In ancient times, the hearth-fire was rarely allowed to go out, especially in winter.
When the fire had burned down to an ember, it was carefully preserved under a blanket of
ashes. In Scotland, this was called "smooring," and it was done in a ritualistic way. The
embers were arranged in a circle divided into three parts, with an ember in the middle
known as Tula nan Tri (Hearth of the Three). You can perform this fire magic with three
candles, with a fourth in the center symbolizing what you wish to preserve and encourage
in the season to come. Close your eyes and pass your hand over the candles, saying:
I am smooring the fire
As Bridget would smoor.
The gods´ protection
Be upon the flame.
I will build this power
As I build the hearth
At the dawn of the red sun of day.
~ Sharynne NicMhacha
Samhain ritual by Dorothy Morrison
This ritual was written at a time when I did not have a qualified Priest
in my group. However, it may easily be adapted for those groups in which
the Priestess and Priest work together. It may be just as easily adapted
to solitary work.
Place an apple and pomegranate upon the altar. There should also be a
"planted" pot of earth for each participant - these may be arranged on
the altar as well, if there is ample space. Instruments of divination
may be placed within the Circle perimeter for use during the ritual if
you wish. Arrange the altar as usual and decorate with Autumn leaves,
The Circle is cast and purified the Circle in the usual manner. Dancing
around the Circle in a shuffle step (deosil), all chant three times:
The Moon is bright, the Crone is old
The body lifeless - the bones so cold
We all live and pay our dues
To die in ones and threes and twos.
Death, dance and play the harp
Piercing silence in the dark
The Woman's old with withered limbs
Death beckons Her to dance with Him
As She accepts the Dance of Death
The Earth is cooled by ghostly breath
To lie in dormancy once more
To have Her strength and life restored
Go to the Western Quarter and draw an invoking pentagram with the athame
to open the gate. Then evoke the dead by saying:
All ye spirits who walk this night -
Hearken! Hearken to my call!
I bid you in our Circle join!
Enter! Enter - one and all!
Come ye, spirits of the dead:
Be ye spirit of plant or pet
Or human being who still roams!
Into this Circle you are let!
Speak to us of things unknown!
Lend your energies to this rite!
To speed your journey, we have joined
On this sacred Samhain night!
All ye spirits who walk this night -
Hearken! Hearken to my call!
I bid you in our Circle join!
Enter! Enter - one and all!
Bestow blessings upon the dead, saying:
Oh Mighty Pan of the Summerlands:
Guardian of the beloved dead
We pour forth love on those you keep
Safely, in your peaceful stead
We bless those who have walked the path
That someday, we as well, shall rove
We offer peace unto their souls
While resting in your arms, below
Now is the time for divination (Ouija Board, pendulum, cards, etc.) and
communication with those who have gone on before us. Allow plenty of
time for this. [Note: I have found that it is helpful to have a tape
recorder handy within the Circle for recording any communications that
may be "channeled" during this time. Some people disagree with this
suggestion, saying that the metal of this electronic device causes
scattered energies in the Circle; however, if the recorder has been
cleansed and purified as the rest of the ritual tools, the problem seems
to be resolved.]
When the divinatory processes are completed, the Priestess goes to the
Western Quarter and draw the banishing pentagram, saying:
Blessings be upon thee, oh wondrous Spirits of the
Summerlands. We humbly thank thee for your presence in our
Circle and honor you in celebration this sacred night. We
Beseech thee, oh Pan, keeper of the sacred dead, embrace
Once again those souls within your keep and hold tightly
To your breast those which have been lost and wandering.
Grant them safe passage to the Summerland, where they may
Rest peacefully in your strength until they are refreshed
And reborn again in perfect love. We bid thee all a fond
Farewell. So mote it be!
The gate is now closed. The Priestess goes to the altar and hold up
the pomegranate, saying:
Behold the pomegranate, fruit of Life...
The athame is plunged into the pomegranate, splitting it open to display
the seeds. She says:
Whose seeds lie in the dormancy of Death!
The Priestess eats one of the seeds, saying:
I Taste the seeds of Death.
The pomegranate is then passed hand to hand through the participants of
the ritual, each eating a seed and saying to the next person:
"Taste the seeds of Death."
The Priestess then holds up the apple, saying:
Behold the apple: fruit of wisdom, fruit of Death...
She then cuts the apple crosswise, saying:
Whose symbolism rewards us with life eternal!
She holds up the apple, displaying the inner pentagram, and says:
Behold the five-fold star - the promise of rebirth!
Consecrate the fruit and wine. Each person then tastes of the apple and
sips the wine, saying to the next person:
Taste the fruit of rebirth and sip from the cup of wine of Life.
