Samhain (Samonis for the Gaulish) begins on the evening of the October 31st and ends on the evening of November 1st. It marks the beginning of the winter. On this day we honor the Ancestors as they are released from the Otherworld to reunite and feast with the living. It is a celebration of the end of the year, but also the cycle of birth and death. In the Gaulish hearth culture, it is typical to hold a feast honoring the Otherworld deities Sucellos and Nantosuelta.
Today I followed Rev. Kirk Thomas' video as celebrant for the formal ritual which was in the Gaelic hearth. The Dagda and Morrigan were honored and Manannan kept the Gates. The story was told of the year Dagda and Morrigan's annual meeting occurred before the battle with the Fomorians.
I made my own offerings during the rite which included:
Dried kernels of gem corn
A coil of sterling silver
Two ounces of 18 year old whisky
Ferrero Rocher and Butterscotch Candy
Fresh figs from our tree
A fresh tomato from our vines
Fresh sprigs of sage, mint, rosemary and thyme
When it came time for the omen, I drew my own. I received was Bee (from the Ancestors), Fox (from the Land Spirits) and Hind (from the Shining Ones). Admittedly, I'm not very good at reading these, but this seems a good omen with some guardrails. Perhaps the message is community requires diplomacy and kindness.
Kirk then provided a nice guided meditation across the western waters toward the setting sun and the isle of the departed.
The Gates were closed and the rite was ended.