Samhain 2023 online

Sacred Grove’s open circle for Samhain this year will be our first major attempt to hold the rite using ZOOM. This introduced some complications into the planning — How do you stand in a circle? Which way is East? And sealing the circle, in which we hold hands — needs some rework.

The ritual, as reworked, is included in this post.

Zoom meeting

Please note: No new participants will be admitted after 10 pm Eastern.

RedBird is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Sacred Grove Samhain
Time: Oct 31, 2023 09:45 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 816 0350 3408
Passcode: 2RbSq4


One tap mobile
+16469313860,,81603503408#,,,,*119043# US
+19292056099,,81603503408#,,,,*119043# US (New York)


Dial by your location
• +1 646 931 3860 US
• +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
• +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
• +1 305 224 1968 US
• +1 309 205 3325 US
• +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
• +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
• +1 360 209 5623 US
• +1 386 347 5053 US
• +1 507 473 4847 US
• +1 564 217 2000 US
• +1 669 444 9171 US
• +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
• +1 689 278 1000 US
• +1 719 359 4580 US
• +1 253 205 0468 US
• +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)

Meeting ID: 816 0350 3408
Passcode: 119043

Find your local number:

New Considerations

Open Circle

The open public circle concept implies that participants may have long familiarity with Sacred Grove and the Bhakti Wiccan Tradition or may be joining us for the first time without preparation or anywhere in between.

Samhain — Visiting our Beloved Dead

Welcome to the Samhain ritual of Sacred Grove Community Circle, in the Bhakti Wiccan Tradition of the Fellowship of the Sacred Grove.

I am RedBird, and I will fill the ritual office of Bard in this rite.

This room is sealed; no one else will be admitted. If you lose your connection during the ritual, we will do our best to readmit you. This is a working we are undertaking together, supporting each other, and we can hang around and chat once we have returned from our journey.

With our voices and our mutual intentions for this rite, we will join in building the Grove that is our sacred space in this new realm of cyberspace – and in our inner worlds.

As an anchor in this world, feel the Earth directly beneath you, firmly holding you and pulling toward its center. Take a breath, blow it out, and relax.

As an anchor in this moment, reach in your mind for the sky above you, mindful of the season and time. Take a deep breath, exhale with a sigh, and relax.

Take note, from where you sit, which way is east, south, west, north. If the space is unfamiliar, look for clues in what you can see out a window or on a map or determine from the street outside. Take a deeper breath, exhale with a sigh, and relax.

And we now turn our thoughts to this space we share together.

Imagine, if you will, that we are standing together in a circle in the twilight. To our East is a table bearing a sword. To our West is a table bearing a cup. To our South is a living tree. To our North are standing stones.

Once we have formally claimed this as sacred space, I will start the sealing of the Circle by greeting one of you by name and saying “We are one.” Please then greet someone else by name and say “We are one.” and likewise until we all have joined the Circle. Last person, please greet me, and we will all respond together “We are one.”

Once we have sealed the circle, we will move as one between the worlds seeking the Mystery.

Then, we will invite unseen others to join us in spirit, if they will.



Bard speaks:

On this night when the Veil between the worlds is thin, when those who have gone before and we who still journey in Life may be permitted to visit in the care of the Lady and Lord, we approach the Mystery with awe and reverence.

Hear my warning. This is not safe. The Mysteries of Life, Death, and Rebirth have power we feel and cannot measure; they are part of our every moment, and we know them only vaguely. Those who have gone before have experience but cannot speak of all we might ask. They may hear the questions of our souls that we cannot speak for want of words – or volition. We may hear what we are not ready to hear.

We are children of Earth and Starry Heaven, beloved of the Lord and Lady, who seek to experience the Mysteries and open ourselves to Their guidance.

Let none remain who is unwilling to be changed by Their touch.


Bard speaks:

Please respond to each of the claimings with “So mote it be!”

East speaks:

In the name of the Lady of Light, and in my own name,
I claim this circle as a place of Men.
Let all within be bound to speak and hear the Truth.
So mote it be.
So mote it be.

