Pagan Event Reviews
Year: 2014 ...
Beltania Festival (Florence, Colorado)
Summerland Spirit Festival 2013
Year: 2013 ...
Sacred Space Conference
Sacred Space Conference 2013
Houston Pagan Conference 2013
Free Spirit Gathering 2013: Many Paths
2013 Midwest Witches "Steampunk" Ball
Year: 2012 ...
Between the Worlds: An Interfaith Esoteric Conference
Sirius Rising & Summerfest 2012
Starwood 32--Review by Oberon Zell
Why Celebrate International Pagan Coming Out Day?
Spring Mysteries Festival XXVII
Celebrating 20 Years: St. Louis Pagan Picnic Reaches a Milestone
Summer Solstice Ritual, SF Ocean Beach
Summerland Spirit Festival 2012
Toon Town’s Pagan Summer Fest: A Ten Year Long Dream
Mabon with Blackberry Circle
Salem, Oregon Celebrates Its First Pagan Pride Day (2012)
NorthWest Fall Equinox Festival (NWFEF) 2012 (Review)
Michigan Midwest Bazaar and Witches Ball
Year: 2011 ...
Starwood Festival 2011 (A Review by Oberon Zell)
Sacred Space Celebrates Twenty-one Years!
The New Orleans Witches' Ball
"New Fire in Deep Winter: Oimelc in Minnesota"
St. Louis Pagan Picnic
Celebration of the Divine Feminine and Religious Freedom
Summerland Spirit Festival 2011: The Initiation of a Community
2011 Midwest Witches Ball and Bazaar
Through the Looking Glass Midwest - Michigan's 2011 Witches Ball:
Year: 2010 ...
Sacred Space Conference
Review: Sirius Rising
Free Spirit Gathering
43rd Annual Gathering of the Tribes
Summerfest 2010 (Festival Review)
Midwest Witches' Ball 2010
Year: 2008 ...
The Sacred Space Conference and Winterfest Banquet
Toon Town's Pagan Summer Fest.
Sacred Harvest Festival 2008
The Land Institute Prairie Festival 2008
Sacred Harvest Festival 2008; The Fool's Journey, Breaking the Hermetic Seal
Year: 2007 ...
4th of July Pagan Religious Rights Rally and Ritual and Chesapeake Pagan Community Summer Gathering
Sirius Rising 2007: Making Connections
The 12th Annual Halloween Festival London UK
Louisville Pagan Pride Day
Central Vermont Lughnasadh Festival
2nd Annual Children's Camp
Year: 2006 ...
Harvest Home Gathering 2006 (picts added Oct. 18)
Southeast Women's Herbal Conference
Toronto Pagan Conference
Canadian National Pagan Conference
Sirius Rising 2006
Rally for Religious Freedom
Brazilian Mabon Celebration in Săo Paulo
Chesapeake Pagan Community Gathering: Dancing with Devas 2006
WitchFest Wales, 2006
Pagan Pride Day - Metro Detroit
Rochester Pagan Pride Day
The 2006 Between the Worlds Men's Gathering
Hellfire Caves Ritual
Beltaine 2006: A Pagan Odyssey
Year: 2005 ...
Tara Summer Solstice 2005
Starwood XXV: Feelin' the Love
Persephone's Masquerade: The 4th Annual OHF Spring Ball
Pictures from New Orleans
Sirius Rising 2005: Restoring the Balance
Harvest Home 2005: Magick, Imagination, and Love
Spirit's Haven in the Woods
Inner Mysteries Intensive with Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone
People of Beauty, People of Peace: CPC Summer Gathering 2005
Mid-Atlantic Pagan Alliance’s Wicked Awesome Lugh Beach Party
WES Raises Funds for Katrina Victims
Adirondack Pagan Pride Day
The 2005 Between The Worlds Men's Gathering
WytcheHaven Weekend 2
Midsummer's Haven in the Woods
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
An Early Samhain at MoonFire
Article ID: 4831
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,153
Times Read: 5,213
Author: RuneWolf [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: October 26th. 2002
Times Viewed: 5,213
Saturday night, the 19th of October, the Veil Between the Worlds parted for 35 to 40 adventurous spirits, as the annual MoonFire Samhain celebration (held at the UU Church of Arlington, VA) commenced.
