Samhain 2008

2008 Samhain Festival

October 31 - November 2, 2008
at Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve
west of Mount Horeb & north of Barneveld, Wisconsin
25 miles west of Madison, Wisconsin

Samhain, popularly known as Halloween, occurs in late October and early November. For most Wiccan practitioners, this is the New Year, and a time for letting go of the old and looking ahead to the new. It marks the end of the harvest season. Since ancient times, Pagans have paid their respects to departed loved ones, ancestors, and guides in the Spirit World at Samhain. The Goddess manifests as the Crone and the God as the Horned Hunter and Lord of Death. Sacred colors are Black and Orange. It is the festival of endings and transformation.

Deborah Ann Light, M.A., went to her first Pagan Spirit Gathering in 1983! She has been connected with Circle Sanctuary ever since, including support of Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve from its beginnings. Among her adventures was taking part in the 2nd Parliament of the World's Religions in 1993 in Chicago. She was sent to the Assembly of Religious and Spiritual Leaders by her Elders. As the Wiccan representative for The Old Religion, she signed the Preamble to the Global Ethic. In 1999 she went to Cape Town, South Africa, and participated in the opening ceremony for the 3rd Parliament. Deborah also was instrumental in introducing Wiccans to membership in the United Religious Initiative, an international fellowship. In addition to her international interfaith activities, Deborah creates verbal quilts on the subjects of rights (rites) of passage , including work with death preparations. A collector of poems, she prepares presentations such as Medusa Speaks to Men, The Goddess is Alive and Of Witches and Wise Ones.


  • Samhain Ritual by Selena Fox (PDF format)
  • Samhain Ancestors Ritual by Selena Fox (PDF format)
  • Samhain Article by Selena Fox on 'As America celebrates Halloween, I celebrate Samhain'
  • More about Samhain
  • More about Celebrating the Seasons

