Samhain 2009

October 30 - November 1, 2009
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.

  • 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

    Presenters at Samhain Festival 2009
    * Rev. Selena Fox * Rev. Bob Paxton * Rev. Georgette Paxton
    * Vic Wright * Rev. Paula Johnson * Rev. PathWalker
    * Jen Phoenix * Billy Crow * Jean of Storylore
    * Virginia Hirsch * Rev. Mari Powers * Stone Ring
    * Michael Doran * Linda Daly * Rev. Shine (Linda Albers)
    * Reed Cockrell * Tom Peer * Peggy Burke
    Friday, October 30
    9 AM Gate open for arrivals
    10 AM - Noon Cross-Tradition Ritual Seminar with Selena Fox This ritual craft leadership training seminar is for ministers, ministers-in-training, and others interested in developing skills in creating and conducting interfaith and inter-tradition ceremonies. This seminar will include instruction on ritual design for ceremonies and services that incorporate music, meditations, readings, invocations, prayers, and other spiritual components from different paths. It also will feature approaches to creating community in weddings, memorials, seasonal celebrations, and other group rituals with participants of diverse religious, spiritual, cultural, and philosophical orientations. The seminar will also include a Round Table Discussion in which those involved in interfaith and intrafaith endeavors will share experiences and perspectives.
    12:30 PM Lunch
    1:30 - 2:15 PM Divination with Scrying Stones workshop with Vic Wright
    2:15 - 3 PM Wicca, Samhain and the Dark Time of the Year with Paula Johnson
    Samhain marks the turning of the wheel of seasons and is the eve of the Celtic winter, which begins November 1st. Pagan traditions are diverse and can vary greatly from the British Traditional/Gardnerian Wiccan observance of Samhain, which honors death and begins what is known as "The Dark Time" of the year. Gerald Gardner, the father of Gardnerian Wicca, referred to the practice of the Wiccan religion as Witchcraft. In primitive times magic and religion were closely inter-related. In this workshop we will discuss and contrast Pagan Samhain traditions, beliefs and practices with that of British Traditional/Gardnerian Wicca which has its roots in New Forest England and is passed down through traceable lineage and initiation.
    1:30 - 3 PM Nature Walk - with Reed
    Walk the land with Reed and see the true beauty and glory of the season.
    3:30 PM Opening Ritual & Festival Blessing with Selena Fox & PathWalker
    Join in a Community blessing of the Festival and Festival Grounds and an honoring of Samhain. Bring a rhythm instrument to play if you have one.
    5:00 PM Dinner
    6 PM Arrivals for those attending Witches Ball only (with departures by 1 am)
    7:30 PM - 12:30 AM Witches Ball - with live music by the Celtic band, Stone Ring.
    Join in the fun. Dress in costume, if you wish! Birthday cake at 9 PM to celebrate Selena's birthday! Enjoy the band performing Celtic tunes and other music. Dance, socialize, make merry! Some refreshments provided.
    7 - 9PM Youth workshop: Storytelling - with Jen and Billy Crow, and special guest appearance by Jean of Storylore and Virginia Hirsch!
    9PM Youth: Children to the Ball to celebrate Selena’s Birthday. After, Parents to reclaim their children and get them in bed.
    Midnight Toast to the Ancestors - with Selena Fox, Michael Doran & others
    Remembering & Honoring with words, song & libations
    Saturday, October 31
    7:30 - 9 AM Continental Breakfast
    9:00 - 9:45 AM Old Scottish Divination Customs for Samhain & Halloween with Linda Daly
    In eighteenth century Scotland, many centuries old folk customs were still widely practiced. Robert Burns, who actively collected indigenous Scottish songs as well as writing poems and songs, has captured some Scottish divination practices in his poem "Halloween" written in 1785. In this workshop, you will learn more about Scotland's national poet and discover the divination practices he recorded. Workshop participants will receive a copy of this poem with notes explaining the meaning of many of the Scots words used in the poem.
    10 - 11:45 AM Cremains Interment and Memorials - at Circle Cemetery, with Circle Sanctuary Ministers
    Memorial services honoring community members and loved ones who crossed over in this past year - author Marion Weinstein of New York, Pagan veteran Jeff Koslow of Ohio, and Allen Ray Patz, father of Circle Sanctuary minister, Georgette Paxton. The ceremony will also conclude with the placing of flowers and herbs at all the gravesites. Bring fresh or dried flowers and/or herbs to leave at the gravesites. If you wish, bring small token of remembrances for the interments.
    10 AM Youth workshop: Samhain Herbs - Mugwort’s School of Magic Kick-off. We will focus on 3-5 of Samhain’s most prominent herbs. Binders will be given to act as a Grimoire for those interested in Mugwort’s School of Magick.
    11 AM Youth workshop: Owl Pellets - presented by Peter Watts
    Owl has long been associated with mystery, wisdom, healing and the journey of the Soul as it passes to the Otherside. Owls hunt in silence, swallowing their prey whole. They can’t digest everything so they leave behind pellets which can be collected and examined.

