Posts Tagged ‘samhain’

Samhain 2011

Monday, November 14th, 2011

The Druids of Hollow Hills Grove met on a moonlit night to honour the Irish Celtic Goddess, The Morrighan. The Morrighan is a complex goddess of death, sovereignty, prophecy, and sex. She is the Goddess who can be with you at the moment of death to help you transition to the Otherworld. She often appears in the form of a raven or a crow and will appear on the battlefield to take warriors “home” to the Otherworld. She’s a perfect goddess for this time of year – the time of year when we honour both our ancestors and the veterans (alive and dead) of war.

In addition to her life transitional aspects, she also, as a goddess of sovereignty can be seen to give aid to kings/rulers and as a goddess of the land because of her connection to cattle – the most important livestock to the early Celts. To the Celts cattle were a form of money and many great battles were fought over cattle.

To praise The Morrighan we gave her poppy seeds (as a symbol of death and the Otherworld in many cultures, and because we have given them to her in previous rituals and she seemed to like the offering!) , Guinness, whiskey, and butter (to honour her connection to cattle). Offerings were given, poems were read and The Morrighan was honoured. Also honoured were personal deities, the Nature Spirits, and Ancestors.

Hollow Hills Grove Samhain Altar With Offerings 12 November 2011

As a part of every ritual we take an omen by various means. The seer for our ritual was Kevin and he used the Greenwood Tarot.

We received the following messages:

From the Nature Spirits
King of Cups – Reindeer

The card shows two reindeer between them is a shelter made from bones and hide and a patch of fly agaric mushrooms. The card illustrates our dependence on nature and recalls the harsh time of the Ice Age when our ancestors depended totally on the natural world for food, clothing, and shelter. Shamans used to drink the urine of the reindeer after it had eaten fly argaric mushrooms in order to obtain the hallucinogenic effect without suffering the toxins which the reindeer could break down.
The message is that we still depend on the natural world for survival and that we should remember this and take care of our environment.

From the Ancestors
King of Arrows – Lynx

The card shows an adult and a juvenile lynx. The lynx is a fierce protector of its young.

The message is that we must remember the lessons learned from the Ancestors and the protection we enjoy because of sacrifices made on our behalf.

From the Deities
Six of Wands – Harvest

The card shows an abundant selection of fruits and nuts (hazelnuts, acorns, apples, blackberries, elderberries, rowan berries.)

This is a time of harvest and the message is that if we have planted wisely, our present situation is a result of our previous actions.

This gives us much to ponder until the next High Day rite.

In front of the warming fire, we shared hot mulled wine as our Waters of Life, which is where we asked for a boon or blessing from the Kindred in return for the gifts and offerings we freely gave.

We also did an Ancestor’s litany where we recited the names of loved ones or admired ones who have gone before and rang a bell after each name was mentioned. This solemn ceremony was a simple but effective way for us to connect with those who have gone before.

We ended our ritual with everyone feeling closer to one another and we also learned a lot about one another. We praised the Kindreds and we received their blessings in return. Isn’t this what it is all about?

Samhain 2010

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

23rd october 2010 saw the Hollow Hills Samhain celebration taking place. On a beautiful full moonlit evening, members and guests gathered at 7.30pm to honour The Morrigan, Phantom Queen, Goddess of battle, strife and fertility, as well as to pay homage to our ancestors – those who have gone before us, imparting wisdom and knowledge to those that follow through the ages.

We began with a prayer and offering of Indian corn to the earth, followed by whiskey for Ogma, who was our requested bardic assistant for the ritual. Ale was given to the outsiders, and Lugh was called upon to act as gatekeeper.

The kindreds, ancestors and deities were offered whiskey with offerings including cream, pumpkin seeds and butter presented to The Morrigan. Our formal working was in the form of wishes which were written onto paper and placed in a Jack Pumpkinhead wicker man, constructed by Kevin and Doreen. This wicker man was then burnt, and the wishes carried into the night to be received by the deities and hopefully borne into fruition within the coming year.

The omen was read using tarot cards and were as follows:

Nature Spirits – (first card) 3 of arrows (swords) – representing jealousy, negativity. After more offerings were made, a second card was pulled, 5 of wands, reminding us that the power of nature is a force to be respected.

Ancestors – 5 of pentacles – endurance – keep honouring the ancestors, for one day we too will become ancestors.

Pantheon – page of arrows (swords) – the woodpecker, a tenacious creature that works hard and digs deep to achieve what it needs. The deities are telling us to work hard and dig deep within ourselves to become close to them.

Some shared stories of beloved family and friends that have now passed into the realms of the otherworld, toasts were made and gifts given in their honour. All the while under the gaze of the full moon, shining bright upon our gathering during the entire time.

Although approaching winter, the weather remained dry for the evening, and not too chilly, although most of us welcomed returning inside after the ritual ended to partake of warm food, flowing mead and lots of laughter amongst the good company of friends.

Hollow Hills Samhain 2010 altar

Jack Pumpkinhead - receptacle for our wishes and goals