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Author Topic: Samhain Ritual Ideas  (Read 7661 times)
Nehet
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« Topic Start: October 12, 2009, 10:08:11 pm »

So...guess who is in charge of the Samhain ritual for my group this year?

Eeep! It's me! 

I've done group rituals before, but never a Samhain ritual, and I'm anxious.  It's an important day for me, and it's important for a lot of folks in my group as well. 

The group I work with has done some really powerful rituals.  We have also done some pretty mediocre ones.  Of course, I've facilitated my share of mediocre rituals, and I can look back on what I've learned and laugh.  I just really want this one to be special, and I think my high standards for myself are getting in the way of me even getting started with the planning.  The group I work with is very loosely Neowiccan.  There's a lot of room for me to do my own thing.  We take a lot of inspiration from Reclaiming, but we don't really label ourselves.

I'm resistant to the type of Samhain ritual I usually see.  Many of the rituals are focused on banishing negativity.  I've seen a lot of "throw your troubles in the cauldron and let them go" rituals.  To me, those types of rituals can be effective, but they aren't really "spiritual".  They're practical magic.  They serve their purpose, but they aren't central to my practice.   I want something with more depth than that, and I have a feeling that the rest of the folks in the group want something deeper as well. 

I'm not looking for anyone to tell me how to do this ritual, but I'm wondering about people's experiences with Samhain rituals in the past.  What were your best experiences?  What were your worst?  What makes a ritual work/not work for you?  I know not everyone here celebrates Samhain, but if you do, what does it mean to you? 

I'm hoping a discussion about this will help me with the brainstorming.

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« Reply #1: October 13, 2009, 02:33:57 am »

So...guess who is in charge of the Samhain ritual for my group this year?

I'm not looking for anyone to tell me how to do this ritual, but I'm wondering about people's experiences with Samhain rituals in the past.  What were your best experiences?  What were your worst?  What makes a ritual work/not work for you?  I know not everyone here celebrates Samhain, but if you do, what does it mean to you? 

I love Samhain. It is the best night of the year for me. I tend to keep things simple for the rituals that I do, because I don't like the really long winded, complicated and sometimes vaugely obscure rituals that my coven used to do. I like to just make the dedications to whichever Deities I work with, light some candles in my crystal candle holders that are only used for rituals and make an offering to the Deities and my ancestors and pretty much leave it at that. Then go and celebrate with my family and friends.  Grin
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« Reply #2: October 13, 2009, 06:34:34 am »

I'm not looking for anyone to tell me how to do this ritual, but I'm wondering about people's experiences with Samhain rituals in the past.  What were your best experiences?  What were your worst?  What makes a ritual work/not work for you?  I know not everyone here celebrates Samhain, but if you do, what does it mean to you? 

I think the most important thing is to have a clear idea of what your goal is for the ritual (i.e. what's going to make it 'successful') that ties in with the reason for the ritual. For example, if your focus on Samhain is providing people with a chance to remember their beloved dead, then a ritual that does that in a thoughtful and meaningful way is already most of the way to 'success'.

With a group, I think it's also important to look at what, if any, the expectations of the ritual might be based on past experience. For example, in my tradition, there's specific stuff we do at Samhain: years where that hasn't happened (even for very good reason), people sometimes feel let down.

So, if people in your group expect 'throw your troubles in the cauldron and let them go', for example, based on what you say here, then it might be good to address that somehow - either by letting them know *before* the ritual that it's not going to be there, or by incorporating something similar in your ritual, even if it's not the main thrust of what you're doing. (For example, a brief personal time for reflection and meditation with that as a suggested thing to focus on, or something.)
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« Reply #3: October 13, 2009, 02:54:38 pm »

So...guess who is in charge of the Samhain ritual for my group this year?

Eeep! It's me! 



I'm in the same boat you are.  I'm acting High Priestess in an Open Ritual and I've never run a Samhain ritual before.  We are also not opening the west gate (we will do that in our coven ritual) and we can not have any type of fire (other then candles) where we are holding it at. 

