The Samhain Rite
at the Rollright
Stone Circle 1997
Hi one and all - thought you might like to share the open
ritual - this is basically the written draft we worked out between us
- On the night we changed it somewhat as we did not work with paper
in our hands - all must be done by heart and memory...
Arrange people to call Quarters etc
Coloured elemental lights are put at the quarters, the
altar is by the North Stone. Incense is lit beforehand on an altar in
front of the Great North Stone.
Candles are lit in jars around the stone ring one at the
base of each of the 80 or so stones.
The Fire dish - Caudron is lit in the centre of the Circle
A drum summons people...
People are invited to form a circle within the stones and
to join hands..
All those who wish assemble in a circle within the
stones..(others watch from outside). it is at first dark within, only
lit by the candles by the stones.. this represents the dark of the
old worn out year....
It is the night between the worlds, the end of the year,
the beginning of the next, the time when we thank our ancestors and
Invocation and thank you to our ancestors who built the
Rollrights and an invocation of the Spirits of the place
Elder of the Craft says
We thank and honour our ancestors who built this circle
and embrued it with their magic....
Come ancestors, be with us tonight, we thank you for this
place of magic...come, be with us, strengthen us on this sacred
And dear stones, symbols of our ancestors,
protect us with your ancient power
The calling of the Elements and the Spirits ...
This could well have everyone taking part - One way of
doing this would be for everyone to call in turn their own ancestors
or those that they wish to honour thus
One of us says.... This night we each have ancestors that
we may wish to summon, whether they be the humans, plants or even
rocks that made us whom we are...
A practical detail... We will also have a fire torch I
think ... so this could be quite dramatic ...the torch bearer would
pause in front of each person while they do their invocation (which
could be silent or aloud as they chose) -
The torch bearer would also salute the Quarters with the
invoker of the elements as each Quarter is reached..
I suggest that as we are working the Stones that we do not
start with Air as is traditional - but start with Earth or Rock..
Standing in front of the Great North Stone...
We honour you Great North Stone...We call on the spirits
of all the rocks of our great circle, be present with us tonight,
strengthen us in our working, come, we call you... So may it be...
The Torch Bearer then Salutes the Stone...
The torch bearer then moves to the person to the right of
the stone and pauses in front of that person while she or he makes
and so on until the Eastern Quarter is reached...
Come, we call on the spirits of the winds that protect
this place, of the breath that gives us life and inspiration, be with
us tonight, strengthen us in our working, come, we call you.. So may
The Torch Bearer Salutes the Element of Air appropriately.
Then those to the right of Air do their own invccations
while the torch pauses in front to them...
and so on... with Fire and with Water... until the Circle
The Caudron is lit with the Fire Torch - and with an
Invocation of the Spirits of the Place...
We call on all the local spirits of the Rollrights and the
Cotswolds to be present, we honour them...
Invocation of the Goddess and God, drawing down them into
We do this invocation with our arms lifted up in
invitation to the God and Goddess - and we do it by means of a chant
so all can take part...
Come Great Goddess, Come Great God, come come come...
Come Great Goddess, Come Great God, come come come...
Come Great Goddess, Come Great God, come come come....
this should be followed by a few moments of silence so the
Goddess and God can speak to us...
All the spirits, elements, ancestors, and the God and
Goddess are now invoked and present - so now is the time for the most
important work of the evening..the re-dediction of the Rollrights, .
the awakening of all the stone circles and the pathways between
Re-Dedication of the Rollrights.
We each light a candle from the Caudron and move around
the circle accompanied by drum beats while chanting...
I am the heartbeat of the Circle
I am the heartbeat of the Earth
I am the heartbeat of the Rollrights
I am the heartbeat of Rebirth.
When everyone has a candle we all stand still...
Then as the spirit inspires us - we rededicate the stones,
those speaking who are inspirted or who simply want to take part...
We then honour the stones by which we stand. By saluting
them with our candles.....
then turning back towards the Centre of the Circle - we
hold the candles out in front of us - or our hands or athames if it
is too wet or windy.
And make an invocation such as this.....
The Awakening Invocation for all the Stone Circles
Come flames, light the ancient dragon fires..
Travel along your sacred paths to the distant stones that
guard our land,
to the sacred stones that guard our spirits..
