I just noticed that I never made a blog entry for Samhain this year. So though it’s a little late here it is.
On Saturday, 27 October 2012, my genderqueer offspring (daughter/son? sonter? duan?), Shannon, and I went to a Samhain ritual put on by Dark Forest Coven of NROOGD. It was unlike any Samhain I’d ever been to as it was a New Orleans gospel-style, Day of the Dead, Samhain.
And, it worked.
It was a joyous ritual, more joyous than I was expecting for Samhain. At the north Earth altar was a Goddess statue what was also a candle holder, with the tea light candle place insider her belly. It looked like the inside was fashioned to be like a geode, as it was faceted and made the light flicker and reflect beautifully. Also, the light inside her made me think of life that grows within during pregnancy. I felt a slight pang at that.
On the central Ancestral altar, there was a Day of the Dead bride and groom. I felt a pang at that, too, but they were a beautiful symbol nonetheless. But the most beautiful item on the Ancestral altar was Death.
It was almost a standard Reaper/Death figurine. It was made from what looked like some kind of polished beige stone. And while it was a Reaper, there was nothing Grim about it. Death was cradling something to its chest. I couldn’t tell if it was a skull or a human heart. But the way the object was being held and the angle of Death’s head, I felt like the Reaper was smiling and cradling a soul lovingly to its bosom. I’d never seen Death as loving before.
For those who know my history, don’t worry. I’m not tempted to run into the loving arms of Death.
For the main part of the ritual, we wrote the names of our Honored Dead and brought them to the Spirit House on the west Water altar. Those were to be burned ritually by the coven later (around Yule, I think). Also, we wrote something negative about our lives to be brought to the cauldron on the south Fire altar. These were traits we wanted to release. Those were also to be ritually burned by the coven in another ritual (I believe these were to burned at the next full moon).
My trait to be burned was Self-Hate. After the ritual was actually done, I knelt by this altar and repeated to myself, “I really need this” for a few minutes. Hopefully, it will stick this time.
This was Shannon’s first time at a public ritual, and this year marks my 10th anniversary as practicing a Pagan Path. We both were “fed” well that night.