I decided I would share the ritual I am going to be leading this Samhain for anyone out there who would like to modify it for their own group or for private practice.
Do whatever you feel comfortable with, but I prefer for the first circle: “Protect us from harmful energies, positive, negative, or otherwise. For the second circle: “Protect us from harmful entities, positive, negative, or otherwise. For the third circle: “Keep us from harm.”
*Light incense. I am going to use Sandalwood and Patchouli amongst others.
On my altar are 2 white (or black depending on what I can find) candles.
“I light this candle to honor the Goddess who lifts the veil so that we can see inside ourselves and across time to our beloved ancestors. I ask Her here tonight to be honored and help us honor our beloved dead. “
I light the first candle.
“I light this candle for the God of all thing in between, as our ancestors are between life and life and the turning wheel is between the bloom of summer and the stillness of deep winter. I ask Him here tonight to be honored and help us honor our beloved dead.”
In the North part of the circle:
“I call our willing and protective ancestors from the Northern Woods and Wild Mountains. Please guard and bless this circle with your presence and energies.”
Place a bowl of salt at the north and light a candle at the north point.
At the Eastern part of the circle:
“I call to our willing and protective ancestors form the Eastern lands where the winds of change originate. Please guard and bless this circle and all within with your presence and energies.”
Light more incense and light the candle for this point.
At the Southern part of the circle:
“I call to our willing and protective ancestors from the Southern lands and the fiery realms where our Hearts and Minds were forged. Please guard and protect this circle and all within with your presence and energies.”
Light the candle for this point.
In the Western part of the circle:
“I call to our willing and protective ancestors from the primordial waters of Life and Destruction. Please guard and bless this circle and all within with your presence and energies.”
Light the candle for this point and place the libations bottle near the candle.
At this point I am going to talk about the Celtic New Year and how this begins a time of Shadow work and Introspection.
This is a good time to work on old pain and hurts and allow them to wither and die to make room for new growth in the coming year.
“Lord of things in between and Lady who Lifts the Veil, we ask you to allow us the opportunity to me more aware during the coming year of the wisdom inside ourselves and the wisdom of those who have gone before us.”
Pause here to fill wine glasses the God and Goddess and also for the Ancestors.
“So mote it be.”
*Place mementos of our ancestors on a special altar set up for them*
“Beloved ancestors, we ask your protection and guidance through the coming year. Please whisper your experience in our ears.”
Light any candles you wish for your ancestors.
The next part of the ritual is simple. Go around the circle and tell stories of your beloved dead. Happy stories. Fun stories. Stories that shaped your life. If you are by yourself simply remember your loved ones and how much they meant to you. When I held this ritual we all had cakes and ale at this time. (Snickerdoodles and wine…you know, whatever floats your boat.)
After all of this thank the God and Goddess who has arrived to be honored. I usually never say anything about banishing or dismissing Gods-rude much? They’re Gods. Thank them and they will go or stay as they please. Then I say Hail and Farewell at each quarter. This is usually a less structured moment in ritual for me. I thank the quarter guardians for comings and say something along the lines of, “Go if you must, stay if you will, thank you for your energies and blessings. Hail and Farewell!”
I started this blog post before I actually held the ritual, and I am loath to actually change it based on my experiences, but I will say that during my ritual a glass shattered after the evocation and I was cut just enough that a small drip of blood started up. I had trouble getting it to stop bleeding until the ritual was over. This has led me to believe that any large ancestor ritual might benefit from a blood tie of some kind, but I shall leave this up to the individual how best they might wish to incorporate this kind of offering or tie to the ancestors.
Don’t be stupid because you think you know your friends. Of course, as a gentle reminder: All health concerns should be acknowledged in a group setting. If you want to prick your own finger and add it to your wine or what not when you are solitary, more power to you, but these sorts of practices are not advisable in a large group. Use your best judgment.
All in all I had a lovely evening with this ritual and the Gods and Ancestors were a very strong and powerful presence. It was a good jumping off point for continued honoring of the ancestors at my house as well.