So We are doing two things to honor our ancesters.  We are doing everyone light a candle for their loved ones and then we are doing a ribbon type of "spell" while doing some chants as a personal rememberance for our loved ones that have passed
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« Reply #4: October 13, 2009, 11:49:22 pm »

So, if people in your group expect 'throw your troubles in the cauldron and let them go', for example, based on what you say here, then it might be good to address that somehow - either by letting them know *before* the ritual that it's not going to be there, or by incorporating something similar in your ritual, even if it's not the main thrust of what you're doing. (For example, a brief personal time for reflection and meditation with that as a suggested thing to focus on, or something.)

I made the comment about the "troubles in the cauldron" ritual because it's so similar to many Pagan rituals I have been to that left me cold.  It's starting to feel like the "generic" Pagan ritual to me.  I'm not saying it can't be done well, only that I want to do something that I find more meaningful.  I honestly think that my friends will be expecting something more unique, with more depth than a simple spell.   Typically, the rituals we do meet the following format:  1). call quarters, invite deities join us. 2). do a guided meditation of some form 3). raise energy, direct it toward some intention.  This usually involves rhythmic chanting.  4).  Dismiss quarters, thank whatever deities have joined us.

As I said, this is very loosely Neowiccan.  Sometimes we use traditional tools like chalices and athames, but most of the time, we don't. 

Right now, what I want to put together feels like a lot of disconnected elements and I'm not sure how to put them together into a cohesive unit.  For one thing, I wrote a poem that another member of the group really liked.  I'm feeling too shy to post it at the moment, but I'll probably put it on TC somewhere once it's less rough.  It's very contemplative and solemn, sort of an underworld journey into autumn, but it ends with a re-emergence into the warm aspects of the season, re-integration with friends, family and the things about the season that draw us together.  My friend was thinking we could do it as sort of a call and answer thing, and I really like that idea, but I'm worried that would make things scripted and forced.  We usually a lot more about spontaneity, but we've also done more scripted rituals and pulled them off really well.  My hesitation to use this poem might have something to do with the fact that I'm just horribly shy about my writing. 

I've also been tapping into something interesting, recently, and I'm not really sure what it means for me yet.  I've had experiences where I feel like the air is absolutely thick with spirits, and all of them seem like they want to have a voice.  Like, they have something important to say, and nobody is listening anymore.  I don't know what they are.  Forgotten Akhu?  Nature spirits feeling displaced by Boulder's encroaching condominiums?  I don't know.  It's entirely possible that I've gone insane(er).  But this feels important.  It's not just the ancestors we personally remember that need to be honored.  That's a realization that's hitting me in a really big way. 

A friend told me a couple of weeks ago that it seemed like I was grieving along with the Earth, and that maybe the Earth actually needed someone to do that.  It made sense to me.  (This seems to be related to my recent fascination with Nebt Het.)  This is a strongly nature-based circle that I'm working with, and I think that the whole theme of grieving along with the Earth would resonate with a lot of people.  I guess the one thing I don't know what to do with is Magic.  There is always some kind of raising of energy, and I'm not sure what kind of energy I want to raise.  I don't want to be disruptive to the contemplative aspect, but at the same time, I don't just want to leave everyone crying and have that be the end of it.  Next year they'd all be saying "okay, let's not leave the Emo Kemetic in charge of Samhain this year!"  In all seriousness, I want there to be a purpose.  I want us to send each other some strengthening energy of sorts.  I do want magic.  I just want this whole thing to be seamless, and all I've got is random disconnected bits. 

So We are doing two things to honor our ancesters.  We are doing everyone light a candle for their loved ones and then we are doing a ribbon type of "spell" while doing some chants as a personal rememberance for our loved ones that have passed

Would you  mind giving me some more details about this "spell", and what kind of intention you put into it?  Sounds very interesting. 

Sigh.  I get so stressed over priestessing. 
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« Reply #5: October 22, 2009, 08:31:35 pm »

So...guess who is in charge of the Samhain ritual for my group this year?

Eeep! It's me! 

I've done group rituals before, but never a Samhain ritual, and I'm anxious.  It's an important day for me, and it's important for a lot of folks in my group as well. 

