Samhain is the old name for All Hallow's Eve, or Hallowe'en. It originally marked the change of season from summer to winter, together with the shift of emphasis from the (summer) Goddess- overlooking the crops- to the (winter) God-overlooking the hunt.
[The outer edge of the Circle may be decorated with autumnal flowers, branches, pine-cones, small pumpkins, etc .. There may also be flowers on the Altar. On the Altar (or on the ground beside it, if there is insufficient room) rests the Priest's Horned Helmet.)
"As Goddess-Summer draws to a close.
So begin the dark months of the God-Winter.
All praise be to Freya, and to Woden her Consort."
All: "All praise!"
Priestess (raising Seax):
"Gracious Goddess, we thank you.
For the joys of Summer;
For the crops, the harvest;
For life, for love.
We, who love you, as we know you love us.
Return again next year, when your time is come.
When your companion-love, our Lord,
Has led us safely through the dark.
We love you and honor you Freya, most beautiful."
[Priestess puts Seax in its sheath then takes up Horned Helmet and holds it high.]
"Here do I hold the symbol of Woden the Mighty One,
Lord of Life and of Death.
As he will guard us and guide us Through the months to come,
So will his servant, our Priest, here."
[She places Horned Helmet on Priest's head.]
"Now do you, ... (Priest's Name) represent Woden.
For him you speak; for him you act.
Lead us, we ask you, through the hardships
That lie ahead, that again we may see
The glory of spring, and the love of our Lady Freya."
"As Lord of Life, of Love, of Death,
Would Lord Woden bid you have no fear.
So be it!
With my lady at my side
I shall know always there is light.
I shall know always there is hope of life to come.
I will lead you happily as I lead those
Who have gone before, yet are here now.
So be it!"
"So be it!"
[Priest and Priestess kiss. Priestess leads others around circle, as Priest stands facing out from the Altar. Each male embraces the Priest; each female kisses him. When all are back to their places Priest replaces Horned Helmet on the Altar.]
"Now is the time for celebration, to give us strength, to give us joy.
Our loved ones return from Dreun to join with us.
Let us greet them, and one another. Let us feast and make merry.
Let us remember those who have gone on to the domains of the Mighty Ones.
That they may return briefly to revel with us is good.
This night is for merriment 'ere the hardships of winter enfold us. Be happy all. So be it!"
"So be it!"
[Then shall follow the Ceremony of Cakes and Ale followed by games and merriment.]
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