Arriving celebrants were met by members of the hosting group, most clad in black cloaks clasped with silver. Each participant was asked to draw a single card from the three Tarot decks spread upon the reception table, and then ushered into the pre-ritual waiting area. We were encouraged to leave remembrances upon the long Samhain altar -- both for new souls who had arrived during the preceding year, and for those who had departed. Then, to the haunting strains of the latest Loreena McKennitt CD, we were counseled to meditate upon the card we had drawn, to draw from it whatever message it seemed to convey to us personally, and reflect upon how that message related to our journey through the past year. As so often happens, the card I had drawn -- the Seven of Cups -- flew straight to the heart of many of the issues I have been struggling with in the past months. My friend, who had just experienced a dramatic life change, drew The World; again, an unequivocal reference to his previous life, what happened, and the new life that lays stretched out before him. Sitting in the meditation area, we traded knowing looks, certain that this was going to be a deep experience.
After the period of meditation, the members of MoonFire entered the pre-rit area en masse, and the briefing began. The ritual Guardians took it in turns to explain the ritual structure and outline, and took great care to let everyone know that they were present specifically to ensure the safety and well being -- spiritual, emotional and physical -- of all of the celebrants. I give special kudos to MoonFire and their Guardians for this; too often this vital and necessary part of large, open rituals is neglected, and over the years I have seen people suffer as a result of that lack. This was not to be the case at MoonFire's Samhain, and it had a visibly comforting affect on all of us, especially the newcomers. Samhain "celebrations" can often seem anything but celebratory, as the issues we confront at this Sabbat are often dark, troublesome and emotionally loaded. It is always gratifying when a hosting group goes to such lengths to ensure that its guests are as secure and comfortable as they can be.
We were then introduced to the processional chant, and after a few rounds of practice, the ritual began in earnest. Chanting, we were led from the waiting area to the Gateway into the ritual area, where we were challenged and asperged. Once through the Gateway, we gathered in a large area where the Circle was cast. As part of the casting, we were led in a visualization of the Circle widening and widening until it encompassed the entire building. A somewhat unorthodox approach, but one that would shortly make good sense. We then met the principals of the ritual: the High Priestess, Death and the Hermit. Each explained their part in the journey we would soon undertake, and they then took up their positions in isolated part of the building, to meet privately with each participant in turn -- hence the building-wide Circle!
One by one, accompanied by MoonFire Guardians, we were taken into the presence of the High Priestess, who interpreted out chosen card in the context of our past year. She presented each of us with a feather, to represent the burden of those unresolved issues which we still carried. Then we were taken to Death, the Transformer, who gave wise words of counsel, and took away our feather-burden, showing us symbolically how we might transform our burden, in the moment, to empowerment. Then on to the Hermit, who in turn interpreted our card in the light of what was to come, given the insights of our experience that night.
After a further period of reflection, we gathered again into a circle for an exuberant spiral dance, releasing the energies, both light and dark, that we had raised within ourselves and the group over the preceding hours. The Circle was then released, and there was much applauding, laughter and hugging as we wished each other a Happy New Year. A pot-luck feast followed, during which -- as an added bonus -- celebrants were given the opportunity to walk one of the labyrinths maintained by the UUCA.
As all things must, this wonderful night had to end. Deliciously tired, introspective and deeply moved, my friend and I set out under the burgeoning Samhain Moon for home, content in the knowledge that, whatever has passed, and whatever is to come, we are loved and watched over by the Lady and the Lord.
MoonFire, renamed in November 2000, is an open CUUPS chapter that has existed for the past seven years, and is affiliated with the UU Church of Arlington, VA. The MoonFire Mission and Vision Statement reads:
"We strive to build a safe and nurturing community which is inclusive and provides for spiritual growth and service to the Earth and her children. We are the Hub of the Wheel of Life, the Crossroads where all meet; We are a Chalice of the Goddess; We are of the Earth, rich and empowering; We are a Rock, safe and secure; We are a Rainbow, diverse with many colors yet together in one band; We are a Flame of Spirituality, providing the light to see our path before us."
MoonFire conducts open rituals at the UUCA on the 3rd Sunday of every month, except October, when the Samhain celebration is held on a Saturday night. For contact and event information, visit the website at http://www.uucava.org/Moonfire/index.html.
Location: Reston, Virginia
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