Samhain: Winter Has Come
with Lady Atheona
from Inner Circle Sanctuary
SATURDAY, October 21, 2017 at 6pm
This event is RSVP only.
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or bring what you can afford.
100% of donations are given to charity.
“Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the "darker half" of the year. Samhain is believed to have Celtic pagan origins and there is evidence it has been an important date since ancient times. Samhain was seen as a liminal time, when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld could more easily be crossed. While Bealtaine was a summer festival for the living, Samhain "was essentially a festival for the dead." Traditionally, Samhain was a time to take stock of the herds and food supplies. Samhain is seen by some Wiccans as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have died, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and
other loved ones who have died."
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Inner Circle Sanctuary - Samhain 2016
High Priestess - Lady Nashoba
High Priest - Lord Rand
Maiden - Lady Gwendolyn
Summoner - Lord Sissterwolf
It's November in Vegas, and even here in the Mohave Desert the temperatures usually cool during daylight hours.... usually; but not this day. It was unseemingly hot, however, we were grateful it was not as unbearable as Vegas summer days are wont to get. The majority of us arrived nice and early to help set-up the area.
We always include a lot of photos of set-up. It is during this time that we joke, laugh, and build bonds between us. The building of the ring allows for a flawless ritual to follow. The in-depth preparation prevents mishaps later when you want the focus to be on the magic and ritual of the sabbat. Meticulously, using an actual compass, we find the four quarters and hammer in the beautifully hand-forged quarter markers that Lord Rdhawk made for us. For Samhain, our quarters are also marked by the carved pumpkins whose 'noses' reflected their guardianship. The building of the firepit (which almost always turns into a class) ensures that when the High Priest is ready to light it for ritual, it is immediately aflame. The circle is drawn using the tools we bring to rake and shovel the rocks and then the rope is laid with an entrance in the northeast. Once the rope is planted, and even though there isn't any energy commited yet, the doorway to the ring is the marker by which we enter. The ring space is sacred once the rope is down. There is no stepping over the rope to retrieve a item from the altar or to take an item there. All that is left is for the maiden to clear the province with her besom, the High Priestess / Goddess incarnate to cast the ring, and for it to be consecrated with the elements; all parts of the ritual itself. There are many levels and layers to constructing a magical sabbat ring which means many hands. It is this working together for the festivities ahead that help to build our comradery and closeness. You can see the reflection of this bonding in the friendships that are forged.
BFFs Lady Nashoba and Lord Rand were ecstatic for finally being able to work together. Their love, care, and devotion to one another was emulated by all who attended. Sometimes though, in the excitement of it all, and in the nervousness and stress that comes with being the leaders of a celebration, the meticulous preparations of SELF are forgotten. Self preparation for ritual is just as important. One must take care to eat and drink and rest, especially on an abnormally hot November day. During the ritual, directly after casting the ring, Lady Nashoba grew lightheaded and in a display of proper coven etiquette, the maiden, Lady Gwendolyn stepped in as the assistant to the High Priestess. (In my 19 years with Inner Circle Temple and with Inner Circle Sanctuary, it was the very first time we have ever had to do this that I had witnessed. It was unsettling in the most wonderful way. ~Atheona) Lady Nashoba was able to recover quickly and reclaim her leadership role to finish the night.
Everyone wore masks and some dressed in beautiful regalia. From paying respects to the honoring of the Lord of Misrule, the remainer of the sabbat was delightful. There was giggling as the members did the Dance of Going and Returnings and shrieks of delight as they spun back into life. There were of course, sad moments. The reading of the names of those who have made our coven what it is today brought scattered tears and the toasts to our loved ones choked up more than a few of us. After the circle there was birthday cake for our lovely Lady Joyanna, leader of our crew, along with some delicious wassail, punny pagan jokes, songs, stories, and dancing. The Sanderson Sisters even honored us with a visit and a wonderful performance.
As we move into the winter season (hopefully the days here in Vegas cool quickly), we will huddle even closer to one another for the warmth and love that comes from being a family. We will plan and prepare; we will eat and drink; and we will work and celebrate each other. In the dead season, LIFE is always appreciated much, much more.
That Which Is Remembered Lives
DINING WITH THE DEAD
In our tradition, the word 'tradition', means so much. Whence we camest is very important.... both the positive and the negative. From the positive we are emboldened to be the best, and from the negative we learn and change, which is why we often add the word "living" with tradition. What we have is a living tradition.
In our tradition for Samhain we honor those who have passed who were a part of us. Our members are encouraged to bring a 'Dumb Supper' for their loved ones; purchase or cook the favorite meal of your loved one(s) to set upon the 'Dumb Supper ' altar just outside our ritual area. When the ritual is done and we gather, the food is moved to around the fire with us and we exchange stories of those loved ones, if wished.
During the ritual for the coven, we incorporate the names of those who have passed amongst us, lest we ever forget. The single peal of the summoner's bell emphasizes the pointed and poignant effect their lives and deaths have upon us.
Personal remembrances at this time are varied and just as effective. Personal anecdote: a few years ago, my very young niece asked about Halloween and why it was a holiday. "Many people believe that at this time, the curtain between the world of the dead and the world of the living stands open. So many people welcome home all those people they loved with food and drink and fires and love."
Some people will make a photo display on a table, burn some candles, and put a plate of food for the deceased on it, like an altar.
Others will set places at the table and serve their loved ones food that they will take out into the yard afterwards as an offering or feed to the dogs.
Some will set the table with just an empty plate and a photo of the loved one.
Others will adorn the dinner table with photographs and serve and eat dinner in silence - hence the term 'Dumb Supper.'
Some will visit a temple, shrine, or the graveyard and spend the day eating and talking around their loved ones graves.
If you do decide to serve your deceased love ones food, don't let anyone else eat it.
Try to serve foods they liked... when I pass, if someone pours some beer for me, just imagine the wrinkly face I will make from it.... coffee, on the other hand, well...
Many cultures honor their ancestors / loved ones throughout the year... not just at Samhain. Big holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year's, and their birthdays are great days to have your passed love ones rejoin you for the day!
Whatever you do, however you honor your loved ones and/or ancestors, just remember them.
Say their names.
Tell their stories.
As our Lord Tanys likes to say, "That Which Is Remembered; lives."
~ Lady Atheona
SAT. OCTOBER 22 at 6PM
A Lecture on
Presented by Inner Circle Sanctuary
Learn the history and traditions associated with
Samhain, Halloween, All Hallows Eve and more!
At the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Las Vegas
3616 East Lake Mead Blvd, Las Vegas, Nevada 89115
$10 donation or bring what you can afford
Samhain Sabbat 2015
High Priestess: Lady Sistterwolf High Priest: Lord Tanys
What a wonderful evening! High Priestess Lady Sistterwolf and High Priest Lord Tanys offered up a few ritual nuggets we don't see often. Another great food turnout and a filled Dumb Supper table ensured we had wonderful company, within and without.
The Inner Circle Sanctuary is a school for traditional style Wicca and holds eight sabbat festivals every year.