As Samhain comes closer, I call to the dead. I call to the ones who have come before, to the names I know, to the names I never learned, to the names that may reveal themselves in the future.
“Weaver, Weaver weave her thread,
Whole and strong into your web
Healer, Healer, heal her pain,
In love may she return again…” — Starhawk
Irisanya: Well, I guess we have to start with the background of Samhain and Spiral Dance. What do you think folks need to know?
Starhawk: The Spiral Dance celebrates Samhain, the ancient Celtic Festival that marks the ending of the year and the completion of the harvest—the holiday that became Halloween. At this time of year, people believed that the veil was thin that separated the world of the living from the world of the dead, the spirit world that underlies the physical world. It was the time when the dead returned to visit with us, and when we could commune with them.
Irisanya: So, who are all these dead?
Starhawk: At the Spiral Dance, we call the dead and honor them in three aspects: Ancestors, Mighty Dead of the Craft, and Beloved Dead.[The Ancestors] may be our bloodline ancestors, or our ancestors by adoption. They may represent ancestors of culture, tradition, inspiration. It is the ancestors’ job to help and guide us, and ours to offer acknowledgement and gratitude for their lives, their struggles and the gifts they have given us.
Irisanya: And the Mighty Dead?Starhawk: These are ancestors, not necessarily of blood, who have made contributions to the magical community, great teachers, experimenters, healers, magic-workers of the past, and dear friends who contributed to the development of our own Reclaiming Community. We believe their work continues beyond the veil, and that they are still working to guide us, protect us and challenge us to grow.
Irisanya: Who are the Beloved Dead?
Starhawk: These are our personal friends and loved ones who have passed. At the Spiral Dance we call the names of those who have passed this year, and include some of the key public figures whose death impacts us. At home, we might create an altar for a special person, with pictures, symbols of their interests and achievements and favorite foods and objects. At the Spiral Dance, the north altar is dedicated to honoring our Beloved Dead, and their names are read during the meditation time before the ritual begins.
We call to the dead. Loudly.
We call to the dead. Softly.
We call to the dead. Dance with us. Hold our hands. Remind us you are always here. We are here for you too.
Details about this year’s Reclaiming Spiral Dance ritual:
DATE: October 26, 2019
LOCATION: Craneway Pavilion, Richmond, CA
TIME: Doors open at 6pm; ritual begins at 7pm
COST: $0 – $130, no one turned away
SUBMIT NAMES OF BELOVED DEAD: https://www.reclaimingspiraldance.org/the-beloved-dead