Two Samhain Rituals


A Public Samhain Ritual

This ritual was originally written by a group of Compost Coveners, directed by Jo Steen, and performed by a cast of dozens on a beach in San Francisco on Samhain night of 1980, and repeated at the site of the old Sutro mansion, high on a hill overlooking the ocean, on Samhain 1988. It was the last big public ritual Compost ever did, and was made notable by the sound (during one of the more solemn moments) of a voice exclaiming, "Holy Shit!!" This was the startled reaction of a group of teenagers who had come up to the site in order to drink, smoke a little weed, and do whatever else teenagers do on high windy hills on Halloween night. They very gamely hung around for the rest of the ritual, and we shared their beer afterward, having (we hoped) educated them a little about Witches.

Compost was indeed Holy Shit.....

PERSONNEL: Centering (male or female) High Priestess, Horned God, Death (male or female), Hekate, percussionist for gongs and rattle

CENTERING: Come now together. Join hands and share with us the understanding of death and rebirth; be as a tree which spreads its roots in the earth, and its branches to the heavens, standing witness to eternal transformation. For death is not a wall against which all thought and all consciousness must cease, but a door, a door to new life, to wonder, and to enchantment. ...Be still now and look within, with closed eyes. Feel...feel. Feel the earth beneath your feet , feel the roots of your being re-connect with the earth, with the Mother. And as you do, your mind relaxes, your body relaxes, with each breath you take. Breathe deeply, gently, and imagine to yourself a leaf, full of life, as it fades and transforms, to fall and float gently downward, into a flowing stream. In your mind's eye of imagination, see it float effortlessly, down and down the stream of life....See it reach the sea, the vastness of infinity. See it sink gently beneath the waves, gradually releasing its form to become one with the infinite. Whence it came, thence it returns, to feed and nourish new forms, new life, new consciousness, Thus the cycle continues eternal, no thing truly lost, all things truly one. ...And now, open your eyes; feel the warmth, the love and the light of those around you. Let us now begin the ancient rite. Call ye now the powers of the Lord and the Lady, invoke the Force with ourselves and know that that which can be desired can be manifested. Call ye now and be reborn...

ALL: Io! Evohe!

(Purification of altar and preparation of saltwater by HPs)

H.Ps: (in appropriate direction with athame; priest/ess with saltwater and priest/ess with incense follow) Hail, Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East! Powers of Air, powers of the mind! Blow, cleansing winds; sweep away the dust and doubt. We invoke you and call you.

ALL: Come to us! Come to us! Come to us!

H.Ps: Hail, Guardians of the Watchtowers of the South! Powers of Fire, powers of the will! Flame forth, energizing power; burn away cowardice and conceit. We invoke you and call you.

ALL: Come to us! Come to us! Come to us!

H.Ps: Hail, Guardians of the Watchtowers of the West! Powers of Water, powers of the emotions! Flow, ccurrent of dreams; bring forth the hidden vision. We invoke you and call you.

ALL: Come to us! Come to us! Come to us!

H.Ps: Hail, Guardians of the Watchtowers of the North! Powers of Earth, powers of the body! Stand, Mother of mountains; give us your strength. We invoke you and call you.

ALL: Come to us! Come to us! Come to us!

H.Ps: As Above, So Below. The Circle is cast.

ALL:(ad lib) Seed-sower, grain reborn, Horned One, come.

HORNED GOD (enters circle) I am He.

ALL: Sun has set. Night has come.

H.G.: I am the Child of the Night. I am the Winter King.

ALL: Sun has set. Night has come.

H.G.: I am the vine and the harvest. I am the reaper of time.

ALL: Sun has set. Night has come.

H.G.: I am the stag and the hound. I am the dark rider on a white mare.

ALL: Sun has set. Night has come.

H.G.: I am the red river in the cornfield, I am a fallen oak in the grove.

ALL: Sun has set. Night has come.

H.G.: I am the raven's cry at midnight. I am a fearsome beast.

ALL: Sun has set. Night has come.

H.G.: I have torn down cities. I have raised up kings.

ALL: Sun has set. Night has come.

H.G.: I am my mother's son and my father's terror. I am a slain ram.

ALL: Sun has set. Night has come.

H.G.: I am the serpent in the tree. I am the keeper of the keys.

ALL: Sun has set. Night has come.

H.G.: I am purple-haired and two-faced. I am the guardian of the vault.

ALL: Sun has set. Night has come.

H.G.: I am the deliverer from care. I am a woeful countenance.

