This is the second Samhain that I’ve celebrated with Sierra Madrone Grove in Sacramento. A nice size crowd came for it, including a new ADF member and a potential member. The ritual itself went quite wonderfully, up to a particular point. The Outdwellers were offered a nice foamy beer (complete with a made up on-the-fly poem) and they seemed very content with that as they did not bother us at all during the ritual. Manannan Mac Llyr was the Gatekeeper and the Deity of the Occasion was the Cailleach Bheara. In her honor, Jen donned a blue one-eyed masked and ragged wool cloak while Sean read her story. It was wonderfully done! Instead of praise offerings, Sierra Madrone has been doing a Sumbel as standard at Samhain for quite a few years. This time, it was a two-round Sumbel. First round was to the Ancestors – either specific or in general. I told a brief story of how I found my pagan family members. Second round was to the Shining Ones, the Gods and Goddesses. I thanked my Norse Force (as I have nicknamed them) for making my life more complicated and so much more fun.
Then came the part where the ritual pulled apart, in my opinion. Two of our more eccentric members wanted to include personal offerings as an impromptu part. The SD allowed it because sometimes it’s better than fighting. As a seer, I could feel that the Ancestors weren’t upset at this, but were also not necessarily thrilled. Following those two offerings, other personal offerings seemed to be better received by the Ancestors.
The omen was read using the Ogham. From the Ancestors was received Iodhadh, which was read as memory linking to lore. From the Nature Spirits was received NGéadal, which was read as a wound-charm for healing, good health, well-being and hope. From the Shining Ones was received Luis, which was read as flame and inspiration.