On Sunday the 22nd of October 2006, pagan friends, students and Celtic Druids of the Dark Moon Grove of Ireland's Druidschool celebrated the Death and Rebirth of the New Year. Three sacred fires were held at three sacred sites by our grove on this night. It was fantastic - please see images under the Gallery tab above foe some impression of what we enjoyed.
In 2003, we held our first Celtic Pagan gathering of the common era to acknowledge the Dark (new) Moon as it made an alignment up the passageway to the Quartz standing stone inside Cairn 'L' on Carnbane West (aka - Loughcrew / Sliabh na Callighe / Hills of the Veiled Ones). This story is told already on this website - where the invited 20 or so turned out to be only one woman and three men. This was highly symbolic as the Earth Goddess Tlachtga had three sons - Muach, Cumma and Doirb and the old stories tells us that while their names are known and spoken aloud that Ireland will be safe from destruction. We called out the names of Tlachtga and her three sons on the Dark Moon of Samhain in 2003, 2004, 2005 and again on 2006. This is the story of Lunar Samhain 2006.
Because we always seek balance in our lives and our ritual ceremonies we held our first ceremony at the Druids Well - Tobar Tlachtga before we held any Fire Ceremonies. There were four of us who had been here for two such events before. We went to the well and stood on the four sides of the seven-foot wide circular immersion well at about 4pm. We just held silence for a while as we settled our minds and relaxed into the energy of the holy well itself. On this calm blue sky day standing around the well we all felt that our crown Chakra was being pulled into the well. Imagine a sunflower when the sun has gone down and the flower head is pulled to the earth instead of the sun in the sky and you will get a notion of what I mean. The pull of this water energy caused a sharing of personal release and hopes for change to a situation that seems stuck. We took out the bottles of holy water that had been collected from an alkaline well on the River Liffey and splashed the well surface from four sides. We spoke of life with happiness and as a sad event was shared a dark cloud covered the setting sun. A change of subject and the brightness returned all too briefly as the Sun edged closer to the western horizon. Then we went back to the cars where we began the face painting.
One more person turned up at this stage, he had been lost and was delighted to have found us, as were we. He had been with us in ceremony on the last full moon "Ritual of Protection" on Tara and he was very welcome to join us. The five of us went to the top of the Hill of Ward where Tlachtga's five ring ceremonial enclosure still hosts the ancient ceremony of the death and rebirth of the Celtic New Year. The name 'Hill of Ward' is a corruption of the Hill of the Bard, which is a soft version of Druid, which in turn is an even softer version of Tlachtga, the Earth Goddess whose name means "Earth Spear".
For the first time in living memory two Lady Celtic Druids from the Dark Moon Grove, Niamh and Denise, generated a pure new flame spirit. This is the way it should be. The sacred firebox had been prepared with sacred woods including 5,000-year-old bog oak. The new fire spirit took to life easily and consumed the dry kindling and smoke turned into a series of dancing flames. A single charge for the firebox was all we intended because we had to go next to Tara and then to Sliabh na Callighe. No watches, no mobile phones, no rockets and no playacting. We stood quietly and watched as the size of the new fire grew to adolescence. A local woman and her husband then joined us. She introduced her self as Mairead and we have met her many times before. I went and welcomed her and invited her to join our circle. She and her husband Chris stood in circle and we chatted and shared hopes for Ireland and Truth. I was asked "why do Celtic Druids celebrate Samhain to night" (instead of Oct31/Nov1). I happily explained about the alignment of the Dark Moon to the Quartz standing stone in Cairn 'L' at Sliabh na Callighe. She knew some of this story and by my explaining that this lined up to the sign of Scorpio and the star Antares (that Jesus was born under) and that we have a multiple alignment which includes Lambay Volcano in Dublin Bay that we can use the same timing as our ancestors to honour Samhain of the Dark Moon. Mairead was impressed by this sharing and said that she would bring others to join us on the 9th of November 2007 for the start of the Celtic New Year next Lunar Samhain. She then gave us her phone number to be sure of an invite. Is this the locals around the Hill of Tlachtga returning to the old ways by a natural calling of the Goddess to true time?
I asked if they would join us in ceremony and they both happily agreed. We did the Celtic Druids Cross of Light and then the Blessing to the Three Realms together. I read our ceremony and all assembled took full part in the required way. No one has to do anything at our ceremonies - this is always explained - but everyone is invited and invariably - every one partakes with us. Mairead is a native Gaelic speaker and my daughter is very fluent and I try hard to pronounce my Irish words and phrases with care - although I learned to speak Irish under the beatings of the lead-lined leather straps of the un-Christian Brothers with great resentment - I have a great love of our native Celtic tongue and I was pleased and honoured that both Mairead and my daughter complimented my spoken Gaelige. The words of this ceremony used will never be online - it will only ever be spoken on this dark night of the death and rebirth of the Celtic New Year.
