Samhain Ritual

Cast circle as usual. On the altar is a large, unlit candle, plus bread and wine (or substitutes) for communion, plus nuts and an apple. If working outdoors, you can use the traditional bonfire instead of the large candle.

Tonight we celebrate Samhain, the time of death, the beginning of the Dark Time. All of the harvest is now completed, and animals are prepared for the winter. The year's fruitfulness is gone, life has turned inwards and sleeps deep within the Earth to survive the time of cold and darkness before beginning again in spring.

Even though Samhain marks the dying of the year, the final extinguishing of the Sun God's power as the world enters the Dark Time, death is not an end, but a beginning. Just as Nature itself turns inwards at this time to renew its energy in preparation for the Sun God's rebirth at Yule, so too do the wise turn their attention inwards to focus upon the seeds of new spiritual and magical life. On the night of Samhain, the Veil between the worlds is opened, and we share this time with our beloved Dead, and with those as yet unborn. The Dark Time is the time of the Goddess's sole dominion over the world, and while in the mundane world it is a time of coldness and darkness, to those who have the knowing and the vision, it is also a time of magical gifts and insights.

Priestess lights large centre candle.

This is the Samhain fire. May it shine beyond the Veil as it does in the world. Those who come to sit in its light are welcome.

Now let us remember our Beloved Dead.

A few minutes' silence to meditate and to allow visitors from beyond the Veil.

The wheel of life turns ceaselessly,
And even though the body may die,
Spirit is eternal and knows no death.
So one life follows another,
And rebirth always follows death,
The unending turning of the wheel.
As the deepest darkness contains the seeds of new light,
We shall meet, we shall remember, we shall live and love again.

Priestess and co-celebrants dance round the centre, chanting:

All: Darkness of the deepest night; Filled with seeds of living light.

Priestess earths the energy raised into the nuts.

Within the quiet of the Dark Time, the fruit of wisdom brings inner knowledge and otherworldly insight. May it strengthen those who share in it, bringing us closer to the Goddess and to knowledge of Spirit, as we pass through the winter. This wisdom is a special gift of the Goddess, a gift that must not be taken lightly. Let those who accept the gift, accept also the changes that wisdom brings.

All: So mote it be.

Priestess circles deosil, giving a nut to each co-celebrant to eat, and saying "The wisdom of the Goddess". Priestess returns to North, all commune with Goddess in the Samhain candle or fire. You may receive sudden enlightenment or visions.

Priestess picks up apple from altar:

I hold the fruit of the Other World, which is given to all who know Death, so that they may find within it the seeds of new life. The end of one life is merely the beginning of the next; Spirit knows no death.

Priestess cuts the apple 'equatorially' with her athame, exposing the 5-pointed pattern of seeds, shows it, then cuts it further into segments each containing one of the 'points'. Priestess then circles deosil, giving a piece of apple to each co-celebrant, to eat complete with seeds, and saying "This is the fruit of Death, which brings new life". All meditate upon aspects of their life that must die, and old ways that must be changed.

Now let the Samhain fire consume all that is wrong or wicked in ourselves and in the world, as we pray for a new time of peace, love and respect for Mother Earth and all of Her life.

Priestess holds up communion bread and wine, saying,

By this communion we commemorate our Beloved Dead,
We give welcome to generations yet to come,
And we give thanks to the Goddess and the God
For their gifts which sustain our bodies and nurture our spirits.

Priestess gives communion to co-celebrants and takes communion herself, then holds up wine, and makes the traditional toast:

To the Old Ones: Merry meet and merry part, and merry meet again.

A few minutes silence for meditation, then dispel circle as usual.

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