Reflecting back on Samhain ’16

This Samhain marked the beginning of my partner and I reintegrating into a sabbat practice. It was glorious. Not only did I initiate into the Bardic Grade of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, but we also performed the “solo” version of the Order’s Samhain ritual together, splitting up roles, reading together, and modifying as necessary. Afterwards, we had a beautiful “dumb supper,” a silent dinner where you serve the Spirits/Divine and sit around a dinner table eating with them in silence.

One thing at a time, I suppose. The Bardic initiation went really well. My partner and I had talked about helping guide each other through our initiations, but at the last moment I decided to go it alone. I am glad I did because I was able to shout to the heavens so to speak without feeling self conscious – something I am still working on. More on that later.

During the initiation, I drummed for myself on a goat-skin Native American style hand drum, and was able to make contact with my Druid mentor, Aine, as well as rekindle a relationship with my old Power Animal, Shayva/Sheva the Owl (she does not speak, so I have never gotten confirmation on the spelling of her name). On my council, or people greeting me there, were my Owl, Galen (my Komodo), Brigid, Jesus, Aine, and Caine (my partner’s spirit-self). It was pretty routine as far as what they had to offer, but I was surprised to see Jesus there. He was funny though; he told me that his father is a bit crazy for thinking I, or anyone, could ever be expected to think he’s the only god. He told me it is okay that I am no longer Christian, and that he respects me continuing to call on him for healing work from time to time.

Later that day, we did both the Samhain ritual and the dumb supper. The Samhain ritual focused on connecting with Ancestors and meeting with the Cailleach (I won’t say too much on this as it is a private OBOD ceremony and as a member of the Order, we keep conversations about Order practices amongst members). It was a beautiful ceremony, performed in our tiny bedroom ritual space. While it was a bit cramped with all the movement we needed to do, we made due.

Afterwards, we had the silent supper with the ancestors and our Goddesses (Brigid & Morrigan). We set the table in black and shrouded the head table. I laid out a candle for each ancestor, passed one, or spirit we wanted to invite and labeled name tags with black paper and silver marker. For supper, we served crusty rosemary bread, steak with sage apples & onions (see the recipe on this website), roasted kohlrabi, carrots, and turnips, apple pie, and chocolate. We made mulled cider and had red wine as well.

The dinner was entirely served in silence with the head seat served first. Then, we gave silent thanks to the ancestors and those who had joined us. I had the distinct feeling that I was not alone throughout the process, though I found myself in a greatly altered state. I had trouble focusing on my actual space. It felt as if our house was in a different space altogether. My partner actually experienced seeing shimmers and shadows shifts. We were definitely not alone.

After the dinner, I took the plates and libation bowls from our ritual out back to allow the spirits to access them overnight. In the morning, I went out to check them. Now, mind you, we don’t live in a very wooded area. We get very few animals around as it’s a highly residential apartment/townhouse complex. The plates and libation bowls were CLEANED. The honey on the bottom of the bowls was even gone. But… The matches I had put in the bottom of the libation bowl still remained, neatly laid there as if never touched. It was definitely eery. I figured if it was a raccoon, the raccoon would have taken the matches as well. Suspicious!

Afterwards, we did some divination. I did a yearlong tarot reading for myself, being the Witches’ New Year. My cars were in flux, giving me very unclear answers. There seemed to be a ton of creativity in my future (I did make this blog a day later). On the flip-side, some kind of turmoil and maybe falling out with my family as related to my creativity. I am certainly stumped. I tried to get a bit of clarity on it, but the pendulum and the cards were in flux. In fact, my partner tried to do something and got his only maybe ever. Suffice it to say, we were both stumped.

I tried out a new oracle deck of mine which shouted loudly at me that I need to work on my confidence – a theme that has now surfaced in readings and from my Goddess, Druid guide, power animals, and everyone else. Bottom line? I need to work on my confidence. I’m just trying to figure out what that looks like now.

All in all, it was a great holiday for us and a wonderful start to our reintegration.

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