Then a bag containing ancient bits of bog oak was passed around for each person to take one or more for the "Release of the Old". This is simply told - all those things that do not serve you, resentment, bad memories or regret and so on can be released into the bit of wood. These bits of charged wood are added to the fire and the process of transmutation causes the fire spirit to dance wildly. Bog oak gives a very aromatic effect to the brightened flame of the fire spirit and all involved watched and waited as the past was consumed into the dancing flame of the 'now'. As the flames and the charge of fuel diminished I prepared to take the flame to our lanterns. Two candles and one oil lamp were lit to take the flame to Tara and then Mairead and Chris said their thanks and goodbye to our group. Disregarding the time we paid regard only to the flames in the sacred firebox. Eventually they all died down and the embers faded. We took all our kit back to the cars to go to Tara but we left no physical trace behind us. I was last to leave to circle and simply told - I just bowed and gave thanks in my heart to Tlachtga.
Its only seven miles to Tara but it seems to take ages to get there. I was driving quite slowly as my daughter was holding an oil lamp clamped between her boots while holding the wire handle in her hand. We drove slowly in our three-car convoy determined to get there safely. My son had arrived on Tara at 7:30 pm with a busload of Pagans from Dublin (30 miles away) and rang his sister for an update. We will be there soon was all she could say. This is the timeless realm, we were perfectly at peace with the pure new flame without need to hurry, but those waiting in the darkness on Tara were looking at their watches and checking their mobiles....
We arrived when we got there. We made our way up to the Gravel Patch located at the point between the processional cursus and the four ring ceremonial enclosure (aka Banqueting Hall and the Rath of the Synods). I set up a second fire charge in the sacred firebox and transferred the flame to this with ease. The flames danced brightly. Many amazing pictures taken by Ken Williams shadowandstone.com shown under the Gallery tab share a brilliant sense of the night.
We made circle, did the Celtic Druids Cross of Light and then the Blessing to the Three Realms together. I spoke about Tara, Pagan Rights and the understanding of the old ways. Each person present said their name out loud and acknowledged the presence of the other realms. We called to the four elements, the cherubic signs and the four archangel stars and to the ancestors to be with us. We took a step back to make room for our otherworld guests.
Just as had happened at Tlachtga - "The bag(s) containing ancient bits of bog oak (and thorn) were then passed around for each person to take one or more for the "Release of the Old". This is simply all those things that do not serve you, resentment, bad memories or regret and so on are released into the bit of wood. These bits of charged wood are added to the fire and the process of transmutation causes the fire spirit to dance wildly. Bog oak gives a very aromatic effect to the brightened flame of the fire spirit and all involved watched and waited as the past was consumed into the dancing flame of the 'now'. We all turned left and walked in a clockwise motion around the sacred fire with the incense of bog oak attaching to our robes and clothing - a memory to recall later if needed. Now we entered into the realm of guided visualisation. I led a group dreaming under the idea of the 'Return of the Celtic Horse Goddess: Edain Echraidhe.' This dreaming is held nightly at 23:59 / midnight Irish Time. Details at http://www.druidschool.com/site/1030100/page/837902
Our second ceremony was over and people began to depart, a lantern was presented to take a pure flame home and then two more candle lanterns were lit. Our group stood and chatted as the flames from the second sacred fire of the night died down and the embers darkened. We took all our kit to the car park below and had the long awaited soup and sandwiches. The sacred firebox cooled down as we warmed up inside. The we prepared our convoy of four cars to head to Sliabh na Callighe.
It is a long journey from Tara to Sliabh na Callighe - especially when you have to drive slow and careful because of the need to be gentle with sacred flame. I'm not sure (as I do not wear a watch) but I reckon it was about midnight when we arrived in the car park between the Hills of the Veiled Ones. I set the sacred firebox with the third charge of the night and transferred the flame on the third attempt. Every fire spirit is different as are human spirits and even though firewood from the same source was being used this third sacred fire smoked heavily for ages before bursting into flame. We spoke of happy and special times in the year just gone as if at a funeral or wake. Open sharing among magical friends on a similar path is a powerful experience. This stage is informal and private and we began to pack up about 3am ish. A group hug and thanks were given and received with a renewed spirit for a new year.
We drove home to west Dublin quietly and I got to bed about 4:30am with great relief to my aching heels. We had all been blessed with a great night of triple ceremony at triple sacred sites. We had stood with Pagan friends as well as with the living guardian and teller of true stories of the five ring ceremonial enclosure sacred to Tlachtga, the Earth Goddess of Samhain on the Dark Moon of the Death and Rebirth of the Celtic New Year.