Wheel of the Year

Wheel of the Year ~ Sabbots

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If a ghost of a loved one shows up,
ask him to join the party. - Victor Anderson

Samhain - Solitary Ritual

Samhain Coven Ritual

A simpler version of the following ritual has been a standard in my solitary practice for many years. I was raised all over the country and the remains of those whom I have loved are scattered to the four corners. Even my mother, who lived in the west most of her life, chose to be buried in the family plot in New Jersey. So, family shrines in my home and garden act as memorials to my Blessed Dead every day and especially on Samhain, when I call there names.

The act of calling one's ancestors on Samhain is rather unique to my practice. Wiccan debate regarding the process of reincarnation in paganism precludes honoring ancestors that may already be incarnated in, perhaps even, one of their children! If one reincarnates immediately, then invoking ancestors from the Summerlands is a moot point, unless you feel that ancestors remain in the Summerlands for several generations before incarnating. I've decided to believe the latter. Then - after all that reasoning - the entire argument is moot because we do not invoke the dead. We simply call their names out of respect and in memory. If some of them manage to show up, cool.

We call names in three catagories - the first family, friends, loved one we have known. We made another catagory for people we don't know but whose public persona makes us feel that we know them - well enough to grieve for their loss (either from the passing year or longer). And we end with amimals that have been as much family as the humans. Since Samhain is also the Celtic New Year, we incorporate those traditions of reflection and goal setting for the comeing year and seek the ancestors guidance.

I make chapbooks at the drop of a holiday. I make them at rituals, or as gifts on magickal subjects as herbs/flowers, candle magick, stones, and altars (with much of the material I've included on this site). For my Handfasting I made a chapbook of the ritual for our officiant to use for the ceremony and as a memento for me. I make chapbooks for Wiccanings as mementos for family members. Since Samhain is an open ritual for anyone in the family who would like to attend, I print all those to be remembered into the chapbook, which, again, puts everyone at ease – since they can follow along and know when it is their turn to call. I sometimes call names for those who cannot attend or feel uncomfortable practicing my traditions, but have no problem with me practicing for them. As priestess of my clan (who are not all pagan), I see it as just another part of my duties.

This was what our Samhain 2003 ritual chapbook looked like. ((Note: As usual, I’ve lost the artist’s name who authored the amazing picture that I think is called Morrighan’s Eyes. If anyone can corredt this,please drop me a note. I intended it for private use when I didn’t know I was going to build a website this year, so I violate copyrights by posting it here without permission or accreditation - but with apologies and in expectation of a hand slap or a law suit depending on the generosity of the artist.))

Preps for the ritual includes an entire wall of bookshelves in my sacred space. I clean them and invite everyone to bring pictures or mementos of their Blessed Dead and I fill the shelves with them. I do it all myself – unlike our Esbat rituals – where everyone helps set up. Samhain is my most sacred holiday and I really want them to feel they are stepping into a temple. So, I prepare the room for a dramatic entrance. Nothing but candle light - dozens of them. I cover the entire bookcase with deep blue Celtic drapes. And at the appointed time – to Part the Veil – one movement drops the drapes to reveal the wall of faces and memories. It’s very powerful and moving.

Those who call, stand - while the rest sit. If you wish to do this ritual, besides the standard needs of a ritual (incense, quarter candles, etc) you will need apples, wine, bread, small candles for the offering wall or table or where ever you place your pictures and mementos. A planter of soil that everyone can stand around. In the planter are two black candles several inches apart and are lit at the beginning of the ritual. (We always plan to do the ritual ourdoors then the winds kick up.) Sacred garb or jewelry is optional and those who could not change from a costume party earlier in the evening are forgiven. Again, I've stolen, rewritten and originated words for this ritual and it is annotated where remembered. The ritual lasts about an hour unless we are having too much fun during feast or reflections on the past year.

