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PaganPaul
August 15th, 2008, 05:00 PM
There were about 35 of us gathered in circle, and we had originally planned to hold it in the forest glen behind the UU church, but it was pouring rain out, so we held it inside the main hall instead.

We were 30 minutes late starting - someone was complaining incessantly about the smell of the sage I'd smudged the area with - people kept suggesting last minute changes even though we were already running late - there had been no rehearsal at all - in short, it was a typical Pagan ritual.

We were fortunate however to have the parts of Maiden, Mother and Crone read by three generations of the same family! My daughter Alexandra, my wife Tina, and my mother-in-law Genie. It was beautiful and wonderous!

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CASTING THE CIRCLE
We are one, in our grove, upon the earth, within the sea, beneath the sky.
We are joined, to send our call, to the honored dead, to the spirit folk, to the blessed gods.
We praise thee, in one voice, in our sacred grove.
We are one.

INVOKING THE ELEMENTS
The children of the earth call out to the spirits of the land. Hear us, companions and teachers.

Powers of the East wind, Air, Breathe in us a hope to share
With loved ones who have gone before, That now we will unite once more.
We invoke you and call you. Hail and welcome.

Powers of the South and Fire, Flame our passions, not our ire.
Guard us. Guide us, on our quest, in this New Year, to be the best.
We invoke you and call you. Hail and welcome.

Water and the Western Powers, Let us know the strength that's ours.
Cleanse our minds that we might be Free from fear and negativity.
We invoke you and call you. Hail and welcome.

Mother Nature, show the way. Help us keep in mind each day,
Oh, Powers of the North and Earth, where there's death, there is rebirth.
We invoke you and call you. Hail and welcome.

INVOCATION GOD AND GODESS
The children of earth call out to the shining ones. Hear us, eldest and brightest.

The Sun God soon will cease to be, Yet we invoke his memory.
We light the candle, watch it burn. We know the Sun God will return.

Tonight is a night of death, when our blessed God passes into the Summerland. (Raise athame) Blessed God, Horned One, the hunter beneath the Northern Sun, die and be reborn. We call upon you on this night. We ask that you join us, your children, as we mark this holy night of your death and begin to await your rebirth. Hail and welcome, Horned One.

And now the Lady we invite, To guard and guide us on this night.
In Her care we'll ever be Safe for all eternity

Tonight is also a night of Life, when we honor the wise crone Goddess who will see us through this ever-darkening season to life renewed. (Raise chalice) Blessed Goddess, Dark Mother, take us in. Let us be reborn. We call upon you on this night. We ask that you join us, your children, as we celebrate this holy night as the wheel once again turns. Hail and welcome, Blessed Mother.

We bid the Lord and Lady welcome, and invite them to join us, witnessing these rites we hold in their honor. This place is not a place. This time is not a time. The circle is cast, and we are between the worlds. Beyond the bounds of time where night and day, birth and death, joy and sorrow, meet as one.

Now is a time of change for this day belongs neither to the old year nor to the new. Now do we leave the light and enter the darkness. Yet we do so gladly, for we know it to be but the turning of the mighty Wheel of the Year.

The veil between the worlds is thin on this night, the night of Samhain, the Night of Remembering. We have gathered here in this sacred space to honor and remember our ancestors and friends who have gone before us into the Summerland.

Reach out now, each of you in your own way, and remember those you have known, and thought lost. From this, gather strength. Know, all of you, that there is no end, and no beginning. That all is but a sacred spiraling dance that moves ever on and never ends.

INTRODUCTION
We are here tonight to celebrate the most sacred of our holidays, Samhain. A time outside of time, a time when the boundaries have been lifted, normal laws are suspended, and spirits from the other world can seek entry into ours. Tonight marks the sacrificial death of our god and our honor of him.

On this night we honor those who have gone before. The Ancient Ones and other creatures who have lived and left their legacy of wisdom and experience for us to build upon; those whose strivings have made our world better for all. We honor the sacrifices made by so many to insure OUR freedom to practice our religion without torture and fear and we pray that we continue to be safe from ignorance and prejudice and the hatred spawned by those whose lives are governed by ignorance and intolerance.

