Samhain 2012

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My altar setup for the Samhain rite: owls for wisdom, pumpkins, dried Indian corn, and a pomegranate, horns for the God, my blackthorn athame, a Pythia statue from Greece for the divination, my Voyager tarot, and three candles for the Goddesses Persephone, Demeter, and Hecate

Samhain this year promised to be a very intense experience, as indicated by all things astrological. Saturn in Scorpio—Saturn, the planetary ruler of karma and lessons, in the sign ruler of the Underworld—a full moon in Taurus two days before and opposing Saturn, Venus in Libra triggering the Uranus/Pluto square and squaring Pluto itself, the moon trine Pluto… that’s a TON of intense aspects all at once. Deeply emotional yet possibly deeply healing aspects. For more information on this full moon just prior to Samhain (and therefore holding a great deal of influence over this sabbat), please check out this post on the excellent astrology blog, Empowering Astrology.

Because the themes of these planets coincided so well with the usual themes of the Samhain holiday, I decided to combine two aspects into one ritual: divination and honoring the ancestors or loved ones in spirit. Both of these are common activities at this time of year. And as my pantheon is mainly Hellenistic (as in the syncretic Hellenistic time period= Graeco-Egyptian, with a dash of India), Persephone and Hecate naturally became a part of the ritual I was to lead.

My coven is small—we’re a pentagram of five—but this was to be only my third time leading ritual; I’d previously led our Candlemas/Imbolc holiday and one full moon. So you could say I was a little nervous crafting a rite for Samhain and *this* Samhain, in particular. I started off thinking I would do something focused on Anubis, but this was not to be. (Probably a good thing, since I haven’t really forged a relationship with Him.) In the end, I combined our normal casting structure with elements of two different rituals I found online. Turned out quite well, I think—I know at least I felt attuned with the powers of these Goddesses and, hopefully, my fellow witches did, too. For the actual ritual, continue on to Samhain 2012, Part II.

Our ancestors altar (also the South quarter, due to limited space)

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