After libation, the Priestess presents each member of the group with a
small pot of earth, planted with three seeds [preferably rue or
lavender]. She briefly explains to the group that this is the season of
the seed - it is a time of dormancy, but also a time of re-generation
for growth. Further, as the seed rests in the earth, they should also
take time to rest and re-evaluate their lives, metaphorically planting
only those values which will enrich and enhance the growth within the
Divine Self. She then instructs them to name the seeds within their pots
with three values they wish to incorporate into their lives, knowing
that as the seeds sprout with new life, their lives will be new, as
After the presentation, all join hands and hold them skyward.
Thus is the Circle of Rebirth.
All pass from this life through the great god, Pan
But through My love you are all reborn
In the cycles of nature - through the Cosmic Plan.
In living we die - in dying we live
The fruit is first seed, yet seed comes from the fruit
In the mystery of life and death and rebirth
The Circle turns ever, and I am its root.
The Sun conceived in Darkness, cold
In the Shadow of Death, a Life unfolds
A shred of Light begins to burn
From Death comes Life - the Circle turns.
Dismiss Quarters and Dissolve Circle.
The rite is ended.
Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again!
Outdoor libation to the Lord and Lady, and the spirits of the dead.
Remembering the Dead - Herbal Ritual
Materials: juniper, bay, yew, alyssum, parsley, basil, rose, rosemary
Cast your circle using rose petals and rosemary sprigs to define it.
Say before the altar:
"The wheel of life turns,
The cycle of rebirth continues.
Those beyond life,
You are remembered today.
Gifts of love and hope,
Are offered whole heartedly,
To those we remember
to those we do not,
to all of those we have lost.
Dark Lady and Dark Lord,
In your gentle embrace,
Our dead you have taken.
All thread of life are cut,
All threads are woven anew.
May the wheel turn,
And begin the cycle again.
We give freely
Juniper for love
Yew for rebirth
Bay for strength
parsley for cleansing
Alyssum for happiness
Basil for peace.
May our blessings be received.
You are remembered."
This ritual can be done in honor of a loved one who has passed or when a loved one passes . It celebrates rebirth and passing from one phase of life to the next.
SALEM REMEMBERED by Sandy and Doug Kopf presented at Pacific Circle XII June, 1992
This year is the 300th anniversary of the Salem Witch Trials. This ritual was presented in remembrance of those who died, and a reminder that we must be aware and strong even now. The ritual was attended by over 100 people and was very moving. Many wept. It is being shared now, not only because it is beautiful, but to make it available for others who might wish to use it. Sandy and Doug ask only that there be no charge for attending the ritual. It would disturb them greatly to find that such was the case. The flash powder mentioned in the ritual was simply a mixture of sugar and saltpeter (50/50). Should you chose to use this, be careful to "dump" it rather than pour it. It will not only be more effective this way, but will prevent the fire from climbing the stream of powder back up to the hand of the person pouring it!
Quarters are called:
EAST: Powers of the East! Lords and Ladies of Greece and Rome! Guardians of the mysteries and honored dead! Pagans and witches who dwell in the East, be ye spirit or be ye flesh! Come! Come one and all who would join us in our right of remembrance, affirmation, and protection! Be with us now, that the Craft shall ever survive!
SOUTH: Powers of the South! Lords and Ladies of the two lands of Egypt! Guardians of the mysteries and honored dead! Pagans and witches who dwell in the East, be ye spirit or be ye flesh! Come! Come one and all who would join us in our right of remembrance, affirmation, and protection! Be with us now, that the Craft shall ever survive!
WEST: Powers of the West! Lords and Ladies of the Land of the Celts! Guardians of the mysteries and honored dead! Pagans and witches who dwell in the East, be ye spirit or be ye flesh! Come! Come one and all who would join us in our right of remembrance, affirmation, and protection! Be with us now, that the Craft shall ever survive!
NORTH: Powers of the North! Lords and Ladies of the Viking Lands! Guardians of the mysteries and honored dead! Pagans and witches who dwell in the East, be ye spirit or be ye flesh! Come!
Come one and all who would join us in our right of remembrance, affirmation, and protection! Be with us now, that the Craft shall ever survive!
AT CENTER, PRIEST AND PRIESTESS INVOKE GOD AND GODDESS AND SPIRITS OF THIS PLACE. ALL SING 'LADY WEAVE YOUR CIRCLE TIGHT' AND 'LORD, LORD GUIDE US' (OR OTHER SUITABLE SONG.)
PRIEST: Three hundred years have gone by since that dark time of history we all remember as the "Salem Witch Trials," yet, even after three hundred years, we dare not allow ourselves to forget! We must remember what can happen when hatred, fear, and intolerance gain a stronghold over love, sanity, and tolerance. Innocent people died in Salem. They died horrible deaths, tried and sentenced for the "crime" of witchcraft. They died for the crime of practicing an alternative religion, and they were not even part of that religion. They died, not for their own beliefs, but for ours! They died in the name of our Gods, yet they did not know Them.
