It’s been a bit hard for me since Samhain. I accept that thinking you’re on a path is not the same thing as being on that path, and that re-adjustment in that situation is both inevitable and bound to be disconcerting.

So, in another post, I’ll write what I think all this means for me. For now, here’s what happened on Samhain.

As I mentioned, I was caught a little off-guard by the fact that Samhain was so close. I had an approximate idea of what I wanted to do, but I needed to start my preparations. Adjusting the script I’d used for my ritual at the Fall Equinox, I made a new Samhain ritual script that focused on honoring my ancestors.

Then, I told my wife I’d be biking into the woods for Samhain. She accepted it pretty well, considering I basically was saying “I’m going to ditch my living relatives for my dead ones this Sunday.” Still, she knew.

Then, beginning the day before Samhain, I started packing a backpack with everything I needed, finishing my packing on the day of. Since I left the script out (it had the packing list!) as I was packing, it wound up being the only thing I didn’t pack.

Fortunately, it had been prepared pretty last moment and was fresh in my memory.

In the woods, I first approached a stream and tried to communicate with Brigid, telling her that I felt out of connection with water and with her, and that I wanted to remedy that. I offered a few coins to the stream, and promised Brigid that I would soon be taking an omen to see if maybe I was being encouraged to move along or not.

Then, I climbed up a hill to a spot that — on the map — seemed it wouldn’t get much traffic. (Turns out I picked it out well. I’ll be returning there.)

That’s where I realized that I didn’t have my ritual script and felt like an idiot. Like bringing flowers and a bottle of wine, but forgetting the card. Nonetheless, there was no turning back.

The beginning of the ritual went well. Again, I asked Cernunnos to serve as my gatekeeper and — in the beginning at least — he seemed willing.

Creating the cosmos from memory went pretty well (I checked it later against the script) and maybe I should have intentionally made that jump. I made my offerings and then made an extra offering to my ancestors at the point in the ADF COoR labeled “Beings of the occasion.”

The offering was bread I had baked the day before, which I broke apart and offered in bite-sized chunks by throwing the chunks about me in the woods, while telling my ancestors what they meant to me, and how their lives touched mine. It was, i think, the most emotional I have ever been in a ritual and it felt a hundred percent like the right thing to be doing at that moment. 

Crying might be the wrong word to use, but there were tears on my face as I did it, and I’m not experienced enough to know what I felt, but I certainly felt something and I’d like to feel it again.

With that done, I felt pretty confident that the ritual was going well. I took the up or down omen. It came back negative.

I think I panicked a little. I offered sincere praise of the Kindred, listed the things I had to be grateful for and assured them that I was in fact grateful.

And then I took the up-or-down omen again. You know how this ends: it was negative again. I did everything again and, after the third negative omen, I stopped.

Having anticipated this, I went into my backup plan — using the tarot deck, I asked for an omen regarding whether the Gods I had invited to my hearth wanted to be a part of my hearth. I got the High Priest (Hierophant in standard decks, reversed). By the time I had finished reading the book on the meaning, I had many more questions to ask and was trying to formulate a question to ask before taking my last omen.

Then I saw that the candle that had been serving as my fire had gone out. That was, I thought, my final omen.

I thanked the Kindred for their appearances, asked the gatekeeper to close the gate (which, to be honest, no longer felt open) and ended the ritual.

It’s been four days since that all happened and it’s been a hard four days. Still, with time I’m beginning to see the wisdom of ‘sleeping on’ the things we don’t understand.

I’m trying to assure myself that knowing you’re on the wrong path has to be the first step towards finding the right path. I’ll be writing more about what all of it means to me, soon.

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