We remember our dear ones who died during the Burning Times and weep for their sacrifice. We remember and honor those who were our ancestors, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, children, and dear friends who have departed this life and who have gone to Summerland to await rebirth.

We invite them to come to us this night and join in our circle of love lending their energy and essence to our circle. We ask that they watch over us and guard us as we guard their memory in our hearts. As Witches we celebrate the Immutable Wheel of Life.

We know that even as the body dies, the spirit will survive to be born again. We greet death as new opportunity, even as we greet birth as that opportunity manifest. As our love rises to meet the spirit s of our dead who have joined our circle we greet them with joyful memories of the past and beautiful dreams of the future. The wheel turns and turns again. And now, as our God goes to ready himself for his rebirth at the Winter Solstice, may he know we value his sacrifice, and that we, together with Our Mother, await his return with love and joy.

SAMHAIN STORY (read by three participants)
MAIDEN: Tonight we celebrate the Grand Sabbat of Samhain which was the Celtic New Year. Samhain marks the final harvest, the coming winter, the death of the sun. To our ancestors, particularly those living in harsher climates, this was a frightening time. Food had to be stored to last through the cold months ahead. Often the weak would not survive. An especially bleak winter could mean the end of the community itself. Even the sun appeared to leave the sky.

MOTHER: Samhain then, was a very important festival because it offered hope. It meant the harvest had been successful and sufficient supplies had been stocked for the winter. Fires were lit in honor of the sun which our ancestors hoped would be reborn again at Yule. And they thought of those who had gone before- those who had died in the preparation of the food, or the hunt, or those who had died in past winters. Maintaining this connection is, and has always been, a very important affirmation of life itself.

CRONE: Just as our ancestors did long ago, we remember and honor the dead because they are a part of ourselves. All those we have ever known, including our beloved pets, live on in our mannerisms, turns of speech, values and practices. They are a part of our personality that distinguishes us from others. No one else had the same combination of parents, relatives, friends and teachers. The traits and memories that we maintain of those who have gone before, are a form of immortality for them.

ALL THREE: So we pause and we look back and we give thanks for those who have made us what we are today. We hope that some day we too will be remembered, because we know that "He who is remembered, lives."

MESSAGES TO ANCESTORS
(Tiny parchment scrolls with messages, notes or questions to those that have passed before us were placed into the cauldron to be burned)

SPIRAL DANCE
(To the chant "Blood of the Ancients")

CAKES AND ALE (Harvest)
(Pumpkin muffins and apple cider! YUM!)

All powers called and gathered here, fill us with your grace and wisdom ere you depart to your lovely realms. Help us understand the truth of our eternal life.

THANKING THE GOD AND GODESS
Lady of New Beginnings, we thank you for joining our Circle. We ask your Blessing and guidance in this New Year. As we depart tonight, may we take the first step on the path toward our highest and best calling in the certain knowledge that you are ever with us.

Lord of the Summerland, we thank you for joining our Circle. We ask your Blessing and guidance in this New Year. As we depart tonight, may we take the first step on the path toward our highest and best calling in the certain knowledge that you are ever with us.

RELEASING THE ELEMENTS (The Quarters are dismissed by the same participants who called them.)

Powers of the North and Earth, we thank you for joining our Circle. We ask your blessing as you part. May there be peace between us now and forever. Hail and farewell!

Powers of the West and Water, we thank you for joining our Circle. We ask your blessing as you part. May there be peace between us now and forever. Hail and farewell!

Powers of the South and Fire, we thank you for joining our Circle. We ask your blessing as you part. May there be peace between us now and forever. Hail and farewell!

Powers of the East and Air, we thank you for joining our Circle. We ask your blessing as you part. May there be peace between us now and forever. Hail and farewell!

OPENING THE CIRCLE
We have come together in love and peace. As we open the Circle, let us depart the same way. We know that all there is, is love, and in every moment there is wisdom.
The circle is open but unbroken. May the peace of the Goddess be ever in your heart. Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again!

Blessed be!

Darbla
August 16th, 2008, 03:37 PM
Thanks for sharing. :thumbsup: