Samhain

We are now in the late harvest season. The fields have become bare, and the pantries full. In ancient times, the folk would have observed that the entire world around them appears to be dying, and their thoughts turned towards their friends and relatives who have passed beyond our world. This day also marks the end of the year in the Celtic calendar.

For Stone Creed Grove, this is a celebration using the deities and symbolism of Irish culture, honoring the gods Donn (the receiver of the dead), and Morrigan (chooser of the slain in battle). In addition, extra honor is given to our ancestors, the people who’s work inspires our work, who’s lives helped to create our lives, and who’s blood now flows in our veins. We also especially honor those who have fallen in the last year, among our own friends and family as well as those who’s public life we wish to honor.

This is also our final rite of the year in our summer ritual space at Tredara. After this, we move back to River Grove (near Squire’s Castle).

Ritual Script

Video of a Samhain Ritual

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Photos of Past Samhains

Home » Samhain » Samhain
Post-ritual dancing
Post-ritual dancing
The ritual flame
The ritual flame
The Ancestor Altar
The Ancestor Altar
Deity images
Deity images
Post-ritual fellowship
Post-ritual fellowship
Breaking the Pinata
Breaking the Pinata
Breaking the Pinata
Breaking the Pinata
The Omen
The Omen
A personal offering
A personal offering
The Book of the Dead
The Book of the Dead
Donn and the Morrigan seated
Donn and the Morrigan seated
Offering to the Kindreds
Offering to the Kindreds
Purifying the ritual space
Purifying the ritual space
Making an offering
Making an offering
Opening the rite
Opening the rite
The Hallows
The Hallows
A.J. and Ian
A.J. and Ian
Grove folk making artwork
Grove folk making artwork
Potluck (4)
Potluck (4)
Potluck (5)
Potluck (5)
Potluck (6)
Potluck (6)
Officer Oaths
Officer Oaths
Officer Oaths
Officer Oaths
The Central Hallows
The Central Hallows
Donn and the Morrigan seated
Donn and the Morrigan seated
The Book of the Dead
The Book of the Dead
Food offerings
Food offerings
Making an offering
Making an offering
Pre-ritual meditation
Pre-ritual meditation
The Ancestor Altar
The Ancestor Altar
Raven
Raven
Darius calls for donations
Darius calls for donations
Member of the folk
Member of the folk
Potluck (1)
Potluck (1)
Potluck (2)
Potluck (2)
Potluck (3)
Potluck (3)
Officer Oaths
Officer Oaths
Officer Oaths (2)
Officer Oaths (2)
The ritual flame
The ritual flame
Donn and the Morrigan seated
Donn and the Morrigan seated
Ian offers the wreath of klutes
Ian offers the wreath of klutes
A ritual invocation
A ritual invocation
Donn and the Morrigan seated (2)
Donn and the Morrigan seated (2)
Ian and Sue sing a praise offering
Ian and Sue sing a praise offering
AJ plays didgeridoo
AJ plays didgeridoo
A singing praise offering
A singing praise offering
Offering Klutes
Offering Klutes
Opening the Gates
Opening the Gates
Making an offering
Making an offering
The Hallows
The Hallows
Pre-Ritual Briefing
Pre-Ritual Briefing
The rebuilt ritual site
The rebuilt ritual site
The back of the ritual hall
The back of the ritual hall
The ritual hall, interior
The ritual hall, interior
The Omen
The Omen
The Ancestor Altar
The Ancestor Altar
The Blessing
The Blessing
The Book of the Dead
The Book of the Dead
Continuing our tradition of reading the Book of the Dead, a record of the newly deceased we wish welcomed into the halls of our ancestors.
Ian makes an offering
Ian makes an offering
AJ welcomes the deities
AJ welcomes the deities
Donn and the Morrigan seated
Donn and the Morrigan seated
AJ welcomes the Morrigan
AJ welcomes the Morrigan
Sue opens the gates
Sue opens the gates
Ian makes an offering
Ian makes an offering
The flames swirl as Ian speaks.
The Folk and the ritual flame
The Folk and the ritual flame
Offering to the deities
Offering to the deities
Treating with the Outdwellers
Treating with the Outdwellers
Offering to Brighid
Offering to Brighid
Offering to the Earth Mother
Offering to the Earth Mother
The ritual flame is lit
The ritual flame is lit
Klaus and AJ
Klaus and AJ
The Ancestor Altar
The Ancestor Altar
Ian and AJ
Ian and AJ
AJ and Julie making an offering
AJ and Julie making an offering
Sue makes an offering
Sue makes an offering
The Hallows
The Hallows
The Folk
The Folk
Ian and Darius, with other members of the folk
Ian and Darius, with other members of the folk
Brennus
Brennus
Pinata (4)
Pinata (4)
The tattered remains revealed a sweet bounty.
Pinata (3)
Pinata (3)
After A.J.'s failed attempt to smite the mighty Eyeball pinata, the young ninjas are called in to save the day.
Pinata (2)
Pinata (2)
After A.J.'s failed attempt to smite the mighty Eyeball pinata, the young ninjas are called in to save the day.
Pinata (1)
Pinata (1)
A.J. Gooch attacks the defenseless pinata.
The Omen
The Omen
The Samhain Omen for 2006
The Hallows
The Hallows
The Grove hallows for Samhain 2006
Closing the Gates
Closing the Gates
The Gates are closed and the rite is ended.
Officer Oaths (3)
Officer Oaths (3)
The new grove officers take their oaths.
Officer Oaths (2)
Officer Oaths (2)
The new grove officers take their oaths.
Officer Oaths (1)
Officer Oaths (1)
The new grove officers take their oaths.
The Blessing
The Blessing
Behold! The Waters of Life!
Reading the Omen
Reading the Omen
The Omen is read by Donn
Offering the Wreath
Offering the Wreath
The wreath with ribbon offerings is then burned in the fire.
Offering the Wreath
Offering the Wreath
Preparing the wreath for its final offering in the fire.
Offering Klutes
Offering Klutes
Black ribbons are tied to the wreath in memory of the departed.
The Book of the Dead
The Book of the Dead
Keeping with tradition for several years now, John reads the Roll of the dead, so that they may be welcomed into the hall of the Gods.
The Deities in the Hall
The Deities in the Hall
Donn and Morrigan are welcomed to the hall.
Inviting the Deities into the Hall
Inviting the Deities into the Hall
Donn and Morrigan are welcomed to the hall.
More Offerings
More Offerings
Offerings to the Kindreds
Offerings to the Kindreds
Making Peace with the Outdwellers
Making Peace with the Outdwellers
The Outdwellers are politely asked to leave us in peace.
Offering to Brighid
Offering to Brighid
An offering of bardic inspiration is made to Brighid.
Offering to the Earth Mother
Offering to the Earth Mother
Pre-Ritual Briefing
Pre-Ritual Briefing
Routinely, Ian gives the pre-ritual briefing
The Ancestor Altar
The Ancestor Altar
Offering to the Morrigan
Offering to the Morrigan
Liafal offers an evocation and offerings to the Morrigan.
The Ancestor Altar
The Ancestor Altar
Our Altar of the Dead, a final offering to the recently departed, many of whom are pictured here.
The Pinata
The Pinata
And it wouldn't be Samhain without the usual indestructible Pinata for the kids to have at.
The Hallows
The Hallows
The Grove Hallows for Samhain, 2004.
Offering Klutes
Offering Klutes
Traditionally we all tie black ribbons to a wreath in memory and honor of the recently departed. The wreath is burned during the final offerings.
Opening the Gates
Opening the Gates
AJ performs the Opening of the Gates.
The Cups of Blessing
The Cups of Blessing
The cups are passed in the "usual manner".
The Offerings
The Offerings
The pre-ritual offerings table. Pork, apples and hazelnuts for the Dead, cornmeal for Aine (the Earth Mother) and bird seed for the Land Spirits
Inducing Trance
Inducing Trance
After the Gates are opened, the Trance-Vision of the Feasting Hall of the Dead is established by Nan.
Post-ritual
Post-ritual
Post ritual congratulations to AJ from Sean, Stacy, Scott and Brennus.
The Book of the Dead
The Book of the Dead
Keeping with long established tradition (going back to 1991), John reads the role of the recently departed Dead.
The Omen
The Omen
The Samhain 2003 Omen for StoneCreed Grove. The first year we've used the Ogham for our Celtic Rite divination.
AJ's Installation
AJ's Installation
A.J. Gooch going through the ritual to become Senior Druid of Stone Creed Grove, a post he would hold for most of the rest of his life.
The Hallows
The Hallows
The Post Ritual Grove Hallows for Stone Creed's 15th annual Samhain.
Offering of Hair
Offering of Hair