We, the children of the Stones, we call you,
In the name of God and Goddess
Awaken, come, awaken, come... this is the night
that we have long awaited...
come Stones, Come Circles, come dragon paths, awaken
the final line of this comes into a repetitive chant of
increasing energy perhaps accompanied by faster and faster drum
which we send to all the Stone Circles with a final
we then ground our hands on the earth or stones... and are
we then come to the feasting or cider and cakes
Bread and Cider or Mead.... passing to one another while
"Taste once again the sweetness of life - the New Year is
begun, the Circle is Blessed, the Dragon is awake throughtout the
The ending of the rite
The God and Goddess, the spirits of the place, the
ancestors are thanked for their presence,
the elements are thanked
The stones are thanked
a personal note...
Then the songs and music and jokes and stories in the
early evening - entertainment with a clear pagan bent that I think
all very much enjoyed even if paganism was not their path. Saffron
had arranged much of this and much of the practical arrangements -
without her it would not have happened.
Then the final late evening Samhain rite to awaken the
ancient energies of these Stones and all the others throughout our
magical isles. I was excited and nervous beforehand, not knowing how
things would go despite us having prepared the ritual together over
the prevous two weeks - circulating our ideas to different friends,
getting feedback - then finally dreaming, rhyming everything together
into a whole that we hoped would be welcome to our much loved
Stones.I felt incredibly privileged to be doing this, very grateful
to the Old Ones, nervous, expectant, thrilled. For as far as I knew,
this would be the first open pagan ritual to be held in the
Rollrights for an awful long time, perhaps centuries.
I loved your own dreaming Saffron which you shared with me
- how the ancient dragon energy of the Stones is awakening, how the
Goddess is returning, how the energy from these Stones will spread
out, join with those from all the great ancient sacred places of this
island and bring about a rebirth of the Old Ways. That too was and is
When it came to the time, while others prepared everyone
for the rite to follow, I was preparing the altar... finally only one
thing needed to be put in place - the broomstick which as it happened
I had left by the ancient entrance stones. I walked back into the
Circle to fetch it and I was stunned to find that the chaotic scene
that I had left had been transformed. The Great Circle of Stones had
within it, an inner ring of people, staning as if they were the
Druids, priests, priestesses of old, lining the who great 105 foot
circle - just the right number of people to match the stones circle,
to complete it.
The energy was magical. I had to centre myself as I
entered, drop into that priestess of the Old Ones conciousness, of
being as well as I could be, the priestess that was, that will be,
that is, the one who is the ancestors in this dimension, as we all
With broom and with the arrow and bow of sinew that I used
in liew of knife and staff, I was in the right place, the ancient
entrance where others were awaiting me, - and thus, as they did in
the old days, we entered from the South, and at the great central
fire caudron, we thanked our ancestors for creating this magic place,
asking them to be present on this day between the worlds when the old
year ends and the new begins... then we went to the North Stone...
and from here the rest of the rite continued ably assisted by people
from several covens and people from no coven..
During the ritual everyone got the chance to invoke their
own ancestors as we went slowly from Quarter to Quarter bearing a
flaming tourch - the Quarters being called by people from different
traditions or paths
And then - as an act of personal dedication, many
handfasted to the stones, to the earth, to the God and Goddess, to
protect Mother Earth...by .putting ther hand through the ancient
holed stone. during a procession around the stones.. I was able to
watch their faces as they did this - many faces radiated joy, many
whispered their thank you to the Stones.
After it was all over, many found it hard to come down.
For myself, eventually I found it good to leave via the disused
ancient entrance stones.
Next morning, I felt drained, emptied, ... the Stones, the
rite, had pulled so much that I cried from exhaustion.. but that
evening a senior witch elder called by and soon as I relived what had
happened, my spirits again soared. I will never forget last night.
Thank you thank you thank you Stones, Goddess, God, All who came, all
who put in their energy, thank you appeal group, Karen and John, one
I am sure our children will feel the energy that we helped
put into this ancient sacred place when we too join our ancestors and
become thier ancestors.
May this be but a beginning. I think it would be a great
shame if we cannot now establish a tradition for the next few hundred
years of working openly with this great legacy from our ancestors,
proud to be pagans, proud to be the Children of the Stones.
Thank you God, Thank you Goddess
(a little extra note - I love the way that Bobcat and
other Druids do these rites - and was delighted when she agreed to
join energy, together with Philip, as I knew they would be working at
another ancient sacred place while we were working at the Rollrights
- and we joined too with all who honoured Samhain - I believe the
Craft and Druidry should be one in this work ... and I joined too
with a woman I knew who was being ordained a Christian priest on
Samhain, a date she had picked in order to have her ancestors
present, a Celt and a Christian for whom the Holy Spirit is the
Goddess. - may we all grow together in honouring the Goddess by
whatever name she is known)
to the Introduction to the Craft of the Wise.
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Green Magic and Sacred Places
Magic of Lyminge Forest
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