2016 Samhain Festival
By: Minette Quick
FOUNDATION CENTRE - IRELAND
November 5th, 2016
As temperatures fell over the past week, the whole country reported particularly splendid displays of colour and finally the leaves began to fall. But a more beautiful day to celebrate Samhain could hardly have been imagined! The sun shone, warming the chill in the air as we processed to the Rose Garden of Rosa Mundi and enjoyed the late roses still in bloom. We gazed up in wonder at the mighty trees and felt the presence of Dana in Her Grove as we invoked and sang and played in her honour. Within the shelter of the Abbey Walls, home of the Noble Order of Tara, abundant pale pink fuchsia bushes still welcomed us to gather round the Altar, and a member of the Order explained the different ways in which the societies established within the Fellowship respond to and express their mutual and deeply held love of nature, some through the arts, and others by remaining vigilant to protect the earth and act on behalf of all living beings from the threat of misguided legislation of various kinds.
Finally, entering by Persephone’s Gate we gathered at Brigid’s Well in memory of Olivia who passed into spirit three years ago at this time of year. There was something in the beauty of the day which spoke eloquently of ‘The New Aeon’ – a subject dear to her heart, upon which she spent many hours of reflection, writing and conversing in her final years, impressing on us enough how important it is to recognise the essential divinity within each one of us, and it was good to hear again the clarity with which she expressed this truth in the Oracles she received.
Following invocations and blessings at the Well, we moved to the High Altar for a powerful Oracle from Tiamat, the Dragon Goddess, Great Mother of the Earth itself, calling upon us all to protect her damaged body and to play our part however small in this urgent work.
It is a constant delight that within each of the eight annual festivals which we host at the Castle there is plenty of room for fresh input from members who volunteer to plan or take part in our Mystery Plays, lead a Journey, sing during blessings, share creative pieces or play music, and of course to offer an Oracle for the day. So this time, amongst the family guests of our presiding priestess for Samhain, was a wonderful violinist who played most beautifully for us down in the Grove and also during ceremonies at the Altar. The children of her family, dressed as Swans, also took part in a delightful performance of our Mystery Play - ‘The Children of Lir’- who were cruelly transformed into swans for 900 years by a jealous stepmother after their mother’s death, but how through courage they survived this ordeal. This theme was then gently continued within a reflective journey into our own inner issues, interspersed with music and the wonderful words of Amergin, Bard of the Milesians, of which there are several translations.
At this time of the year it is traditional to offer prayers for loved ones who have gone before, both in gratitude to them for their legacy and in sorrow at their loss. On this occasion we also offered our prayers to the American Indian Deities, at the Shrine of Taurus, in support of the brave souls in Dakota who are faced with destruction of ancient burial grounds sacred to their tribes, the poisoning of water sources, the forced laying of pipelines across their lands, and the dangers of violence at the hands of local authorities.
Once again our thanks go not only to our priestess whose beautiful planning of this whole programme, together with those of her family who offered such delight and enjoyment, but all others who contributed to the depth and beauty of the ceremony .
Bringing things to a close, general notices and announcements were made, and we concluded with heartfelt thanks to Deity for the warmth of their presence amongst us, and healing was offered before we stepped out into the early drawing in of the evenings to meet up in the village for tea.
November 6, 2016
© photo by M. Quick
The Shrine of Taurus with a painting of the Goddess Maya
as seen by Olivia with copper coloured light appearing over the sky.
Kachina figures donated by Elders in Hopi Land to Olivia and
carving by David Durdin-Robertson of a Golden Eagle and
White Buffalo Calf Woman on slate by Olivia.
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(Many thanks to Minette for sharing her lovely accounts and photos.)
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