Samhain Group Ritual

Samhain (pronounced saw-een) is the Pagan New Year.

It is a time to say farewell to the old, and welcome in the new, and is thus a time for celebration as well as reflection. Samhain is traditionally a time of fire, sparklers, and fun, but it is also a time for reflection and inner work, as we think on the year that has passed and meditate on the year which is to come.

Samhain Group Ritual

For this rite, you will need:

– a cauldron or enclosed fireplace (prepare the cauldron for lighting beforehand)
– sprigs of rosemary (for remembrance), and eucalyptus leaves (for healing and protection)
– small white candles, one for each of the loved ones who have passed on that you wish to honour and remember in this rite (tealights are fine).

A tree of lights at Samhain
A tree of lights at Samhain

Set the cauldron in the middle of the Circle, and set the white candles around the cauldron in a circle. Alternately, set the tealights in the shape of a tree if your lights represent family members who have passed on.

The Rite…

A group member strikes the singing bowl/rings a bell three times to signal silence, then moves around the Circle, cleansing the air with the singing bowl, and a second participant calls in the quarters and welcomes the elements.

The first person circles again with sound, and the Circle is bound fast.

First person:

It is Samhain.
The end of last year.
The beginning of a new year.
We take time to reflect on what has passed
And we take time to plan for the future.

A second person passes the sprigs of rosemary, and eucalyptus leaves around the group, sharing them out among the members.

The cauldron is lit, and the Covenors start the following chant:

The old is gone
Last year is gone
Passed away! Passed away!
The new is come
New year is come
Here and now! Here and now!

As they sing the chant, they cast the eucalyptus leaves into the cauldron fire.

When the eucalyptus leaves have all been cast into the fire, the last person to do so changes the chant:

Ancestors, friends and foes
Spirits we once did know
With Rosemary we remember you!
Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring,
Away, away, away, away!
Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring,
Come again! Come again!

Now the sprigs of Rosemary are cast into the fire, and the participants take time to reflect upon loved ones that have passed on.

As they do so, they light the white candles – one for each of their loved ones.

When the cauldron has burned down, the group continues to meditate on their white candles, reflecting on the happy times they spent with those who have now passed on.

They meditate while the candles burn down, then ground remaining energy and close the Circle, before moving on to a night of celebration with fireworks and feasting.

Jack O'Lanterns at Samhain.
Jack O’Lanterns at Samhain.

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