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Samhain 1998

We chose top use red and white as the theme colors this year to honor the particular God and Goddess invoked--white for Gwynn ap Nudd, whose name literally means "white," and red for the Lady of Avalon for the red apples of Avalon.

Creating Sacred Space

Carrying red and white candles and any token we wish to place on the altar, we silently spiral in clockwise towards the altar. We them place the candles and tokens on the altar.

Greeting the God and Goddess

We stand at the doorway of the New Year in a place that is not a place and a time that is not in time. In this doorway, we are neither in the past or the future, nor are we in our accustomed world, but are in the eternal present in the Summer Lands, the Lands of the Dead, the Realm of Ancestors, the Island of Avalon.

We look behind us at the past year and begin to assess what we have done with our year … and what we failed to do.

We look back on friends and loved ones who have gone beyond the veil and remember them.

We look at what we must leave behind in order to move ahead.

We welcome the Lord of the Wild Hunt, the Gatherer of Souls, Gwynn ap Nudd, White, son of Night, who leads the souls of the Underworld on a merry chase to gather the lost and wandering souls and lead them home.

We welcome the Lady of Avalon who gives rest and healing to those souls, who welcomes the dead, and who guides us all to rebirth.

Let us now prepare to journey to their realm.

The Central Mystery: The Journey to the Island of Ancestors

In this meditation, you will journey to meet an ancestor. Remember that an ancestor is a person from your past, who is no longer living, who has helped shape the person you are today; an ancestor may be a predecessor from your bloodline, a previous incarnation, a person who has given you a meaningful tradition or philosophical basis, such as an adopted relative, a teacher, a mentor. You will not choose who will appear to you and it may be someone you know or do not know. Now prepare for a journey. (Pause)

You stand on a sea shore facing west. Count the waves as they come to shore. When the ninth wave comes in there will be a barge drawn by a white swan. Board the barge and you will be carried over the sea to the Island of Ancestors. The night is clear; the waxing moon rises over your shoulder, and you hear the gentle rolling of water past your barge. (Pause)

You see an island emerging before you. The swan stops at the shore and you see a grove of apple trees. There is a moonlit path between the trees and you follow it. Ahead is a mound. In the center of the side is a doorway made of two immense upright stones topped by a massive lintel. There are two torches burning at the door providing light for the entrance into a passageway. At the far end of the passage is a faint red glow. Proceed through a corridor inclining downward. (Pause)

You emerge into a shadowy great hall. In the center is a hearth with the glowing embers of a fire. Seated before the fire facing away from you is a hooded figure. Across the hearth from this figure is a bench. You circle halfway around the hearth clockwise and sit facing the figure. This is one of your ancestors. Greet that person. (Pause)

You may now ask your ancestor one question. It may be about his/her contributions to your life or your family, it may be to clarify something about yourself, or about your future. (Pause) When you have finished, your ancestor gives you a token of help and guidance. (Pause)

In a fair exchange, your ancestor now asks you a question. Answer as best you can. (Pause) You find that you have a gift for your ancestor. Look at it and present it to your ancestor with thanks. (Pause)

Finish your circuit around the hearth, go behind the ancestor, and pass out of the mound and back along the path. (Pause) Boarding the barge, you return to these shores as the first light of dawn breaks over the eastern horizon. At your own pace, return to this circle bringing your experiences and token with you. Do not be surprised to find that your token manifests on a physical plane in the next few weeks.

Sharing the Chalice of Remembering

The food and cider is blessed. We prepare a plate and cup for the ancestors while pouring cider in the Chalice. We will also pass around the bread as we send around the chalice.

The chalice will be sent around three times. When each person gets the cup, she may speak about an ancestor or recently deceased person whom she wishes to remember.

Thanking the God and Goddess

Lady of Avalon and Lord Gwynn ap Nudd, we thank you for allowing us to visit your realm and visiting with our ancestors. Let us not forget that in due time, each of us will make her journey to your realms.

We now cross through the doorway into the New Year. We look before us at the new year and think of what we wish to accomplish.

We remember the legacies of our friends and loved ones who have gone beyond and use their examples of how we might live more fully.

We relinquish unnecessary burdens and walk into our future with light steps.

Dissolving Sacred Space

We take our candles from the altar and silently spiral counterclockwise outward into from the altar