Living the Wheel of the Year: Samhain

On Samhain we honored the goddess in the form of the crone, the Cailleach, who reigns over the winter months in the Celtic tradition. Brighid, who oversees the summer season, passes Her reign over to the Cailleach as the days get longer and the nights get colder. Though, traditionally folks carved Jack-O-Lanterns from turnips, we carved ours from pumpkin, the fall vegetable of Turtle Island. I chose to carve the pentacle, the five elements, the Pancha Mahabhutas, on the face of our locally harvested gourd. This way we live in closeness, in ever increasing proximity to the land that we call home.

We shared a dumb supper with our ancestors, offering bread, honey, wine, and salt. The somber occasion marked a stark difference between the Halloween festivities and the sincerity of the Samhain ritual as we invited the dead into our home. As tradition demands, we lit the bonfire and conducted the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids solo Samhain ritual. We offered our regret to the Cailleach and invited the ancestors to enter into our circle, noting their presence and accepting their tokens and blessings. We finished the night full of joy and wonder at the Other World, at the greatness of the Goddess who has taken so many forms to please Her devotees.

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