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
Lughnasadh Sabbat 2016
As the author of the sabbat posts, I try to keep them separate from my being an instructor with the Inner Circle Sanctuary. Unfortunately, at times, it is too difficult, as it will be with this one.
The leader of our ritual was Lady Nashoba. Lady Nashoba Is Inner Circle Sanctuary's oldest first-year student. She is my oldest student. This was her first time leading a sabbat ritual. My heart swelled in love for her (and with a little pride). She is beloved by all of her peers and by her elders. Lady Nashoba has surpassed the standards we expect from students and shines a positive light on all the work we do as instructors.
So many of our members helped with the setup of the ring and were finished early enough so we could all relax and visit and revel in each others company before the ritual would start. Sitting in a round, there were stories and jokes, and great conversations. We were visited by the forestry service before the ritual was to begin and the visit was pleasant and informative. Our Lady Morgana had developed such a rapport with the rangers that we are always made to feel welcome. I am glad we continue the tradition to this day.
After the officer left, the familiar cry of "Robe Up!" rang through the air. The sea of white robes of our first years and the pepper of black and greens robes of those well on their way to second year prepared for ritual, helping each other get dressed, get belted, and with chaplet straightening.
After respects were paid, Lady Satthel swept the ring and cleared it of negative energy. I'm almost sure, in this environment, it was neglible, but she did an earnest and wonderful job. This was Lady Satthel's first leading role in a ritual. As a maiden, not only is she responsible for helping to make a sacred space, but for assisting the High Priestess in anything she may need. I'm sure Lady Nashoba truly appreciated having her friend as her maiden. (Lady Satthel is also one of my students and again, I was riddled with pride.)
The opening ritual was beautifully performed by Lady Nashoba and Lord Tanys. The quarter callers summoned the elementals, the Goddess and God were invoked and then the rest of the coven joined them so the ring could be erected. The Summoner, Lord Rand, in his role as leader and director did his job with excellence, as always, and served as another pillar of strength and comfort to his High Priestess and peer. (Lord Rand is also one of my students and again, pride crept in.) The triple ring was cast and then the Witches' Rune chant echoed through the dark. The energy built was electric and vibrated the walls of the ring by the time they finished. The High Priestess remarked that she felt like she 'had all this light coming out of every pore.'
The ritual ensued and after a tantalizing Love Chase and the sacrifice of the Holly King, the High Priestess' enchanting dance with her Bread of Life resurrected him fully, allowing him to sing the Song of Amergin with great depth and bravado. The Holly King took his rightful place as leader of the waning year.
Celebration afterwards consisted of songs, dancing, poetry and stories.
Our brethren are required to write a journal entry reflecting their sabbat experience, for their books of shadows mainly, but we elders get to read them.
"I remember starting the Charge, “Whenever you have need of anything, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full…….” and then….I have no idea what I said, or if I said anything at all until the end when “my love is poured out upon the earth.” I hope I said it correctly, because I seriously, have no idea. It’s like I wasn’t even there during that part."
"...my friend, my peer, my rock, the student I look up to and try to emulate the most was our High Priestess. I wish that Lady Nashoba could see herself through my and her fellow students’ eyes. There has not been anyone in our class, or in our group since I joined that has done any more for the group as a whole, for our craft and for her own growth as Lady Nashoba. I treasure her advice and friendship dearly and am proud to have been the summoner for her first sabbat as High Priestess. She is an amazing witch, full of empathy and an inner-strength ..we all knew she was going to kill it."
" I felt a part of this Sabbat, even though I did not participate in the ring. Being in or out of the ring is uplifting and food for my soul and I hope to be a part of many more. "
"Every sabbat I attend just reinforces my commitment to the Gods and this religion."
As an instructor and an elder of Inner Circle Sanctuary, I am wont to congratulate each and every student in their progress to becoming witches. In weekly classes we see that they comprehend the base material and their progress, academically, is visible and lauded. But it is at these sabbats, these celebrations, these close connections to the universe where we can measure the depth of their love of the Craft, their love of the Gods, and their spiritual growth. It is all their doing... we do not make them spiritual, and I know my 'pride' is unwarranted. The pride is theirs, for they have accomplished or are in the midst of becoming what they have longed for... I just carry it for now. Right up to their initiations.
Autumn Equinox 2016
Despite several hiccups this ritual, the sabbat was beautiful. The energy conveyed by the High Priestess and High Priest sustained throughout despite two rounds of dancing and chanting in the thinness of the high mountain air.
Our group follows the strict rule that once a ring is erected, it should never be broken, or the High Priestess or High Priest must recast it to put us again, in that place that is not a place and in that time that is not a time. When it does happen, the energy of the group can skitter about the area and throw everyone off of their game, sometimes dissolving the ritual space into one of unfocused haphazard emotions. It takes a strong High Priestess and High Priest to steer the course. If the invocations of the Goddess and God were applied correctly, it is rare that this discombobulation occurs. The Goddess, channeled by Lady Sive, took strength and grace with her as she recast the ring and the frenzied energies were quickly dissipated. The God, as channeled through Lord Rand, lent all his strength to support to Her and the remainder of the ritual went off without a hitch.
Whether it was the two separate dances or the need to recast the ring, or perhaps both, it seemed to energize the Goddess thoroughly for it compelled the chopping of the harvest vegetables with much zeal and glee, which was shared by all. Delightful rings of laughter drifted to the trees.
After the ring, we played a round of the Candle Game... something I personally, hadn't done in a long, long time... Whee!! So, SO much fun. Thank you to our guests for participating, as well.
We gather with the Gods eight times a year at these celebrations and never know what to expect when they grace us with their company. One thing we know for sure is that they will bring out the very best in us and if that is not something beautiful to be grateful for, then I don't know what is.
The Inner Circle Sanctuary is a school for traditional style Wicca and holds eight sabbat festivals every year.