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Wheel of the Year: Samhain Ritual

A Feast for the Dead

Traditions: Dragon Magick, Egyptian Magick

This Samhain ritual was performed at my store, Journeys of the Soul, in 1999.  It was open to the public and we had a much larger-than-expected turnout.  I believe (if memory serves) there were over 100 people not counting the team that performed it.  Part of the ritual included a potluck feast.  I wrote this ritual  and served as High Priestess.  The moon phase was quarter moon, 6 days from the new moon.

This is a highly complex ritual with lots of ‘moving parts’ and a good bit of theatrics.  If you have any questions, please send me an email! It was quite difficult to post it because many elements were familiar to us but not to others.  I tried to explain as best I could but I know this is probably as clear as mud.  Sorry about that.

I’ve broken this down into 4 sections:
  1. This details general setup of the area and how we prepped it.  A list of roles is provided along with other ancillary notes about the ritual.
  2. This details the Dragon Eye symbol we used and the recipe for the blend powder we threw into the bonfire during the dragon rite.  It was design to mimic dragon’s fire: a large but short-lived explosion of red flame. Please use caution & test first if using this!!
  3. The actual ritual.  Spoken dialogue is written in purple. 
  4. The links to the books I used.  Most of the invocations came from the books.

NOTES

The ritual took place in our ritual circle in the field behind the shop. It was 63’ in diameter & comprised of three circles – a center, middle & outer circle.  There’s a graphic on the main page of the site.  Samhain Ritual

For this rite, due to the large number of participants, the outer circle was utilized for participants. The main altar was in the center circle & at the furthest points were four directional altars.

Since the circle was at least 150′ from the back of the store, we created created a lighted pathway using luminaries. The luminaries also surrounded the entire circle.  We created a veiled archway at the entrance of the circle using a metal garden arch.  A dark blue sheet with a white lace drape covered the arch (obscuring the view of the circle until you actually passed through it).

The main altar was dressed with our usual Celtic style altar cloth – it was white with black Celtic knotwork all around the edges & features a Celtic style pentacle in the center. A large cement statue of an Egyptian pharaoh was placed at the top. It was surrounded by statues of Set, Sekhmet, & Isis. There were approximately 8 black candles on the main altar. Also on the altar were the chalice & bread, a censor with kyphi incense, the Book of Remembrance (see below), a stone archway, the incenses that were used during the dragon & Merlyn rites, and the handmade books containing the spoken parts of the service.

To the left & right of the altar were two pillars, both with mirrors on the top. On each mirror was a single black candle (used in the candle lighting service). The basket of candles for the candle lighting service & the Rite of Restoration scrolls were placed underneath the altar.  Battery powered outdoor lights surrounded the central circle.

The four elemental altars were adorned with the appropriate color altar cloths & related items.

The ‘Book of Remembrance’ was made of blank sheets of paper tied together with string.  As participants arrived, they could write the names of their departed loved ones, along with any messages they might have.  I took the pages & punched them with a 3-hole punch & tied them together.  

The drawing of the eye of the dragon (see next section)  is complex.  We put stakes in the ground to mark the the points the triangle of the eye to ensure we cast the circle around those points.

This is a list of the people involved in performing the rite.  I removed their names & will refer them only by their role (myself included).

High Priestess
High Priest
North Caller
East Caller
South Caller
West Caller
Smudging Person
Grounding Person
Candle Service Person

NOTE:  When combining traditions, you perform quarter calls for each tradition utilized.  In this ritual since I used two traditions, we did two quarters calls.  We completed one tradition & then went around a second time for the other tradition.


Calling the Dragon

The Dragon’s Eye

The following recipe is for a powder used to draw the dragon’s eye symbol.  Proportions do not need to be exact:

  • Dragon’s Blood resin, powdered preferably
  • Cedar – chips or powder, it doesn’t really matter
  • Iron filings
Dragon Casting Powder

This is to be tossed on the fire after the casting is complete. Be careful: the more Cremora you use, the bigger the explosion! Please test this before doing it in a ritual.

  • Cremora brand coffee creamer (1)
  • Dragon’s Blood resin, powered preferably
  • Red Flares (2)

(1) Cremora creates an quick explosion / burst of flame. Again, test this first so you don’t overdo it.  Cremora brand works the best.  We tried it with several generic brands but most had no explosive effect at all.

(2) We used standard emergency flares which we opened and removed the powder from the inside. This creates a red flame. Adjust the amount according to the size of the fire onto which this mixture will be cast. We had fairly large bonfire for our casting so we used 3 flares.


