Samhain 2007

Images of the Afterlife
October 26-28, 2007

at Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve
west of Mount Horeb & north of Barneveld, Wisconsin
25 miles west of Madison, Wisconsin

Our theme this year is an exploration of the afterlife and the varied Pagan views on what comes next. It is a time for connecting with the recent dead and the ancestors. This is also the time when we enter the space between the old year and the new. Begin your journey into the Time Between by walking the Labyrinth and drawing tarot cards to peek into what the New Year will bring. It is a time of contemplation, looking backwards to our roots and forward to our future. It is a time to celebrate Life.

Friday, October 26
Noon Merchant arrivals & set-up begins
1:30 - 4PM Arrivals at the Children's Center
1:30 PM Arrivals & set-up for other participants begin
1:30 - 4 PM Walk the land, Carve a pumpkin, Merchant Faire
4 PM Circle Cemetery Blessing - facilitated by Selena Fox & others
This year's Samhain blessing of Circle Cemetery includes an honoring of all those whose cremains have been placed in the cemetery, plus a special salute to the deceased veterans whose government issued markers with pentacles were dedicated at Memorial Day. We also will be dedicating two iron sculptures honoring deceased veterans. These sculptures have been handcrafted and donated to Circle Sanctuary by Eric Erickson, a member of the Order of the Pentacle. Please bring offerings of dried herbs.
5:30 PM Children's Nature Walk
5:30 - 7 PM Dinner - Children's center CLOSED
7 PM Arrivals for those attending Witches Ball only (with departures by 1 am)
8 - Midnight Witches Ball - with live music by the Celtic band, Stone Ring and by the duo, Water Street Bridge.
Join in the fun. Dress in costume, if you wish -- come as an ancestor, as your self in another life or in a fantasy. Enjoy the band performing Celtic tunes and other music. Dance, socialize, make merry! Some refreshments provided.
8 - 8:30 PM Children's time at the Witches' Ball
8:30 PM Children's sleepover in the Children's Center
Saturday, October 27
8 AM Gate opens for new arrivals & those commuting
8 - 9 AM Breakfast
9 AM Newcomers Meeting
9 AM - 6 PM Merchant Faire
9:30 - 10:15 AM Ritual of Welcome with Ladyhawke & others
10:30 AM - Noon Annual Meeting & Celebration - with Selena Fox & others
Selena, other Circle ministers & staff will give an overview of Circle Sanctuary's accomplishments over the past year, including a report on Pagan Spirit Gathering, perspectives on the impact of the Veteran Pentacle Quest victory, a Circle Cemetery update, and the development of Sacred Fire Circle events. The meeting also will include a view of future projects, plus a toast in celebration of Circle Sanctuary's 33rd birthday & the 24th anniversary of Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve.
10:30 AM - Noon Mask making & Spirit Bags in the Children's Center
Noon - 1 PM Potluck Lunch - Children's Center closed
1 - 2 PM Free time - for Nature walks & shopping
2 - 4 PM View of the Afterlife Panel - with Selena, Windwalker, PathWalker, Shine, & others
What do you think happens next? Will you go to the Summerlands, Valhalla, Tir na Nog, or Heaven? Will your soul be reincarnated? Or will you return to nothingness? Is immortality achieved through our deeds and in the memories of the living or is there some afterlife, somewhere next in our journey? A panel of Circle Sanctuary ministers and ministers-in-training will share viewpoints and then lead a community discussion on this topic.
2 - 4 PM Samhain Discussion at the Children's Center
4:30 PM Raffle Drawing & Silent Auction Results
4:45 - 5:45 PM Ritual Preparation & Orientation meeting with Windwalker
Learn about the main ritual. Place mementos of departed loved ones & ancestors on the Temple Room altars for the dead.
6 - 7 PM Dinner - Children's Center closed
7 - 8 PM Free time
7:30 PM Children's Center open for sleepover arrivals
8 - 10 PM Samhain Ritual - with Windwalker, Selena, & others
The veil between the worlds is thin this night. We'll cross it and gather messages from departed loved ones then return again to celebrate life and the Celtic New Year.
8 - 10 PM Children's Samhain Activities - with Marshall and others
10:30 PM - Midnight Samhain Divination Labyrinth - with Joey & others
10:30 PM - 1 AM Samhain Bonfire at Festival Circle - Drumming, ecstatic dance, meditation, & chanting
Sunday, October 28
9 AM Gate opens - for new arrivals & those commuting
9 - 10 AM Breakfast
10 - 11:30 AM Paganism in the Media - with Paula Johnson
Paula shares her Pagan media research, including findings of her masters' thesis, "A Pagan by Any Other Name: The Rhetoric of Nature Religion in the Media."
10 - 11:30 AM Portable Altar Making with Robbie, in the Children's Center
Noon - 1 PM Lunch & informal Parents' Meeting
1:30 - 2:30 Closing Ritual - with PathWalker & others
2:30 - 3:30 Site Cleanup & farewells
3 - 8 PM Post-festival social at OakHaven

Items To Bring

  • Contribution for potluck feast to feed at least two dozen, for Saturday lunch. For details, please see our Potluck Guidelines.
  • Bring items for the ancestors and recently departed altars - photos or small personal items and candles.
  • Bring dried herbs for offerings during rituals.
  • Bring a pumpkin or gourd to carve for decorating the temple room and ritual spaces.
  • Bring a mug or cup to drink from
  • Bring a drum or rhythm instrument for the Drumming Circle - some will be available for loan
  • Camping Gear: tent, sleeping bag, pillow, air mattress, flashlight, water jug, towel, biodegradable soap and shampoo, personal toiletries, sungear, raingear, insect and tick repellent.