    Friday, October 31
    10:30 AM Gate open for arrivals
    11 AM - Noon Welcome & Opening Ritual - Honoring the Land with Selena Fox & Joey Bunbury
    A warm welcome and opening ritual to Honor the land and prepare for our weekend festivities. Bring a stone to leave as an offering.
    12:30 PM Lunch
    2 - 3 PM The Crooning of Crones - with Deborah Ann Light
    The Crooning of Crones is a weaving of poems on the subject of old, wise women. While The Crone is revered in The Craft, She is often ignored and rendered invisible in the mundane world. Come hear of Her Power and Wisdom told by Her Peers, the poets!
    2 - 3 PM Samhain Traditions & Decorate Sugar Skulls - Youth Workshop
    Come learn more about the tides of the High Season and learn how to traditionally decorate ancestral Sugar Skulls of the Mexican, Los Dias de los Muertos tradition.
    3:30 - 5 PM Circle Cemetery Dedication of Pentacle veteran gravemarker - by Selena Fox & others
    This is a memorial and dedication of the US Department of Veterans Affairs issued pentacle grave stone marking the cremains of Circle Sanctuary member and veteran Ron Naanes. His widow, Anita, and Selena Fox, assisted by several Circle Sanctuary ministers and others will honor his life and service and dedicate the gravestone, the fifth at Circle Cemetery. Bring a fresh flower or some fresh or dried herbs to place by the stone.
    3:30 PM Dress for the Kids' Samhain Costume Parade & Trick or Treating
    Get ready for a costume parade around the town to show off your fantastic costumes! Prizes will be awarded for Best Costumes.
    4 PM Samhain Costume Parade & Trick or Treating
    Come join the Young ones as they parade around the grounds to show off their terrific costumes! Prizes will be awarded for Best Costumes.
    5:30 - 6:30 PM Dinner
    7 PM Arrivals for those attending Witches Ball only (with departures by 1 am)
    8 PM - Midnight Witches Ball - with live music by the Celtic band, Stone Ring.
    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.
    8:30 - 10 PM Storytelling for Youth during the Witches' Ball
    Join the fine art of storytelling!
    Midnight Salute to Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve - with Selena Fox, Dennis Carpenter and others!
    Be here to witness a grand display of celebration and help us to bring in the New Year with a bang!
    Saturday, November 1
    7:30 - 9 AM Continental Breakfast
    9:30 - 11 AM Ritual Herbcrafting - with Joey
    Together we will create for ourselves and for our community personal ritual herb bundles to be burned in our Samhain fires during our main ritual.
    10 AM Samhain Tides - Youth Decorate the Animal Shrine
    Join us as we make a pilgrimage up to the Animal Shrine to create a Samhain Altar to leave offerings to our beloved Ancestors and passed familiars.
    11:30 AM - 1 PM Story of Circle Sanctuary Land & Annual Meeting
    Be a part of a cider toast as we take a look at Circle Sanctuary land through the years.
    1 - 2 PM Lunch
    2 - 4 PM Down & Dirty with Death - with Deborah Ann Light
    You wouldn't leave your socks under the bed with the dust bunnies -- don't do the same with your body! Suggestions and instructions for your final days and afterwards. A take-home handout for your hand and some poetry for your head!
    2 PM Youth Nature Hike
    Take a hike with Billy Crow to see the beautiful Circle Sanctuary Land in her full Fall Glory!
    2 PM Youth Pumpkin Hunt
    Come and join the mad, mischievous misrule, and merriment as the kids scramble to find the pumpkins hidden around Circle Sanctuary!
    5:30 - 6:30 Potluck Dinner
    8 - 9:30 PM Samhain Ritual by Joey Bunbury, Moonfeather, 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 - 9:30 PM Youth Movie Night at the Farmhouse
    Come and be snuggly warm as we watch a Halloween flick for the evening.
    10:00 - 11:30 PM Samhain Re-Birthing Labyrinth - with Tom & Peggy
    Come and journey with us, into the Underworld, back to the Source, back into the Womb.
    *** This Labyrinth will feature minimal lighting. Please bring a candle or candle lantern to light your way into the center, and back out again (Please do not bring flashlights, or electric lanterns). Due to the serious nature of this ritual, we are asking that no children attend.
    10:30 PM Meditative Bonfire - with Reed
    Bring chants, poetry, singing bowls, chimes or silence as you enter sacred space and experience a meditative fire
    Sunday, November 2
    7:30 - 9 AM Continental Breakfast
    9 - 10 AM Nature Walk - with Reed
    Walk the land with Reed and see the true beauty and glory of the season.
    10 - 11 AM The Community Web - An Exercise in Tribe Building
    Join us as we weave the threads of Community.
    10:30 AM Youth Community Service Opportunity
    Experience how one person's actions can change the dynamic for the whole Community.
    10 - 11 AM Green Burial Workshop - with Nora Cedarwind
    Green Burial is ever growing and expanding across our nation. Sadly, the US is behind other nations by two decades in the Green Burial Movement. Come watch a brief video about how Green Burial was the result of tax payers demanding their public-owned cemeteries go green in Great Britain and see how we can create change in communities across the country.
    Rev. Nora Cedarwind Young is a Circle Minister, a Certified Death Midwife, Green Burial Educator and a Wiccan Hospice Chaplain in Washington State. She teaches nationwide and educates others in the healing value of home funerals and family directed choice at end-of-life.
    Noon - 12:30 PM Lunch
    1 - 4 PM The 25th Anniversary Land Celebration Please join us as we celebrate 25 years! We will serve cake & punch along with a slideshow of Circle land photos, storytelling by Selena, Dennis, & other community members, plus music by Michael Doran
    5 PM Gate closes for departures
    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.
  • Candy for the trick-or-treaters
  • (children) Medium sized tote bag for trick or treating and the pumpkin hunt
  • (adults & children)Costumes
  • Items to donate for the Raffle and Silent Auction
  • Lantern for the Saturday night Labyrinth ritual (please no flashlights or electric lanterns)
  • 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.