The Ritual

<All participants are gathered at the archway. The High Priest & Priestess smudge the quarter callers. Callers go to their stations. High Priest & Priestess, both equipped with staffs, stand at the entry point of the circle with staffs crossed barring entrance. As each participant is finished being smudged, the staffs are uncrossed allowing them to pass through the veiled archway. The North Caller ushers people around the circle counterclockwise (yes counterclockwise for this one). >

<The High Priest lead the group in the Tree Meditation (grounding & energy raising….I’ll add it on the main page if I can find it).>

Quarter Calls

< Quarters are called, dragon calls are done first. The second pass is for the Egyptian calls. Pronunciations were from the source material. >

East 

Koth-Sander, Guardian of the realms of East. Your tongue is a sharp sword, cutting with the knowledge of the arcane. Your spirit flows as graceful as a swift in flight. Purify us with Truth.

—  Samhain Ritual

Henhisesui (Hen-He-Se-SWAY)
Spirit of the Eastern Winds
Grant us protection and safe passage.

North

Haz-oh-doe, Guardian of the realms of the North, your talons run like roots into the earth, giving you infinite strength. You spirit is substantial, hard & pure like a clean crystal. Purify us with persistent wisdom.

—  Samhain Ritual

Qebui (Q-BWAY)
Spirit of the Northern Winds
Grant us Protection and safe passage.

West

Sa-dora, Guardian of the realms of the West, your coils are the cleansing waves that nurture the soul. Your spirit lunges, leaps, & splashes like a Talbot at Play. Purify us with pulsing tides.

—  Samhain Ritual

Hutchaiui (Hoot-CHAY-way)
Spirit of the Western Winds
Grant us Protection and safe passage.

South

Gore-trade-ous, Guardian of the realms of the South, your breath is a flame with the fires of inspiration & passion. Your spirit is searing & fervent. Purify us with love.

—  Samhain Ritual

Shehbui (Sheh -Be- WAY)
Spirit of the Southern Winds
Grant us protection and safe passage.

<High Priest & Priestess cast the circle & seal it. High Priest walked counterclockwise with an athame pointing down, High Priestess walked clockwise with an athame pointing upwards. Once finished, they enter the circle proper through the east.>

Center Invocations

High Priestess:

During this time in Egypt is the celebration of the resurrection of Osiris. It is during this time when Isis calls for help from the Heavens to find the pieces of her lover Osiris, who was murdered by Set. It was also the celebration of Goddesses Sekhmet and Bast. Egypt was a land much in connection with the Underworld. Egypt & her gods held no fear of the Underworld or its deities – and on this night neither should any of you.

As it was in Egypt,
So shall it be now!
Hear me, I beseech Thee,
O Powerful Ones!

Invocations

High Priestess:

Great Lady Sekhmet,
Lady of Flame
Great One of Magic
Mistress & Lady of the tomb
Lady of Darkness & Light
In this rite we ask you to join us
Enter this circle now, O Great One!
(Light a black candle)

High Priest:

Set,
Instrument of necessary destruction
He who is the destroyer
Through whom all new things are created.
Ultimate Challenger
He who dares us to leave behind those things that no longer serve us
He who asks us to step boldly into the unknown.
In this rite, we ask you to join us.
Enter This Circle now, O Great One!
(Light the black candle)

High Priestess:

Isis, Great Goddess of the Underworld,
Lady of Great Magick and Healing,
Hear me, I beseech thee, O Great One
Complete the resurrection of Osiris this night.
In this rite, we ask you to join us

High Priest:

Osiris, Lord of the Underworld,
Judge of the Blessed Dead,
Hear me, I beseech thee, O Great One
Allow our loved ones to be restored to us this night.
In this rite, we ask you to join us

High Priestess:

Nephthys, Great Lady of the Journey of Death.
Protector of the Dead on their journey.
Hear me, I beseech thee, O Great One
Protect and grant safe passage to the dead on their journey back to us
In this rite, we ask you to join us

High Priest:

Anubis, Guide of the Dead
Reverse the tides this night
Hear me, I beseech thee, O Great One
Bring the souls of the dead back to us this night.
In this rite, we ask you to join us

High Priestess:

Do not consume us
With Thy Fire,
Give us Light!
O Great Ones,
Adoration rises unto Thee!
All beings hail Thee!

Enter This Circle Now, O Great Ones!

(light the black candles)

Great Lords & Ladies of the Darkness
I have summoned you here this night
The time of the thinning veil is upon us
I ask that the veil of the worlds now be parted
Allow us to greet our ancestors, the ancient spirits & the great forces of Magick.
It is this night that is the time of remembrance of all those gone into the realm of the Underworld

I ask that you bring back the dead who wish to walk amongst the living for one night.
As I speak, so shall it be.

