Pages Navigation Menu

Samhain Script, 2002

First Parish of Sudbury, Saturday, October 26, 2002, 6pm

Altar:  decorations-jack o’lantern, leaves, candle, turnips & rutabegas, antlers

For the ritual- apples and pomegranates, cutting board & knife, platter for serving, napkins or damp towel passed around after pomegranate and apples as part of the communion. During the ritual after cutting the apple and shouting “Behold the fruit of death, walk around the circle to show each covener the pentacle in the apple.  The pomegranate will be passed around to each one, and then apple pieces.
Room: 4 candles in high stands at the 4 directions
Set up chairs in a circle (40), remove extras before starting ritual.  The chairs at each of the 4 directions are occupied by the four direction leaders (north, south, east, and west).  Behind each of these chairs is a tall candlestick with candle to be lit during the ritual.  In the center of the circle is a table (alter decorated appropriately and holding the pomegranates, apples, cutting board & knife.

Isle:  box of gravel or sand, many candles, other candles in holders,

Menu: Pot luck





WARM UP MUSIC (all sing)
Possibilities include: Bones of John, We Come From the Mountain, Circle of the Sun, Scarborough Fair, Urge For Goin, In My Life, John Barleycorn, The Ash Grove, Dancing at Whitsun, Thanksgiving Eve, Circle Game, Blackbird.



OPENING WORDS (adapted from Starhawk, Circle Round)
In ancient times, Samhain (sow-en) was believed to be the time when the veil was thin between the world of the living and the world of the dead.  Our ancestors could return to visit us, to give us help and advice.  People set lights in hollowed out turnips to guide the spirits of the dead, and put out food as an offering.  These customs live on today in Halloween.  The lights have become our Jack O’Lanterns, and the offerings our trick or treat candy.  And the spirits of the dead have become the ghosts and skeletons and scary monsters of our costumes and decorations.

To Pagans, death is a natural part of life.  Without death there would be no room for birth, no change, no growth.  Pagans are not afraid of the spirits of the dead.  The dead are our friends and family, our ancestors, who gave us life, our “beloved dead”.  Their world is a bright and beautiful place.

At Samhain, the Goddess appears as the Crone, who teaches us wisdom and helps us let go when we need to change and grow.  At Samhain the God appears as the proud stag with full antlers.  He is the god of the hunt and represents the animal that gives its life so that others may be fed.


This is the time when the veil is thin that divides the worlds.  It is the New Year in the time of the year’s death, when the harvest is gathered and the fields lie fallow.  For tonight the King of the Waning Year has sailed over the sunless sea that is the womb of the Mother, and steps ashore on the Shining Isle, becoming the seed of his own rebirth.

The gates of life and death are opened; the Sun Child is conceived; the dead walk, and to the living is revealed the Mystery; the mystery that every ending is but a new beginning.  We meet in time out of time, everywhere and nowhere, here and there, to greet the Lord of Death who is indeed the Lord of Life, and the Goddess who is the circle of rebirth.

(Make sure all gathered have chairs and are comfortable.  Indicate ALL RISE, then walk quickly around the circle clockwise with arms out saying,)

All Rise
Let the circle be cast!


(Each reader will stand and light the appropriate candle just before reading the invocation.)
Spirit of the East, spirit of fire, of morning and springtime: Be with us as the sun rises, in times of beginning, times of planting.  Inspire us with the fresh breath of courage as we go forth into new adventures.

Spirit of the South, spirit of fire, of noontime and summer.  Be with us through the heat of the day and help us to be ever growing.   Warm us with strength and energy for the work that awaits us.

Spirit of the West, spirit of water, of evening and autumn: Be with us as the sun sets and help us to enjoy a rich harvest.  Flow through us with a cooling, healing quietness and bring us peace.

Spirit of the North, spirit of earth, of nighttime and Winter.  Be with us in the darkness, in the time of gestation. Ground us in the wisdom of the changing seasons as we celebrate the spiraling journey of our lives.

Lady, Goddess of light and dark.
We thank you for blessings and abundance.
We ask you to join us in our circle.

Lord, God of Light and dark.
We thank you for blessings and abundance.
We ask you to join us in our circle.

The circle is cast.
We are between the worlds, Beyond the bounds of time,
Where night and day, Birth and death,
Joy and Sorrow, Meet as one.
The Ritual is begun!



THE GUIDE – MARION  (adapted from Starhawk, Circle Round)
We are going on a journey in our imagination.  Get comfortable, close your eyes, relax, and imagine . . .

The room is filled with an earthy, animal smell. Before you stands the glowing spirit of Grandfather Deer, the oldest and wisest stag in the forest, with many-branching antlers he wears proudly on his head.

“Hop on my back, and I will take you someplace,” he says.

You climb on his back, and hold tight to his antlers. He moves so swiftly and smoothly, you feel like you are flying, out of the room, over the tops of trees, out past the streets and the cars, out into the spirit world of swirling color.

At last you come to a sandy beach by the shore of a dark ocean. You are not afraid, even though you can’t see much in the dark.

Get down off my back,” Grandfather Deer says. “I cannot take you any farther. Now you must go on by boat.”

You slide down off Grandfather Deer’s back, and thank him. A boat glides across the water and you hear the crunch of sand under the keel as it reaches the beach.

“Do you wish to ride in my boat?” says a voice that sounds different to everyone who hears it. Some hear a woman’s voice, some hear a man’s. Some hear a child or an animal or a bird. What do you hear?

“Do you wish to visit the Shining Isle across the Sunless Sea?” the voice says.

“Yes,” you say.

“Then you must pay me something.  Tell me a story about something you have done that was hard for you to do.”