    Children - young and old - are invited to dissect owl pellets from 11 - noon on Saturday. We’ll share stories, interesting facts and lore about Owls while finding skulls and bones of the small critters hidden inside. These skeletons will be assembled by gluing them on index cards for a nifty, if perhaps macabre, Samhain make and take project.

    We ask that children younger than nine bring someone older to assist with the activity.
    Noon - 1:30 PM Potluck Lunch
    1:30 PM - 3 PM Story of Circle Sanctuary & Annual Meeting
    Celebration of Circle Sanctuary's 35th Anniversary with the sharing of experiences & perspectives
    2 PM Youth workshop: Youth Nature Walk - Explore the beauty of Fall at Circle Sanctuary. All kids participating in the Pumpkin Hunt must attend the Nature Walk.
    3:30 - 5 PM Ghosts & Hauntings - panel discussion
    Explorations of ghosts, hauntings, and related phenomena. Includes ghost tale, panel, community sharings, & discussion. Bring your experiences to share!
    3 PM Youth workshop: Pumpkin Hunt - with Jen and Billy Crow
    4:30 PM Youth dress in Halloween Costumes
    5 PM Youth Costume Pageant & Trick-or-Treating
    5:15 PM Raffle Drawings & Silent Auction results with Mari Powers and others
    6 PM Dinner
    7:30 - 8:30 PM Bonfire Magick: Drumming, Chanting, Storytelling, Preparation for Samhain Ritual
    8:30 - 10 PM Samhain Ritual by Georgette, Bob, 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.
    8:30 PM Youth: Movie Night - Kids, wear your costumes and watch a Halloween Classic!
    10 PM Final Parental Pickup
    10 PM Samhain Celebration Bonfire at Bonfire Circle
    10:30 PM Samhain Labyrinth at Candlelit Spiral Labyrinth with Tom, Peggy and others
    Come and journey with us into the Underworld, back to the Source, back into the Womb.
    Sunday, November 1
    7:30 - 9 AM Continental Breakfast
    10 AM Youth Program: Parents' Meeting - Come and discuss the future of the Youth Program and Mugwort’s School of Magick.
    10 - 11:30 AM Two Continents, Two Cultures, One Spirit - with Shine
    A closer look at the similarities between European Wiccan Traditions & Spirituality and North American Indian Traditions & Spirituality. The season of Samhain has great importance for Indigenous peoples for many of the same reasons. One of the ceremonies is done the same way. Come and embrace the richness of this most important time on the wheel of the year.
    11:30 AM Samhain Festival Closing Ritual - with Bob & Georgette
    Noon Lunch
    2 PM Festival ends & Gate closes
    Items To Bring
    • Contribution for potluck feast to feed at least two dozen, for Saturday dinner. For details, please see our Potluck Guidelines.
    • Flowers and/or herbs (fresh or dried) to place at gravesites at the cemetery (optional)
    • Quartz crystals, dried herbs, or other small tokens of remembrance to be interred during the Cemetery rite (optional)
    • Bring items for the ancestors and recently departed altars - photos or small personal items and candles.
    • Candy for the trick-or-treaters on Saturday night
    • (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
    • 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
    • Camping Gear: tent, sleeping bag, pillow, air mattress, flashlight, water jug, towel, biodegradable soap and shampoo, personal toiletries, sungear, raingear. NOTE: Night-time temperatures at Samhain can dip into the 30s - - please pack accordingly!


  • Costumes
  • Large Bag to collect pumpkins and Halloween candy
  • Large Bag of Halloween Candy for Kids
  • 1 Camp Chair, per kid, for the Kid’s Clubhouse