It is ten minutes till midnight on Samhain Eve, the last harvest of the year and the time of the Feast of the Dead. The world fills with pulsating energies, straining beyond the veil to touch humankind, to remember, and to return the gift of memory.
You find yourself standing in a large, secluded clearing. Some call it a grove, others the Nemeton. The tall firs flanking three sides of this magickal place continue to stand firm and regal, their dark shrouded limbs beckoning secrecy and protection. Behind you lies the midnight-white stubble of a corn field, its bounty given to the people so that they may prosper during the harsh, cold months to come. The vile poison of humankind smokes in the background-- the cities overflow with crime and despair, corruption and greed. No longer are you a person of centuries past, but of the present.
A mist creeps upon the ground. Light, silvery, it tickles the hems of pant legs, and long heavy gowns, then caresses cloaks and capes of many hues. The moon begins its arduous journey across the heavens, casting rippling beams of ivory magick upon all below. As before, you are one among many--young and old, robust and slender. A sea of faces, each barely masking taut anticipation, wavers before you. Eyes of all ages examine the grove carefully. Are they satisfied that all is ready? Whispers undulate in the mist, weaving the threads of unity among the people. You can feel it. They strive for oneness with the Universe, drifting close, then separating. With relief, you know you are finally a part of those around you, searching for a common goal.
You glance at a lone woman who stares at the poisoned heavens, her lips set in a determined line. Her gray cloak swirls about her in a breath of chill, evening air. She pads gracefully to the center of the circle, moving through deep flickering shadows of the surrounding torchlight. Your attention draws to the whispers among the people.
"What shall we do?" mouths an old woman to her companion.
"Don't think tonight will change anything," the young man whispers.
"All has not been well for the people since your last visit, said the woman beside you. "Though the elders are doing a good job at hiding it."
The group mind touches you. It is a fleeting thought, a stab of pain. Despair snakes through their energy.
Perhaps it is hope that spurs the others on, or fear that cloaks their minds. Maybe it is sheer determination. With graceful, practiced hands, the woman in the gray prepares the need-fire, bowing reverently as the flames take hold.
A hush envelopes the grove as the flames rise to the heavens, licking and spitting sparks that refuse to die. Every man, woman, and child draws closer to the fire. They clasp hands. An old woman puts her booted foot next to the instep of the man beside her, and he does the same to the person beside him. The entire circle links and becomes one. You are one with the heartbeat of the Universe.
In silence, the woman lays her hands upon a mound of dirt near the need-fire. Eyes closed, she speaks softly. She utters words only the Gods can hear. Moving to a bowl of water, she repeats the procedure. From a pocket in her gray woollen cloak she withdraws a hand full of powdered herbs. With a delicate flick of her wrist, she throws the powder into the jaws of the flames, murmuring with the hiss and spit of the wood. Arms outstretched, she steps back. Mist and fragrance rise in a voluminous cloud above the sanctuary.
Many around you inhale the sacred breath of the elements. Shutting your eyes, you too breathe slowly. A warm sense of love encircles you. The burdens of life lift away, layer upon layer. Your heart is free, your soul purified. All breath in unison. You are one.
The creeping mists and rising fragrance coalesce above the need-fire. You sense there are a few in the sacred grove who wish to break and run. The minds of the elders hold them firm--this must not happen. You can feel the mental touch of the strong and pure as they pull together the scattered energies attempting to free themselves.
"The circle has not yet been cast," sputters a young female.
"Hush!" hisses the old woman who first drew the people together. "You do not yet know all the mysteries!"
The form above the need-fire tightens. The woman in the circle kneels beside the mound of dirt, digging her hands deep, cupping the soft loam in her palms. She rises, lifting her cupped hands to her breast.
"As the sands of time dissolve into the oneness of the Universe, I call forth the Ancient Ones to protect us and impart their wisdom. Ancestors of old , arise now and join the human bridge that awaits you." So saying, she opens her arms slowly, then parts her fingers, allowing the
dirt to patter to the ground. From the shadows cast by the flickering need-fire, wraiths of those beloved pass among the living.
Suddenly you know why you are here. It is so simple, yet so complex. It doesn't matter whether you have been practicing alone, or with a group. It doesn't matter if you have dedicated yourself, or someone assisted you. What matters is the Great Mystery.
With anticipation, you understand that everyone here surges toward the same purpose. Together, you will wake the Mother from her sleep of two thousand years. The reign of Her Son draws to a close. Under the tutelage of the Son, the Children of the Mother learned to love, work, and develop on the earth plane-much like the Son himself. It is time to reunite with Her, and bring balance back to the planet. Only at Samhain can the Mother awaken from her deep slumber among the dead. Then new legends will grow from Her people; legends of prosperity, peace, and love.
The woman in the circle raises her arms and clasps her hands together, index fingers extended, pointing to the need-fire.
Mother Wise and Mother Strong
Wake to meet your mighty throng
From the vortex now give birth
A magick circle round our girth.
A blue dot appears in the center of the need-fire; it expands into a brilliant blue circle. Rushing out and encompassing all present, it forms a protective bubble around the entire company, above and below.
"As above, so below!" shouts the Witch. "This circle is sealed!" The howl of wind and wolves rings in the ears of all, yet nothing physically moves.
"She is coming!" shouts an excited child. "She is coming!"
Your heart pounds in anticipation.
The woman again points to the center of the need-fire.
Mother Wise and Mother Strong
Wake to meet your mightly throng
From the element of air
Bring our Mother, wise and fair.
From the element of fire
Bring the Mother we desire.
From the element of earth
Form Her essence, give Her birth
From the element of water
Bring to us the Sacred Daughter.
The crowd begins to stamp the ground as they chant the word of the woman. The hair on the back of your neck begins to rise.
The God stands in the center of the circle, his muscles rippling in the fire-light, his mighty head tossing golden sparks from the tips of his antlered rack.
Silence, sweet and dark, descends upon the circle.
He raises his ebony eyes to the heavens. "Wake now, my Lady, for Our time has come. As you bid so long ago, I have guarded your children. My duty is now fulfilled. Together, your children and I await your return. Wake, my Lady, to the new Aeon."
The ground rumbles, the trees shudder, but the people hold firm. From beneath the earth the cries of birth sound, cutting the air with a living frenzy, pouring forth into the circle. The center of the need-fire pulses and expands. Electrified air fills your nostrils. The Goddess arises, She-phoenix of the flames. Ravens swoop from the west, hovering and screaming in the air above her illuminated head. Smiling, She floats from the fire and embraces the God.
She has risen!
The veil lifts.
Samhain Downloadable Book of Shadows Pages