The Preserving Shrine - Erynn Rowan Laurie - Poet, Fili- Priestess - Articulating the Unspeakable Since 1961
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Samhain Vigil for Tara

Set altar for ancestors before the fireplace. Space for offerings, photos, candles, etc. Manannán image and candle for Manannán. Preliminary offerings are set upon the altar.

Set the fireplace for the vigil fire for Tara.

Welcome guests with the cuaich and have them set up their ancestor items on the altar. Set cuaich on altar. Ritual proper should begin at dusk.

Offerings to Outside spirits, out on porch.

Glannad with juniper.

Pass around honey for sweetness of life, salt for bitterness of death and parting.

Prayer to Manannán:

Manannán, a Thírna nan cheó
éist le ár ghuí agus osclaím nan ngeatai bíseanna
Manannán, a Loingseoir Mhór
Stiúradh sinn.
Más é do thoil é, spré do clóca-cheó
agus beir ár shinsear, bier na mairbh.

Manannán, Lord of Mist,
Hear our prayer and open the Spiraled Gate.
Manannán, Great Navigator,
Steer us.
If it please you, spread your mist-cloak
and bring forth our ancestors, bring forth the dead.

Light the candle for Manannán.

Invocation of the ancestors; back-chants to be used by the assembled:

Dance the bones
Bones of the Ancestors, dust of the dead


Now is the eve of winter
of Samhain
Bones of the dead will rise
for Samhain

Ancestors call
from Tír fo Thuinn
Beating wings
Voice of the swan
Dance from sunset
into the dawn

and the Gods
will dance
in the mist

Blowing wind
will call them here
Voice of the dead
will answer our fears

and sing
as we dance
in the mist

Death to death
and life to life
Form to form
on the edge of the night

we call
as we move
through the mist

Ancestors come
They hear our call
Dance their bones
down echoing halls

They rise
like the tide
of the mist

Prayer to the land spirits, with offerings:

You of the earth
All you of earth,
You of land and sea and sky
You who dwell upon, within, above, below,
You who inhabit nem nglas, muir mas, talam cé,
hear our prayer, eist le ár ghuí!

Bless us this night
at dusk
between day and night
between summer and winter
between light and dark
Fáilte romhat isteach!
Be welcome here!

Be with us,
accept our offerings,
and bless us with your presence.

All: Míle failte isteach!

Invitation to the other deities with offerings:

Bright and shining ones,
You who are the source and the root of power,
of sovereignty,
of justice and truth and life,
eist le ár ghuí, hear our prayer!

We who are your children call to you
With upraised hands we offer praise
With upraised eyes we stand before you,
proud in your presence,
giving you honor,
making you offerings as was done in the days of our ancestors.

Bless us this night
at dusk
between day and night
between summer and winter
between light and dark
Fáilte romhat isteach!
Be welcome here!

Be with us,
accept our offerings,
and bless us with your presence.

All: Míle failte isteach!

Tonight, in the presence of the Dé agus An-dé, the Gods and the Not-Gods, we light the signal fires of Samhain, as it was in the time of the ancestors. In Ireland, the fires were lit on the Hill of Tara, spreading out in circles through the land, the flame burning bright from hand to hand, from home to home.

Today, Tara stands in danger of destruction, and we light our fire this night as others light their own signal fires throughout the world to call for protection of that sacred site. We have come to honour Tara of the many names -- Druim Leith, Druim Cain, 
Cathair Crofhind, 
Temair; the rampart of Tea the Just.

We have come to offer our prayers and invocations for justice and protection for the Hill of Tara and for the valley that surrounds her -- to ask Bríg Ambue, and the Goddesses of Sovereignty who are her spirit and her strength to stand before Tara and shield her from those who would destroy her. May they strike down injustice and hinder the hands of those who would destroy her. May they call to task and drive out those who legislate her destruction. May they ring her about with five bright rings of protection against all evil.

We invoke the power of the land of Ireland with the words of Amirgen, calling out to Tara and to the spirits of the kings and sovereigns who were crowned there. May they join us and stand with us this night and with everyone who lights the signal fires this night, and with the Hill of Tara herself to ring her about with their strength and their art!

