A Blessed Samhain Book Excerpt
This time of year is one of my favorites—not only because fall is such a lovely season, but more for the mysterious, magical holiday of Samhain. (Yes, I know you thought it was Halloween!) Last year, I wrote a blog post about the tradition of Samhain and how many of our modern-day Halloween traditions come from this sacred pagan holiday. I love that an essential part of writing believable fictional tales is researching and learning about so many interesting things. On the Celtic Wheel of the Year, Samhain (pronounced saah-win or saa-ween) marks the beginning of the spiritual new year. Samhain comes from the Gaelic word “samhuin” which means summer’s end. It’s the traditional start of winter and marks the New Year as one of the eight annual Celtic festivals.
The characters in my Circle of Nine series follow the holidays on the Celtic Wheel of the Year.
In honor of this wonderful holiday, I’m sharing the Samhain Celebration excerpt from Circle of Nine: Beltany.
About a half hour before midnight, Phoebe and the other women went into the house to change into their robes for the ceremony, leaving their clothes folded neatly on the sofa. Each of the nine wore a different color, all of them in bright shades except for Carmen. She wore a soft butter yellow, which complemented her black hair very well. They walked single file out the door and back to the gathering.
All conversation stopped when the women reached the middle of the lawn where preparations had been made for the bonfire. Phoebe’s quiet incantation held the guests’ attention.
“The year is done, we bid farewell
In the past, we will not dwell
The flame of old we burn tonight
Is gone for good, turn out the light”
Phoebe thrust her arms in the air, her palms facing up, and all candles and torches sputtered out. It was a moonless night, and Phoebe’s voice, louder now, sounded otherworldly coming out of the darkness.
“The year anew, we welcome you
Goddess, guide us in all we do.”
The torch in front of Phoebe hissed as it sprang to life, illuminating her face.
She held the torch and brought its flame down low, walking in a circle to light the kindling at the edges of the bonfire. Back at her starting place, she threw her torch into the middle of the fire and backed away as the flames roared to life.
Phoebe continued, “We celebrate our life and remember those who have gone before us. Let us feel their presence tonight as we honor them with a minute of silence.”
Some spent the minute staring into the flames, others reached out to hold hands, and a few bowed their heads in grief. As the minute concluded, Phoebe spoke again, “We make our circle to remind ourselves that our journey is without beginning or end. Our energy is ever present.” Like jewels on a bracelet, the nine robed women surrounded the fire. Then a second, larger circle of participants formed and then another and another, until everyone was united in rings around the blazing fire.
Someone started singing, and they all joined in as they continued to rotate. In the blur of joyous faces, the old year slipped away.
If this small excerpt intrigued you and you want to read more, the purchase links for the series are below.
Have a great Samhain and Happy Halloween! - Valerie