November 1st, 2015

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Samhain ritual

Last Friday night, I went to a Samhain ritual hosted by SisterSpirit, a women's-only pagan group that includes and welcomes trans women, that Amanda - a friend from Sorcha's pagan meetup told me about. I was expecting - like a lot of pagan events in Portland - that there wouldn't be many people, maybe 10 or 15 people at most, but I was very much pleasantly surprised by how many showed up. I don't know how many there were, but I'd guess maybe at least 25 or 30 people. There were so many people that, large as the room was, there wasn't enough room for everyone to form a single circle even though they'd gone as big with the circle as they could, so there were two other rows of people sitting behind the 1/4th of the circle nearest the door. Naturally, with more people than they'd expected, they ran out of programs for the ritual, and people had to share.

I honestly don't remember the details well enough to do a blow by blow, but there was chanting, singing, the circle was cast, energy raising, etc. The Goddess of the ritual was Hecate. Candles were lit for deceased loved ones; I lit a candle for my maternal grandmother (Gramma Cripe, as I call her), as hers was the most significant death in my life. There was a bit where we all took an actual dead leaf, cast into it something we wanted to be rid of in the new year (Samhain being Witches' New Year), and buried them in dirt; the whole lot is going to be buried up in Forest Park. (I chose "Anxiety" for my leaf.) Another part of the ritual had us doing something called a spiral dance, where we're supposed to take the hand of the person in front of us and follow them as everyone dances in a spiral that moves in and out of the area inside the circle. Only, I still had my hands full with this drum thing from an earlier part of the ritual, and since there were other drummers still and I was at the end of the chain anyway, I just kept my eyes on the person in front of me and followed along, which worked a lot better than I'd hoped it would.

Then, after all the excitement of the spiral dance, we sat down and communed with one of our departed loved ones silently for several minutes. Again, I went with Gramma Cripe. In the vision, she embraced me, and I turned into Molly and she held me. Molly and she spoke, about what I will not say, but I will say that it was lovely and touching and there was silent crying involved, and I was not the only person in the room (by far) who was crying.

I also noticed there were several black women and several other women of color there, which is cool. Diversity in pagan communities is always great to see. :-)

Oh yeah, and there was this young girl, maybe 9 or 10 years old, who had the most incredibly beautiful witch dress and matching pointy hat on, purple and black with metallic spiders & spiderwebs in either silver or gold (or both), and some kind of hoop or the like in the skirt, which made it keep a flared look; and a toy broom with some kind of covering on it in the same fabric as the dress. She also had an adorable cat purse that made me want to squee!

She wasn't the only one in costume by far; the instructions on the FB page said to wear something witchy, so a lot of people wore witchy costumes. I would have worn either my sorceress dress or my black robes, but the dress has been sitting in the limbo of needing repair for over a year, and I'm pretty sure the black robes are still in storage. Ah well, I had my cloak with me, and I wore an outfit as witchy as I could do with my normal clothes. I also wore my Shao'Ahn'Dih'Gahn necklace, one of my pentagram necklaces, and this necklace of a hand holding a crystal ball that I inherited from Gramma Cripe.

There's another ritual on... I think they said December 13th? Fudge, I don't remember. Ah well, I'm on the email list.

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