What story do you tell?  (wait a while before continuing)

“Climb into the boat,” the voice says.

You climb aboard, and the boat slips away from shore. It moves silently over the dark water.

In the distance, something shines. Slowly It grows bigger and brighter. You begin to smell something very sweet on the air, something that reminds you of fruit and flowers.

Now you can see the shining thing is an island in the distance, that grows bigger as you approach. On the shore are beautiful trees and flowers that shine with a light of their own.

“Who lives on that island?” you ask.

“The beloved dead, and the unborn,” says the voice,

“Am I dead?” you ask.

“No. This is Samhain, the only time of the year when the living can visit this island.”

The boat reaches the shore, and the sand scrapes under its keel.  You thank the boatman as you jump off and wade through shallow surf to the shore.

You step up onto the shore of a magic land that looks different to every person who comes here. You see the most beautiful place you can imagine.  Someone is there to greet you, an ancestor, someone who loves you very much. Who is it? Is it someone you know and miss and remember, or someone you have never met before? Or is it someone you have met in a dream?  (pause a moment)

Now, you may open your eyes.

For here all eyes are opened
You warriors, here your battles are over.
You workers, here your tasks are done!
You who have been hurt, here find healing!
You who are weary, here Find rest.
You who are old, here grow young again!

For this is the land of Youth,
The Shining Land, the Isle of Apples.
Here woods never fail; here there is a tree,
Sink down, Sink to sleep,  beside that, deep, green well.
Heart’s Ease and Sorrows end
Dream of those you miss,
Now is the time to think of them.
If there is someone you’d like to visit,
Visit them now.  If  there is something you wished
To say to them, either say it aloud or just to them.
When you are done, light a candle.

Heart’s Ease and sorrows Abey,
The Gate is open, What would you say…

We invite anyone who hasn’t lit a candle to do so now,

TRACY (Holds up pomegranate fruit showing it to coveners) (memorize this part)
Behold the fruit of life, Which is death.
Taste the seeds of death
(KATIE LEE & TRACY pass the seeds around for each covener to eat some)

KATIE LEE (Halve the apple crossways to reveal pentacle) (memorize this part)
Behold the fruit of death,
Which is life.
(Pass around the circle, showing each person the pentacle)

Behold the fivefold star of rebirth.
Taste the fruit Of life
(KATIE LEE & TRACY  pass the apple pieces around for each Covener to eat some)

(KATIE LEE & TRACY pass a damp towel around to each covener to wipe hands)

KATIE LEE (memorize this part)
Now take each others’ hands and hold them up.   Here is the circle of rebirth.
Through the God all Passes out of life, through the Goddess all are born.
Everything passes, changes. Seed becomes fruit, Fruit becomes seed.
In birth We die; on death, we Feed.
Know and be free of all Fear.
For the womb is the cauldron of rebirth,
The circle is ever turning.

THE GUIDE – MARION  (adapted from Starhawk, Circle Round)
Now, get comfortable, close your eyes again, relax, and imagine . . .

An old, old woman appears. She is so old her face is covered with wrinkles, but her eyes are so bright they glow like two big moons. At her feet is a big, round iron pot–a cauldron–and she is stirring something in it with a big wooden spoon, around and around and around.

You go close to the cauldron and look inside. At first it seems dark, but then you notice thousands of tiny, glowing lights, like little stars. Around and around and around they swirl, until you get a little dizzy from watching them.

“Those are the souls of the dead,” the old woman says.  “And they are also the souls of the unborn.  In my cauldron, I brew them back into life. Would you like to taste my brew?”

She holds out her spoon and puts one drop of her brew on your tongue. It tastes like the best thing in the world you can imagine. Just one drop is enough to leave you perfectly satisfied. You look into her eyes again and realize she is the Goddess.

“Remember this taste,” she tells you, “whenever you are afraid or have to do something hard. It will give you strength and courage. But now it is time to go.”

Sadly you say goodbye to the Goddess, to your ancestor, and to everyone you have met here on the Shining Isle.  A whole year will pass before you can visit here again, but you will remember your ancestor, and maybe in your dreams you will meet again.  You walk slowly back to the shore.  As you walk you see a special apple, you pick it up and put it in your pocket.

At the shore the boat waits for you. You step inside and feel the scraping of the keel on the sand as it pushes off across the dark, dark waters of the Sunless Sea.

Now the boat reaches the shore again, and you thank the boatman. On the shore Grandfather Deer waits. You smell his warm, animal smell and the rich smell of moist earth. You jump out, splashing through the shallow surf, and climb onto Grandfather Deer’s back.

Again you fly through the swirling colors of the spirit world, back over the treetops and the streets, to First Parish church again. You thank Grandfather Deer as you slide down from his back and you feed him the special apple.

Our journey is ended.  You may open your eyes.


Lady and Lord, Goddess and God,
We thank you for your presence
For your circle, For light and Love, For fear and hope,
We ask for your blessing
As you depart
Hail and Farewell! Blessed Be.


Spirit of the East, Spirit of air,
of morning and of Springtime,

We thank you For joining in our circle.

spirit Of the South, Spirit of Fire,
of noontime and of Summer

We thank you for joining in our circle.

Spirit of the West, Spirit of water,
of evening and of Autumn,

We thank you for joining in our circle.

Spirit of the North, Spirit of earth,
of nighttime and of winter

We thank you for joining in Our circle.  And we ask for your blessing
As you depart.
May there be peace between us,
Now and forever.  Blessed Be.

The circle is open, but unbroken,
May the peace of the Goddess
Go in your hearts,
Merry meet, Merry Part,
And merry meet again. Blessed Be.

Blessed Be.