Samhain 2000 - Ritual Report

Samhain Celebration was on Nov. 4th– we had 35 – 40 people for Norma’s first ritual as Senior Druid. Our Willow Priestesses were PMS, but all went very well. Good to see Wandering Al again, who’s been wandering in and out of Green Man since 1991; Amy from Vingolf; Sue from Portal of the Porcupine; Michael Mercandetti, another long-time ADF member. Badger Girl was back for her first ritual in a long time. Pattie coordinated the kitchen duties. Let’s see– Marcia and Maria-Elena, Joanne, Bunny Foo Foo, Sean, Chuck, Jenne, Dragynphyre, Erica, Bill, & Conny spring to mind. Kat and Jack and Celestina and DeForest Piper (from Ann Arbor) and Hillary stayed vigil with us until dawn playing surrealist games...

Drumming continued non-stop in a steady, limping 8 beat with accents on 2-4-5 behind the invocations... we filled the well and fire with our breaths... Erica invoked the tree. Michael Mercandetti led us in a beautiful, trancy Manannan invocation. Norma & Manannan opened the gates. Bill K. invoked Brigid... lots of candles and offerings... Chuck in-voked the ancestors and we really got rolling.

Chuck started by talking about his grandfather, remembering when he was a child, how when he saw his grandfather in a coffin he asked his mom why his grandfather wasn’t smiling. He wanted his grandfather there, and it wasn’t his grandfather if he wasn’t smiling. He challenged all of us to bring our dead, our beloved dead, into the ritual, and people began to whisper names, shout names, call out for their ancestors. Connie invoked the Nature Spirits and Spirits of Place, and people knew to call out their own totems, sacred places, pets, cars and computers. Erica invoked the Goddesses and Gods, talking about what we mean when we say “we are here to honor the Gods”, and we called out to those closest to us. Meanwhile, Marcia, Maria-Elena and Deb continued the steady drumming, like carytids holding up a temple.

I stood up with a deer skull and invoked Kernunnos as God of Animals and Grain who must die in the fall so the wheel can turn us eventually to Spring. As I ended the invocation, Norma approached as the Morrighan and we started chanting “bone-break, blood-drop, horn-shake, heart-stop...” and people began to pick up the chant. Norma drew me down to the floor, and began Isaac’s Morrighan hymn, slowly, to the steady drumbeat. The offerings and praises began.

Badger Girl read a poem she had read for the Morrighan and Kernunnos in 1990 when Norma and I had met her at Green Man’s first ritual, held in the toxic wastelands of Liberty State Park in Jersey City. I read a lament; Erica read a Joyce poem; Bill sang a short death blues; others offered their praise and then Lady Sue took over for the group offering, she and Jenne keening high over the top of the steady drumming. When this ended, Celestina got up to scry the omen in the wood of the bathroom door.

Then someone in the bathroom flushed. Celestina came back to the ritual with a strange expression on her face, and said that we had omens of “lunacy and humor, the wise will become ignorant, and the ignorant wise...” (We weren’t sure whether this referred to the grove or the coming national election. Or both. But, being who we are, we considered it a good omen!) Norma was officially installed as Senior Druid, and everyone whooped! Norma said a few words about humility, and we all replied in the catechism “Holá, Senora Druid, Dondé est la Banyo”, and she asked the Passers-Out to pass out the cups. The waters were blessed and drunk down. The ritual wound down with thank-yous to the Kindreds and such and the gates were left open until dawn, when we burned the offerings and sent them skyward.

—Edwin Chapman, Grove Scribe
—Art: Norma Hoffman, Brainstorm