Winternights / Samhain / All Hallowed Eve Rite
Updated: Oct 27, 2021
Winter Nights / Samhain It marks the turning of the year from summer to winter, the turning of our awareness from outside to inside. Among the Norse, the ritual was often led by the woman of the family. It marks the beginning of the long dark wintertime at which memory becomes more important than foresight, at which old tales are told and great deeds are toasted.
Winternights also marks the beginning of a time of indoor work, thought and craftsmanship. It was also a time traditionally for Seership as the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest.. A rite that was held in honour of the female spirits and Ancestors known as the Dísir. There isn’t a specific day for this celebration. We know that it was held during winter. In some accounts it was in the beginning of winter, during the time of the winternights, hence us marking this rite on the 31st October again when the veil is thin, but in some places this holiday was by the end of winter, to celebrate the revival of nature.
Within this rite we will Scry, just as our Ancestors did before us The word “scrying” actually comes from the Old English word descry which means “to make out dimly” or “to reveal. For us we will Scry with Sacred Spring Water, gathered in rite and ritual from a local Spring!! We will use our Cauldron magically, when the veil is at the thinnest whilst we thread another layer of insight to our Wild Wood Oracle Card journey that we begun at Equinox..
Winternights / The Norns (Fates) can be honoured here (or sometimes on December 30, modern New Year’s Eve, to foretell the year’s future). Because the veils between the worlds are thin at this time, Vor the goddess of divination may be honoured. The ancestors and beloved Dead are, of course, hailed at this time, but they may also be hailed rightly at any other holiday, as there is a strong streak of honouring the Ancestors in the Northern Tradition.
The festival is also called “Elf-Blessing”, “Dis-Blessing”, or “Frey-Blessing”, which tells us that it was especially a time of honouring the ancestral spirits, the spirits of the land, the Vanir, Landwights and the powers of fruitfulness, wisdom, and death. For Odin and his host of the dead alongside Freya are said to lead the " Wild Hunt" The Wild Hunt begins to ride after Winternights, and the roads and fields no longer belong to humans, but to ghosts and the restless, starting on this night, the great divisions between the worlds was somewhat diminished.
These festival was rooted in veneration, awe, and respect of the dead. This was also a time for contemplation thereby to live on in the memory of the tribe and be honoured at this great feast. In this way the tribes were at one with its past, present and future. Here we honour the The Dísir the female ancestors.
Again, the Christians forcefully subverted the sacred Germanic Heathen calendar to honour Christianity, Winter nights on October 31 became “All Hallows Eve” and November 1st was declared “All Saint’s Day”.
On this night we will Scry, just as our Ancestors did before us ...
For us we will Scry with Water, many folk traditions of these lands and the Northern lands would find the Elder Woman of the Household Scrying on Winternights using either the village Well or Spring, or a Fjord, A large body of water, Which was always seen as sacred, the life force of the community!! And a doorway into the otherworld!!
We ceremonially collected Spring water from Lions Head Spring / Gilham Spring; it will then be poured into our Cauldron within the rite!! An egg cracked and left as a Blot and Offering and together we journey into the Cauldron, dropping down another layer of the liminal..
We will perform a rite together . Craft and create our collective altar. We will make medicine. We will weave and share our stories as we continue our journey from harm to healing, sitting within our Sacred Circle. Respectfully and safely!! Join us
I feel the power of keeping the rites and rituals relevant in a modern world, which doesn’t lie in changing their meaning, diluting, distilling them into contemporary purposes, but in finding how their layers of meaning still apply to everyday life, in the here and now.