Samhain (or as OBOD students spell it, Samhuinn) is a festival of many layers: connecting with ancestor spirits and stories, celebrating the last harvest, meditating on the role of death within life, and marking the transition from the old year to the new.

This time of change was even dubbed the “Celtic New Year”, in the late 19th century. Our grove feels this change keenly, as the first ceremony we ever celebrated was Samhuinn 2015. This always brings a sense of new beginnings to us, especially now: entering our fifth year as an organized grove.

Over the past months, we made a few changes that seemed like natural next steps. As announced last month, the role of Chief of Grove was passed to Mark Arend, from founding Chief Lexi Erickson. During this same period, several ideas for grove activities came to fruition, and we began Group Practices: opportunities to gather with other members to perform a Practicum from a Gwerse, or to meet on a monthly basis to discuss and correlate reflections on the moon, to name the first two examples.

And, we’ve begun performing rituals unscripted—one leader prompts each participant as necessary, so everyone can focus on it here and now instead of reading along. Samhuinn was our first try at that, and it went even better than imagined, which (ironically) we anticipated. We feel it gives members a chance to be more present in the ritual, and thus to grow as practitioners.

So, from all the members of Flame and Well Grove: Happy New Year to you!

By the way, Astrological Samhain and Astronomical Samhain fall today, Nov 7th. Astrological is when the sun is 15 degrees into Scorpio, 12:24 pm EST today. Astronomical is exactly halfway between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice, 12:14 pm EST today.  It’s interesting to ponder a week’s worth of traditions devoted to this important time of the wheel:

Grove Samhuinn is the date we held our members-only ritual this year.