Virtual Ancestor Night (Post #2 – Ritual outline)

In this post, I’ll cover the basic outline of the Samhain ritual I plan to use, and explain some of the concepts for those who may not be familiar with them. As always, please ask if there’s something I didn’t make clear, or if you want to add something you think I missed.

Since I’d like to avoid questions once the ritual has started, this is the place to ask if you’re not sure of something. I’ll link back to this post at the beginning of the ritual so that late questions can also be posted here instead of there.

As for the ritual itself, I’m planning on posting it Monday afternoon/evening. I’m in the Pacific time zone, so I’ll either start it around 2pm PST (5pm EST), which is about east coast sunset, or wait until sunset here which would be 5ish PST. Don’t forget to Fall Back this weekend ;-).

Please refer to my previous diary for the basics of ritual; this post will cover the Samhain-specific stuff. Also for reference see my Virtual Ancestor Night post #1.

Sacred Space: We’ll begin by establishing sacred space, where “All places are here and all times are now.”

Next, I’ll call on Manannan to “part the veil” to make it easier for us to connect with those we wish to connect with. Manannan is a god of the seas and of weather, in simple terms, sort of the St. Christopher of the Gaelic pantheon, a protector of travellers (including those travelling in dreams and meditation). He’s also my personal Patron, which is part of why I always try to finagle doing this part when there are several people conducting ritual ;-).

Purpose and Deities: The statement of purpose shouldn’t surprise anyone, since it will just be a formal statement of what we’re here for: Honoring our ancestors and those who have left this life before us.

The invitation of the gods, in the Keltrian ritual, calls on the god and goddess traditionally connected with this sabbat, though this can vary. I’ll be inviting the Dagda and the Morrigan. Due to the more ecumenical atmosphere I’m trying for, I will invite these two, then add in invitation for other “benevolent deities” who wish to join us to do so. IMO, Yeshua, Allah, G-d, and most others that I’d expect those participating to honor would be included in this.

Remembering: This is the heart of the ritual, and the one I expect to take up the bulk of the comments. Traditionally, those who have crossed over in the past year are remembered first, but IMO the logistics of trying to figure out when people can start remembering those who have been gone longer is more trouble than it’s worth, so I’m just going to make them separate comments and let people comment as they will. It’s pretty basic: State who you are (and optionally your lineage, see below), the person(s) you wish to remember (by name, relationship, etc.), and if you wish add whatever else you’d like to say about them, why you’re remembering them, etc. End the statement with “We remember you.”

Part of the Keltrian ritual that I’m leaving optional, since I don’t want anyone to feel pressured on this, is the statement of lineage. Each person in the circle states their ancestry through the same-gender line as they share the cup of fellowship (often mead, but also often apple juice if there’s reason to avoid alcohol). For me, this would be “I am Morgan, born Lori, daughter of Roberta, daughter of Virginia, daughter of Dolly, daughter of Molly, daughter of Mary, daughter of Elizabeth, daughter of Hannah, daughter of a woman unknown.” My husband would state, “I am Roland, also called Peter, son of Thomas Richard, son of Thomas DeLasalle, son of Edward, son of Thomas, son of a man unknown to me.”

The honored dead can be mentioned by name, by relationship (“my grandfather”), or by whatever other means will identify them. The only restriction here is that they have been a real person (no fictional characters please). If you want to honor Mohammed, go ahead. Yeshua is tricky, since He’s presumably not dead ;-). I’ve known people to honor groups of dead, such as “the victims of the 9/11 attacks.” I’m expecting at least one on those lost to hurricanes and in Iraq. All I ask on these is that any necessary political commentary be kept non-inflammatory. Just because bonfires are traditional for the holiday doesn’t mean I want to see a flame war :-).

Closing: Once it looks like things have run their course, and there haven’t been any new comment in a while, I’ll post another diary entry to end the ritual. This consists of thanking those the deities who’ve joined us, asking Mannanan to let the veil thicken, and releasing “time and space.”

As I said earlier, I’d rather have questions asked here than in the ritual thread, so if you’re uncertain please ask away. I’ll do my best to help everyone understand what they’re getting into, and tweak things to help make the ritual as welcoming for all as I can manage without compromising what it is.


Just out of curiosity, are you planning on joining us for Samhain?
Yes, and I plan to participate
Yes, but I’ll probably just “watch”
Yes, but I don’t know yet if I’ll participate
No, thank you

Votes: 15 (results no longer available)


thank you for doing thisnt (none / 1)

barn’s burnt down…now i can see the moon. -masahide

by marjo on Thu Oct 27th, 2005 at 14:07:00 PDT

Hi Morgan, (none / 1)

I’m going to pester you with questions!

In your tradition do you invite, invoke or summon the Deities? Are there any concerns with the implications of the wording?

My other question involved my participation in the ritual. I am adopted and have no history of any biological relatives. Is it appropriate to identify myself as simply Andy? Or do I use my adopted family?

My Blog: Recovery, Spirituality, Politics and Kilts.What more could you ask for?

by Andy Ternay on Thu Oct 27th, 2005 at 14:09:20 PDT


Hi, Andy πŸ™‚ (4.00 / 2)

I’m going to pester you with questions!

Hey, I asked for it :-).

In your tradition do you invite, invoke or summon the Deities? Are there any concerns with the implications of the wording?

I honestly can’t remember if this is the “official” Keltrian position on this, but I prefer to invite. Summoning seems so presumptuous :-). I looked up invoking and got “assistance, support, or inspiration,” so I suppose invitations could be called that, too.

The actual wording uses “call on,” which I suppose could be taken as an invocation or an invitation, depending on the intent of the speaker.

