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Historical Facts about Samhain By Michael W. Ford

Much like Luciferian philosophy, liminality is a common aspect in the foundation of Balance. Between the world of the day and of the night, Samhain is rooted in the in-between world of the living, the dead, and the veil bringing the Otherworld into this existence. Samhain is an ancient Gaelic festival which marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of Winter, essentially the darker half of the year. The beginning of the celebration of Samhain begins on the evening of October 31st, into November 1st traditionally. As a Gaelic festival, the Celtic tribes of Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland, and most likely into the Gaulish tribes of Europe.  

The word Samhain means “the ending of summer” and is derived from two words, samh, “summer”, and fuin, “end”. As a liminal mark, Samhain represents the end of the light half of the year and the beginning of the dark half opening towards a new year. An ancient name for the festival was “Oiche Shamhna”, meaning ‘eve of Samhain’. The Brittonic celts celebrated Samhain under different names, such as “Calan Gaeaf”, marked as the first day of winter among those of Wales, “Kalan Gwav” among those of Cornwall, England, and “Kalan Goañv” of Brittany in Northern France.

In the modern traditions, Samhain is identified as Hallowmas, the Feast of All Saints, a later Christian adaptation in attempt to slowly erase the Celtic Pagan festival. While the Christian feast was originally celebrated on the twenty-first of February, Pope Gregory changed it to the present date in 835 CE to align with the Church’s policy of using the dates of pre-Christian festivals for the celebration of the Christian ones.  

Samhain represents a powerful time of the year, important enough for the Christian Church to change the date of Hallowmas nearly four months to align with Samhain. Samhain marks the beginning of the near year, the start of winter, being the season of the cold and dying (and entry into the Netherworld in other ancient religious cycles). The gateway between the world of the living and the dead were very thin at this time, wherein the dead and the faeries (ancestral, deified dead) were able to freely make their presence known to the living.

Samhain is a liminal holiday, meaning a threshold or bridge between the world of the living and the Otherworld. The Otherworld or Netherworld is the metaphysical realm of the dead and those known as the Aos Sí, also the older Aes Sídhe, the Sidhe being Faeries (deified dead and ancestral dead). As being a time when the veil can be breached, a time of chaos and the cosmic order of things can be turned on its’ head, a period of misrule.

Depending upon the Judeo-Christian or Pagan influence of the concept of the Sidhe or Faeries, they were considered descendants of the Fallen Angels or Tuatha Dé Danann, meaning the “Tribe of Danu”, the ancestral mother goddess Danu, associated with the Celtic lands.

The spirits of the dead are not overwhelmingly barred from walking the earth, they are known to return to their families and homes, joining in with the celebrations. This also includes hauntings and similar paranormal actions occurring potentially.

In ancient times, festivals would include feasting at burial mounds, known also as a tumulus or sidhe mounds, where the dark faeries and dead would join in spirit with the living. These ancient hills were tombs pilled with earth until great mounds were left. This expresses the continuance of the living and dead, the cycles and balance between darkness and light.

Celebrations from ancient to modern times include mummers, those in costume, acting out cosmic plays with the offerings of some food at the end. The dead would have also some foods set out for them as well; gifts of honoring and remember those who prepared the way for you and to celebrate the cycles of darkness and light. We can recognize the survival of this tradition in modern Halloween, with those in costumes seeking candy or as a result, tricks, being symbolic of the response of the ghosts and Sidhe of ancient times.

OF RITUAL AND CELEBRATION IN WITCHCRAFT

To provide an example, the following SAMHAIN Ceremony was adapted from “The Regency” Coven tradition for practice in Luciferian & Cainite Witchcraft rituals. “Regency” was the coven which carried on the 1734 Tradition after the death of Robert Cochrane. The Regency was a coven with an Arthurian Mythos founded in 1966.

The adaptations are slight as the core elements of ritual craft practice in Luciferianism were derived from many of the same traditions and ritual inductions, passing on power into the current manifestation. This Samhain Ritual was adapted slightly for the Luciferian tradition by the present author, although, simple variations and adaptations including solitary practice may easily be utilized.

SAMHAIN RITUAL: Beyond the Veil

Setforth by Michael W. Ford and published by Succubus Productions for Luciferian Apotheca.

