waters!

We, your children, rejoice in your gift
Bless our spirits and our lives
With love, magic and bounty
As we drink these sacred waters.

Behold the Waters of Life!

All: Behold the Waters of Life!

The horns are passed and all drink as a proper hymn ("Pour the Waters") is sung.

Closing

When all is done, the druids lead a resettling, then begin to close the grove, saying:

The Great Ones have blessed us
With joy in our hearts
Let us carry the magic from our sacred Grove
Into our lives and our work.

Each time we offer to the Powers
They become stronger
And more aware of our needs and our worship.

So now as we prepare to depart
Let us give thanks
To all those who have aided us.

O Brigantia and Cernunnos, We thank you!

All: We thank you!

O Gods and Goddesses of elder days, We thank you!

All: We thank you!

O Spirits of this land, We thank you!

All: We thank you!

O Ancestors, our Kindred, We thank you!

All: We thank you!

To all those Powers that have aided us, we say again...

We thank you!

All: We thank you!

Druids renew the company's centering once more, signaling the return to common awareness and ease of access to the centered state. Then any unused offerings, return flow, incense, water etc. is given to the earth, saying:

Mother of all
To you we return all we leave unused
Uphold us now in the world as you have in our rite.

We thank you!

All: We thank you!

The druids go to the center. They speak:

O Gatekeeper, warder of the ways
For your presence and power
Your guiding and guarding we say...

We thank you!

All: We thank you!

Druid makes the closing sign over the hallows with the wand, saying:

Now by the Keeper of Gates and by our magic
We end what we began.

Now let the Fire be flame
Let the Well be water
Let the Tree be only wood
Let all be as it was before
Let the Gates be closed!
 

All: Let the Gates be closed!

Go now, Children of the Earth
In peace and blessings
The rite is ended!

The bard leads a proper chant as the company processes out of the Grove ("Walk with Wisdom").

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