“The Tree” is the basic liturgical and organizational writing and the basis for Seax-Wica, but it is a ‘base’. It provides the rituals as if being practiced by a coven, but nowadays most Wiccans, especially those of the Seax-Wica tradition, are solitary practitioners (they work alone). The following information on the Sabbat is adapted from “The Tree” and is only one way that a solitary can use these rituals in their own practice. For more details on how to adapt coven rituals, check out Raymond Buckland’s “Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft”, in particular the section on Solitary Practice. It seems especially fitting that his advice be followed when working with his rituals (as was done here). I’ve replaced all instances of Priest and Priestess with ‘Gesith’, which is what one is referred to after being initiated into or self-dedicating as a Seax-Wican.
In other traditions of Wicca, Samhain marks the death of the God, who will be born again on Yule. In Seax-Wica (remember, these stories are not literal, but symbolic), we see this as the time when Woden ‘takes the lead’ during Winter. Freya is still at his side, but this is now his domain, as The Hunter, as he leads the Seax-Wica through the hard months ahead.
The outer edge of the Circle may be decorated with autumnal flowers, branches, pine-cones, small pumpkins, etc. There may also be flowers on the Altar.
“As Summer draws to a close,
and the dark months of Winter draw near,
All praise be to Freya, and to Woden her Consort.”
Gesith raises their Seax, then continues:
“Gracious Goddess, thank you
For the joys of Summer;
For the crops and harvest;
For life and love.
I love you, as I know you love me.
Return again next year, when your time is come.
When your companion, Lord Woden,
Has led me safely through the dark.
I love you and honor you
Freya, most beautiful.”
Gesith puts their Seax in its sheath, then continues:
“As Lord of Life, of Love, of Death,
Does Lord Woden bid me have no fear.
So be it!
With your lady at your side
I shall know always there is light.
I shall know always there is hope of life to come.
Lead me happily as you have lead those
Who have gone before, yet are here now.
So be it!”
Then follows the Ceremony of Cakes and Ale, followed by games and merriment.
What is the Meaning of Samhain?
On Samhain, Wiccans honor their ancestors and acknowledge that death is just the gateway to rebirth. It is a time for introspection as the veil between this world and the spirit world grows thin. What this means, and how we honor our ancestors varies from one individual or coven to another. Meditations on the Spirit World, Collective Unconscious, or however we view the Other Worlds are excellent ways to explore yourself and connect with lost loved ones. A dumb supper (where a seat and plate are set for a passed member and a moment of silence given) or table with photos of those who have passed are ways to honor your ancestors or telling and retelling stories of them.
Symbols of Samhain
Black, orange, and purple are some common colors of Samhain, and some typical symbols include acorns, apples, bats, black cats, cauldrons, jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins, and scarecrows. Because Samhain is a time of rebirth, it’s a great time to study the Celtic Cauldron of Rebirth, or the story of Balder (Baldaeg) and his rebirth after Ragnarök, as well as Odin’s (Woden’s) death in the jaws of Fenris. These can make excellent stories to read around a campfire.
Food & Herbs of Samhain
Some things to eat or use on Samhain include almonds, apples, cider, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nuts, potatoes, pumpkins, rosemary, sage, squash, and tarragon. Remember that it’s best to use seasonal foods, or foods that have been preserved or dried specifically for this time of the year, to better connect with the Wheel of the Year, so adapt these if you live in a different climate.
What else can you do on Samhain?
Other traditional activities include making a bonfire, taking a nature walk, feasting (with meat, especially, since this was a time to slaughter the livestock that wouldn’t make it through Winter), or making an Ancestor Altar, dedicated to a specific ancestor, a group of them, or all of them.