West speaks:

In the name of the Sacred King, and in my own name,
I claim this circle as a place of Women.
Let all within be bound to Perfect Love and Trust.
So mote it be.
So mote it be.

South speaks:

In the name of the Lord of the Greenwood, and in my own name,
I claim this circle as a place of Nature
Let all within be bound in the Sacred Web of Life.
So mote it be.
So mote it be.

North speaks:

In the name of the Queen of Heaven, and in my own name,
I claim this circle as Sacred Space.
Let all within be open to the presence of God and Goddess.
So mote it be.
So mote it be.

Sealing the Circle

Bard speaks:

We have stepped beyond time, to a place not of Earth.
In the presence of the Lord and Lady, we join together and are one.

Bard greets one person by name and says “We are one.” That person greets another in like manner.

When all have been greeted, the last greets the Bard. Then all repeat together, “We are one.”

Inviting the Guardians

East speaks:

To this circle of mystery and honor, I call for one to stand
in the place of the Sword,
To teach us courage and discernment and to uphold
the pillar of the East.
Guardian of the Sword, Hail and Welcome.
Hail and Welcome.

West speaks:

To this circle of celebration and mystery, I call for one to stand
in the place of the Cup,
To teach us compassion and understanding and to uphold
the pillar of the West.
Guardian of the Cup, Hail and Welcome.
Hail and Welcome.

South speaks:

To this circle of remembrance and mystery, I call for one to stand
in the place of the Tree,
To teach us of life and change and to uphold
the pillar of the South.
Guardian of the Tree, Hail and Welcome.
Hail and Welcome.

North speaks:

To this circle of sacred Mystery, I call for one to stand
in the place of the Standing Stones,
To teach us reverence and awe and to uphold
the pillar of the North.
Guardian of the Standing Stones, Hail and Welcome.
Hail and Welcome.

The Mystery

Welcoming the Lord and Lady

Bard speaks:

We welcome You, Lady&Lord, to this sacred circle.
As we journey to meet with our Beloved Dead in Your Presence,
we remember Your Charge to Your children:

Friends, hear now the words of the Great Mother who is called Isis, and Freya, and Brigid, and many other names.

Priestess speaks:

I, who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters,
I call upon your soul to arise and come unto Me.
For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe.
From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.
Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices,
for behold – all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.

Bard speaks:

Hear the words of the All Father who is called Osiris, and Woden, and Lugh, and other names beyond counting.

Priest speaks:

I am the glory of the Sun and the enigma of the stars.
I am the ferocity of the storm and the rainbow of Hope
when the storm has passed.
I am the challenger and the challenged.
I am the seed and the harvest and the life that calls the seed to rise again.
Let My worship be in hands that protect and heal and
minds that cherish the Mysteries.

Priestess speaks:

Let there be beauty and strength, peace and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the mystery:
for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself,
you will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and
I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

Priest speaks:

Let there be love and truth, courage and discernment, delight and connection, joy and devotion within you.
And you who seek to know Me, seek My Face in the helpers
in times of challenge and in your neighbors in need.
Offer your hands and voice to Me and do My work in the world.
For behold, I have been with you from the Beginning, and
I have carried you through the fire and storm.

The Working

Bard speaks:

Here between the worlds, we stand within the circle
on a grassy plain at twilight, beneath an ancient Living Tree.
On the far side of the circle we see a tall Standing Stone.
To our left, beside a quiet spring, we see a golden Cup, and
To our right, amid the surrounding trees, we see a great Sword.
[guides breathing and relaxation in this safe place]
Relax a moment in this quiet spot to enjoy the breeze – and a poem

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist,
And a feeling of sadness comes o’er me
That my soul cannot resist:

A feeling of sadness and longing,
That is not akin to pain,
And resembles sorrow only
As the mist resembles the rain.

Come, read to me some poem,
Some simple and heartfelt lay,
That shall soothe this restless feeling,
And banish the thoughts of day.

Not from the grand old masters,
Not from the bards sublime,
Whose distant footsteps echo
Through the corridors of Time.

