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Caroline Voclain

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Samhain Rituals


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Samhain approaches and the Grove that I am in is holding a ritual to celebrate it. It is the end of the year and the start of the new one. As we perceive it our patron deity Morgana ( Morrigan) goes in search of her mate. It is a time to cleanse the year past and begin afresh. Honour the ancestors and the unborn. Above all to commune and be joyful.


I'm really looking forward to it this year.


Are you holding or attending a ritual to mark this festival? If so what are the main ingredients?



Edited by Earthdragon
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Holding a ritual - no.


Insofar as I would give the date any significance (as I tend to take little account of calendars - they are just dates after all) I would link it to Persephone's descent to Hades in company with Hekate. Probably I will just mention that in my daily "Hello" to deities.

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I'm going to go visit my dad and family where I lived as a teenager. I'd like to get out for a walk around Glastonbury Tor (after dark) and sit to feel what's different from the night that I walked 15miles to be at the Tor back then.


I wont take the exact atomic standard pagan time too seriously. Its likely going to be too cloudy for astrological time to matter much!


I think being back there will be a good place to 'see' the past year. Id like to see the new year sunrise and think of that like how some religions light a candle for the new year. The dawn is more reliable than a candle as it still works in the rain.



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It's only a calendar date ... but it is the season and, for me, nowhere quite near enough just yet! The weather is too mild and most of the trees still too green .... last night at ritual, there was a thinning of the veil but almost forced by the ritual and not natural as usual at Samhain! Nevertheless, we had a great experience and I personally will look for the real turning of the season, when it comes along ... :)

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Do you know Maeve, I think you have the right idea there.

I took part in a Druidic Samhaine yesterday and shall conduct my own version of something similar tomorrow. More of that later.

But for now:


As you know we agree on the idea that the non-astrological celebrations should be when nature is ready for them.


I took part in a Gardnerian/Nichols/OBOD Samhaine celebration yesterday and I heard a very Druidic viewpoint.


As Druids is is our job to mark the year. It is our job [regardless for whomsoever we may be working] to note the turn of the year. I know when it last snowed here. I know when the last wind smashed branches from the trees and from what direction and I know what last Samhaine and others before it were like. Perhaps I have the task of an appointed meeting with nature to mark IT'S progress.

And then

As you suggest Maeve, to hold another celebration to enjoy the completion of that season or natural phase.

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I see Samhain more as a period rather than a single day. But we will be lighting a candle to put on the windowsill to guide spirits back home, should they so wish.

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Well, we have had frosts already so the turn of the year has definitely happened, autumnal colours notwithstanding. Mind you, it was -2 this morning and now I'm sitting with the back door open and the sun blazing in a balmy 8 degrees :D


I always celebrate Samhain, with good food, candles, photos of loved ones now gone, tears, toasts, and offerings. An extra place and portion is set at the table and there's a second bowl of cat food that gets put out. This year I was also invited to celebrate with some dear friends and so took part in their rite with fire, feasting and friends (with hooting owls accompanying the crack of the shifting logs in the fire). As always, I also celebrate the Pomonalia which falls on 1st Nov, so my celebrations take place over 2 days.

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My response here might hark back to the Discipline thread and maybe give rise to a new thread.

As stated above on Saturday I took part in a typical OBOD Smahaine ritual based on the Gardnerian sequence, forming a circle of sacred space, calling the directions etc.etc.

It was somewhat formal but exactly what was anticipated.


As well as the standard start up and shut down there what the Samhaine specific content of acknowledging the wider tribe/community to include those who are no longer with us. We also recognised the start of a new year.


I took part and enjoyed it even though there were things said that I do not believe. I am very strongly of the opinion [in this kind of ritual] that "If you are in the circle BE the circle." [We all know the individual with the longer note, the different preferred word or the more overtly fervent performance!]


And then I led my own rite in my own garden.

Attending were three other OBOD Druids. Now on my own I'd have just got on with it in my own way but as these friends had studied OBOD druidry I wanted to manage expectations. If I can work out how then the easiest way is to attach the doc I sent out to those who said they would come.


It worked so well and was so positively received that I am definitely going to do more work on the idea of "Getting the job done right" rather than "Getting the rite done right."


In addition to the usual Samhain job I wanted to say farewell to the oldest member of the grove - A big old ash tree that I and my family have called Yggdrasil since long long before I started to discover what "real" Paganism was. It is heavily fungused and will not be standing next Samhaine.


Mods, I'd like to link to an .odt / .doc file. Where do I store it?

I'll post it below just so this post makes sense but it can be deleted once there is a tidier/optional way of attaching it.