Rite of Restoration

High Priestess:

Come to your house,
Come to your house.
Beautiful beings,
Return to your house.
Loved ones who have gone before
We summon you to us.
Your spirits are renewed &
Your bodies will be made whole

Wholly perfect, wholly restored.
Awaken into this body of light,
Justified spirit, your trials are passed.
The measure is made, the weight is balanced
As a new Being you come forth in the daytime, you come forth in the Light
As a new Being you come forth in the nighttime, you come forth in the Night.
Come forth, beloved ones,
Isis is before you,
Nephthys is behind you,
Anubis guides you,
Osiris welcomes you.
Until rebirth you shall remain
You are honored guests in the circle.
You are honored guests at our tables.
At the Table of Osiris, Isis, Set , & Sekhmet.
Join us now

High Priest:

Let us now summon the spirit of the Dragon.
We begin with the casting of the Dragon’s Eye.
At the completion of the casting, I will invoke the spirit of the dragon.
At that point, quite yourselves and await the words of the dragon.

< High Priest draws the Dragon’s Eye around the circle. He steps to the center of the circle, holds the sword as high as he can (point downward) and performs the chant. >

Cum Saxum Saxorum
In duersum montum oparum da,
In aetibulum In quinatum – DRACONIS!

< High Priest plunges the sword deep into the Earth in one swift motion. Heather throws the dragon casting mixture into the fire (POOF!!!!). All pause in silence for the presence of the dragon. >

Lighting of the Candles

High Priestess:

In this, the time of Darkness, we have gathered to commune with the dead. In this time & this place we can accomplish much more as well. We can give to the darkness, all that is dark within us. We can give to the darkness all that is dark within our society. As we give the up the darkness within us, we need to drive it from us with the force of the light. In the practice of magick is found the power of symbolism. These symbols can give us the guidance we need to make changes in our life & in our magickal workings. This service is no different. Gina will be passing each of you small candles. These candles will be the symbolic representation of you. As you hold the candles, focus on the things you wish to rid your life of: the pain of abuse, the hurt of lost relationships, the guilt, the ego, the fear that holds us all back. Focus too, on those things in society that we need to rid ourselves of. Remember the countless numbers of nameless dead who died because of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Remember those who are discriminated against, surrounded by war, shamed for their beliefs and lifestyles, struggling to find food & shelter, and all the others who suffer from darknesses unnamed. Focus on your candle & I shall call forth Set, the destroyer. To him we shall send this darkness. We will then go around the circle and light the candles one by one. Be aware that the light chases away the darkness just as the flame burns the wax. Once your candle is lit, I ask that you step to the altar and place the candle upon one of the mirrors. The light of one candle alone can only chase away a small portion of darkness. The light of many candles standing together becomes a beacon of hope in the night. A beacon for all those who are lost to see and find. Let us now begin…..

Set,
We give to you our shattered dreams,
Our lost hopes,
Our unrealistic goals and our inner failures.
We give to you the darkness that we commit against on another,
Our hatreds, prejudices, and war.
Scour from our existence with the force of a sandstorm
All that is our failure
Grant us freedom from pain,
Freedom from guilt,
Bring forth the beginnings of creation
From our own destructions.

Let the lighting of the candles begin………

< Small black candles were passed out to all of the participants. One candle was lit. That person would light the next person’s candle & so on. One by one the would approach the altar and place it on of the pedestals containing mirrors. The mirrors reflected the light of those candles intensifying it, making the impact more pronounced.  Once everyone returned to their places, the Merlyn rite was announced by the High Priestess >

The Merlyn Rite

High Priestess:

On this, the most magickal night of the year, we have gathered to summon the spirits of the dead, the spirits of our loved ones, so that we might make our peace with them, convey our love for them & spend another night together. This night, however, brings forth the spirits of all the dead. Amongst those spirits are the powerful mages, sorcerers, witches, and more. Spirits that we can learn the ancient magick of our ancestors from. The mightiest of these spirits is that of the fabled Merlyn. And on this night, in this space, we shall summon forth the spirit of the great magickian in hopes of gleaning a bit of knowledge & insight.

Let us now further cast the circle of power, silently calling upon the deities of the underworld to assist us in raising the shade of Merlyn. After his shade has been summoned, we will fall to silence to listen for the words of the great master.

<High Priestess lead the group in the raising energy (I don’t remember what I did), then calls forth the shade of Merlyn >

BETH AHN Ahp T-Lay’in, eem-NEW-ais FEEN-ith T-loo-AH-gor T-loo EEM-rais Preeve DEW-in MEER-thin EHM-rihs

<The High Priest & Priestess met at the fire pit in the Southern quadrant of the circle. The High Priestess repeated the invocation three times & drives one of the athames into the ground, Ben throws the Merlyn blend of incense (Cremora, Datura (also called Moonflower), wormwood, and juniper) into the fire (POOF!!).>

The Feast Commences

<The High Priest & Priestess returned to the main altar. The High Priestess explained to the particpants that the circle will be opened at the north & the particpants will exit & feast. Once they have exited, The High Priest & Priestess sealed the circle & drive the second athame into the ground to complete the seal. Feasting commenced>

The name of the celebration this evening is The Feast for the Dead. It is so named because it was traditional to have dinner with the spirits of the ancestors. In the days of legends, our ancestors set a place at the table for the spirits of their loved ones who have past on. Tonight, we have called forth the dead and now we shall leave this circle to feast with our ancestors. May we exit this circle at the north and feast in merriment. Let us remember those who are dear to us and are with us no more. As I have spoken, so shall it be.

