ribbon in memory of loved ones, on a memorial wreath.
The ritual begins inside the sanctuary. Participants will eventually move
outside, through the memorial area, to simulate passing into
the Netherworld. They will emerge into the ritual circle, around the fire.
The ritual circle is arranged with Quarter altars, which have been
seasonally decorated. Quarter teams are responsible for calling and
dismissing the Quarters, leading the chants, serving participants and
lighting the memorial candles that will be held by each participant.
Music: "The Moon is High"
Introduction: (Summoner/Gatekeeper with scythe in hand, dressed in hooded
black robe) The Grand Sabbat of Samhain is about to begin. Let all those who
would attend of their own free will, direct their attention this way. We
ask that you assume a manner of respect and reverence, as this is a sacred
religious occasion. May all present be here in perfect love and perfect
Chant: He, who is remembered, lives!
Maiden enters Irish step dancing to Irish music.
High Priest/Sun King, and High Priestess (with sword) enter.
Crone and Horned God of Death enter.
We come together on this night
To perform an ancient rite,
As our elders did before
Throughout the world, in days of yore.
The season's wheel has turned again
The harvest's in. It's summer's end
We look back now and look ahead.
We mourn because the Sun God's dead.
Hecate now this time will rule.
The Sun God will return at Yule.
Tonight the New Year celebrates.
The Summerland casts wide its gates.
And each of us will know once more
The love of those who've gone before.
For hope to us this promise gives
That he who is remembered lives.
HP: This is a sacred festival. For its fulfillment we have already called
forth a sacred Circle to encompass this sanctuary and the entire grounds.
The Lord and Lady have been invoked and are omnipresent. It remains to call
the Mighty Forces for extra protection on this night when all manner of
entity roams free.
HP: Let us call the Quarters:
East: Powers of the East wind, Air,
Breathe in us a hope to share
With loved ones who have gone before,
That now we will unite once more.
So mote it be.
South: Powers of the South and Fire,
Flame our passions, not our ire.
Guard us. Guide us on our quest
In this New Year, to be the best.
So mote it be.
West: Water and the Western Powers,
Let us know the strength that's ours.
Cleanse our minds that we might be
Free from negativity.
So mote it be.
North: Mother Nature, show the way.
Help us keep in mind each day,
Oh, Powers of the North and Earth,
Where there's death, there is rebirth.
So mote it be.
HPS: (leaves with the Maiden, to change costume) There is but one gateway to
this Circle and I now go to seal it.
HP: (hand extended in blessing) In perfect love and perfect trust we
celebrate this season! In the name of the Cosmic Ones,..the Lady of the
Moon and the Lord of Death and all names by which they are known; in the
names of the Mighty Ones of the Four Quarters, blessed be this place and
this time, and they who are now with us! So Mote It Be!
Horned God/Lord of Death reads Samhain Story:
Tonight we celebrate the Grand Sabbat of Samhain that was the Celtic New
Year. Samhain marks the final harvest, the coming winter, the death of the
sun. To our ancestors, particularly those living in harsher climates, this
was a frightening time. Food had to be stored to last through the cold
months ahead. Often the weak would not survive. An especially bleak winter
could mean the end of the entire community. Even the sun appeared to leave
Samhain then, was a very important festival, because it offered hope. It
meant that the harvest had been successful, and sufficient supplies had been
stocked for the winter. Fires were lit in honor of the sun, which our
ancestors hoped would be reborn at Yule. And they thought of those who had
gone before- those who had died in the preparation of the food, or the hunt,
or those who had died in past winters. Maintaining this connection is, and
has always been, a very important affirmation of life itself.
Just as our ancestors did long ago, we remember and honor the dead because
they are a part of us. All those we have ever known, including our beloved
pets, live on in our mannerisms, turns of speech, values and practices.
They comprise the parts of our being that distinguishes us from others. The
traits and memories that we possess, of those who have gone before,
represent a kind of immortality for them.
HP: So we pause and we look back and we give thanks for those who have made
us what we are today. We hope that some day we too will be remembered,
because we know that "he, who is remembered, lives."
Music: " Autumn-The Lady's Song" (Quarter leaders may leads participants
in swaying movement to keep attention focused.)
HPS: (lights are dimmed. Voice of the Lady is heard) Hear me my children!
