Samhain Listening

Summerland photo by Erica Svenson

The Samhain weekend was very busy, with the CUUPS Circle on Friday night and the DUUF Sunday service on Sunday morning. And then last night, seven of us gathered at the Summerland stone circle near Decatur – I hadn’t been there since the funeral for James Stevens, who built the circle. His wife Carolyn has made some improvements – she’s doing her best to continue his vision.
I love liturgy and ritual. Whether I’m leading a Pagan circle or a UU Sunday service or doing my own observances, I like the words and motions and their symbolism to be carefully composed, edited, planned and rehearsed. When it’s done well, ritual is beautiful and speaks to me in a way nothing else can. To those who say our prayers and invocations should come “from the heart” I answer that this does come from my heart – and my heart tells me to make it as good as I can. Spontaneity is no excuse for laziness.
But the heart-felt inspiration for last night’s gathering never came. On the long drive out here (about 70 miles from my house, one way) it occurred to me that this wasn’t the time for beautiful, elaborate ritual – it was the time to sit and listen.
So we cast a circle, called the Spirits of the Elements and Directions, and invited the Goddess and God to join us. And then we sat in the northwest quadrant of the stone circle and listened. I think we sat for about 15 minutes, during which time the sky went from late dusk to full dark.
I think we were all visited by someone, but not everyone chose to share what they experienced. As for me, I’ll just say I found it very helpful and very meaningful – as well as very challenging. The new year is going to be interesting…
I hope everyone had a blessed Samhain.
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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.