Ailiu iath nHerend
hermach muir, Mothach
mothach sliab, srathach
srathach caill, Cithach
cithach aub, essach
essach loch, lindmar
linmar tor, tipra
tipra túath, Oenach
oenach túath Temrach.
Temair tor tuathach
tuatha síol Miled
milid long libarn.
libard Herend.
Ere ard, diclass
dichetal rogaeth
rogaeth bán Danann
bé adbul Heriu
Banba, Fotla, Eriu,
Ailiu iath nHerend
I invoke the land of Ireland,
Much-coursed be the fertile sea,
Fertile be the fruit-strewn mountain,
Fruit-strewn be the showery wood,
Showery be the river of waterfalls,
Of waterfalls be the lake of deep pools,
Deep-pooled be the hill-top wall,
A well of tribes be the assembly,
An assembly of the tribes be Tara,
Tara be the hill of the tribes,
The tribes of the descendents of Mil,
Of Mil of the ships, the barks!
Let the lofty bark be Ireland,
Lofty Ireland, darkly sung,
An incantation of great cunning:
The great cunning of the women of Danu,
The great lady, Ireland,
Banba, Fotla, Eriu,
I invoke the land of Ireland!

The fire is lit and each person sees the fire ringing Tara and the valley of Tara Skryne with five bright rings of protection against all evil.

When the fire is burning brightly, protection for the land is invoked with the Cry of Fer Fio:

We invoke the seven daughters of the sea
Who form the threads of the long-lived youths.
May three deaths be taken from Tara,
May three lives be granted to her,
May seven waves of luck pour out upon her.
May legislators not harm her in her place.
Her fame is not bound to perish.
May long life come to her!

We invoke the silver warrior
Who has not died, who will not die.
May time be granted her,
May her shape be made golden,
May her rank be ennobled,
May her strength be magnified,
May her burial not be swift,
May death not come to her by the roads.
May the senseless snakes not seize her,
Nor the harsh grey worm,
Nor the senseless beetle.
May no thief destroy her,
Nor a company of women,
Nor a company of warriors.
May her time be extended
By the living Gods of the land.

We invoke Senach of the seven ages,
Whom fairy women fostered
On the breasts of inspiration.
May her seven candles not be quenched.
She is an impregnable fortress.
She is an immovable rock.
She is a precious stone.
She is a weekly blessing.
May she stand for a hundred times a hundred years,
Each hundred of them in turn.
We summon the shielding of the Gods upon her!

To the rulers of Ireland, we address this admonishment in the words of Morann mac Moín that they may learn from their past and not bring destruction upon the land and the people of the land!

Let them preserve justice, it will preserve them.
Let them raise justice, it will raise them.
Let them exalt mercy, it will exalt them.
Let them care for their people, they will care for them.
Let them help their people, they will help them.
Let them soothe their people, they will soothe them.
Tell them -- it is through the justice of the ruler that plagues and great lightnings are kept from the people.
It is through the justice of the ruler that they judge great tribes and great riches.
It is through the justice of the ruler that they secure peace, tranquillity, joy, ease, and comfort.
It is through the justice of the ruler that abundances of great tree-fruit of the great wood are tasted.
It is through the justice of the ruler that milk-yields of great cattle are maintained.
It is through the justice of the ruler that there is abundance of every high, tall corn.
It is through the justice of the ruler that abundance of fish swim in streams.

Tell them -- let them be merciful, just, impartial, conscientious, firm, generous, hospitable, honourable, stable, beneficent, capable, honest, well-spoken, steady, true-judging.

May the truth of kings, the truth of the people, and the truth of poets be heard throughout the land. May Tara be preserved!

Let the fires of Samhain be shared out to all here, to light our way through the darkness between the years.

A candle is lit from the fire and individual candles are lit and placed upon the altar for the dead in the names and in memory of those who have passed into the Otherworlds.

The feast is brought out and the first fruits of it are offered upon the altar. Those assembled engage in feasting and drinking.

After dinner, storytelling commences, as was traditional, and continues throughout the night.

When dawn arrives, the fire is allowed to burn down, with thanks to the Gods and Not-Gods and Manannán is asked to don his cloak of mists, bringing the souls of the dead home with him.

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