I am Inanna the Great Earth Mother. My consort the Sun King will soon pass
into the Netherworld in death. I beg you to go to witness his passing that
he might not be alone. The way to the Netherworld is perilous. Only the pure
and the dead may pass. The spirits have come to lead you. Have courage. I
will meet you again on the other side.
Music/Chant: "We are the Walking Breath" "Spirits" (dressed in white gauze)
will dance and eventually lead participants to pathway through the memorial
garden. (Memorial wreath will be present by pathway.) Before entering the
pathway, participants will be smudged with sage. Each will receive a candle
and cup. (An arch with the sign "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here" would
be a nice touch.) Participants will emerge on the other side to form the
Circle. As they enter the circle, each will receive a ritual cake from two
Quarter leaders stationed at the end of the path.
Chant: "We are the walking breath. We are the spirits of the earth. We are
alive and walking. Where we are is beautiful."
(As participants enter circle, HP lines up out of sight, with Summoner and
two Quarter leaders who are carrying the wicker cage.)
When all participants are in place, the two persons who performed the
smudging, will emerge from the path carrying the memorial wreath, and place
it in front of the altar. Then, the Summoner/Gatekeeper will lead the
HP/dying God into and around the Circle. (He will be proceeded by a wicker
cage or strawman carried by two Quarter leaders.)
All Chant: Fire burn and fire flame. The God must die to come again. (When
crescendo is reached, Quarter Leaders will toss the cage and/or Strawman
into the fire. Hecate (now stationed at the altar) assists the God into the
Netherworld by leading him back to the altar.) As this is happening, all
shout: As we will it, so mote it be!
HPS as Innana, appears in Circle. She is accompanied by the Maiden who is
now dressed as "Spirit". HPS has altar candle in hand i.e. solar flame of
seasons past, and a basket of apples i.e. the final harvest. HP as the
Sun King appears by the altar. They sing to each other "The River is Wide."
Gatekeeper: (blocks Innana's way) Hold: Who art thou?
Innana: I am Innana, Queen of the Green Earth. I come with my handmaiden,
the Spirit of Life Everlasting.
Gate: If thou art the Queen of the Green Earth, why have you come to the
Innana: My Consort the Sun King has died and now my Sister the Crone
controls his soul. I have come to bargain with her for His return.
Gate: And what offering have you brought that you might pass beyond my
Innana: I bring with me the final harvest that even here, all may partake
of my bounty.
Gate: Enter then, but put behind you all thoughts of your children above.
(Innana places apples and flame on altar. She lights all altar candles.)
Innana: Where is She who I have come to see? Where is The Crone, my sister
and ruler of this place?
Crone: I am here, My sister! Where else should I be? But what brings you
Innana: My consort, the Sun God, has died and now resides with you here. I
come to join him, for without him I cannot give life to our Kingdom.
Follower/East Quarter Leader (rushes forth from the Circle) "My Lady, you
cannot! You are the bounty of the Green Earth, the warm life of its waters.
Your fair winds bring joy and love to your children above. If you remain
here, what will become of us?
Innana: The lands will sleep the sleep of death! Just as my Lord and I here.
Crone: Innana has come here of her own will and by that will, she has now
given her kingdom over to me and my consort, the Lord of Death. A new time
now begins on the earth, a time of barrenness and desolation! Like the
Netherworld, there will be no outward sign of life. All will be stilled and
Horned God of Death: (enters) I heard you speak my name, my Lady! I see a
new dominion of stillness and death awaits us.
Crone: Yes, my Lord! My sister has come here of her own will to seek out
Her consort and by so doing, she has given their kingdom to us.
Horned God: Ah, as the cold falls over the lands above and the darkness of
winter commences, so will I assume my power. By the cold stone of old and
the barren oak tree, yes, by this very darkness, at last, I am free!!!
(God runs out of Circle area. He may change and rejoin the circle.)
Dead Sun King: My Lady, I reside here now in this darkness. I see that you
have brought with you the solar flame, the seed of light, to bring some
radiance to this place.
Innana: Yes, my Lord. And by the harvest has the way been made for those
who have come here with me. For the harvest is death. Those unclaimed
fruits of the harvest have come with me here.
Follower/South Quarter Leader: My Lady, what does this mean? Are we to live
on here in desolation? Is the earth above never again to know life? Is
darkness to rule forever?
Crone: Innana, have you not told these children the Great Mystery of Life,
that to live is to die and that to die is to live anew?
