Samhain

Originally used by Yarrow Coven, 1997

The altar is set up and quarter candles are lit. Everyone has carved a jack-o-lantern, and these are placed at the perimeter of the circle.

As each covener comes to the circle, entering in the west, Priest anoints feet, saying:

Priest: May the energy of the earth rise up through your feet
and give you power.
Priestess smudges each person, using a feather, and saying:

Priestess: Enter this circle in perfect love and perfect trust.
Priest casts circle widdershins, walking around it once and saying:

Priest: I cast this circle in the names of the ancient Gods and Goddesses.
Here may they manifest and bless their children.

Coveners call quarters.

Evocation of the God and Goddess.

Priest: All hail to the Four Quarters
and all hail to the God and Goddess.

Priestess: We bid the Lord and Lady welcome
and invite them to join us,
witnessing these rites we hold in their honor.

Priest: This place is not a place.  This time is not a time.
The circle is cast, and we are between the worlds.

Priestess: Beyond the bounds of time
where night and day, birth and death,
joy and sorrow, meet as one.

Priest: Now is a time of change
for this day belongs neither to the old year
nor to the new.
Now do we leave the light and enter the darkness.
Yet we do so gladly,
for we know it to be
but the turning of the mighty Wheel of the Year.

Priestess: The veil between the worlds is thin on this night —
the night of Samhain, the Night of Remembering.
We have gathered here in this sacred space
to honor and remember our ancestors and friends
who have gone before us into the Summerland.

Priest: Reach out now,
each of you in your own way,
and remember those you have known, and thought lost.
From this, gather strength.
Know, all of you, that there is no end, and no beginning —
That all is but a sacred spiraling dance
that moves ever on, and never ends.

Priestess: Let us now declare now the names of our ancestors —
each woman through the female line,
each man through the male line.
Let us drink a toast to each, living or dead,
and to those whose names we do not know.
If there is someone special whom you wish to remember here,
honor them, speak of them, tell their stories —
let your words breathe life into their memories.

Take up now the Cup of Remembering,
and drink at toast to those who have given you so much.

A quiet, heartbeat drumming begins.  The Priest takes up the Cup of Remembering and recites his genealogy, drinking a toast, and pouring a little out on the ground.  He speaks of the person he has chosen to honor and remember.  He may speak as long as he wishes while he holds the Cup.  Only when he is finished does he pass the Cup to the Priestess, and then around the circle widdershins.

When the coveners are finished the Priestess invites the rest of those present to come forward and speak in the same way.
When all are finished…

Priest: Through the Cup of Remembering we give life to our ancestors.
We are all one people,
and tonight we eat and drink together once more.

Priestess: We are not the first; we will not be the last.
Life flows through us and beyond us.
That which is remembered is yet alive;
Those whom we remember are with us still.
We have spoken their names…and we remember.

The song  Song for Samhain may be sung here….or some other appropriate song.

Cakes and Ale.  Priest and Priestess first pour/place a portion into an offering vessel (or the ground), then serve each other.  They then serve the rest of the circle widdershins. If many people are present, a second set of coveners may also pass the cakes and ale.

Priest (with cakes): May you never hunger.
Priestess (with ale): May you never thirst.

Priestess: Gracious Goddess,
we thank you for the joys of summer and the bountiful harvest.
Return again as the wheel turns,
and be with us once more in the springtime.

Priest: Blessed God, we bid you farewell
as you journey through the tunnel of darkness
that bears the light of the Goddess at its end.

Priest: The old year ends,

Priestess: The new year begins.

Priest: The Wheel turns,

Priestess: And turns again.

Priest: Goddess-Summer prepares for her slumber.

Priestess: God-Winter draws his dark cloak around us.
Both: Hail and Farewell!

All: Hail and Farewell!
Dismiss quarters widdershins.
Priest: The circle is open, but unbroken!

Priestess:  (beginning song)
Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again!

(c) Yarrow Coven 1997, May not be reproduced, copied or distributed without permission.  Thank you.

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