ALL: Sun has set. Night has come.

H.G.: I am the servant of the triple moon. I am a flaming wheel.

ALL: Sun has set. Night has come.

H.G.: I have danced and hunted. I have devoured my rival.

ALL: Sun has set. Night has come.

H.G.: All are mine as I am Hers. I am the feast in Her cauldron.

ALL: Moon is high (start soft and build)

H.G.: Pan

ALL: Moon is high

H.G.: Sabezios

ALL: Moon is high

H.G.: Dionysus

ALL: Moon is high

H.G.: Cronos

ALL: Moon is high

H.G.: Tammuz

ALL: Moon is high

H.G.: Adonis

ALL: Moon is high

H.G.: Osiris

ALL: Moon is high

H.G.: Shiva

ALL: Moon is high

H.G.: Arawn

ALL: Moon is high

H.G.: Dylan

ALL: Moon is high

H.G.: Arddhu the Dark One

(Pause. DEATH outside circle, draws the triangle and masks)

H. Ps.: Dark Hunter, Destroyer of Worlds, Breaker of Forms, great Alchemist, Transformer.

(RATTLE)

DEATH: (in triangle) I am the changer of form, I am the dark gateway. I am the breaking face of god. I am the deep waters dividing the sands. I am the crucible of life, power of death, gateway to rebirth. I am the shadow grave, the womb from whence all comes again to light. I will transform your rain of sorrow into rainbows of promise.

H.Ps: Death and birth are the children of life. In time we are born. In time we die. Life is immortal. As it was in the begining, is now and ever shall be. Blessed be.

ALL: Blessed be.

DEATH: Go into darkness...go into light...go without fury...go without fright...go with the coming...go with the going...here is the reaping...here is the sowing...

ALL: Go into darkness...go into light...go without fury...go without fright...go with the coming...go with the going...here is the reaping...here is the sowing...(ad lib until GONG)

(DEATH salts triangle, unmasks, leaves mask in triangle and enters circle)

ALL (except H.Ps, H.G. ,DEATH, CENTERING): Flores para los muertes, flores para los muertes (repeat ad lib through next section)

HEKATE: Samhain, Halloween, All-Souls.

H.Ps, H.G.,DEATH, CENTERING: Night of the Dead

HEKATE: The night death walks the streets and the dead wake.

H.Ps. et al: Day of the Dying

HEKATE: When the veils are thinnest between the worlds.

H.PS. et al: Lady of magick

HEKATE: When the gates open between the worlds.

ALL: (whispering) Triune Lady of Magick

HEKATE: I...Hekate

ALL: (ad lib) Hekate..e-ka-tay...ke-kay tay...hecuba...Kubaba...Kybele...

HEKATE: Hekate...Ke-ka-tay...e-ka-tey...I offer my magick to all those at the crossroads. To all those who dare to ask it, it is given.

ALL: It is given.

H.: To the brave

ALL: It is given.

H.: To the brave

ALL: It is given.

H.: Ask

ALL: It is given.

H.: Ask

ALL: It is given.

H.: Ask

ALL: It is given.

H.: To the great

ALL: It is given.

H.: To the small

ALL: It is given.

H.: To the rich

ALL: It is given.

H.: To the poor

ALL: It is given.

To the good /To the wicked /To the weak / To the strong (etc. ad lib)

CENTERING: Wind, water, earth and fire, bring me the boon that I desire!

ALL: Wind, water, earth and fire, bring me the boon that I desire! (repeat ad lib until GONG)

H.Ps.: Celebrate! (pass wine around circle) Drink! Let us prepare the harvest for this feast of all souls. (Pass cakes around circle) Eat! (pause while cakes and wine go around circle)

H.Ps: O Goddess of the Harvest

ALL: We call you forth

CENTERING: O Spirits of the Darkness and Light

ALL: We call you forth

H.Ps.: O Spirits of Freedom and Truth

ALL: We call you forth

CENTERING: O Spirits of the Warriors for Life

ALL: We call you forth

H.Ps: O Spirits of our ancestors

ALL: We call you forth

CENTERING: O God of Justice and Balance

ALL: We call you forth

H.Ps. and CENTERING. (chanted):Guide us in this time of darkness

H.Ps.: for the California condor

C.: For the bald eagle

H.Ps.: for the passenger pigeon

C.: for the timber wolf

H.Ps.: for the majestic buffalo

C.: for the humpbacked whale

H.Ps.: for the singing dolphin

C.: for the grizzly bear

H.Ps.: for the mountain lion

C.: for the tortured trees

H.Ps.: for the slaughtered tribes

ALL: We pause to remember (pause for thirteen heartbeats)