Edited by Moonsmith
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Samhaine - 31st October 2016. Why does Pat do it differently?


Language of Ritual. Ritual is life. Life is the rite.

I have always felt that the enactment of ritual is unduly influenced by ecclesiastical practices, particularly those of the Anglican Church.

I do not believe that the early Christians or the Ancient Druids used any other than their own language. Theatre, yes probably! Archaic language, why? Indeed the traditional term “Ye”, pronounced yee, has never existed as an everyday word. It is a misunderstanding of early script. I prefer to conduct my rituals without archaic terms.


Sacred Space. All of it!

I am a Pantheist. The Universe is my Deity. I do not believe in gods or in a creator other than the universe itself. I see myself as a tiny bundle of the atoms that make up the universe. This planet on which we live is a bigger bundle and we are part of that. I see all the manifestations of the universe that we observe, the unimaginably small to the vastly large, as incredibly beautiful. For me there is no sacred space or not-sacred space, there is just Universe.

The Grove. Definition =Us and the animal, vegetable, mineral, abstract, spirit and thought that make up this place, this tiny fraction of the universe. I acknowledge, appreciate and love the beauty of the Universe and of the tiny space in which we shall stand. You may wish to as well.


Circles. Are unavoidable.

A circle is certainly the best way to stand so that we can see and pay attention to each other and should we wish, hold hands. Our circle forms within the circle of rocks that is the garden which lies on a beautiful dark blue circle that is the Earth as it describes a circle greater yet around our star, the Sun riding on the outer edge of the circle that is the Milky Way bound in a circle of its own. How wonderful can circles get? What do we need to add? A circle of friendship perhaps.


Genius Loci – Spirit of Place. Who welcomes whom?

I have lived here and enjoyed this space for forty years. I feel safe and protected within the space that I and my family have always called “The Dingle.” It is I whom is welcomed. The genius loci is always here and was here long before I arrived. It is an accretion of uncountable experiences of this ever changing space which is now a tiny part of wild Shropshire. Again I acknowledge, appreciate, recall and love it. I so hope that you can.


Gerald Gardner.

While I do not use Gardnerian ritual in my own practice, I appreciate its usefulness when a number of folk wish to act together. Furthermore it can be useful for attendees to find a familiar sequence.

So: I think today that something like the usual sequence will be useful without using:

  • The Gardner/Nichols form of words. - Our own words will suffice!;
  • The necessity of cleansing – dirty is good! Water and smoke shall be around us if you wish;
  • Calling spirits/directions – they already know!; Let’s talk to the grove instead.
  • Circular Protection – we are safe in Rockhurst. No need to shut out or shut in anything.

To Sumarise:

We shall walk into a space which knows me well. I shall bring you with me in the hope that you will feel as welcome as I do. I shall talk to the Grove [inc.you] in my usual language and you are free to do so whenever and however you will at any point in the sequence below. If you wish to refer to your own god/gods, spirits, wights or directions then just as in any conversation, you are free to do so.





Centering and being in Now.

Greeting Circle and Grove. Druid’s prayer if you wish.


Farewell to Yggdrasil. Recognition of her dynasty.

Sharing the Samhaine fire – disposal and rebirth of hopes, thoughts experiences and ideas. Anticipation of the new year.

Acknowledging the community of our acquaintance.

Lighting candles.

Cider and cake?












Sticks, paper, purple potion. More sticks.

Note pads.

Pencils [do this before going to Dingle].

Hose pipe.


Yang/Yin diagram.



4 x copies of rite.

Possibility of being observed.

Edited by Moonsmith
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Mods, I'd like to link to an .odt / .doc file. Where do I store it?

I'll post it below just so this post makes sense but it can be deleted once there is a tidier/optional way of attaching it.



I don't think you can but you can post it as an article in the Reading Room forum if that's any help :)

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A little late, but the wife and I went to Avebury for the ritual there. I don't do it for my benefit but for the benefit of my ancestors, both blood and cultural, who undertook these rituals. For me it is just a date, and I just do it on the second new moon after the equinox (Beltane and Hlafmas are as well after the spring and summer equinox equivalently. Haven't figured out the spring new moon yet for my practice).


I now carry with me, whenever I go to a sacred site, my Venus (I personally carved her out of ash) and catstone. I place them where I can of importance and make my venerations and leave after a little moment of contemplation. I find burial mounds or long barrows far more meaningful as places than stone circles or equivalent. I leave a tea light and, if it's not a nuisance, an incense stick at the door after scenting the individual tombs. I am thinking of changing this ritual however to better reflect my beliefs.

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