For, like strains of martial music,
Their mighty thoughts suggest
Life’s endless toil and endeavor;
And to-night I long for rest.

Read from some humbler poet,
Whose songs gushed from his heart,
As showers from the clouds of summer,
Or tears from the eyelids start;

Who, through long days of labor,
And nights devoid of ease,
Still heard in his soul the music
Of wonderful melodies.

Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer.

Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
And lend to the rhyme of the poet
The beauty of thy voice.

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares, that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the nomads,
And as silently steal away.

The Day is Done By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

And our adventure awaits. Come with me to the north.
Just to the right of the standing stone, a path leads into a pine forest,

[Bard leads all following the path downward, scent of pine needles crunching underfoot.

Listen …hear the night noises of the woods … crickets … distant tree frogs … whippoorwill — loon —

follow closely – evergreen trees, still richly endowed with needles, shadows the sparse twilight —

dampness in the air —

We come to a stream flowing from our right.

The trail bears to the left and follows it down,

the rushing water becomes louder

the stream curves sharply to the right and our path narrows between stream on right and a steep bank on left.

Pines give way to oaks and maples as our path veers away from the stream

more gentle descent than the stream, yet still meandering .

Acorns on the path underfoot among fallen leaves in great variety of color and shape.

The forest is less dense here and we can see the first stars peeking through.

The last of the twilight shows us our way.

Until we come out of the woods to a clearing on level ground.]

Before us are the ruins of an ancient temple, and we see light glowing through the open gates.

Looking down, we find we are standing in the forecourt to the temple

where we are offered a welcome place to sit,

a basin of water and towels to refresh ourselves after our journey.

cold water to drink.

Soft slippers to replace our travelers’ footgear.

Here we lay aside any burdens we have carried this far, rest them beside our shoes, and turn eagerly toward the light.

The Presence

At the gates of the temple, we are welcomed by our Host and Hostess into the great Hall of Celebration.

Though it seems the gathered company is large, the Hall is quiet, and guests are scattered. A scented mist swirls and softens the light.

When you have made yourself comfortable, you notice the Lady moving among the guests. She brings you a chalice, filled with a refreshing beverage that you have not tasted for many years, that brings happy memories to mind.

The Lord comes to you bearing a basket of fresh bread that is unlike any you remember tasting before – rich, moist, satisfying – and the piece in your hand seems enough for a meal in itself.

There is a table near at hand with a plate for the bread and place for the cup, so you can nibble and sip as you will.

The mists throughout the hall have grown thick, and the company has multiplied.

Someone is coming toward you – the mists lighten, swirl, and reveal a familiar, beloved face.


This is your time with your beloved. You may want to share the bread or share the cup in hospitality.

To notice. To remember. To speak, if you will.


As the mists swirl and grow thick once more, your Beloved may seem distracted by a call beyond your hearing. You may notice sounds of restlessness around you as others make their farewells.


As our host and hostess see our beloved on their way, we find each other and visit in friendship.

The Lord and Lady return to join us – to share – to ask – to remember.

Share, if you will, or not, as you choose.

Bard brings the group together when it is time to leave.

The Return

Bard recalls everyone to the shoes we left outside, then uphill to the Sacred Grove and then to normal wakefulness, amid the Tree, the Sword, the Cup, and the Standing Stones.

The Closing

Thanking the Lord and Lady

Priest thanks Lady

Priestess thanks Lord.

Thanking the Guardians

North speaks:

Guardian of the Standing Stones,
We thank you for your help and presence in our rite.
Hail and Farewell.

East speaks:

Guardian of the Sword,
We thank you for your help and presence in our rite.
Hail and Farewell.

South speaks:

Guardian of the Tree,
We thank you for your help and presence in our rite.
Hail and Farewell.

West speaks:

Guardian of the Cup,
We thank you for your help and presence in our rite.
Hail and Farewell.

Opening the Circle

Bard speaks:

The rite is ended, the circle is open.
May the blessing of the Lord and Lady be with us all.
So mote it be.