Samhain Ritual 2003

Light incense
Ground and Center

Great Ones: Tonight we honor the dark, as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer. It is a time of rest and renewal after the harvest. A time for warm fires, good food and quiet celebration. As we stand at the crossroads of yet another year, it is also a time for reflection and plans for the future. Mother, Father, we seek your blessing and ask that you aid us as we bid our ancestors visit us and bring us their wisdom tonight.

Cast a Circle

In the name of the Rising Moons
In the name of the Setting Suns
In the name of our Blessed Dead
In the name of the Ancient Ones
To share the Present with the Past
This Samhain circle, now I cast
Original by Ardriana Cahill

With athame:
As above, So below

Call the Quarters

Welcome the Quarters

Hear our song and join the rite
Praise the day and bless the night
Earth and fire, water and air.
We great you all and the gifts you bear
Based on the hymn to Ishtar from Acadia

We invite the gods

Shining Ones, Our family extends in all directions, a product of blood, adoption, fostering and love. Tonight, we come to you, Ancient Ones, with open hearts, to honor our beloved dead, to wish them well and to receive their blessings for the coming New Year. We who are the links forged in an Ancient chain, we who carry the memory of our Ancestors forward into the future, come to you. Be with us, now.
Original by Ardriana Cahill

Grandmother Wisdom open the door,
Grandfather Counsel, come you in
Let us welcome the Ancient Lore
Let us welcome the Repose of the Year
from Celtic Devotional Caitlin Matthews

Parting the Veil
HPS:Parts the Curtains

We Invite the Dead

Lo, there do I see my fathers

Lo, there do I see my mothers, my sisters and my brothers
Lo, there do I see the line of my people back to the beginning.
We do call to them.
We invite those we love, those who have gone before us,
and those who have watched over us
Return this night from the Summerland.
Variation from The 13th Warrior, Inspired by a prayer in Risala: Ibn Fadlan's Account of the Rus c. 921 C.E

We call the Old Ones/ Candle Lighting

Ancestral fires do we kindle on this Samhain night to mark your passing, and so I call you forth in the name of my birthright and the birthright of all those who are in this circle.

We call upon you as the Western Gate stands open.
From the land of golden sunsets.
By the threads that still connect us
By the silver cord unbroken
By the love that is eternal
Now Good Ancestors we invite you.
Asking for your wisdom and guidance.

Good Hallows Eve! Our Cherished Old Ones
Good Hallows Eve! All Beloveds Passed
Seek ye the comfort of our fire
Seek ye the memory of our love
Help us now with your good council
Seek us as this Year begins

Now, you will each call the names of those among the Dead whom you would honor. After each name is spoken, the circle responds, “We Honor You.” Before you begin to read your list of names, light a few votive candles on the memorial altar.

Ardriana steps forward and calls:

Cormac McAirt
All: We honor you
Nancy McLaughlin
All: We honor you
Patrick McLaughlin
All: We honor you (continue response after each name)
Ellen Gahagan
Captain Gahagan . . .
James Patrick McCormick …
William H. McCormick . . .
Gertrude McCormick Balmano …
Mr. & Mrs. John Sizer
Helen McCormick Berry ...
John Andrew Berry ...
Joseph Berry ...
Susan Cahill ...
Frank Clinton Mills ...
Marietta Jones Mills ...
Earl Danforth Mills ...
Dorothy Berry Mills …
George Edward Sisler ...
George Gilson ...
Leigh Monroe Gilson ...
William Mastel ...
Genevieve Mastel …
Harry Groom . . .
Edith Groom . . .
Keith Williams …
Roderick Johnson . .
Ocile Portman . . .
Paul Calvin Evans . . .