H.Ps. and CENTERING (chanted): Guide us in this time of darkness

H.Ps.: From the polluters of our planet

ALL: Let us deliver ourselves

C.: From the corruptions of world government

ALL: Let us deliver ourselves

H.Ps.: From the dishonesties of the power brokers

ALL: Let us deliver ourselves

C.: From the distortions of media manipulators

ALL: Let us deliver ourselves

H.Ps.: From the isms of intolerance

ALL: Let us deliver ourselves

C.: From wanton violence

ALL: Let us deliver ourselves

H.Ps.: From prolonged grieving

ALL: Let us deliver ourselves

C.: From anticipation of loss

ALL: Let us deliver ourselves

H.Ps.: From all ugliness of spirit

ALL: Let us deliver ourselves

H. Ps. and C.: In us do the dead live
Water flows downhill through us
The sun cools in our bones
We are joined with all living
In one shining web of energy
In us live the dead who made us
In us live the children unborn
Breathing each others' air
Drinking each others' water
Eating each others' flesh
We grow like a tree from the Earth.

(H.Ps. goes to center with wand. ALL begin wordless chant ad lib until peaked and drop called by H.Ps.)

H.Ps. (facing north with athame): All powers called and gathered here, fill us with your grace and wisdom ere you depart to your lovely realms. Help us understand the truth of our eternal life. The circle is open but unbroken. May the peace of the Goddess go in your hearts. Merry meet and merry part.

ALL: And merry meet again. BLESSED BE!


II. Closed Ritual with Dumb Supper:

Samhain Ritual as performed by Willow H.P., Valerie H.Ps., and various other Compost Coveners and friends

(Setup: regular altar in the North with usual implements; table and altar for the Dead in the West, divided by a veil to represent the veil between the worlds. On both sides of the veil, places are set up for the Dumb Supper; but living flowers decorate the living-world side, and dead ones, skulls, pieces of mirror, and pictures of the dead decorate the dead side. All flowers, dishes, and decorations are white, transparent, or mirrored. There are two point candles for the West, one on either side of the veil. On the veil sits a representation of Eleggua/ Legba/ Hermes, guardian and guide of the threshold. Ritual follows regular Full Moon Rite in purification of coveners and casting of circle.

Then H.P. offers the following toast):

To all the ancient ones from their houses, the Old Ones from above and below. In this time the Gods of the Earth touch our feet, bare upon the ground. Spirits of the Air whisper in our hair and chill our bodies, and from the dark portions watch and wait the Faery Folk that they may join the circle and leave their track upon the ground. It is the time of the waning year. Winter is upon us. The corn is golden in the winnow heaps. Rains will soon wash sleep into the life-bringing Earth. We are not without fear, we are not without sorrow...Before us are all the signs of Death: the ear of corn is no more green and life is not in it. The Earth is cold and no more will grasses spring jubilant. The Sun but glances upon his sister, the earth..... It is so....Even now....But here also are the signs of life, the eternal promise given to our people. In the death of the corn there is the seed--which is both food for the season of Death and the Beacon which will signal green-growing time and life returning.In the cold of the Earth there is but sleep wherein She will awaken refreshed and renewed, her journey into the Dark Lands ended. And where the Sun journeys he gains new vigor and potency; that in the spring, his blessings shall come ever young!

H.P. (pours wine into the cauldron then drinks): Io! Evohe!

H.Ps. (holding wand and knife in God position): Dread Lord of the shadows, God of Life and Bringer of Death. Yet as the knowledge of thee is Death, open wide, I pray thee, thy gates through which all must pass. Let our dear ones who have gone before return this night to make merry with us. And when our time comes, as it must, O thou, the comforter and consoler, the giver of peace and rest, we will enter thy realm gladly and unafraid. For we know that when rested and refreshed among our dear ones, we will be reborn again. By thy grace and that of the Lady, let it be in the same place and time as our dear ones, that we may love again. O Horned One, descend we pray on (N---) thy High Priest and Witch.

