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.
The Inner Circle Sanctuary is a school for traditional style Wicca and holds eight sabbat festivals every year.