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Happy (late) Halloween!

I know this is terribly late, but what kind of witchy blog would this be without at least some mention of Halloween and my Samhain celebration!?

This year was a little bit different than the last couple of years, for a few reasons;

–          The community Samhain ritual: This was organized through the Montreal Pagan Resource Centre (where I volounteer) and despite having a rough take-off early in the planning process, it ended up playing out quite gratifyingly. A good group of people came out to join us for the ritual to honour those who have left this world, and to greet those who have just joined us. I always enjoy that aspect of these Samhain rituals; they largely focus on our loved ones who have passed, they focus on our ancestors, but they often mention the importance of our impermanence. In our leaving this world, we create room for the new souls just starting their cycles, or those who are coming back in fresh pink skin. So, as we honoured the dead with a reading of names of those who had passed beyond this world, we also greeted the newborns who had just arrived.

The bulk of the ritual was a beautifully envisioned piece of interactive drama. Three women entered the circles and were introduced to us as the Fates; these women, in trance, were channeling the Greek Fates for all of us ritual-goers. As we lined up to genuflect before the Maiden, Mother, and Crone we chanted somberly;

“Find the cost of freedom,

Buried in the ground.

Mother Earth will swallow you,

Lay your body down.”*

Clotho, the thread spinning Maiden, and Lachesis, the Mother who measures our life’s thread, were both wearing trance veils of long dangling cords tipped with bells and clanking keys. As we bowed before them, the Fates would spin and measure our life’s thread as they channeled, and when they felt there was a message for someone, they would lean forward, veils tinkling and clanking, and whisper messages to us. I was fortunate enough to get two messages!

We danced the Spiral while singing, finished up the ritual, and then had an amazing party! I love a Pagan dance party; everyone dressed up as fairies and witches, goblins, and other various unsavories and beautiful creatures. I always feel most comfortable dancing around Pagans as we feel free to move however we are inspired, and no one judges. I saw some ballroom, some gothy stomping, some rave dancing, lots of spinning and belly dancing, and even a fan dance! It was beautiful!

–          Halloween: Or, as I like to call it, Halloweek. This included the Samhain public ritual, but also a house party, a club night, and one night up until 5:30am to finish my costume (I hand made and painted my mask, as well as sewed on a couple dozen flowers to my coat and hat), all while working full time! By the time Halloween rolled around on Monday, I was completely over-worked. My man and I curled up on the couch, ordered-in, and watched movies.

–          My Private Ritual: Now, some of you might be crying “SACRILEGE!” that I did nothing on Halloween night, but I promise I’m still a good little witchy-boy! Seeing that I wasn’t going to be able to put together a proper ritual of any kind in my state of exhaustion, I decided to shift my ritual to Samhain’s astrological date instead; November 7th.

My man, great and sustaining chef that he is, made us a feast for our Dumb Supper, in which you set a place and serve a whole meal to an extra place setting to represent the ancestors, and dine in silence to honour them and listen for any messages they may have for you.

We drank delicious white Zinfandel to honour Dionysus and the shove onto a new path he has given me recently. We toasted Hekate, the Torchbearer, for lighting my way down this new path, and our ancestors and loved ones (blood related, human and not) for forging the blessed place we have in this world.

Our feast was an herb marinated steak, cooked to perfection and drizzled with a balsamic Dijon reduction on a serving of sweet potato purée with garlic (for Hekate) and a hot pepper paste. This was served with a side of delicious autumn coloured carrots prepared with thyme, salt, pepper, sugar and LOTS of butter, as well as pan-fried zucchini, breaded with flour, salt, pepper, and marjoram. Every mouthful, especially the carrots, was moan-worthy…but we kept it silent.

For dessert, we had cayenne pepper dark chocolate, a bowl of lemon yogourt mixed with pomegranate (for the dead, Dionysus, and Hekate), and bread with black cherry jam. We finished it all up with a Samhain tea that I won at our public ritual; a soothing blend made with lots of anise.

The first serving always went to our honoured guests, and afterwards the dessert was left out at a crossroad not far from my apartment and the entrée was offered to a homeless person downtown.

It was a beautiful meal and I am certain that the ancestors enjoyed every morsel of it as much as my man and I did.

Now that I have over a week’s worth of activities posted up here, I’ll stop rambling and leave you with a link to some more photos and details of our delicious Samnhian ritual Dumb Supper.

* ‘Find the Cost of Freedon’, Crosby Stills, & Nash.