Dumb suppers for many days, since the first hard cold winds began to blow, since the Wyrrd was everywhere and we felt the need to feed passing spirits. And yet the night before ritual, we didn’t, and what we left out that night wasn’t.
Now a few weeks later there are no longer any leaves, and we are snow-covered. We are living our tasks and our days and looking forward and staying present at the same time.
the sun rises later and dark comes instantly now. weird weather takes us from snow to 70° and back to snow and cold.
Notes from just after ritual with rants from now in italics,
in no particular order:
for weeks feeding the spirits
beef bones & bunny crackers
bread & fruit & gin
not every night this past week nor even the night before
watching the ritual of feeding and consuming feeling the active process of reciprocity as devotional humanity
scheduling and lists
the owl like a coyote the night before
peregrine falcon outside my window that afternoon
and now in these last weeks we have seen multiple owls and eagles flying right in front of our driving selves many hawks just staring large crows alone in the tops of trees
so things lined up and timing went well, we were to have a full house in what became the first snow. Coming home from a day a week of juggling work and life and easily set up baking pies and such pre-thanksgiving like, past Halloween’s overload a thoughtful Samhain, lovingly brought into this world like a baby. Bryan as always crafts fire altars while I am out, sculptural sacrifice sometimes seen and sometimes unseen. who and what is our sacrifice for? Cleaning and shopping and cooking and filling baskets. When it all flows simply we realize we are participant in and not necessarily master of ceremonies.
quicker than we thought the darkness came and the moon rose full and alive freeing herself from the trees’ branches echoing the candles we tried in vain to keep alight.
while standing out taking pictures it felt like it was snowing which in fact it was. the magic was palpable
waiting for who would arrive, setting candles in the dark at the 5 circle fire large enough for everyone but so far away in the dark of Samhain we decided to stay close to home at the fire we had lit for light for warmth for spirit
sacrifice assembled as folks arrive
first she comes beautiful and smiling with her new man, who lived in the artist studio building Bryan & I met in; then lovely folks we had never met except virtually through the Druid Organization we are all members of; then more Druids- a whole family with charming toddlers and their friend; and then another whole family who are friends with our family.
Wholeness and Holy and Family and Friends gathered inside with snacks and trucks and each other while I go back and forth tending the fire outside, supporting the company inside. I sat down on the floor to listen to pre-rit and the little boy comes over and climbs in my lap and looks up at me and smiles and says ”Are you happy?” oh yes, immensely happy.
one brought a shiny pomegranate and wore a fine cloak
and played a large wooden flute
which was like from an other world.
others shared dried flowers and silent prayers.
small children offering vibrant roses as sacrifice
older children taking great pictures
and huddling near their moms.
acrid smell of burning bread, crackers, garlic
and the sage, lavender
and sweet burnt sugar
emptying my pockets of petals and seeds and prayers
grateful for and letting go of
old medicine scripts
may we never need you again
Fires came back to flame with a puff or a flare
I am a good fire tender, I will one day come to own that
hovering over the flame is like being in it
the smoke is like my breath and fills my tears.
the whole sweetgrass bundle as final sacrifice
3 things about this ritual from my kid the next day:
it seemed faster (lots of folks in the dark especially kids make for to-the-point ritual) the little kids were sort of distracting (well, yeah, that is the beauty and challenge of family) the Rune ring instead of real Runes was different (Bryan used a ring for Rune casting recently gotten at ComicCon)
We had to remember the omens because we couldn’t take a picture OSMU-OSMU-OSMU from the Ancestors:Odul –Sacred Enclosure, what we keep safe from the Spirits of Nature & Place:Sowleu-the Sun its journey and its motion from the Gods & Goddesses:Manaz or the Self for the Season:Uruz -the Primordial Ox, the Aurochs, the super strength within things
we had our snow-tinged water from our colorful shot glasses children sharing with their adults.
much later, while we were feasting, the large fire circle with its intricate and entwined branches and stalks and sticks went up in flames from one candle that did not go out. It burned full and completely and it must have been large. Bryan saw the very end of the sacrifice.
And in the morning the remaining reeds were strewn like runes we could not read.
Sometimes rituals and gatherings are so full in the moment, in the being, that writing is hard. And yet without the writing, the telling and retelling of the stories we forget.