Calendar of the Sun for Samhain, October 31

Calendar of the Sun

31 Winterfyllith


Color: Black
Element: Air
Altar: The altar should be set as a table with a fine cloth and good dishes, and food for the Dead. Among the dishes places skulls, bones, a brazier, black candles, and pictures or items of the Dead.
Offerings: Give food to the Dead. Give divination to each other.
Daily Meal: Anything, so long as it is shared with the Dead.

Ritual Note: Like all the eight high holidays, this day should ideally be spent not enclosed and isolated, but in common with the larger pagan community. This can be done a number of ways, including spending the day elsewhere, at the Brigid’s Day ritual of another group or tradition, or by inviting in those pagans who would otherwise not be able to attend a ritual. Either way, the eight holidays should be a time of remembering the place of the house in the greater community. If the choice is made to go elsewhere, then no liturgy is needed for the day. If the choice is made to bring the greater community into the lesser one, the following ritual can be used.

This is the only rite on the solar calendar that is not celebrated at the hour of Sponde. Instead, Sponde is used for silent, solitary meditation. The Samhain rite is begun at Arktos, and all keep vigil overnight until Auge on the following day.

Samhain Ritual

(Four who have been chosen to do the work of the ritual come forward and cast the quarters.)

East Caller: Spirits of the East, powers of air
Winds that carry our ashes, winds that bear our cries,
Our howling on your black wings,
Today we speak for the beloved Dead,
We call to the Dead, and honor them with our voices!
Hear us!
South Caller: Spirits of the south, powers of fire
Flame of the altar and the cremation ground,
Stroke of scorched lightning,
We purify our lives as the funeral pyre,
We burn for the Dead, and honor them with our transformations!
Hear us!
West Caller: Spirits of the west, powers of water,
Still pools deep under the ground,
Drowning depths and freezing ice,
We give over our hearts to Necessity,
We drink with the Dead, and honor them with our surrender.
Hear us!
North Caller: Spirits of the north, powers of Earth,
Blackness that surrounds us, buries us,
Dust and the silence of waiting,
We see mortality etched onto our bodies,
We go into the Earth with the Dead, and honor them with our hands.
Hear us!

(One steps forward and holds high a cup of wine, saying:)

Drink, then, for the Dead!
Name them, those whom you have loved
Who have passed forth from this world
But are not forgotten.
Name them, those whom you never met
Save through words, or tales, yet still
Found a bond there to inspire,
To create courage, or brotherhood.
Name your ancestors of the blood,
Name your ancestors of the spirit.
Name your ancestors of the tribe.
Name your ancestors of the faith.
Call also to those for whom you have no names
But without whom you would not have been born.
Call to our Dead, as we do every year,
Remind them that they are not forgotten,
Remind them that they are still loved.

(The cup is passed, and each speaks of their beloved Dead. As they finish and drink from the cup, all say, “And he (or she, or they) too has a place at this table.” One follows behind the cup with a bunch of dried roses, collected and dried throughout the year from any rituals that used them, and gives each one a rose. The remainder of the roses are placed on the table. Another steps forth and holds high a crystal ball, and speaks the following as a call and response with all:)

Hail the Veil Between The Worlds!
Hail the bones in the Earth,
Hail the ashes in the fire,
Hail the fishes’ meal in the ocean,
Hail the birds’ meal on the mountaintop!
Hail the Hounds of Hel who eat the corpse!
Hail the Raven and the Vulture!
Hail the path which someday we all shall walk,
But we shall not walk alone!
Hail to our ancestors, who open the way for us!
Hail to the cold white breath of the Moon!
Hail to the drying heat of the Sun!
Hail to the ever-turning wheel of the stars!
Hail to salt of Earth and salt of tears!
Hail to the rot which feeds all new growth!
Hail to the cycle, which spins eternally!
Hail to the Dark, which is the counterpart of Light,
Hail to that Dark from which all life springs!
Hail to those who passed the Veil and returned,
Hail to those folk that we once have been,
And hail to those we will be again!
Hail to the Dead!
Hail to the Dead!
Hail to the Dead!

Door of the ages
Veil of the years
Door of the darkness
Veil of our tears
Winds of our sorrow
Lift us in flight
Winds of tomorrow
Lift up our sight
Stones of the graveyard
Path we walk on
Stones of the labyrinth
Path of the dawn

(Each goes forth and places their dried rose in the fire of the brazier. Then one steps forward and says:)

The year is turning, and we stand at the crossroads.
Remember as you keep your vigil tonight,
That Darkness yields always to Light,
As Light yields always to Darkness,
And so shall it be, always and forever,
And so mote it be.

(All repeat “So mote it be.” Then all leave the room chanting together, and go solitary into various places to keep their vigil. The altar room is left as a feast for the Dead.)


[Pagan Book of Hours]