Well, it’s taken me awhile, but I’m finally writing up our Samhain ritual!
Black Bear Grove celebrated Samhain on November 5 — I did my own personal Samhain ritual the night of October 31. I want to write about the grove ritual, though. It was, as I’m sure you readers are becoming accustomed to hearing, amazing.
I will try–for the sake of my eventual DP documentation reviewers–not to give a lengthy blow-by-blow. I really do want to write up every bit, though! 🙂 The deities of the occasion were Donn and the Morrigan, the Gatekeeper was Manannan Mac Lir, and the Bardic Inspiration was Brighid. Seven people attended, including myself.
For bardic inspiration, a friend of the grove played a song and read some poetry. To attune the grove, a senior druid had us join hands and sing, one by one, around the circle, “I am, you are, we are one.” That part was especially beautiful.
For my part, I called Manannan as the Gatekeeper. (The druid in charge offered to let me have that role — we share Manannan as a patron, so I was touched that I got to call him.) I led the group in a meditation, asking them to imagine themselves on a misty seashore, facing west. I asked them to focus on the light of a loved one they have lost, to feel that person’s (or animal’s!) presence across the veils. I then had everyone pour a bit of saltwater, simultaneously representing their tears of grief and the waters of the ocean, into the well, and speak the name of their loved one. After that, I called Manannan and we sang him across the ocean with the Manannan Chant from the ADF website.
For the Morrigan, a friend of the grove led us in a meditation on the Great Queen and her power as warrior. She had us call up phantom armor, and she drew war paint–unique for each of us–on our faces. She also did an interesting bit where she dedicated her heart’s blood to the Morrigan (using wine poured over her hands), and washed it away, symbolic of the Morrigan’s role in death and rebirth. As i said in my post about the Morrigan, a crow called all through the working and ended up in our World Tree. I felt so called by the Morrigan that I made this doll this week. (She’s next to a soda can to give a sense of scale — tiny!)
As the grove working, we had the usual ancestor altar with personal offerings and candles lit for loved ones. I won’t go into that too much because I think it was very personal, powerful, and private for us as a grove. The druid in charge then led us in a detailed omen for the year going forward, as well as looking back at the previous year–and we received great omens.
I’m going to branch out a little bit this time and offer an opinion on why the last two rituals were so powerful and so beautiful. We’ve had a dedicated core group of people, and with each ritual everyone has stepped up and really branched out in their workings. No longer are we all just making speeches. Now everyone is drawing the others into an active role in ritual and calling the deities to work with us in a very real way. It creates a pervasive and affecting sense of magic and harmony, both within the grove and reaching out to the numinous beings.
After the ritual, the senior druid present asked me to officially join the grove. I said yes. 🙂