Samhain is the turn of the year in the most popular Neopagan calendar, whether or not it can be shown that it was such for the ancient Celts. The new cycle begins at sunset, and night precedes day in the order of things. Thus this season comes on us, bringing a phase of introspection and quiet calm before the rising light of Yuletide. For me it really is rather like that. October signifies a winding-down of my manic travel and hosting gigs, and November (the real month of Samhain – the word means November in modern Irish) brings it all to a stop. L and I are having our first unscheduled weekends in months, it seems. So I’ll pause for a moment and think back on this year’s work.
The Court of Brigid
This has certainly been my major occult work of the last year. We did the three-night retreat here at home last Imbolc, worked the festival rite at Eight Winds in California and developed and worked the practical magic rite at Summerland in August. In the meantime local devotions to the Three Powers are ongoing, and further ideas are starting to flow. I have had three reports of successes from the spell-work rite, since posting the journal here.
Of course I have issued my big experimental collectable set. The reception has been good, and six sets are now claimed. If you have been considering getting one of these once-only, practical and collectable sets now is the time to claim one of the remaining three. I have just received the shipment of talismans, and they look great! Careful proofing has meant that I’m waiting for the books now, and should be able to ship mid-month. I’ll also be making a trade paperback available soon.
I anticipate further work with these spirits this winter. I’m inclined to attempt some work on the other side of the occult coin, and to begin asking the spirits – especially the Three Queens of the Court – to lead me in visions and reveal mysteries.. Perhaps I’ve been a little focused on practical magic lately, to the expense of mysticism.
Well, it hasn’t been the best summer ever for personal occult work, but then summer seldom is. We have gotten through another season without doing the specific land-wights work on our place that we’ve been simmering. However several ideas seem to be bubbling to the top, and I think that, with the instruction of the Teachers, we’ll be ready to go in the spring.
I do feel as if the stream of inward teaching from my allies is continuing apace. My alliances with the Ancient Wise, as begun in our ADF Clergy Council work, are really firmer than ever. I have specific conversation with a set of three ‘cucullati’ (because that’s how they appear…) and along with my long-time personal Teacher ally the connection seems strong to me.
As usual, this winter it will be back to Shrine work. I owe my allies personal offerings, bless their patient little auric centers, and the phase between Samhain and Yuletide feels right for some new work with the Dead. N
• An Introduction to Pagan Magic – I’m considering reframing our ‘Druidic’ ritual order into a more folkloric, magical-styled system that can be accessed through a short intro manual. I feel a little funny about attempting to ‘popularize’ this sort of thing, but only a little. I think our basic model of fire-and-water sacrifice is at least as well organized and deep as any of the ‘housel’ or other almost-there models out there. My personal opinion is that there are real advantages in our model, over the post-Wiccan four-square circle, and it needs to be available more widely. It will only make ADF’s work look more familiar to folks when they find us…
• The Nine Moons System – This is going to be high on my priorities this winter. I think I have an angle that will allow me to solve some structural problems. In the meantime, I suspect there are still people out there working with it, and I always appreciate feedback and am available for questions. I wonder whether there’s interest in another ‘class’ or group starting the work at the same time…
• Genius Locus – I b’lieve that I have given myself permission to use a couple of the ‘tricks’ that have been poking around at the edges of my mind. (That ungainly description seems to describe what that fancy ‘inward teaching’ feels like.) As a result I think I’ll actually have a suite of rituals ready to go for the rising of sap come spring.
• ADF In-house – I have one major project in hand for the year, the creation of a manual of practice for those who have completed the Dedicant’s Path introductory work. I’ll be organizing it but lots of the priesthood will be contributing.
• The Novel – Oh yeah, the novel. Well, I really am still working on it. I’m gonna try to move it up this list in priority, but I find it more difficult, in some ways, than writing occult instruction.
Today is our local Samhain sacrifice. Our Grove has long kept the ‘astronomical’ date, moving us away from the secular fun of ‘Halloween. For most Pagans we reach the end of Samhain revelry, as we move forward into the year’s dark half. Let me leave us with a Blessing:
Let us be blessed on the Feast of Samhain, the End and Beginning of the Sacred Year, the Time of Turning, of Twilight, when the Dark Time begins. This is the Last Harvest. The fields lie empty, sinking into Winters Sleep and our larders hold what gain we have reaped from our labors. As our forebears did, so do we do now, and so may our descendants do after us.
O Mighty Ones, our Ancestors, our kindred, we your children honor you. You whose life and death creates our lives, you whose wisdom upholds our wisdom, Hear us, across this modern world, as we call to you and invite you to our Samhain fires. O Mighty Ancestors, we honor your presence offering our love and worship. Be with us in our groves at our shrines, and in our hearts. Accept our gifts, given in kinship, and grant us your aid and blessings in the new year.
So be it!