30 October 2011

Good Samhain

"But I wanna come with you tonight, Mom!" came the whine of her ten year old daughter.

"You're not ready yet, Sweetie. Besides, if you come with me you'll miss going Tricks and Treats with your Dad."

"Tricks and Treats is lame, Mom! Get into the 21st Century!"

She laughed, "Kristie, Darling, everything's 'lame' with you right now. Last week, you thought going to Mimi's was lame... that is, until you got there and you had a blast."


"And you were so excited when you picked out your costume..."


"And you and your Dad always have so much fun..."


She bent to get eye to eye in Kristie's face, rubbed noses, and then mimicked her apathy "yeah..." They both laughed. "That's better..." She kissed her on the forehead, "You'll have fun. You two always do. Now get dressed!"

"Love you, Mom..."

"Thank the stars I'm not lame, too," she laughed as she stepped out of Kristie's room.

"Is she getting ready?" asked her husband with a kiss.

"Hmmm... another kiss may jog my memory," she smiled, putting her arms around his neck.

Instead of a kiss, she received a smack to her shapely behind.

"Keep that up and we'll both be late," she giggled into his ear.

"I thought I told you two that you can't have sex unless it's in your own room! Ugh!" yelled Kristie from behind her closed door.

"Hurry up in there before I find something better to do," he called after her with a laugh.

"You can't, she has to go for her thing, so ha!" Kristie bellowed as she flung her door open, stuck out her tongue, then closed the door with a shrill laugh.

"She's your daughter, alright," she smiled, patting her husband's chest. She looked at her watch. "Gotta go. Love you. Have fun," she said with a smile as she kissed his cheek and started for the stairs.

Dusk had already descended upon their sleepy little suburban neighbourhood as Amanda slipped on her cloak, grabbed her broom and made her way to the bus stop. She smiled at the slight chill in the air. As she passed, she waved at the few neighbourhood children already out in various colourful, and some scary, costumes, sacks and even some pillow cases for the evening's haul gripped in their little hands. She got to the bus stop just as the bus was arriving.

"Going to a party, Miss?" smiled the driver.

"Yes, I am, thank you," Amanda smiled, paying her fare.

"Your costume looks very authentic," said the driver.

"I would hope so," she smiled at another passenger as she took her seat near the rear door. Amanda actually enjoyed taking the bus, though none of her friends could ever understand why.

The bus passed through the neighbourhood, took the roundabout, then passed the old church, before Amanda signalled for her stop. As she disembarked, the driver waved with a smile. Amanda didn't look back.

Lisa and Veronica were just hanging their cloaks and setting their brooms to stand next to the cloak rack when Amanda arrived at the front door of the Victorian home. They greeted each other with friendly hugs and kisses.

"Sorry if I'm a bit late," smiled Amanda.

"Don't be silly, Love," Veronica replied, also with a smile.

"We just got here ourselves," smiled Lisa.

"Good evening, Ladies," smiled Tess, the owner of the lovely Victorian, and hostess to the evening's festivities. She greeted each with a friendly hug and kiss. "With you three we're only shy Melody, and she'll be here before long. She should, she's bringing the sage." They all laughed. "Let's not huddle all evening in the alcove. Please come in and make yourselves at home," she smiled as she invitingly waved them into the house.

As they entered the main portion of the house, the other eight women of slightly varying ages already in attendance moved to greet the newly arrived, again with friendly hugs and kisses. "There's munchies on the table... fruit, veggies, and a very nice spinach dip, and, of course, wine," smiled Tess. "Please, help yourselves. We have time before we're to begin."

Celeste smiled at Amanda. "So, how's Kristie doing?"

"She's good, thanks. Though, everything is 'lame' right now." They both laughed. "She was so eager to come with me tonight."

"She's, ten now, right?" smiled Celeste.

"Going on twenty-five!" They both laughed again.

"Yeah, my Gemma's almost eleven and she's so curious as to why her Mum goes off every once in a while in a witch's costume."

"It's easy enough to get away with tonight. But, have you told her anything yet?" asked Amanda, quite serious.

"Not really. I mean, she's smart as a whip, so I can't keep avoiding it, but the last thing I want to do is outright lie. I just say it's a Ladies' Club and leave it at that."

"I like that! The truth... well, somewhat... without disclosure. At least enough for a ten year old. May I use that?" Amanda smiled.

"Please do," smiled Celeste. "That way, if they start comparing notes, at least the stories'll be similar." They both laughed again. Amanda raised her wine glass as a toast.

Amanda scanned the room full of her friends with a smile. All were engaged in various small talk. She caught the eye of Vella, smiled and waved. Vella returned the gesture and then returned to her conversation with Dana. Moments later, Melody arrived, bag of sage in hand and a smile on her face.

"My apologies, Ladies, for my tardiness. The girl at the shop kept wanting to flirt with me."

They all laughed and greeted her as they had all greeted each other. When she got to Tess, her smile was even larger. "Hi, Mum," she beamed with an extra big hug.

"Hello, Cherub," smiled Tess. "Did you at least get her phone number?"

"Let's just say I don't want to lose the receipt," laughed Melody.

Melody is Tess' sixteen year old daughter. An only child, and for most of her life, it was only her and Tess. Even though she was the youngest member, her energy and focus rivalled even the elder members, thanks partly to her age, and partly to Tess initiating her at the very young age of five.

Melody looked up as if she'd heard something calling her name. "It's about time we got started," she said, smiling. Then remembering to respectfully acknowledge the hierarchy, "That is, if you believe we should, Mother Dana."

