Northern Rivers Protogrove has had a few rough weeks. Between having to revise our policy on bringing children to celebrations, injured members, and other stress, I was delighted at the omen I drew for our pre-ritual reading: the snake. To me, this meant that the group was healing and rejuvenating itself. This gathering would be good for us after all the difficulties. I really think that omen held true.
Samhain is always a mixture of emotions. There is joy and sorrow. We mourn our beloved who have moved on at the same time that we gleefully decorate with skulls, bone white, ash black, and blood red. Samhain forces us to confront death and celebrate the renewal of life.
Before our ritual, we had a bookchat about the late Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon. We discussed favorite parts, its impact, criticisms, and a takeaway message for our protogrove. Those who hadn’t read were welcomed to listen and decorate mini pumpkins.
We decided to have our ritual outside in the stone circle at The Kripalu Yoga and Wellness Center. It will probably be our last outdoor ritual of the year. Despite the cold, it was invigorating to feel that mix of chilly air and warm fire. My grovies said they felt the ritual flowed well. Once more, we did the apple rite that I learned from Muin Mound Grove. To help the recently departed find their way to their ancestral halls, we named loved ones who passed this year, calling them to our light, inviting them to our celebration. Family, friends, pets, fallen soldiers, and even celebrities who inspired us were named. It’s always moving.
Inside, we feasted on stew, homemade bread, deviled eggs, salsa, chips, dip, salads, and sweets. As always, there was wonderful discussion. The environment was more relaxed this time. We were renewing, healing, and excitedly looking forward to the Winter Solstice.