The Great Wheel has turned once again and we find ourselves at Samhain, the most significant of the four ancient fire festivals of our Celtic ancestors. It’s the third and final of the annual harvest festivals; first on Lammas, we celebrated the grain and the first new loaf of the season and the first new beers; next on Mabon we again feasted and gave thanks for the fruits and vegetables; while tonight we again give thanks for the herbs, the nuts, and the meats which we will put into storage for winter. Samhain is the culmination of all which the Goddess provides. It’s also the beginning of winter. It is Celtic New Year, Wiccan New Year, and New Year’s Eve for Witches. But more than all of those earthly celebrations, tonight is the one night of the year when the veil is at its thinnest; the day when faeries are afoot making mischief, monsters are prowling the land of the living, spirits are roaming the misty moors, and just about anything is possible.
What You’ll Need For Our 2021 Samhain Ritual
This ritual is designed for a medium to large sized group and should be performed outside around a generous bonfire (if conditions in your area are permissible for open fires – check your state burning restrictions websites and always use caution as the wildfire season is not over just yet)
Since this is a ritual focused on communing with the ancestors, please ask all participants in advance to bring any item which has significance to them and an ancestor (old photographs, personal items, etc.)
What items you’ll need to collect for this ritual (as written)
Four quarter candles – yellow (east), red (south), blue (west), green (north) – as a side note, with very large groups we use tiki-torches instead of the candles; they are less likely to be blown out by the wind and they are much more visible by everyone
If possible, use a very large altar for this ceremony
Food & Drinks to share for the Group
God/Goddess Candle (White)
From a ritual leader standpoint, any portion of this ritual that is bracketed by <> symbols should be understood as instructional notes and not to be spoken aloud.
Our 2021 Samhain Ritual Begins
<Have everyone gather around the bonfire and be silent before proceeding.>
“This circle cast, both round and wide, from the solid earth and to the sky, we call this now a sacred space, outside of time and outside of space”
Turn to the East; the direction of Air, the great teacher and also a great divination tool. Air is the great uniting factor that all life holds with one another – we have all shared the same vital breath; from the moment of our inception until we stand poised to cross over veil, we are all united. Though we create boundaries such as tribe, color, belief, or practice, those are only constructs of our physicality. We must rise up on the foils of invisibility and trust in the power of the universe to bring us together in a universal harmony. <light yellow candle>
Turn to the South; the direction of Fire; the great teacher of teaching determination and forging an iron willpower. Fire is our inner light and provides a constant stream of energy, however this does not come without the need for us to exercise willpower to create boundaries which allow the careful tending of the flames, rather than allowing them to rise out of control and consume all within their reach. We must create, rather than destroy. We must share the heat and the light to all that are living in cold and darkness. <light red candle>
Turn to the West; the direction of Water; the direction of cleaning, regeneration, and healing. Water is our life. It is inside of us, and yet we need to consume more of it to survive. It conveys our feelings and channels our hopes and dreams; it helps us recognize that which can bring comfort to our lives and washes over us with love and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for that which no other thing can imagine. We must take the love and share it with one and with all. Together we shall all succeed. <light blue candle>
Turn to the North; the direction of Earth; the direction of creation, growth, grounding, and protection. In each grain of sand and clump of soil lies the same hope as found in each newly hatched chick, fresh green sprout, and all living creatures. From every direction comes a magnificent list of grand possibilities that are only waiting for someone to begin the next stages of. We must be the ones who are not in fear of what the future might bring, for we are the bringers of light, and water, and great flames, and shall arrive on a silent night wind. <light green candle>
Gods & Goddesses
We look skyward, not to find a land of the afterlife, but to stare in wonder at the expanse overheard. The width and breadth gives enough air to sing the highest praises to the Gods and Goddesses and their blessings and gifts that we humble members of humanity enjoy. We offer our most profound and humble thanks, again and again and again. As we seeking wisdom from our ancestors across the veil on this night, we ask for protection, guidance, and a night of enduring correspondence. <light God/Goddess candle>
Hail! and a hearty welcome to all who gather!
On Samhain, the veil between the worlds is so thin that our ancestors, and other creatures may cross over to interact with the living on this night. History tells us, that Faeries would cross over on this night and kidnap humans or cause mischief among the living. In order to prepare and safeguard themselves, our ancestors would place offerings of food and drink near the edges of their fields in hopes of appeasing the Fae. Also, many of them would dress as if they were monsters or animals to keep from being kidnapped or harassed.
Yet, despite the trepidation of roaming spirits and mischievous Fae, tonight is a night worthy of risk-taking, for it is an opportunity to speak with those who have been departed. Now more than ever, humankind needs to seek the wisdom and lessons learned in the past, so that we do not repeat them in the future.
Music is an integral part of all rituals, whether for raising energy or as a prelude to raising our glasses in a toast. so, without further hesitation, we present one of the classic Samhain songs, by Lisa Thiel entitled Samhain Song
Seeking Wisdom from the Ancestors
We have prepared a feast for our ancestors tonight. Upon the altar are drinks, and all sorts of food that we will share with them as we commune in a gathering like no other. But, before we call for them, we must first bless this food and those who are about to enjoy it.