Dana smiled, "You are such a precious gift to us all, Dear. Yes, please, Ladies, it's time."

On that signal, every woman in the room began to disrobe. Once fully undressed, they put their neatly folded clothes on a shelf next to the door leading to the back garden. At the door stood a naked Tess, smiling and handing a bundle of sage to each with a kiss as they stepped out into the back garden and the chill evening air.

The firepit in the centre of the back garden was already burning and the women gathered around, placing one end of their bundle of sage into the fire. Once each bundle was lit, the women danced around in an anti-clockwise circle, waving their sage to and fro, and muttering their own blessing spell for the evening. On the third rotation, they stopped in the spot where they had started and threw their sage bundles into the fire. Dana, officiating from her station at the North point of the circle, began the opening Prayer for the Circle with salutations to the goddess, with the members repeating in unison after each line. Tess, from her station at the South, continued the Prayer for the Circle with salutations to the goddess, again, with the members repeating after each line. Then to Eileen at the East point and then to Grace at the West to follow suit and close the Circle. Once the Prayer for the Circle was closed, Dana began the chant for the Star. At her designated queue, Amanda, at the Southwest, began her portion of the chant. Eileen at the East point picked up at her queue, then to Grace at the West, and to Melody in the Southeast, all culminating with Dana's "Blessed Be", repeated in unison by the members.

Starting with Tess, since the Circle was at her home, each woman made her request to the goddess for the coming year, in turn, in anti-clockwise rotation. Once the requests had been made, Tess gathered the offering and placed it into the fire. The offering was a small wicker doll filled with trinkets, ribbons, and little hand written notes. The doll itself was hand made by Tess for this very special evening. As the offering burnt, the women danced around the fire, singing their thanks and praises to the goddess.

It wasn't until the fire was almost down to embers that Dana started her closing Prayer for the Circle. As with the opening prayer, all four points of the compass were recognized, with the members, in unison, repeating after each line. With Dana's closing "Blessed Be", also repeated in unison by the members, the evening's ceremony was officially ended. They filed back into the house, with Tess again at the door, re-greeting each one into her home with a kiss before entering.

"I have some chicken to heat if any of you are hungrier than just for finger foods," smiled Tess, after all thirteen women were back inside.

"I'll help you with that," smiled Amanda.

"That sounds good," smiled Veronica. "I'll help, too."

The three women stepped off to the kitchen. They returned a few minutes later with a full supper... chicken, veggies, potato, yams... and, of course, more wine, enough for all thirteen women.

Not bothering to dress, they all ate, drank, and enjoyed each other's company and conversation until well past one in the morning. Noticing the time, Celeste found Amanda, who was talking with Melody.

"I just noticed the time. I need to go soon. I know you prefer the bus, but they stopped running over an hour ago. I go past your neighbourhood so you're welcome to a lift," Celeste smiled at Amanda.

"Yeah... I probably should. Kristie's either way off in dreamland or needing to be peeled from the ceiling. Either way, Ian's wanting me home soon." the women laughed. Amanda turned to Melody, "Thanks for the tip," she said, hugging the younger woman.

Celeste and Amanda walked over to the shelf where their clothes were still neatly folded. Along the way, they said their good-nights to some of the others. Celeste picked up her clothes, shook out her capri jogging pants and started to pull them on. Amanda pulled on her boots, then dropped her clothes, still neatly folded, into her bag with a wry smile on her face. Celeste had pulled her t-shirt on over her head before she'd realized what Amanda had done.

"You're going home like that?" smiled Celeste.

"I have my cloak..." smiled Amanda. "I'm just too comfortable to get dressed. This doesn't change your offer to give me a lift, does it?"

"Goodness, no!" smiled Celeste, peeling her pants back off. "I hope you don't mind if I join you..." the women laughed.

Once Celeste had taken her clothes off again, not having a large enough bag, she tucked them neatly under her arm. They made their way to the front door where Amanda turned to the room and said to all "Good Samhain, Sisters! I love you all!"

Oíche Shamhna, nó Gach Hallow Oíche Chinn Bhliana, thosaigh mar an págánacha Ceilteach saoire Samhain. Tá sé Creidtear gurb é seo an am seo den bhliain nuair a thiocfaidh an veil idir saol na maireachtála agus an domhan na marbh chomh tanaí gur féidir iad siúd a chuaigh roimh teacht ar ais le haghaidh cuairt ghearr roimh a bhfuil a thabhairt ar ais. Fágadh tairiscintí ar bhia, nó milseáin, nó rud éigin a ól, de ghnáth meads nó Ales, in aice leis an mbealach isteach chuig an bhaile. Ní raibh na do na leanaí ina gcónaí, i gúna spraíúil agus ag imirt cleasanna agus déileálann, ach le haghaidh biotáille onóir na marbh is féidir leo filleadh ar a dtithe iar agus a ngaolta. Samhain é freisin an tús na Bliana an Nua Ceilteach, agus am de cheiliúradh. Dúinn Wiccans, tá sé in aghaidh an lae an-naofa agus naofa. Bhailiú muid inár ngrúpaí chun adhradh na déithe na sean-nós do Thuathaibh Dé Danann mhaith Cernunnos, Bríd, Mór-Ríoghain, agus an Dionysus Gréige. Uimh taibhsí nó arrachtaigh. Ní fiú do Lucifer. Leis sin, ba mhaith liom tú sábháilte agus Oíche Shamhna Shona.