Samhain and Ritual Changes

Last weekend, the Grove had our Samhain ritual. We hold a fire vigil for members only the night before our ritual, where we extinguish our tribe’s fire, and relight it with nine magical woods. Then, we take turns in shifts staying up with the fire all night, and tend the fire until our Samhain ritual proper ends the following night.

This year, we went camping, and I’m glad to say it went relatively well. It was not very cold, and though we had to contend with some wind which destroyed one of our canopies and pulled down tarps when I was the only one awake… I greatly enjoyed it and would do it again next year for sure.

In addition to writing the ritual for relighting the tribe’s fire, I was also leading the ritual proper with Mórag. I had written what was going to be an elaborate retelling of An Morrígan’s meeting with Cúchulainn in the Táin Bó Cuailnge, but I changed the entire ritual about three hours before we were due to start. Instead, we created a small god-pole for Donn, and spoke of our Ancestors while we lit turnip lanterns and placed them around Donn’s pole. It was received well, and for that I am glad… because I felt I had no choice but to change the ritual away from what was originally planned.

I had gone for a walk, and while sitting in the woods, I felt like I could no longer go ahead with what I had written. It seemed very distant from me, and difficult to grasp on a level that would be sharable with others. I also felt like I was being given guidance about in which direction to go instead, with very specific directions regarding Donn’s pole and the Ancestors. When I returned to the camp, I consulted with Mórag about my concerns, and she did a reading for me which confirmed that while we should still bring honour to An Morrígan, She no longer wished to share what could be considered Her mysteries with those present. And I must honour that… An Morrígan has been a part of my life for five years now.

It’s always interesting when I am given a specific direction to go when I lead ritual. It tends to develop that way, out of a small sliver of an idea, until the ritual falls complete into my hands. I am blessed in that way. It was definitely a new experience to have to say to the folk that no, we weren’t doing what was originally set out, and I was afraid of some backlash, but none came. I am grateful for my gods and my friends.

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