All: We honor you

And a special remembrance for: Katharine Hepburn, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, David Bloom & David Brinkley

All: We honor you

Of fur and feather and fin, I remember… Beau “Ole Stupid” Geste, Tabitha Stubs, Trinket Ferret, Mica J. Dog, Peetie the Starling, Beanie the wonder fish, Dewback the Iguana, Cuddles the Goose, Caesar the Dog, Piewacket Cat, Ralph the Rat, and Gypsy the Horse

All: We Remember you

Manannon steps forward and calls:

William Aloysius Berry
All: We honor you
Dorothy “Toots” Berry
All: We honor you
Gertrude Naomi Berry . . .
Christine Oravetz …
Edward Paul Oravetz …
Margaret Keene Bruffy
John Dennis Bruffy

All: We honor you

And a special remembrance for : William H. Coty

All: We honor you

Of fur and feather and fin, I remember… Phineas T. Milquetoast & Gabriel Cats, Ripley, Buster & Newt Cats, Honeydew “The horse-riding Cat”

All: We Remember you

Druantia steps forward and calls:

John Sky

All: We honor you

And a special remembrance for : Fred Astair and Bing Crosby

All: We honor you

Of fur and feather and fin, I remember... Patrick Justa Dog, Honey Dew & Melon Head the Rats

All: We Remember you

Bhen Rudha steps forward and calls:

Susan Stimson Gagich
All: We honor you
Peter Bert Cowan
All: We honor you
Nellie Pace Schofield
All: We honor you
John Augustus Stimson ...
Margaret White Stimson ...
Florence Cowan Stimson ...
John Thomas Croughan Stimson ...
Carma Stimson...
Margaret Croghan Stimson ...
Helen Cusick Gagich . . .
Myrna Kirk Cusick ...
James Gagich ...
Uncle Boyd ...
Charlie Smith ...
Warren Knapp ...
Maryann Muzzo ...

All: We honor you

And a special remembrance for Marion Zimmer Bradley, Kevin Smith, Michael Jeter, and Gregory Hines

All: We honor you

Bhen Rudha:
Of fur and feather and fin, I remember... Little Mother, Chardonnay & Tattooine Cats, Tigger the terrier, Peek-a-Boo Cat, Toby the dog, Whitney J Dog. Harry Houdini the Cat

All: We Remember you

Rhiannon steps forward and calls:

Georgia Ann Larkin...
All: We honor you
Estella Larkin Jefferson...
Annie Louella Jefferson . . .
Lamont Carter . . .
Christos Kanelos . . .

All: We honor you

And a special remembrance for: Barry White, Brandon Lee and Marvin Gaye

All: We Remember you

Of fin, fur and feather, I remember... Sparky the kitten, Tai Chi the cat

All: We Remember you

Little Sister steps forward and calls:

Cecil Fairbanks
All: We honor you
Helen Hansen Fairbanks . . .
Roy Fairbanks . . .

All: We honor you

And a special remembrance for: Selena Quintanilla-Perez

All: We honor you

Little Sister:
Of fur and feather and fin, I remember... Nitosha the dog , Omar the cat, and Screech the bird.

All: We Remember you

Chaotrix steps forward and calls:

Jayme Eleanor Zalasky
All: We honor you
Olga "O-gi" Hargis
All: We honor you
Ernesto Bueno Villegas . . .
Raymundo Villegas . . .
Anacleto "Cleto" Jimenez . . .
Magdalena "Nena" Jimenez . . .
Pedro Piña Gonzales . . .
Luis Carlos Novoa

All: We honor you

And a special remembrance for: John Lennon and Marvin Gaye

All: We honor you

Of fur and feather and fin, I remember... Smudge the cat, Galileo Chiaroscuro the cat, Bodhisattva the Rat and Soxy the Dog

All: We Remember you

Cerridwin steps forward and calls:

Howard “Cye” Ingalls
All: We honor you
Yolanda Macapili Ingalls
All: We honor you
Eugene “Ned” Ingalls
Ana Cheskey Ingalls . . .
Lola Macapili . . .
“Emily” Chuster Meyer. . .
Herman Hans Meyer. . .
Gertrude Schaeffer Duncan. . .
Arthur “Artie” Meyer. . .
William “Bill” Meyer. . .
Mary Alix . . .

