Samhain has always been a beloved holiday within my pagan practice. To me, after Yule it’s probably the least foreign of practices. My mormon ancestors would might shudder to hear but I felt being raised mormon prepared me for Ancestor worship. We venerated our pioneer ancestors that walked across America, and I know my genealogy better than most thanks to the dedication to ‘temple work’ and binding families together forever thru the temple ceremonies. ( not gonna lie it’s a little creepy saying that) Samhain never was a stretch I felt like I was already focusing on parts of it within mormonism.
I constructed the ritual in a ADF style but not directly from the SDF, as I normally do. I felt this was more personal and there were elements I wanted to include like the call to the ancestors from Orion Foxwood. But still, the structure of the ADF solitary rituals is something I’ve come to appreciate over the last few months so I didn’t want to give it up completely.
The past several years I’ve been conducting Samhain Rituals for the Utah State University Pagan Alliance so I’ve not had much time to focus on the holiday in a private way. When you are conducting ritual for 40 to 60 strangers for 3 years it’s kind of difficult to focus on your own work. Thankfully I had the opportunity this year to celebrate with close, beautiful friends and their families.We had several close friends over and took turns reading the ritual. I did not complete a tarot reading during the ritual as I usually do. I felt this was more a time for us to honor our sacred dead than to ask readings.
We served Pumpkin soup, Green bean casserole, Mash o’ nine kinds, Sourdough bread, hot buttered rum and baked apples and cream.
As we moved through the ritual, we felt the dark close in around us. Comforting, enveloping and total. The words of the ritual wrapped around us also creating a circle of energy. We called on Fox again to be our gatekeeper. Even though I did not call her, I felt she came happily into our home where she is honored.
Each person stepped forward and placed their silver in the well and their family names into the fire. With each crackle of the paper the air grew thicker, warmer. As each person spoke the names you could almost feel them step into the room.
With the Call to the Ancestors and the rending of the veil I once again felt the familiar rush of my kin I so love. I again felt my grandmother and grandfather enter the circle as well as many others. It’s been a few years since I’ve felt their distinctive presence but I was very glad for it.
We sat for several moments with our dear ones and breathed with them, once again. Then we closed our circle and our ritual. We sat for some time together and told stories of our dear ones. It was a good ritual with good friends.
Kassie: Dear spirits of our hearts, gods and goddesses that guide our lives, we ask for your blessing on this our samhain ceremony. The sun and moon and stars above us, the earth and underworld beneath us, the directions before us, behind us, to our left and right and we are centered. With love wisdom and silent power may the will of the ancient one be made manifest now and forever.
Each person takes a bit of oil on their finger and anoints their forehead, throat and heart while saying: May all that hinders me be released, May all that binds me be released, May the Outdwellers of my heart Be released, That I may be made pure.
All Together when in circle: I place my feet upon the ground, And open my heart to the earth. The sacred earth provides, Making all life possible. I call upon the Earth Mother – Holy Mother, hear me. Bless this rite of your child.
Kassie: We stand before the veil on this night when it is thinnest— We pray that those who have crossed before me hear my words. As the season turns, as the darkness reigns, we make my call: we honor the Ancestors— Those who bled and strove and fought To make our lives possible. For the work you have done, For the love you have given, we honor you today.
We honor those who dreamed, those who believed, those who tried: we honor all those whose courage made our very lives possible. Ancestors of blood, heart, spirit, we pray you join us before our Samhain fire.
A: We stand with the strength of an Oak. We move with the grace of the Willow. We reach deep into earth, High towards the sun, and within ourselves, we are still. Here at the center of all things, Before the Fire, Well, & Sacred Tree, We stand at the juncture of all worlds.Placing each Offering bowl at the base of the hallows after you speak the corresponding words. (Oil) Fire of heavenly light, burn within me. (silver)Waters of deep wisdom, flow within me. (water)Tree of great unity, grow within me.
D: And now we call upon our Gatekeeper, the fox. We call on you Fox and ask that you be with me in this place and lend your magic to mine. We give to you this egg as payment for your guidance this night.