As part of the officer oaths, A.J, the new Senior Druid, sacrifices some of his hair. An example of what is traditionally know as the "Druids Tonsure", shaved from ear to ear forward.
Newly Installed Senior Druid A.J. Gooch
Newly Installed Senior Druid A.J. Gooch
Congratulations to A.J. Gooch, Senior Druid for Stone Creed Grove, ADF from Samhain 2003 until Samhain 2004 (and beyond...). Sucker. Watch for his forthcoming book: Hair Care for Druids.
Pre-Ritual Briefing
Pre-Ritual Briefing
A lovely, warm fall day for an outdoor pre-ritual briefing.
Offering Klutes
Offering Klutes
As has been our custom for many years, a wreath is passed through the congregation and black ribbons are tied to it as an offering to our personal, beloved dead.
The Hallows
The Hallows
The StoneCreed Grove Samhain Hallows for 2002.
Offering to Mannanan
Offering to Mannanan
Mannanan is offered to as the Keeper of Ways as we open the Gates between the Worlds...
Handling the Weather
Handling the Weather
Despite the relative chill outside, we were able to batten down the hatches and create a nice snug hall.
Pre-Ritual Fellowship
Pre-Ritual Fellowship
The usual pre-ritual socializing and carousing.
Carving Pumpkins
Carving Pumpkins
A StoneCreed Grove Samhain wouldn't be right without pumpkin carving!
Extended Trance
Extended Trance
Our longest and most complex rite, Samhain includes an extended trance vision of the Underworld Feasting Hall of the Dead.
The Pinata
The Pinata
(left to right) AJ, Jack Skellington, and Nan.
Offering to Nature Spirits
Offering to Nature Spirits
Jake makes the offering to the Sidhe or Spirits of Nature.
Fellowship of the Folk
Fellowship of the Folk
Arriving early gives everyone a chance to relax and schmooze a little. We are very pleased with the community that has grown up around these past 12 years! Feel free to join us at future events!
Breaking the Pinata (2)
Breaking the Pinata (2)
Mojo winds up to deliver the pinata a mighty blow!
Breaking the Pinata (1)
Breaking the Pinata (1)
Another year, another skeleton Pinata. Next year we probably won't blindfold the kids, the pinatas we've been using are nearly indestructable as it is...
The Hallows
The Hallows
The Grove Hallows for Samhain 2001. The beginning of our 12th year ...
The Site
The Site
Considering the time of year and the open air nature of our site, the weather was very cooperative.
Setting up
Setting up
The Grove Hallows and surrounding hall early in the setup phase.
Post-ritual
Post-ritual
Some quick post ritual hugs and then off to the delicious potluck feasting, drumming (and jamming) and pinata for the kids.
The Hallows
The Hallows
The Samhain 2000 StoneCreed Grove Hallows and Ancestor Shrine.
The Folk
The Folk
Despite rumors to the contrary, our congregation is usually awake at the end of the rite.
Shrine to Donn
Shrine to Donn
Shrine to Donn, the first in the House of the Dead. The Samhain Runes are arrayed to the left.
Shrine to the Morrigan
Shrine to the Morrigan
Shrine to the Morrighan with offerings of precious stones and black feathers (among others).
Breaking the Pinata - attempt 1
Breaking the Pinata - attempt 1
A valiant (but failed) attempt to sunder our skeleton pinata!
The Omen
The Omen
What do the Runes tell YOU about the coming year?
Grove Leaders circa 1999
Grove Leaders circa 1999
Sean Miller (former Senior Druid) and Melissa, Outreach Coordinator, 99-00.
Visualizing the Feasting Hall
Visualizing the Feasting Hall
An extended visualization called the mists and lead us to the Feasting Hall of the Gods.
The Hallows
The Hallows
The ubiquitous Grove Hallows.
Deity masks
Deity masks
Masks made by grove members at the Samhain planning meeting. (left) Donn the Dark One, King of the Underworld, Lord of Rebirth (right) The Morrigan, Battle Queen & Initiatrix.
Bards playing guitars
Bards playing guitars
As Dreams On Fire, Grove Bards Richard & Marae entrance the crowd with their dueling guitars.
Drumming
Drumming
Drumming & Singing after a hearty dinner.
The Hallows
The Hallows
The Grove Hallows and Offerings to the Ancestors.
Breaking the Pinata - attempt 2
Breaking the Pinata - attempt 2
Try as they might, they did not slay the tiny paper skeleton until it was torn down from the rafter and ripped to pieces.

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