I planned a beautiful ritual with my magic group for Samhain in the Blue Mountains; at night in the labyrinth, with a fire and masks and an underworld trance. But I wasn’t even there for it – instead I found myself in Northern New South Wales, the place where the Circle of Eight was birthed and I had lived for so long. It wasn’t a time I’d planned to travel, or to travel there in particular; a tenant in my house gave notice and I knew I couldn’t organise the number of things that had to happen from where I live, a thousand kilometres away. I asked my son to drive with me, amazingly he had already taken a week off work, though it wasn’t the week that suited me. It was the week over Samhain.
In today's faithful Friday post, we are concentrating on the upcoming season of Samhain -- high holy days for Wicca- and Wiccan-influenced Pagans. In today's Beagle, we highlight posts from outside our PaganSquare channel -- watch for our PaganSquare Samhain special edition next week, where we will highlight the Samhain posts of our in-house writers.
I normally write about daily rituals and devotional practices, the kind we all do or all can do if we are so called to. Today, however, I'm going to focus on one of the largest, longest running public rituals I know of or have ever had the pleasure to participate in - Reclaiming's 35th Annual Spiral Dance.
The Labyrinth may be the most well-known and widespread symbol to come out of ancient Minoan spirituality, but it is a static image. What if it were to come alive, to move, to dance? It did so on ancient Crete, and it still does today in Greek folk dances. And the motions of this sinuous dance have many layers of meaning. Let’s explore some of them. Maybe we’ll be inspired to set our own feet moving.
The Labyrinth-in-motion I’m talking about is known as the Crane Dance or Geranos Dance (the word geranos is Greek for ‘crane’ – the bird, not the construction equipment). The Greeks immortalized it in their version of the Theseus myth. You’ve probably heard the tale of Theseus traveling to Crete as one of the fourteen Athenian youths who were the tribute (that is, the sacrifice) to King Minos and his horrible monster, the Minotaur. The king’s daughter Ariadne gives him a ball of yarn by which he marks his path into the Labyrinth, then uses it to find his way out again after slaying the Minotaur. Having accomplished his heroic goal, he rescues the youths and returns home to Athens. That’s the short version, but it leaves out something Theseus does on the way home.
...so I made a bright green underdress to go with my green ruanna and I constructed a fat new flower crown, too. I'm the elder priestess at Mother Grove and the younger ones have given me a couple of public rituals with only a little bit to do and that has been a wonderful gift to me as my schedule gets complicated.
I was a smudger and Sabra anointed the revellers. We were in a new park this time--a really pretty one. The altar was set inside a ring of old trees, mostly oaks. We had a good turnout with lots of familiar faces and several new ones, too.