Uncle Hyena (unclehyena) wrote,
Uncle Hyena

Samhain: Ritual and Worship, Theory and Practice

The spiral path recently led me to a group called "Earth Traditions", and I attended their Samhain ritual on Saturday and Sunday. The event was held at a YMCA camp in Ingleside (Where?), and the schedule said it started at 1:00 PM, "But don't come early." Since I had worked the night before, am still suffering from Autumnal Malaise, and life has been generally hectic lately, I didn't get there until about 3:00 PM, at which point I had been on my feet for about 18 hours. The initial meet and greet was just ending, followed by a lecture on the Roman practice of harnessing the spirits of the dead with "Curse Tablets", a DARK gray technique. I loved the history, but found the apparent ethical vacuum of the presentation a bit disturbing.

This was followed by a bit more random socializing, and then the main ritual. This consisted of a "Dumb Supper" (a LONG period of silence which included a meal), a Stations of Descent into the Underworld, and finally a "Dance with the Dead" in silence and darkness. The ritual was well structured and well presented, and obviously had a deep emotional impact on most of participants, me not among them.

This was followed by more socializing, and then the group dissolved, some to go home, some to spend the night in the YMCA dorms. I had planned to stay over, but decided to go home for more quality sleep. The drive was dicey (27 plus hours on my feet at that point), but I survived, slept, and went back in the morning for breakfast and a lecture on the history and use of tear vials (also historically fascinating). I hung around and helped them tear things down, and found myself privy to a post-ritual analysis meeting, which was fascinating.

I understand ritual. I BELIEVE in ritual. Once again, I am reminded that I seem to be completely lacking in the ability to connect emotionally to ritual. At least I didn't get the intense, "You do not belong here" sensation that I have gotten in some other experiences. And the people were wonderful, so I will likely be back.

Uncle Hyena
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