<the ritual leader should ask everyone to join hands around the altar and stand on the inside to speak the blessing>
We call upon the Goddess, the Gods, the stars, the moon, and the sun. We call out to the animals, fowl, fish, and insects to witness this. Our souls are in need of guidance and our hearts in need of growth. Our senses are aware of the coming storms and we must gather strength to defend all that which is right and good from those who want to subjugate and control. We bless this food to give us nourishment, both physically and spiritually. As our table shall be open to all who might choose to cross over, we present this as a welcome; gather…..share……commune…..and educate us to that which your eyes have seen and your ears have heard. Give us the wisdom to influence our decision-making so that we shall not commit errors or be led astray. Our praises! Blessed Be!
<Ask everyone to release hands and continue with the ritual>
Today we celebrate the lives of those who have passed over from this world to the next and we invite them to join us in an evening of feasting and sharing time. Some of you may have the desire to speak with a specific ancestor and have brought a memento of them to help guide them to our circle. Please approach the altar and place your item on it.
<ritual leader should allow time for everyone to approach and return to their position before resuming>
Speaking to the ancestors has been a part of every culture throughout time. And usually on this particular night; the time when the veil was thin as the season of living surrenders itself to the season of dying, ancestors will cross over and be cherished and not forgotten.
Open up your heart and let your energy flow freely. Let your energy merge with the energy of the person next to you, and the person next to them. Free your mind so that your energies can combine with the energies of the earth and the roots below it. Fill this circle with the combined energies of the rocks, and trees, and the invisible air, and the flames licking the blackened logs and the moisture on the grass, and all things that matter.
Listen, but not with your ears. See, but with eyes closed. Feel, but use your mind rather than your hands. Become one with not only this world, but the world across the great veil. Become a destination for those who travel and become a compass for those who are lost. We must raise the collective vibration as high as possible.
<speak this next section slowly, allowing time for everyone to settle into a beautiful place of high energy>
Now stop and sit quietly. You are in the energy field of your ancestors. Stay focused and listen with all of your heart and soul. Keep that which you wish to know in the front of your thoughts. Remember your intention. Speak with purpose, you not with sound. Ask that which you wish to know. Seek the wisdom of lessons taught many centuries ago or ones from recent. Continue to stay focused in on your original intention. Listen more and speak less. Survey that which surrounds you for a sign or symbol. Gather in the movements from the whispering wind and the direction of the rising smoke. Examine the flames as they may be speaking to you as pure energy. Surrender any expectations of what may or may not enter the circle, for you are protected and our welcome is pure. Present all that you wish to know and all that you are in need of. Keep focused. Listen with the full attention of every sense for guidance and direction.
<wait for as long as it seems necessary>
The ancestors do not always give us answers in the form we expect. It may be as simple as a feeling of calmness to say things will be ok. It may be a light, or certain gust of wind, or something more revealing such as an apparition or a feeling of pure love, or even a sudden rainstorm. Or you might just feel at peace and more will be revealed as you dream. The ancestors are not bound by the same time constraints as we are, so it may be several days later that your are given a response. Be open to whatever might happen, and remember that wisdom is the goal in this journey.
Now share in this food and drink and in conversation with one another and if any are gathered from across the veil.
<allow for ample time to share and eat before moving forward and closing the circle>
Closing the Samhain Circle
Great spirits of Earth, our connection with all things, both on this soil and that of the other side has been strengthened on this Samhain night. Our gratitude cannot be measured but only imagined. We offer praises to the Earth for the rich soil of the farmlands, the ample growth on the grazing lands, and the many gifts of sustaining plants, animals and roots and herbs. Thank you for caring about humankind and presenting us with the opportunity to meet those who walked here many years ago.. <extinguish green candle>
Great spirits of Water, the preserver of life itself, both through the nourishing liquid and the life which lives within the great boundaries. Your generosity is beyond measure, and beyond expectations. We offer endless praises for the abundance of Water, but also realize that we must be vigilant in preserving the source of the wells and riverheads so that future generations may experience life as we do today. <extinguish blue candle>
Great spirits of Fire, we are perpetually in awe of your great power. We’ve watched as the flames consume all that lives, but also as those same flames provide heat, light, and warmth to humankind. Our minds will be forever educated at the lessons Fire has provided and those lessons are transferred to all tasks in our lives. We must assume control of things which can easily get out of control and use this knowledge to guide future generations. <extinguish red candle>
Great spirits of Air, we are mesmerized by the invisible power shown countless numbers of times. Each of us remains connected by every breath we take, but each of us also retains an individualism that is unique. We’ve come to learn that both are required for humankind to continue into the future. The lessons of trust given by the Air are unforgettable and never far from being reminded. <extinguish yellow candle>
Great Gods and Goddesses, thank you for your abundance, your wisdom and the unconditional love shared with us this night in our sacred space. Thank you for showing us how to achieve balance in our lives; night and day; male and female; summer and winter. <extinguish God/Goddess candle>
And so the wheel turns…blessed be!
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