My other question involved my participation in the ritual. I am adopted and have no history of any biological relatives. Is it appropriate to identify myself as simply Andy? Or do I use my adopted family?

Either should be fine. One year, we did this ritual in our SCA personas (hey, what the local priests don’t know won’t hurt them ;-), and my clan chief called on his persona’s lineage. It was extremely powerful, and I could hear him get choked up over his “father” even though his actual father is still alive. So, do whatever feels right for you.

by Morgan on Thu Oct 27th, 2005 at 14:27:21 PDT

I asked about the wording (none / 1)

because my coven has had a lot of discussion about this. Our conclusions were very similar to yours. We felt that the term “summoning” is inappropriate because we are essentially appealing to Higher Powers – we are not in the postion of giving them orders. The same problem applied to the term “invoke” because we feel it carries the implication of being a command.

We settled on inviting the Deities, which pleased me. I mean, hey, these are Divinities, they can come or not as they please.

Recently I was really startled to read in Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches that the practicioners of Witchcraft in the 1800’s in Italy would actually threaten the Deities with consequences if the practicioners request was not granted:

Goddess Diana, I do conjure thee
And with uplifted voice to thee I call,
That thou shalt never have content or peace
Until thou comest to give me all thy aid.
Therefore to-morrow at the stroke of noon
I’ll wait for thee, bearing a cup of wine,
Therewith a lens or a small burning-glass. 1
And thirteen pins I’ll put into the charm;
Those which I put shall all indeed be black,
But thou, Diana, thou wilt place them all!

(for those who are not familiar, Aradia was published in 1899 and is one of the earliest documentations we have of Goddess worship in Christian Europe – you can read the history here.)

I can’t imagine threatening a Deity!

See you in Rit!

My Blog: Recovery, Spirituality, Politics and Kilts.What more could you ask for?

by Andy Ternay on Thu Oct 27th, 2005 at 14:42:08 PDT

Tangent (none / 1)

Looking at that reminded me how we’re not always called to the path our bloodlines might lead one to expect. My husband is half Puerto Rican and 1/4 Italian (had an Italian grandmother whose parents were immigrants), but he’s called to the Egyptian and Celtic pantheons. I have a lot of Norse/Germanic blood (Danish, Dutch, German, Prussian, Swedish), but Asatru just doesn’t appeal to me. I tend strongly towards the Gaelic (with a bit of the Welsh), and share an affinity for the Egyptian that predates meeting my hunny.

He and I share paternal lines that go back four or five generations to an xth-great-grandfather who came from Ireland, but I can’t trace either line across the pond.

Not sure there’s a point in there, just a random thought :-).

by Morgan on Thu Oct 27th, 2005 at 14:56:21 PDT

Look out for that thunderbolt πŸ˜‰ (none / 1)

We summon the watchtowers/elementals and invoke/invite the deities. Invoking has always implied to more of a “drawing down the moon” aspect to me, inviting the deity into the person doing the invoking, as opposed to a general “welcome to our circle” invitation. That last bit is my personal interpretation, not necessarily coven training.

As far as summoning goes… my HPS says that politeness counts, only she says it in capital letters with the implied consequences that if she ever hears that one of her students was rude to any astral being… well… you just don’t want to find out what she’d do. :-0

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” — Hunter S. Thompson

by rune on Thu Oct 27th, 2005 at 20:07:35 PDT

We invite the watchtowers/elementals as well (none / 1)

One of our coven really has some authority issues and is not comfortable with commanding any spirits. Β To me it did not matter but – I feel a sense of presence when I invite the elementals that I did not feel when summoning…

So who knows?

My Blog: Recovery, Spirituality, Politics and Kilts.What more could you ask for?

by Andy Ternay on Thu Oct 27th, 2005 at 23:14:33 PDT

I’m speculating a bit… (none / 0)

but now that I think about it I believe part of the reason that we do it that way is a “pre-existing agreement” situation — the specific elemental guardians we call have agreed to work with us on a regular basis, so the summons is more of a “call to duty” than a “hey you, random being get in here and do what I say.” I’ll have to ask my HPS this weekend, because now I’m curious about my understanding…

I’m basing the speculation on the above mentioned fact that she has stressed repeatedly both to me and to the rest of our students to always err on the side of respect. And in times when we’ve called any “unfamiliar spirits” (like local devas) she’s always worded it as an invite.

Sounds like your coven has good “working” relationships. πŸ™‚

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” — Hunter S. Thompson

by rune on Fri Oct 28th, 2005 at 07:17:59 PDT

I’ll be there in spirit (none / 0)

But my body will need to still be at work at that time (2 pm PST) and I don’t think it’s appropriate. And later in the evening, I’ll be busy. My coven remembers those who have gone before. When we started, it was relatives, and people we admired. Now, alas, we have a long list of friends and family.

If I was there, I’d be Magenta, daughter of Barbara, daughter of Alma, daughter of Rose, daughter of a woman whose name I never knew. And I would remember Paul Tuitean, among many others. (I think Paul is the only person who was well known outside the Twin Cities that we’ve lost.)

by MagentaMN on Fri Oct 28th, 2005 at 10:54:56 PDT

As far as I’m concerned (none / 0)

If anyone can’t make it while we’re “live” (i.e before I post the closing), they’re welcome to come by as soon as is convenient and add their bit. πŸ™‚

Depending on how things go, I may not post the closing until I’m up and around on Tuesday morning, so that should give most people plenty of time.

by Morgan on Fri Oct 28th, 2005 at 10:58:58 PDT

4 Responses to “Virtual Ancestor Night (Post #2 – Ritual outline)”

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