A: The Statement of Purpose and Precedent
We gather here on the Feast of Samhain, the End and Beginning of the Sacred Year, the Time of Turning when the Dark Time begins. This is the Last Harvest. The fields lie empty, sinking into Winter^s Sleep and our larders hold what gain we have reaped from our labors.
As our forebearers did, so do we do now, and so may our descendants do in time to come. We are here to offer worship to the Lord of the House of the Dead and to the Queen of Phantoms; to the Gods, the Dead and the Sidhe; and especially to our honored dead here on the Feast of the Dead.
We offer to Donn the Dark One, the Antlered God who offers hospitality and peace to those bound for the Ancestors' Country. We offer to Morrigan, the Great Queen of Battle and Sorcery; the Old Woman of Death and the Cauldron of Rebirth.
In this Season of Death we honor the Holy Dead as the ancients did, and we seek the Seed that will wait in the Womb of Winter. Now let us open the Ways Between...
B: Honoring the Patron Deities
To the Gods, the Dead and the Sidhe we offer welcome. All you Spirits who gather here with us, join now to honor the Patrons of our rite.
On the Night of the Scythe and the Skull, the honor-feast of Summer's End, let us worship the Dark One and the Great Queen.
The Invocation of Donn
In the season of darkening, the Lord of the House of Death receives the Spirits in his Hall. He is Donn the Dark One, called Cernunnos the Horned One. He is the First Ancestor, the Torc Bearer, The Guardian of the Cauldron of Plenty.
Hear us now, Horned One, Dark one, Receiver of the Dead, Granter of Rest, Patron of the Feast in the Land of the Dead. We your children pray you to come in, to let your gaze fall upon this Sacred Ground, to indwell our rite and give us your blessing.
We make due offering to you. We give you...
(offering made into shaft or offering bowl.)
Silver, that you grant the wealth of the Underworld, Source of All Potential.
(offering made to the Fire)
Oil, that the richness of the Land be renewed as our own lives are renewed.
(offering placed at the foot of the Tree)
Horn, that the beings who know you may bless us in the Season of Hunting.
Be welcome among us, Donn; Dark One, accept our sacrifice!
The Invocation of Morrigan
As the Earth falls into sleep the Queen of Spirits is choosing those who will go to the Cauldron of Rebirth. She is Morrigan, the Great Queen of Phantoms, the Chooser of the Slain. She is the Battle Raven, the Red Woman, Mistress of the Cauldron.
Hear us now, Red One, Great Queen, Lady of the Reaping, Cauldron-Witch of Sorcery and Prophecy. We your children pray that you be with us, that you look kindly upon our holy rite, that you come into our Grove and give us your blessing.
We give due offering to you. We give you...
Precious stone, that the Bones of the Earth may be clothed again in life.
Whiskey, that the Waters of Life May flow in us and Spirit indwell flesh.
Feathers, that your raven Eye watch over us in the Season of Sleep.
Be welcome among us Morrigan; Great Queen, accept our sacrifice!
C: Honoring the Ancestors
On the feast of Samhain the veils between the worlds are thin. We call to our Beloved Dead, the blessed Ancestors, to join our feast and receive due offering.
Come to the Gates, honored ones; hear our call, we your children who remember. We offer you our worship, our reverence and our love.
You who fill the empty womb, you who cause the seed to spring to spring, you who fill the breast with milk, receive now these offerings, made in your honor:
Apples, the Fruit of Life and Death.
Pork, the flesh of the Sacred Sow.
Hazel nuts, concentrated meat of wisdom.
We offer these...
(some of each offering made to the shaft)
To the ancient heroes of the Pagan World; those men and women who did the bidding of the Gods for the good of the folk.
To the honored Dead of the passed year; those women and men of our folk who inspired and guided our whole world.
To our own Beloved Dead, Grandmothers-and-Fathers, family and friends who have gone ahead, we honor you and grieve for you. (offering made)
To all of you we give these fruits and meats that you may feast in joy in the Land of the Dead.
D: During the Praise Offerings
While the Praise Offerings are made, a wreath is passed among the people and all who wish tie a black ribbon onto the wreath in commemoration of their own dead. This wreath is then given to the fire at the Prayer of Sacrifice.
E: The Blessing
The Ale of Blessing flows in us, filling us with the magic of Morrigan and Donn. As the year turns, let us welcome the quiet of the Dark. Let the stillness of the land calm and satisfy our spirits, allowing us to receive the Harvest's Bounty. Let the gain of the passing year be ours, to fill our lives with contentment. Let us welcome the Dead who wish to return to the living world, even as we remember those who depart. May we rest content as we pass the threshold of new beginnings.
The Death Song
(Repaganized from the Carmina Gadelica)
You go home this night to your home of winter,
To your home of fall, of spring, of summer,
You go home this night to the Turning House,
To your pleasant rest in the Land of Joy.
Rest you, rest, and away with sorrow,
Rest this night in the Mother's Breast,
Rest you, rest, and away with sorrow,
Rest, O beloved, with the Mother's Kiss.
In the Many Colored Land;
In the Land of the Dead;
In the Plain of Joy;
In the Land Beneath the Wave;
In the Land of Youth;
In the Land of the Ever-Living;
In the Revolving Castle, the House of Donn.
Rest in seven lights, beloved,
Rest in seven joys, beloved,
Rest in seven sleeps, beloved,
In the Grove of the Cauldron, Morrigan's Shrine.
The shadow of death is on your face, beloved
But the Cauldron of Rebirth awaits you,
The threefold turning of your Fate,
When your rest has given you your peace.
So rest in the calm of all calms,
Rest in the wisdom of all wisdoms,
Rest in the love of all loves,
Rest in the Lord of Life and Death,
Rest in the Lady of Life and Death,
Till the Season of Turning
Till the Time of Returning
Till the Mystery of the Cauldron