The weather this weekend was super-lovely, well by November standards anyway, with lots of sun and temperatures in the 60s. I have no doubt that if the weather is any worse than that next weekend (and that’s pretty much a guarantee), at least some folks will ask why we didn’t have Samhain on “the right date”, i.e. the 1st. And as I mentioned in an earlier article on this blog, I’ll explain that having the ritual on the 1st would have meant holding our pre-ritual Fire Watch on the 31st, and that we’ll never ever schedule a Grove event on the 31st because many of our members celebrate the “secular” holiday of Halloween with their families or neighborhoods, and when we schedule an event, we want people to actually, y’know, show up for it. I’m also told that some of our members had Halloween parties to attend on the 1st as well, so there’s yet another reason to hold off until the 8th. And since the astronomical date for Samhain (the halfway point between fall equinox and winter solstice) is at 8:04 PM on November 6th, I’d argue that the 8th is a better date than the 1st anyway. But enough of the defensive justifications. >8) Everyone out there who celebrated Samhain this weekend, I hope you had a great time honoring your Ancestors or journeying between the worlds or collecting candy or whatever you did.
I mentioned Fire Watch, and since I haven’t done a blog article about it yet, I thought I’d expand upon it here. I know some folks use the term to refer to a vigil/sentry period to prevent fires from happening (as in the Connie Willis story “Fire Watch”), and given that we usually don’t want large fires burning near us, that makes some sense. >8) This particular Fire Watch is actually to keep a fire going, specifically our Grove’s blessed fire, which we kindle twice a year, at the Samhain and Beltaine Fire Watches. I then take the flame home with me and keep it burning in a seven day candle on my stove (I’m not a big fan of fires starting in my house either, and that’s the safest place for it). For the other six holidays, I bring the flame to Fire Watch, or to the indoor fire ceremony in the case of our indoor winter rites.
At Fire Watch itself, we kindle the flame and do a short blessing and some offerings around sunset. We then keep the fire going all night, with some people staying the night and the rest coming or going as we need to. For first timers, it’s a decent way to meet Grove members in a social setting, though folks who show up expecting a full blown ritual will be disappointed. Those folks should probably show up to the full blown ritual on Saturday instead. >8)
Hmm, I’m pretty much done here and I promised last time that I’d include something happy involving bunnies in this week’s entry. Umm… Well, I still have the rabbit that Gen’s sister rescued when the next-door neighbors threw it out of the house, and she’s fairly happy, that counts, right? Her name is Fuji, and she’s huge compared to the last rabbit I owned but has the same Himalayan coloring (white, grey nose ears paws and tail, and red eyes), and she loves eating greens. Ha, there, it fits! And sadly, she won’t be able to attend either of our Samhain rites on Saturday, but hopefully most of you can. See you then!
Rev. Rob Henderson
Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF
Fire Watch FAQ List: http://www.shininglakes.bravehost.com/faq/fwfaq.html