Samhain

October 25, 2005 at 8:48 pm (Uncategorized)

Samhain is pronounced different ways depending upon the origin (SOW-in in Irish, SOW-een in Welsh, and SAV-en in Scottish). Samhain is one of four fire festivals in the Wiccan year.

Samhain is the most important of the Wiccan celebrations as it is time when the veil between worlds is the thinnest. It is a time to honor the dead and to take stock of our own lives. Wiccans are a very eclectic group of folks and draw from a variety of pagan beliefs in their rituals. Last year, we gave an offering of apples and other harvests to honor the dead. We raised energy by playing music, dancing using drums and tambourines. We then had a naming ceremony where the members present give their name or invoked a God or Goddess. Hecate is a favored around Samhain.

Samhain is an introspective time. Although we have fun, its also a very solemn affair. Nothing like May Day where we get to dress up and dance around the maypole in a frenzy. A couple of Samhain’s ago we had the big bonfire outside and did a cleansing of particularly “dark” area. Some areas just tend to draw bad vibrations and they get stuck there. Its not ghost hunting but spirits tend to be drawn to these areas and by cleansing we free them to move on.

I think every witch has a different take on Samhain. For me, its about dressing Nate up and taking him out and after he falls asleep, taking out my ceremonial dress, which is a black abaya which Troy bought for me in Kuwait. I wear the scarf around my head, swathed in black from head to toe, although I’m nude underneath. (Skyclad, or nude, worshiping, I save for summer months) I have my wand which doubles as my athame (ceremonial knife) and I set my candles (I set a white candle to represent the Spirit) and call the Guardians (those who watch over the circle), then I use my wand to draw a circle deosil or clockwise around me and I visualize white light (if you’ve seen Star Wars, Episode I, its kinda like when the Gungans use their trusty white shield against the clone droids).

I invite whatever deities I want to join me in my ceremony. There are certain Gods and Goddesses that are particularly strong at certain times of the year. Regardless, I always call my patron Goddess, Inanna. Cernunnos or “The Horned God” otherwise known as Pan, Herne, or Hades, is the Lord of the Underworld, and who wouldn’t want to call him. Cerridwen, or the Goddess of Death. Hecate is a very important Goddess and is associated with childbirth and is part of the Triple Goddess including Persephone and Demeter. There are others, multitudes of others, that’s just an example.

Then, there’s the Feast of the Dead. The candles are lit representing whatever or whoever you want. The Feast of the Dead is the time to remember those who came before us, our ancestors, our family, our friends, those who have crossed over. You invite them to join you, you remember them, you feast with them. I take as long as I want or need. The joy of being a solitary practitioner at this time.

Then I can banish something from my life, or let go of something which I feel is holding me back from my achievements. Cleaning spiritual house, if you will. (Samhain is the beginning of the Wiccan calendar, similar to New Year’s Day) I may use tarot cards or water scrying to assist me in determining things that are detrimental that I may not be aware of or unwilling to face. I pray and ask for the assistance from the Gods and Goddesses to show me my true path and to guide me. Again, this could be a laundry list of things so it could take a while. I may meditate looking into the candles or with my eyes closed. Depends.

Finally, I will thank the deities, retract the circle by turning widdershins (or counter-clockwise) and thank and dismiss the Guardians. Surprising to many, are the Guardians which I chose to call, and they are Gabriel, Michael, Uriel, and Metatron (sometimes Raphael), four of the seven archangels. The reasoning behind using the archangels is that I believe your God is my God and my God is your God, regardless of religious preference. Plus, I like angels. And imagine in your mind, those four standing watch over you. Amazing isn’t it?

Its hard to describe the feeling I have being a Wiccan. When people ask why I’m a Wiccan, its because it feels right. I like the philosophies, especially that we’re responsible for ourselves. We don’t owe allegiance to one God or Goddess, we’re not held in line by thoughts of hell or eternal damnation. We are responsible for ourselves. The choices we make determine our place in life. Our choices determine our happiness and well-being. Our choices determine, now, in the here and now, whether we get bitten on the ass or patted on the ass by karma or the Threefold Law (whatever you do comes back thrice).

And these words the Wiccan Rede fulfill,
An it harm none, do what thou will

Not so easy sometimes.

Blessed Be!!

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