The group I work with has done some really powerful rituals.  We have also done some pretty mediocre ones.  Of course, I've facilitated my share of mediocre rituals, and I can look back on what I've learned and laugh.  I just really want this one to be special, and I think my high standards for myself are getting in the way of me even getting started with the planning.  The group I work with is very loosely Neowiccan.  There's a lot of room for me to do my own thing.  We take a lot of inspiration from Reclaiming, but we don't really label ourselves.

I'm resistant to the type of Samhain ritual I usually see.  Many of the rituals are focused on banishing negativity.  I've seen a lot of "throw your troubles in the cauldron and let them go" rituals.  To me, those types of rituals can be effective, but they aren't really "spiritual".  They're practical magic.  They serve their purpose, but they aren't central to my practice.   I want something with more depth than that, and I have a feeling that the rest of the folks in the group want something deeper as well. 

I'm not looking for anyone to tell me how to do this ritual, but I'm wondering about people's experiences with Samhain rituals in the past.  What were your best experiences?  What were your worst?  What makes a ritual work/not work for you?  I know not everyone here celebrates Samhain, but if you do, what does it mean to you? 

I'm hoping a discussion about this will help me with the brainstorming.



We did a dumb supper last year and it was the best of the group ones.  (ok, the best one was the one with the maypole while Deb was giving birth (we didn't know that part till after), but that was Beltaine.)  We're going to do it again this year, actually on the 7th.
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« Reply #6: October 23, 2009, 10:49:48 pm »

So...guess who is in charge of the Samhain ritual for my group this year?

Eeep! It's me! 

I've done group rituals before, but never a Samhain ritual, and I'm anxious.  It's an important day for me, and it's important for a lot of folks in my group as well. 

The group I work with has done some really powerful rituals.  We have also done some pretty mediocre ones.  Of course, I've facilitated my share of mediocre rituals, and I can look back on what I've learned and laugh.  I just really want this one to be special, and I think my high standards for myself are getting in the way of me even getting started with the planning.  The group I work with is very loosely Neowiccan.  There's a lot of room for me to do my own thing.  We take a lot of inspiration from Reclaiming, but we don't really label ourselves.

I'm resistant to the type of Samhain ritual I usually see.  Many of the rituals are focused on banishing negativity.  I've seen a lot of "throw your troubles in the cauldron and let them go" rituals.  To me, those types of rituals can be effective, but they aren't really "spiritual".  They're practical magic.  They serve their purpose, but they aren't central to my practice.   I want something with more depth than that, and I have a feeling that the rest of the folks in the group want something deeper as well. 

I'm not looking for anyone to tell me how to do this ritual, but I'm wondering about people's experiences with Samhain rituals in the past.  What were your best experiences?  What were your worst?  What makes a ritual work/not work for you?  I know not everyone here celebrates Samhain, but if you do, what does it mean to you? 

I'm hoping a discussion about this will help me with the brainstorming.



There are some good ideas in Janet and Stewart Farrar's book, Eight Sabbats For Witches/A Witches' Bible. They explain the origins and meanings of each sabbat, ideas for the ritual themes, as well as ritual examples.
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« Reply #7: October 26, 2009, 06:57:56 pm »

There are some good ideas in Janet and Stewart Farrar's book, Eight Sabbats For Witches/A Witches' Bible. They explain the origins and meanings of each sabbat, ideas for the ritual themes, as well as ritual examples.

Thanks for the suggestions, guys Smiley
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« Reply #8: October 31, 2009, 04:03:18 pm »

So...guess who is in charge of the Samhain ritual for my group this year?


May it all go well.

And best wishes to all of us who celebrate Halloween/Samhain.
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Nehet
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« Reply #9: October 31, 2009, 07:58:11 pm »

May it all go well.

And best wishes to all of us who celebrate Halloween/Samhain.


Thank you.

This whole thing took a lot of soul-searching.  I appreciate people bothering to read my ramblings.  Sometimes writing this stuff down helps me think.  

I'll let you all know how it works out.
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