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Samhain ancestor spell
And so it is, we gather again, The feast of our dead to begin. Our Ancients, our Ancestors we invite, Come! And follow the setting of the sun.
Whom do we call? We call them by name (Name your ancestor that you wish want to welcome.)
The Ancients have come! Here with us stand Where ever the country, where ever the land
They leave us not, to travel alone; Flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone!
Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Great be their Power! Past ones and present-at this very hour!
Welcome within are the dead who are kin, Feast here with us and rest here within
Our hearth is your hearth and welcome to thee;Old tales to tell and new visions to see
To the ancient Celts, the year had two "hinges". These were Beltaine (the first of May) and Samhain, (the first of November), which is also the traditional Celtic New Year. And these two days were the most magical, and often frightening times of the whole year.
The Celtic people were in superstitious awe of times and places "in between". Holy sites were any border places - the shore between land and water (seas, lakes, and rivers), bridges, boundaries between territories (especially when marked by bodies of water), crossroads, thresholds, etc. Holy times were also border times - twilight and dawn marking the transitions of night and day; Beltaine and Samhain marking the transitions of summer and winter.
At Samhain, time lost all meaning and the past, present, and future were one. The dead, and the denizens of the Other World, walked among the living. It was a time of fairies, ghosts, demons, and witches. Winter itself was the Season of Ghosts, and Samhain is the night of their release from the Underworld. Many people lit bonfires to keep the evil spirits at bay. Often a torch was lit and carried around the boundaries of the home and farm, to protect the property and residents against the spirits throughout the winter.
Samhain is also the night of the Great Sabbat for the witches (Ban-Druidh, in Scots Gaelic). On Hallowmas, all the witches of Scotland gather together to celebrate, prophesy, and cast their spells. Tradition has it that on this night, they can be seen flying through the air on broomsticks and eggshells, or riding black cats, ravens, or horses on their wild Hallowmas Ride. The rural people did not dare step outside their doors for fear this night. Some say the Queen of Witches is the Irish Morrigan (also called Morgan le Fay). In other traditions, the Blue Faced Hag of Winter - the Calleach - rules this night.
Many of the traditions of Halloween derive from Pagan and Druid customs. It is a time of prophesies, of disguising oneself to avert evil, of performing rites of protection from the dead and Otherworldly spirits. The ancient Druid practice was to circle the tribal Samhain bonfire with the skulls of their ancestors, who would protect the tribe from demons that night.
by Susa Morgan Black (Druid, FSA Scot)
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