Passing through another cycle of Transformation, we rebirthed Samhain outdoors on the beautiful land of the Great Hall. Many thanks to Katy for welcoming us so warmly! Thanks to Roger, Nancy, Marj, and Hamid for their many creative contributions in planning and carrying out this event. Roger’s Threshold and Fire were spectacular. Salima and Betz graciously filled important roles. Thanks to Tain for joining us with his great guitar playing along with Hamid, Hayat on flute and djembe, and Nancy debuting on drums. And what a great group of enthusiastic participants came to celebrate! The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, cold enough for fire, calm enough for candles, and a darkness so complete (no moonrise till after midnight) that we were able to fully sense the beginning of the dark half of the year and make the descent into the dark womb/void of the Crone.
Our wonderful musicians warming up:
The Eastern Altar:
We honored our crows and ravens in nature and in myth. When we set our crow friend here upon the wood, a crow landed on the top of a nearby tree and watched us. Crow and Raven accompanied us as messengers between the worlds throughout the ceremony.
Here is the Gratitude Altar in the South, the red candle for the blood of life, the white for death, linked in an infinite cycle of birth, death, and rebirth:
This is the Threshold in the Southwest, the direction of death for the ancient pre-Celts. It is the thin veil between the world of the living and the dead through which we passed in darkness on our way to an underworld journey to the Ancestors. How this ghostly image showed up in the picture is a mystery. Earlier, a barred owl had called repeatedly.
Can you imagine meeting Spirit of Bison in the dark?
After opening the Directions, our fire ceremony began with the burning of the Beltane ribbons, cut down, still woven, from the Maypole, sending their prayers up to Spirit in smoke carried by Raven, thus linking what we planted in entering the light half of the year with what we harvest moving into the dark of winter.
We sacrificed our prickly (pinecone) burden, that which keeps us from our true selves or our unique work in the world, into the flames, and danced, In the fire, in the fire, gonna burn my burden in the fire; give it up to Kali … purify me in your holy flame.
As we danced Death Come A-Knockin, Death came to each dancer, placed a bony hand on shoulder and pointed us to the Threshold where we were given a pomegranate seed to symbolize our willingness to descend into the underworld like Persephone. We were blessed with water from the holy wells of St. Patrick and St. Brigit. Coyotes howled in the distance.
Returning from our Journey to the Ancestors and the Dark Mother to seek their wisdom, we emerged back up through the Threshold and were given a candle to light for an Ancestor or loved one who has passed.
After dancing Ancestors, Sky People, we brought to the fire the Chain of Being we had made (prayers written on each link for our selves, our world, our plants and animals). We added the missing link, yes, Love, making it into the great Circle of Being, and burned these prayers, Raven again taking them up to Spirit.
As it burned we chanted, It’s the blood of the Ancients that runs through our veins, and the forms pass, but the Circle of Life remains.
We added offerings of nuts, seeds, and fruits to the gratitude mandala that we later distributed to the spirits of the land. We sang, May the circle be open but unbroken, may the love of the Goddess be ever in your heart; merry meet and merry part and merry meet again, and closed the Directions.
Samhain Shona Daoibh !
Happy Samhain !
With Love To All in this One Circle of Being,
Hakima Betty Lou Chaika, Coordinator,
Ziraat Circle, Rose Heart Suﬁ Community
For listings of Dances of Universal Peace: