(inspired by practices of the Ár nDraíocht Féin)
Hands raised, he opens the Gates —
invoking Odin, Dagda, Freya, Hecate
in sonorous address.
The silver cup his well —
World-Tree signified by
a sturdy oak with sere red leaves.
Forebear of the Stones,
sinews lit by mead’s inspiration,
he appeases the Outdwellers:
Let us be.
Offerings cast into flame,
songs sung & runes consulted,
Spirits of Land & Ancestor
given reverent fee.
Tonight is Samhain:
the moon a crooked scythe
of silver dissevering stars.
Morrigan! Eater of the dead!
Tonight your crows haunt
the heart of all necropoli.
The ritual is completed, but
the Gates are not shut,
provender instead laid out —
wine, fruit, meat, bread —
to satiate any attendant dead.
The druids bow low communal head,
speak words of remembrance
for those dearly loved & lost,
their ghosts abroad this one eve to tread.
Shining Ones, look with favor upon
those who practice the Old Ways on
Samhain night —
descendants of oak & ash, ivy & holly,
of menhir, barrow, & woad-blued clay.
So the ancient practices are kept:
even now, even today.
[Scott J. Couturier is a poet & prose writer of the Weird, grotesque, pagan, & darkly fantastic. Venues he has contributed to include The Audient Void, Spectral Realms, Hinnom Magazine, Eternal Haunted Summer, & Weirdbook; his fiction has been repeatedly featured in the Test Patterns & Pulps anthologies from Planet X Publications.]