The Pagan Library
Sat, Nov 01 2014

Samhain Ritual

Dorothy Morrison


This ritual was written at a time when I did not have a qualified Priest in my group. However, it may easily be adapted for those groups in which the Priestess and Priest work together. It may be just as easily adapted to solitary work.

Place an apple and pomegranate upon the altar. There should also be a "planted" pot of earth for each participant - these may be arranged on the altar as well, if there is ample space. Instruments of divination may be placed within the Circle perimeter for use during the ritual if you wish. Arrange the altar as usual and decorate with Autumn leaves, pumpkins, etc.

The Circle is cast and purified the Circle in the usual manner. Dancing around the Circle in a shuffle step (deosil), all chant three times:

The Moon is bright, the Crone is old
The body lifeless - the bones so cold
We all live and pay our dues
To die in ones and threes and twos.

Death, dance and play the harp
Piercing silence in the dark
The Woman's old with withered limbs
Death beckons Her to dance with Him

As She accepts the Dance of Death
The Earth is cooled by ghostly breath
To lie in dormancy once more
To have Her strength and life restored

Go to the Western Quarter and draw an invoking pentagram with the athame to open the gate. Then evoke the dead by saying:

All ye spirits who walk this night -
Hearken! Hearken to my call!
I bid you in our Circle join!
Enter! Enter - one and all!

Come ye, spirits of the dead:
Be ye spirit of plant or pet
Or human being who still roams!
Into this Circle you are let!

Speak to us of things unknown!
Lend your energies to this rite!
To speed your journey, we have joined
On this sacred Samhain night!

All ye spirits who walk this night -
Hearken! Hearken to my call!
I bid you in our Circle join!
Enter! Enter - one and all!

Bestow blessings upon the dead, saying:

Oh Mighty Pan of the Summerlands:
Guardian of the beloved dead
We pour forth love on those you keep
Safely, in your peaceful stead
We bless those who have walked the path
That someday, we as well, shall rove
We offer peace unto their souls
While resting in your arms, below

Now is the time for divination (Ouija Board, pendulum, cards, etc.) and communication with those who have gone on before us. Allow plenty of time for this. [Note: I have found that it is helpful to have a tape recorder handy within the Circle for recording any communications that may be "channeled" during this time. Some people disagree with this suggestion, saying that the metal of this electronic device causes scattered energies in the Circle; however, if the recorder has been cleansed and purified as the rest of the ritual tools, the problem seems to be resolved.]

When the divinatory processes are completed, the Priestess goes to the Western Quarter and draw the banishing pentagram, saying:

Blessings be upon thee, oh wondrous Spirits of the
Summerlands. We humbly thank thee for your presence in our
Circle and honor you in celebration this sacred night. We
beseech thee, oh Pan, keeper of the sacred dead, embrace
once again those souls within your keep and hold tightly
to your breast those which have been lost and wandering.
Grant them safe passage to the Summerland, where they may
rest peacefully in your strength until they are refreshed
and reborn again in perfect love. We bid thee all a fond
farewell. So mote it be!

The gate is now closed.

The Priestess goes to the altar and hold up the pomegranate, saying:

Behold the pomegranate, fruit of Life...

The athame is plunged into the pomegranate, splitting it open to display the seeds. She says:

Whose seeds lie in the dormancy of Death!

The Priestess eats one of the seeds, saying:

I Taste the seeds of Death.

The pomegranate is then passed hand to hand through the participants of the ritual, each eating a seed and saying to the next person:

"Taste the seeds of Death."

The Priestess then holds up the apple, saying:

Behold the apple: fruit of wisdom, fruit of Death...

She then cuts the apple crosswise, saying:

Whose symbolism rewards us with life eternal!

She holds up the apple, displaying the inner pentagram, and says:

Behold the five-fold star - the promise of rebirth!

Consecrate the fruit and wine. Each person then tastes of the apple and sips the wine, saying to the next person:

Taste the fruit of rebirth and sip from the cup of wine of Life.

After libation, the Priestess presents each member of the group with a small pot of earth, planted with three seeds [preferably rue or lavender]. She briefly explains to the group that this is the season of the seed - it is a time of dormancy, but also a time of re-generation for growth. Further, as the seed rests in the earth, they should also take time to rest and re-evaluate their lives, metaphorically planting only those values which will enrich and enhance the growth within the Divine Self. She then instructs them to name the seeds within their pots with three values they wish to incorporate into their lives, knowing that as the seeds sprout with new life, their lives will be new, as well.

After the presentation, all join hands and hold them skyward.

PRIESTESS:

Thus is the Circle of Rebirth.
All pass from this life through the great god, Pan
But through My love you are all reborn
In the cycles of nature - through the Cosmic Plan.

In living we die - in dying we live
The fruit is first seed, yet seed comes from the fruit
In the mystery of life and death and rebirth
The Circle turns ever, and I am its root.

ALL RESPOND:

The Sun conceived in Darkness, cold
In the Shadow of Death, a Life unfolds
A shred of Light begins to burn
From Death comes Life - the Circle turns.

Dismiss Quarters and Dissolve Circle.

PRIESTESS:

The rite is ended.

ALL:

Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again!

Outdoor libation to the Lord and Lady, and the spirits of the dead.


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