October 2014-2017

 

The Magister, the master of the coven, will either beat out a rhythm with his stave (horned staff representing authority and the power of the Devil, meaning the Horned God). The Lady will bring forth the Skull and Apples, placing them upon the altar with pinecones. The Skull will be the center of the altar and candles should be 2 black, 2 white and 1 purple.

M (agister): This is the season of death, and all must partake in the feast of darkness and phantom fire.

[All move forward and each participant burns an offering of incense.]

M: We must participate in the sacred conflict and game, come forward. The Lady awaits the cast of your throw.

[Each throws a dice and once each number is revealed, the witch or warlock says:]

S(ummoner): This throw is cast and is good. You cannot remain in this realm of physical life and fleshly existence. Death awaits you across the water.

[The Summoner hands each a coin and recites:]

S: This is your fee for the boatman we call Charon or his many ancient names. The Lady awaits.

[Each passes from the first room to the second which is in darkness except for a single purple candle which burns in the north or west of the chamber. Before the candle is a bowl in which they place the coin into. The witches then walk widdershins around the room.]

M: This is the place of dust and ashes; this is the phantom-land of waiting and pleasurable darkness. These are the dead waiting before the gate. This is the place of the skull, the outer darkness of the netherworld. The wolves and hounds of death hunt immortal here. Blood is drank by the darkened birds of prey and demons which guard this sacred place, the icy air is around us all. This is the place of dust and darkness, the abode of ashes.

M: In this dark place called by some Sheol, Hades or Irkalla, let us rest and contemplate death: beyond this dark between there are the Gates of Death. There sits upon a rock-hewn Throne of the terrible and dread Lord of Death and at his side the Lady of the Underworld. This is the dark abode of the spirit, but you must fear not – no wolf or hound of hell hunts here. We are stripped of worldly guise; in death we find life in the power-bringing darkness. Do not reject the light by huddling in the shadows of despair. Do not lay fear and torment on your brow by seeking to hide from the wisdom within your soul. Let us open the inner visions that we may see the dark phantom lands of death which are at our journey’s end.

[The Magister taps three times with the stave and calls, “Haides, Haides, Haides”]

I command the Gates of Death to open.

[M: Taps thrice and thrice again:] Nine – the number of the Lady of Death.

M: Great Goddess who gave us birth and brings us death, Queen of the Dead who is mirrored by the Queen of Life, we honor thee as we face the great darkness of the unknown. Thou who brings us wisdom, who is blazing with the light of the evening and morning star; show us the gates of thy Dark Land; give us to speak with the dead and mighty ones who have gone before. O Great Goddess of many names, hear us!

W(itches): Morrigan, Macha, Queen of the Isle of Avalon; Goddess of the Elphame, hear us!

[M: Picks up Skull from altar and turns to face the coven, holding the abode of the spirit (Skull) up:]

M: She has spoken; the gates of death are open. It is time for the dead to cross over and join with us: Come, arise from your secret land O mighty spirits of the dead! Let us greet and commune with the shades who join us!

[M: Taps thrice and silence is observed for roughly five minutes.]

[M: Taps thrice and thrice again:]

M: Nine, the number of Our Lady of the Elphame.

L: O Queen of the Night, Morrigan, We walk with you. O Horned God who bears terrifying radiance, we talk with you. O Lord of Death, we speak with you. O Lady of Life, hear us blazing morning star!

[M: Taps thirteen times – the number of moons in the wheel of the year.]

L: Grant us entry to the Isle of Avalon, that Isle of Apples beyond the setting Sun. We are the dead, seeking entry at your Gate!

[Red wine or chosen drink is poured into the goblets.]

M: We drink the blood of our gods; we drink the blood of life. Reborn we cast aside and rise from the Shadows of Death.

[Candles are lit around the room from the one behind the Skull.]

M: As a token of rebirth we take and eat this sacred apple.

[Each witch takes an apple from the bowl hidden behind the Skull.]

L: The Wisdom of Life and the Dark Wisdom of Death are yours.

M: The Gates of Death are closing. Let us go forth into the world in happiness, praise be to the mighty dead. Praise and thanks to the Lord and Lady of Death. The ceremony is closed, let us shine with the morning star of wisdom and power, welcome life with the sacred kiss.

[M: Closes the Gates of the Death by a banishing gesture with his stave. All leave the room and are kissed by the Lady as they pass through the door.]

All candles are extinguished, and the door is closed.

END OF RITUAL

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