(touch cauldron) Take this Fire, and transform it. Let it become the Sacred Fire, gateway to the heavens; gateway for the Shining Ones. Fox, make this fire a gate! (touch vase) Take this water, and transform it. Let it become the Sacred Well, gateway to the underworld; gateway for the Ancestors. Fox, make this water a gate!(touch tree) Take this tree, and transform it. Let it become the Sacred Tree, connecting heavens and underworld, standing as a gateway in the midearth; a gateway for the Spirits of the Land. Fox, make this wood a gate!Through your power and magic, Fox… Let the gates be open!
A:We stand before the Sacred Fire, At the Center of All Things, And lift up oil. This is our sacrifice of Praise and thanksgiving, Respect and honor, Love, worship, and devotion. Please accept this offering In the spirit in which it is given. Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice! (pour small amount of oil into cauldron and annoint each candle)
A: We stand before the Sacred Well, at the Center of All Things, And lift up this silver. This is our sacrifice of Praise and thanksgiving, Respect and honor, Love, worship, and devotion. Please accept this offering In the spirit in which it is given. Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice! (Give silver to big blue dish)
D: We stand before the Sacred Tree, at the Center of All Things, And lift up this water. This is our sacrifice of Praise and thanksgiving, Respect and honor, Love, worship, and devotion. Please accept this offering In the spirit in which it is given. Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice! (Pour water)
Kassie: You may all step forward and cast your papers into the fire and call the names of your loved ones that have passed beyond this world. Light your candle then return to your place.
By the blood and by the bone By the soil that is your home, by the 13 bells of midnights ring, by the banshees voice that wails and sings, by the blood that remembers and the bones that tell by the hands that reach from the faery well, by the voices that call from beyond the mold and by the voices of the new and memories of old I call the blessed shades of the dead by haunted hand and speaking head.
Ancestral shades and seelie folk come on path of fire and smoke. Hearken and hallow this work tonight take what’s wrong and make it right.
By the secrets of the grave and glory of the moon grant to me my magics boon by witches spell and witches trance join me in the magic dance
For when we fly and dance no more all shall be as it was before. Now at this time when the door swings wide, rush to us on eddys tide I write your name on the wings of the wind, come to us our blessed kin!!
Cut the Veil so that and ancestor’s we’ve called may come thru into our sacred space and be with us.
A :Mighty Kindred, Gods and dear spirits Welcome in this circle now. Together all take up cups. Mighty Kindred, We are open to your blessing. We receive the gifts you offer. May your generosity fill our cups. Into ourselves, We accept the blessings of The Kindred.
Together: So say we all! Drink deep.The blessings are received, Into our bodies and spirits. We have reaffirmed our relationships with the world, and with the Kindred.
Kassie: Ancestors, We give thanks for the sacrifices you have made—The sweat, toil, and tears that brought us here today,The love, faith, and honor that unite us now.Ancestors, though We bid you farewell now,You remain in our hearts this day and always—The fires of Samhain burn in our hearts,Protecting and guiding us.We have made my offerings under the watchful eye of our Ancestors;We have kept the Old Ways and honored their legacy.We go forth in peace and gratitude.
A: To the Dear spirits, the good people and our ancestors, I give thanks. I thank you for your joining me on this Samhain, for receiving my offerings, and for your great generosity. I am blessed to be in relationship With you.
D: Great Fox, I give thanks to you for aiding me in this rite.I ask now that you undo what you have done. Lend your power to mine, and let us close the gates.Take this Sacred Tree, and let it become the [wood] once again.
Take this Sacred Well, and let it become the [water] once again.Take this Sacred Fire, and let it become the [candle] once again.Through your power and magic, great Gatekeeper…
Let the gates be closed!
Take a moment to visualize the closing of the gates. Your space has returned once again to the common, ordinary place it was before. Breath in deep, and exhale.
All together: I place my feet upon the ground, Earth Mother. You have supported us in this rite as you do in all things. From you we come and to you we shall return. Your children give thanks For the blessings and bounty of This great earth. May we keep you In our minds and hearts, And may we honor you in every action.