I would like to remember everything about last night's Samhain ritual at Curry College so I can relate it, but parts of it are hazy. That tends to happen during a deep ritual, but I will try to relate it as best I can. This was the second time I was asked to come priestess a Samhain/Hallows ritual at the college. Students and some faculty joined in and together we celebrate the harvest and honored our ancestors and those who have passed on.
What struck me most was how much the students seemed enjoy it. They entered into the spirit of the event and immersed themselves in something new with great courage and commitment. Many came because they were getting extra credit. However, several of them left changed and that gladdened my heart.
Also, the fab Brecken had asked four of them to welcome the Elements. I had brought my Element Mandalas (http://folknouveau.com/izolda/art.htm) and those were what they used to welcome the Elements (which worked just great because then they didn't have to worry about exactly what to say and that increased their comfort level). Then, we had gotten an apple and cut it through crossways and passed it around to show the natural pentacle in the apple. The students who ended up holding the apple happened to be sitting next to each other and happened to be one male and one female. I asked them to welcome the goddess and the god. They needed a little coaching but they did great!
Also, we asked the participants to think about their ancestors and those who had passed on and each one in turn added to a cairn of stones on the altar as they remembered their dead. Afterward, each participant received an orange and a black candle where the orange represented what would come into their lives (or rather what they wanted to come into their lives) and the black represented what they wanted to say goodbye to in their lives. They lit their candles off the central altar candles and held them as we blessed them. They will then burn them up on their own.
The magic for me of last night? I'd say it was watching them embrace something new and different. Some had a bit of fear around the ritual and we talked about it. One of the young women brought up the point that her mother had said not to draw a tarot card because it was dangerous because it would open up a portal to another dimension and that she didn't know or want that kind of interest from those realms. It was lovely to have the opportunity to explain how tarot works for me and to alleviate her fears. Incidentally, she was one of the students who, at the end, asked to draw more tarot cards to have me interpret them. :)
I also talked about the history of some of our modern day Halloween traditions (like trick-or-treating and bobbing for apples) and that was fun for them.
I find it almost impossible to priestess without educating. I dearly want everyone to feel open to asking questions, learning, and soaking up as much as they want/need so they move forward with a sense of having done something sacred about which they now know more. That is what I consider perfection. :)