PRIESTESS: They were not witches, but we ARE! They were not pagans, but we ARE! It is our task to remember, and to be sure history cannot repeat itself today. Therefore, we now call their names into our circle, to be remembered and honored here. .
THE NAMES OF THE VICTIMS OF SALEM ARE PROCLAIMED, ONE BY ONE, AND A CHIME IS SOUNDED AFTER EACH NAME. Rebecca Nurse Sarah Good Sarah Wilde Susanna Martin Briget Bishop John Proctor John Willard George Jacobs George Burroughs Martha Carrier Samuel Wardwell Giles Corey Alice Parker Martha Corey Mary Parker Margaret Scott Ann Pudeator Mary Esty Wilmot Redd Sarah Osborne
PRIESTESS: Sisters and Brothers! We will not allow your deaths to have been in vain.
SONG: "BURNING TIMES". ALL JOIN IN WITH THE CHORUS OF "ISIS, ASTARTE" AND THE CHANT BLENDS INTO "WE ARE THE OLD PEOPLE". WHEN THE SONG HAS REACHED THE PEAK OF ENERGY,
THE PRIEST SAYS: . We ARE the old people. We ARE the new people. We ARE getting stronger every day. We are stronger, and we are no longer in hiding. We are here, and none need fear us, for our way is love and our ethic is harmlessness, but we say to the world that all may hear: We WILL stand against hatred! We WILL stand against intolerance! We will not stand silent in the face of harm to others or to our own. The few have become many, and our Gods are awake and strong! Never more the burning! We won't be burned again!
PRIESTESS (LIGHTS FIRE IN CAULDRON): Let the cauldron burn with our love and our faith! Let it illuminate the world with the light of the Old Religion. Let negativity and fear be banished in its flames, and let it kindle love in the hearts of those who hate us. (LOUDLY, POINTING AT CAULDRON)
Fire! Burn high on all planes, that strength and protection come to us from all directions, as we join hearts and hands to weave a destiny of peace and freedom!
(TO CIRCLE) Let us sing and dance, that all may remember Salem, and the Craft shall ever survive.
SONG: "WE ARE THE WEAVERS". ALL JOIN HANDS AND DANCE SLOWLY IN A CIRCLE. ALL WHO ARE UNABLE TO DANCE SHOULD STEP INTO THE CIRCLE, NOT OUT OF IT. THE SONG SHOULD BE SUNG FOR SEVERAL ROUNDS, ENDING WITH A VERY ENTHUSIASTIC "WE ARE THE WITCHES, BACK FROM THE DEAD! STARTING WITH THE EAST, THE REPRESENTATIVE OF EACH QUARTER WALKS TO THE CENTER, POURING FLASH POWDER FROM A BOWL INTO THE CAULDRON, PROCLAIMING:
EAST: From the guardians of the mysteries of the ancient temples, from the windswept mountains of Greece and Rome, I bring protection and wisdom! Remember Salem and the Craft will survive!
SOUTH: From the guardians of the mysteries of the towering pyramids, from the burning deserts of the Two Lands of Egypt, I bring protection and courage! Remember Salem, and the Craft will survive.
WEST: From the guardians of the mysteries of the Standing Stones, from the lakes and groves of the land of the Celts, I bring protection and love! Remember Salem, and the Craft will survive.
NORTH: From the guardians of the mysteries of the sacred runes, from the snow and ice of the Viking Lands, I bring protection and strength! Remember Salem and the Craft will survive!
PRIEST: Great Lady! Bright Lord! Lords and Ladies all! Guardians and Honored Dead! Spirits of this place! All in flesh and spirit who have joined us here! We thank you for attending! Go if you must, stay if you will! REMEMBER SALEM! MAY THE CRAFT SURVIVE! Circle is ended.
Written by Doug and Sandy Kopf, Coven Ashesh Hekat, Circle of Circles, 1992
Season Ritual ~Willow Myst
Intent: Banish our fears and inspire our hopes for the new year
Need: Jack-O-Lantern already lit
black and white candles
Paper and pen/pencil for each person
Bowl of cooked pumpkin seeds (from Jack-O-Lantern)
Cauldron/pot for burning paper
Fold papers in half lengthwise. Then on the left half, write fears
you'd like to banish and on the right half write your hopes for the
future. Then light the black candle to represent banishing the fears.
Tear the sheet in half and take the fear half and light it on fire
from the Jack-O-Lantern. Light the white candle to represent your
hopes. If you are doing this with a partner, take turns reading out
loud your hopes and eat a pumpkin seed for each one. Hang your lists
of hopes somewhere you can read them everyday.