Innana: No my sister, I have not. To speak of it means little. To
experience it means it will live on in the heart forever.
Follower/West Quarter Leader: What are you saying? I am confused. We stand
here in death, yet you say this is Life?
Innana: Behold the harvest past. (Pick up apples.) This fruit alone
remains. The trees and vines from which it came are withered and barren.
This fruit too will soften and rot. Yet within each rotting death, there
is life. The seed of life remains and will grow anew. The cakes that you
have been given, represent the fruits of life eternal. You may eat them now.
(Quarter teams immediately pass ale/gingerale. Drumming may be heard.)
Follower/North Quarter Leader: But what of the Sun King? Without his
radiance, there will be only darkness and not even these blessed seeds can
grow without his light!
Sun King: My children, this time of death is also a time of life for me. My
strength will continue to renew itself until the time when just a single
spark will be needed to light again the sacred flame. That single spark was
brought to this place by my Lady to stay with me until the proper time for
Innana: Sister, I beg you, my children are fearful. Release them from this
Crone: (Takes up cauldron.) Fear not. I offer them this brew from the
Cauldron of Immortality. By partaking, they will soon be released from this
place, though not from my rule!
("Spirits" may dance to "Spirit of the Wind" while drink is given out, and/or
drumming may be heard.)
Crone: (after all are served) You may drink now!
Follower/East Quarter Leader: O Mighty Ones, while we are in this realm, we
are aware of those who proceeded us here, not by following Innana, but by
passing through the gates of death. Is there a way that we might have
communication with them?
Innana: Let us light the candles that you carried here, from the great solar
flame, in memory of those who have gone before.
(Quarter leaders come forward to take a candle from the altar. They return
to light the candles of all participants in their respective quadrants.)
Chant: He who is remembered lives.
HP/Sun King: (After all candles are lit.) Gaze softly into the light.
Visualize this Circle and where you stand right now, as filled with
shimmering white light. It sparkles and dances with life and magic. Feel
it around you warming the skin; energizing your spirit. Let this power wash
away any sadness and replace it with peace. Now envision the form of one
lost to you. This is not an earthly form but a spiritual essence. The form
moves toward you slowly as it enters the Circle. Sense this spirit as it
mingles with your own. Know that you are once again in communion with loved
ones. (long pause here)
(Maiden, now dressed as Spirit, in a long white gown, carries a basket filled
with dead leaves, that she strews on the ground around the circle. Another
Spirit may smudge the circle. "Deep Peace" is played on tape.)
HPS Let us not cling to mourning,
Do not stand on the grave and weep.
They are not there. They do not sleep.
They are a thousand winds that blow.
They are the diamond glints on the snow.
They are the sunlight opened grain.
They are the gentle autumn's rain
When you awaken in the morning's hush
They are the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.
They are the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand on the grave and cry.
They are not there. They did not die
HP: Now Dear Ones, let your spirits rest and refresh. And when the time
comes, return to the earth in a new, healthy body that will allow your quest
for union with the Mighty Ones to continue.
(Memorial Wreath may be thrown into the fire by HPS.)
HP: Great Lord and Lady, we commit our loved ones into your gentle care.
Guard and guide these souls until one day we can meet and know and remember
and love them again. Help those of us here who grieve, to know that he who is
remembered lives. So mote it be! You may extinguish the candles.
HPS: We have come together in love and peace. As we open the Circle, let us
depart the same way.
We know that all there is, is love and in every moment there is wisdom. Let
us salute the Quarters:
(Quarters are dismissed by the same Quarter leaders that called them.)
East: Powers of the East and Air, we thank you for joining our Circle.
We ask your blessings as you part.
May there be peace between us, now and forever.
All: Hail and farewell!
South: Powers of the South and Fire, etc....
West: Powers of the West and Water, etc....
North: Powers of the North and Earth, etc....
HPS: Lord of the Summerland, Lady of New Beginnings, we thank you for
joining our Circle. We ask you blessings and guidance in this New Year. As
we depart tonight, may we take the first step on the path toward our highest
and best calling, in the certain knowledge that you are ever with us.
Crone: You have partaken of the fruits of life and shared the Cup of
Cerridwen. Nothing holds you in this realm The gates are open for you to
All: This Circle is Open but unbroken. Merry Meet. Merry Part. Merry Meet
Again. Blessed Be!
(This last may be sung.)