Monday, November 3, 2008

Samhain: In Honor of the Ancestors

At Samhain, we celebrate our Honored Dead and the God Cernunnos, Horned God, Keeper of the Ways. Samhain is the biggest grove rite of the year for Three Cranes, in terms of participant numbers, and this year was no exception.

Before the rite, we lit a circle of luminaries for light. Skarlett walked around the circle with incense, and I circled while playing my guitar to help clear the space. It was very centering. We processed in, offered to the Outdwellers, and entered our ritual space. AB said some beautiful words for divine inspiration, and AD did a deep breathing for grove attunement that was very grounding.

Our DIC was SB this year. He called on Cernunnos to assist us in opening the gates. After the greeting and offerings to the Kindred, we each tied a ribbon to a wreath with a few words for an ancestor. Seamus did an offering to the fallen dead, those who served, that was very moving. The Ancestors are still difficult for me to see as individuals. As a collective whole, I honor and offer to them with no problems, but when they are individualized, I am overwhelmed by emotion that I am only slowly learning to control. We offered the wreath to the fire and sang a chant as it burned.

Our omens were good: Perthro, Nauthiz and Berkano, Luck, Necessity, and Fertility. We are reminded during this time of year when all of nature is put to sleep to be mindful of our needs and remain fertile. The Kindred will be sure that our needs are met as long as we take the chance and trust in them. Our endeavors are necessary for internal growth. These are good omens.

During the return flow, while the cups of water were passed out, I performed Ian Corrigan’s repaganization of “Poor Wayfaring Stranger.” It helped to keep us focused on the rite and maintain the liminal state of mind. Several were moved to tears by the words of this piece. This is my first performance as a Bard, and I am humbled that my music was able to connect with the other participants. I have always known I was called to music, but after today’s rite, I think I might actually be able to realize this goal. I am sure it will be an uphill battle, as most journeys are, but the first taste of success has given me inspiration and motivation for moving forward as an ADF Bard. I am grateful to the Grove members for allowing me to perform this service and to the Kindred for providing me with the gifts that make it possible.

Troy of Athens took his Dedicant Oath. It was wonderful. His words and obvious dedication to Freyja moved me.

The rite ended well, and the potluck was terrific! We had a good variety of food and drink including several crock pots and hot mulled cider. Yum!

Samhain is about the Ancestors, and remembering them keeps them alive. Through us they are not forgotten, but live on. Hail, Ancestors!

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