All: We honor you

And a special remembrance for: Bruce Lee and Audrey Hepburn,

All: We honor you

Of fur and feather and fin, I remember… Snowy the Cat, Snuggles Cats, Cuddles the Cat, Newt the Kitten

All: We Remember you

Freya steps forward and calls:

John Harkema Jr.
All: We honor you
Pauline Fischer Harkema
All: We honor you
Grietje “Gertrude” Bus Harkema
William Joseph Bousman
William Earl Bousman. . .
Roxy Graham Bousman. . .
David Martin Life . . .
Doris Craig Life . . .
Edward Emery Stater . . .
Paula Jemison Stater . . .
Emery W. Stater . . .
Christena Kreutzbender . . .
George Franklin Jemison . . .
Grace Countryman Jemison . . .
John Herbert Stewart . . .
John Franklin Stewart . . .
Pearl Mitchell Stewart . . .
George Franklin Pugh . . .
Pearl Hewitt Pugh . . .
Phyllis Pilcher . . .
Ed "Daddy-O" Acker . . .
All: We honor you

And a special remembrance for: John Ritter

All: We honor you

Of fur and feather and fin, I remember… Maverick the cat, Maggie the dog, Sebastian the cat, and Hitchcock the cat

All: We Remember you

Stormy steps forward and calls:

Samuel Minnis . . .
All: We honor you
Bessy May . . .

All: We honor you

And a special remembrance for: Theodor Seuss Geisel, Jim Hensen, and Sammy Davis Jr.

All: We honor you

Of fur and feather and fin, I remember…

All: We Remember you

PadawanPagan steps forward and calls:

William Donald Lessard . . .
Mae Veronica Sibben . . .

All: We honor you

And a special remembrance for: Richard Harris

All: We honor you

Of fur and feather and fin, I remember...
Cornbread the cat

All: We Remember you

Meditation or Sacred Silence

Focus on one person that you would like to be your guide in the coming year. Or let one person come forward during the meditation. Maybe take an extra moment to listen for any special message or feeling that may come. When you are done, make an offering of bread & apples by placing them on the offering plates on the memorial wall.

Feast for the Dead
Center the planter
Pour wine
Toast (all stand)

HPS: For the blessings of the Ancients Ones (Raise cup)
For the guidance of the Old Ones (Pour on earth)
For the gifts of this Community (Clink glasses)
We Thank You!

Eat the bread and apples.

Banishing and Resolutions

We spend a few moments to consider the things of the last year we would like to banish: bad habits or addictions, unkind feelings toward others, unkind feelings toward yourself . . . anything you do not want to carry over to the New Year.

We banish these things that hurt us last year. And resolve not to repeat the mistakes of our past.

Now we will go around circle express one or two things that we accomplished or were blessed with this past year.

We are thankful for the blessings of the past year
And promise to be worthy of the blessings in the New Year

Old Year out, New Year in,
Let the Pagan Year begin!

We Thank the Ancestors

It is time to say farewell
As this Samhain passes from us
Soon the dawn will grace us
And the sunset portal will close.
Until the turning of the year
We must part for just awhile.

Farewell, until we meet again.

We Thank the gods

Thank you Grandfather Council who cheers us
Thank you Grandmother Wisdom who comforts us
Touch the hidden seeds within us
That we may grow with Spring.
from Celtic Devotional Caitlin Matthews

We Release the Quarters


Close the circle:

Circle Caster says:
In the name of the Rising Moons and Setting Suns
In the name of the Blessed Dead and Ancient Ones
Our Time is done, all go with care
This circle fades into the air
Original by Ardriana Cahill

The circle is open, but unbroken, May the Wisdom of our Ancestors Bless the coming year

All: Blessed be.

© 2004-2012 Ardriana Cahill

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