Friday, November 12, 2010

Tangible Witchcraft: Samhain preparations

Priest, dressed as the
dying king.
So the gauntlet of organizing pan-Feri Samhain is over, thank the Gods! Each year for the last several years, my partner and I have taken it upon ourselves to organize this sabbat for the benefit of the greater community. It is a lot of work, and I believe that it is worth it. Communities only work well when they get face-to-face time. As nice as Facebook is, it is no substitute for breaking bread with your kith and kin. Trying to "be a community" online leads to dysfunction. And religious communities need to have rituals and rites that they share in, too. We come together to turn the wheel of the year- as a tradition. I feel it is very important.

Offering tray for the dead
I got some pictures of our set up (I would not take pictures during a ritual!) so that you could get an idea of what goes into prepping a space for such an endeavor. Prior to getting to the space, we had several meetings, email exchanges and phone calls with lots of people who agreed to take on ritual roles, volunteer, and bring things to the ritual for our use. We secured a hall at the BFUU, as we do each year. Then we met several times to craft the story arc of the ritual- what story were we telling at this time of year?

Prepping the space
There are familiar traditional elements to each sabbat, and Samhain is no different. We commune with our dead, meet specific dieties that are key to this time of year, and allow the dead to ride us as we do embodied activities (dancing, eating, etc.). Our dumb supper is a part of this ritual each year- a ritual meal we consume in silence as we feast on the items we brought specifically for our beloved and mighty dead- things we knew that they liked. In years past, I have brought pickled beets (Grandma Dora Lee), liver and onions (Grandpa Bill), and this year I brought creamed spinach (Great Grandma Addie Belle). My partner, Oberyn, tends to bring the same thing each year for the same dead person- his former teacher's (Gabriel Carillo) apple crisp. Everything brought was delicious and amazing.

Table for the feast with the dead
The Western Gate

The working altar

Grandmaster chair

While we may not do a larger ritual for the entire community at the next sabbat (Yule), we are already thinking about how to celebrate it and introduce Rowan to the return of the son/sun!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing. Uhm, initial reactions? Curiosity for the ritual..and hunger for the food (shamefaced).


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