Samhain 2010

October 29 - 31, 2010
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.

Activities at this year's Samhain include:

  • Friday night's Witches' Ball, featuring Stone Ring
  • Workshops by Rev. Nora Cedarwind Young, Rev. Selena Fox and others
  • Samhain Ritual by Revs. Georgette and Bob Paxton
  • Childrens' Programming with Jen and Bo
  • Circle Sanctuary Annual Meeting
  • And much more!
    Friday, October 29
    10 AM Ministers' Intensive: Home Funerals with Nora Cedarwind Young
    More and more families, loved ones and communities are choosing to care for their beloved dead at home. Learn this legal, time honored way of caring for a loved one that has crossed over the threshold to the Summerland. Learn about the laws in your state and how healing this hands on gift can be.
    Noon Gate open for general arrivals
    1 PM Opening Ritual & Festival Blessing
    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.
    1:30 - 3 PM Writing your Own Obituary with Nora Cedarwind Young
    This is a journaling class in open format with discussion about this exercise and how you would like others to learn of your death, what parts of your life or relationships you would or would not like to be mentioned and some of the more common practices around obituaries today. This is a great tool and insightful class. Come learn some things about yourself!
    1:30 - 3 PM Nature Walk - with Reed
    Walk the land with Reed and see the true beauty and glory of the season.
    1:30 - 3 PM Childrens' Programming: Crafting Trick or Treat Bags with Jen and Bo
    Reuse old T-Shirts to make reusable and washable trick-or-treat bags!
    3:15 PM Handfasting Orientation
    Gather at the Temple Room for a brief overview. Weather permitting, there will be a vehicle caravan procession to Spirit Rock.
    3:30 PM David & Jeanet Ewing's 20th anniversary handfasting with Selena Fox and others
    All welcome. Weather permitting, ceremony will be held at the Medicine Wheel Circle at Spirit Rock.
    5:00 PM Dinner
    6 PM Arrivals begin for those just attending Witches Ball (with departures by 1 am)
    7 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! Enjoy the band performing Celtic tunes and other music. Dance, socialize, make merry! Some refreshments provided.
    7 - 8:30 PM Childrens' Programming: Movie Time - Caspar the Friendly Ghost
    8:30 PM Childrens' Programming: Final Parental Pickup
    Saturday, October 30
    7:30 - 9 AM Continental Breakfast
    10 AM - 11 AM Silent Auction & Raffle Begins
    Bring donated items to the Temple Room. Make bids all day in the Silent Auction. Silent Auction & Raffle ends in late afternoon at 5 pm.
    9:30 - 10 AM Community Music-making with Michael Doran and others
    10 AM - 11 AM Circle Sanctuary Annual Meeting
    Includes review of Annual Report and 2009 Financial Statement, as well as the Strategic Planning process currently underway.
    9:30 AM Childrens' Programming: Childrens' Orientation with Jen and Bo
    Discussion with youth and parents about the land, and about appropriate behavior at Circle events.
    11 AM - Noon Community Visioning & Celebration
    Facilitated Community discussion & input concluding with a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Lady Liberty League, 15th anniversary of Circle Cemetery, 27th anniversary of Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve & 36th aniversary of Circle Sanctuary.
    Noon - 1:30 PM Potluck Lunch
    All potluck dishes should be dropped off at the House Kitchen no later than 11:30 am. Label ingredients. Note any heating instructions when you drop off dishes.
    Noon - 7 PM Community Creation of Samhain Altars to the Dead
    Bring photos, candles & other memorabilia of beloved dead & ancestors. Help with creation of the altars throughout the afternoon.
    1:30 PM The Six Essential Documents Everyone Needs at End-of-Life, Now! with Nora Cedarwind Young
    There are six essential documents that every person should have completed and file today! Death comes at many unexpected times and if you do not have these documents in order, you make a great difficulty for your loves left holding the bag without legal documents giving proper authority. Do you want your next of kin making your decisions, or do you want them to be yours? Come learn how this chance to get your paperwork in order will relive the paperwork load at end-of-life.
    1:30 PM Childrens' Programming: Craft Workshop with Jen and Bo
    Painting patches for what will be sewn into a quilt and donated later to Circle Sanctuary. (making bags for anyone who missed Friday) Youth will be given square bits of fabric to paint on (or embroider). They will be asked to create things that reflect their own Samhain beliefs. I will collect the squares, quilt them together later and donate the finished project to Circle.
    2:30 PM Crossing-Over Rites with Selena Fox
    Old and New chants, meditations & rituals to aid the dying in their transition to the Otherworld.
    3:30 PM Pagans and Hospice Care - panel discussion with Nora Cedarwind Young, Heather Ockler and Selena Fox
    Learn about Hospice support of the dying and their loved ones from Pagans who work in Hospice settings: Nora is a Hospice chaplain in Washington State, Heather is a Hospice nurse in Wisconsin, Selena is a Hospice minister & diversity educator, locally & nationally.
    3 PM Childrens' Programming: Pumpkin Hunt & Trick-or-Treating with the Ghetto Shamans
    Small pumpkins will be hidden around the grounds and the children will be sent on a pumpkin hunt. After the hunt they will go trick or treating.
    5 PM Raffle Drawings & Silent Auction results
    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 Childrens' Programming: Pumpkin Decoration and Crafting
    Crafting, storytelling and hot cocoa!
    10 PM Samhain Celebration Bonfire at Festival Circle
    10:30 PM - dawn Samhain Visioning Labyrinth at Candlelit Spiral Labyrinth with Florence, Katrina and Vanessa
    Sunday, October 31
    7:30 - 9 AM Continental Breakfast
    10 AM Childrens' Programming: Childrens' Service Project Contest
    Youth will be given a list of 'services' they can complete within camp and the grounds. Each service will have a points value. (10 points for helping a camp elder take down and pack up their tent, 1 point for each piece of trash collected... exc.) they will turn in points after 1 hour and each child will be recognized for his or her work with prize
    10 - 11 AM Native American Views of the Afterlife - with Shine
    11:30 AM Samhain Festival Closing Ritual - with Bob & Georgette
    Noon Lunch
    Noon - 4 PM Circle Sanctuary Green Cemetery Open House
    12:30 PM Welcome to Circle Sanctuary & its Green Cemetery with Selena Fox
    Brief overview for newcomers to Circle Sanctuary, its Nature preserve, and its newly expanded Circle Cemetery, which is the first Green cemetery to be established in Wisconsin.
    12:45 PM Green Cemetery Ceremony Orientation with Selena Fox
    If you plan to take part, please attend this brief orientation, which will be followed by a vehicle caravan procession to the parking area in the expanded area of the cemetery.
    1 - 1:45 PM Green Cemetery Ceremony with Selena Fox
    Join with leaders and members of Circle Sanctuary in the public dedication of the expanded cemetery, followed by the Green burial of cremains of longtime Circle Sanctuary member & veteran Bruce Parsons. The ceremony also will include dedication of grave markers.
    2 - 3 PM Green Cemeteries & Circle Cemetery with Nora Cedarwind Young and Selena Fox
    Learn about the emergence of Green cemeteries in the USA & other parts of the world & how Circle Cemetery & its staff is joining with others in Greening the End of Life.
    3 - 3:30 PM Circle Cemetery Tours
    Guided tours of Circle Cemetery by Circle Sanctuary staff & volunteers.
    4 PM Farewells
    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 afternoon
  • Old T-shirts to donate to the childrens' program for crafting time
  • (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