< Read before the feast, after exiting the circle >

We are gathered tonight
On the threshold of endings and beginnings,
To honor our dead and our living
Through a meal shared between friends
In this, our sacred space.
We gather in honor of our loved ones,
Our friends who have passed on before us.
We gather to celebrate their lives and their deaths
And the promise that they will be reborn
Tonight we stand on the threshold,
We stand as the Wheel turns round us.
We celebrate death as we celebrate life
And the mystery that is the two:
Death begets life and old begets new,
And thus is the world renewed.

< small glasses of apple cider are passed to all the participants. A toast, lead by the High Priest, was made in honor of the dead. Feast Commences. The High Priest performed divination after everyone was finished eating. The High Priest & Priestess reopen the circle. Participants enter the circle counterclockwise from the North (because it was closest to the backdoor of the store. >  Samhain Ritual

< Once everyone returns to their places, the High Priestess then announced that anyone who wished to make their own offerings, etc can now approach the main altar. Once everyone was finished, the High Priestess announces the releasing of the dead. The High Priest read this part while the High Priestess placed the book of remembrance in the fire. >  Samhain Ritual

Releasing the Dead

Ancestors, loved ones, and ancient spirits
Thank you for making the journey from the underworld
To the land of the living for this night of celebration and growth
As all things come to their end, so has your time amongst the living.
We ask now that you return to the underworld, to your rest.
Take with you the knowledge that a year from today we shall be together again.
Return now, peacefully, with our love and our respect.
As I speak, so shall it be.

Releasing the Deities

High Priestess:

Great Ladies of the Darkness who have joined us here this night
We give to you our many thanks for granting us the parting of the veils.
We thank you for giving us your wisdom, guidance & protection.
We release you now from our sacred circle and ask that you seal the veil again.
As I speak it, so shall it be.

High Priest:

Great Lords of the Darkness who have joined us here this night
We give to you our many thanks for granting us the parting of the veils.
We thank you for giving us your wisdom, guidance & protection.
We release you now from our sacred circle and ask that you seal the veil again.
As I speak it, so shall it be.

<Candles are extinguished. The High Priestess announced the releasing of the quarters.>
<Quarters were released>

Quarters Released

East

Koth-Sander, guardian of the realms of East. Your tongue is a sharp sword , cutting with the knowledge of the arcane. Your spirit flows as graceful as a swift in flight. We thank you for the truths you have shown us. Stay if you will go if you please. Hail & Farewell.

Henhisesui (Hen-He-Se-SWAY)
Spirit of the Eastern Winds
We release you from this sacred space.

South

Gore-trade-ous, Guardian of the realms of the South, your breath is a flame with the fires of inspiration & passion. Your spirit is searing & fervent. We thank you for the love you have shown us. Stay if you will go if you please. Hail & Farewell.

—  Samhain Ritual

Shehbui (Sheh -Be- WAY)
Spirit of the Southern Winds
We Release you from this sacred space.

West

Sa-dora, Guardian of the realms of the West, your coils are the cleansing waves that nurture the soul. Your spirit lunges, leaps, & splashes like a Talbot at Play. We thank you for your tides and flowing trust. Stay if you will, go if you please. Hail & farewell.

 Samhain Ritual

Hutchaiui (Hoot-CHAY-way)
Spirit of the Western Winds
We Release you from this sacred space

North

Haz-oh-doe, Guardian of the realms of the North, your talons run like roots into the earth, giving you infinite strength. Your spirit is substantial, hard & pure like a clean crystal. We thank you for the wisdom you have given us. Stay if you will, go if you please. Hail & farewell.

—  Samhain Ritual

Qebui (Q-BWAY)
Spirit of the Northern Winds
We release you from this sacred space.

Circle is Opened

< The High Priest & Priestess walk the circle the opposite way it was opened. High Priest & Priestess release the seal & the circle. High Priest walked clockwise with an athame pointing up, High Priestess walked counterclockwise with an athame pointing down. Once they were finished, participants were lead out of the circle, the Samhain ritual was complete. >  Samhain Ritual

High Priestess:

This rite is complete. May you always walk with Peace & Wisdom as your guides.

 


Sources for my Samhain Ritual

I lost the original source list, but, after restoring other portions of the site and finding other rituals that used the same content, I believe this is now the full resource list.  If you find anything missing, please let me know so I can add it here.amhain Ritual