(H.Ps. anoints H.P. with sacred oil)

H.Ps: I consecrate thee with oil. (anoint genitals)
I consecrate thee with wine. (anoint R foot)
I consecrate thee with water. (anoint L knee)
I consecrate thee with air. (anoint R knee)
I consecrate thee with fire. (anoint L foot)
I consecrate thee with power. (anoint genitals)

(H.Ps. holds horns over H.P. while all chant):

All: Dark Death, Bright Sun, Lord of Winds, Come!
(as power builds and peaks, H.Ps. places horns on H.P.'s head)

All: IO EVOHE! IO EVOHE! IO EVOHE!

H.P. (holding wand): IO HEKATE of the shining sky
Of the Earth and under
Dark Goddess of the broad roadways
Sorceress of the crossroads
You who walk by night, smoking torch in hand
Dark twin of day and lover of darkness
Who rejoices in the baying of hounds and spilt blood
We summon you, black-winged leader of souls
HEKATE HEKATE HEKATE
Ancient One, giver of terror and wisdom
Come down Goddess (H.P touches H.Ps. on forehead with wand)
Come up Goddess (touch on feet)
Come in Goddess (touch on heart chakra) to us.

H.Ps. (with hood pulled down so face is concealed): I am the terrible Mother, destroyer of men, slayer of men. No man hath ever seen me unveiled. I am the goddess of war and destruction. I bring the storm and the flood and the relentless fire consuming all in its raging path. I am clothed in the terrors of the night and I spare no mercy. I am this, all this. Beware of me. For I am that in you which is the black cat, the cold eye of the fish. I am that in you which is reptilian, clawed, fanged, hissing and howling at the moon. Beware of me. I am this, all this. And yet ye shall seek me out: for I am that in you which shrieks to be one, given only to the moment of desire, freed from restraints. For I am the Mother, the Vision-Maker, Giver of dreams and omens, Sharer of revelations and the understanding of all things. Enter ye who so desires, calling upon the Mother's name with celebration, and upon your lips ye will share my kiss. Enter ye who so desires the Mother in all her ways, for only then shall ye seek me out. I am the Mother, the Daughter, the Sister. I am the Gateway to all mystery...

All coveners chant: Hail Goddess, Queen of Night!
Hail Goddess, Queen of Light! (H.Ps throws hood back, takes moon horns from altar and crowns self)

THE DUMB SUPPER: (Without a sound and walking backward, approach the veiled shrine of the Dead in the West. Unveil the shrine, light a caindle. Burn incense and offer milk and honey. Mentally chant:)

By the mysteries of the Deep,
By the flames of Banal,
By the Power of the East,
By the Silence of the Night,
And by the holy rites of HEKATE
I call thee by the ties of love,
O spirit of (N---)
To break thy eternal fast with me
SO MOTE IT BE!

(Replenish incense, then go backward and silently to the feasting table, which is set on white cloth for you with quarter portions for each dead guest. You must not look at the places set for the dead. Eat the repast, and when finished walk backward to the shrine of the dead. Replenish incense and extinguish candles. Repeat deceased's name three times, then mentally chant the great necromantic charge):

Allay Fortission Fortissio Allynson Roa!

(Mentally welcome the deceased. Open your eyes slowly and see what you can see. Enjoy this melding of the mind with the dear departed. When the current slackens, chant out loud, but softly):

Your cord is cut, your eyes are shut
Go back to the Mother with Death as your lover
(Repeat and build to a peak. Drop and let the power be released on the winds to travel home with the dead)

LITANY OF SAMHAIN (As in previous ritual, from "O Goddess of the Harvest" to "We grow like a tree from the Earth")

(H.Ps. goes to center with wand. All begin wordless chant ad lib until peaked and drop called by H.Ps.)

H.Ps. (facing north with athame):
Lady of the shining castle
By the Bull I conjure thee
To let the power pass from me
(facing west) Lady of the flowering islands
By the Snakes I conjure thee
To let the power pass from me
(facing south) Lady of the fertile lands
By the Goat I conjure thee
To let the power pass from me
(facing east) Lady of the morning sky
By the Lion I conjure thee
To let the power pass from me

(use the banishing pentagrams and watch them dissolve into colored mist and fire. H.Ps.pick up wand. All hold on to and hold aloft while chanting):

Now let the power pass from me
To end where it was begun
As I do will so mote it be
Chant the spell and be it done! (bring wand to floor on last word)

H.P.: All powers called and gathered here, fill us with your grace and wisdom ere you depart to your lovely realms. Help us understand the truth of our eternal life. The circle is open but unbroken. May the peace of the Goddess go in your hearts. Merry meet and merry part.

All: And merry meet again. BLESSED BE!

blessed be and happy trails



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