The Covenant of All Hallows – Hael to the Mighty Dead!
All Hallows’ Eve: We herald death through the
barren winter, guarding the seed of life.
It is the dark time of Inner Mysteries,
Hulda draws all unto the Mound.
Death is accepted and celebrated as we honour our
ancestors and beloved ones, to partake with them a
Feast for the Dead.
Reverence for the severed head, the vessel ‘par excellence, hosting’ the ‘essence/spirit’ of the other, the virtue proper, consumed in the ‘Cup of Shadows’. Celebrated in manifest form in the spirited pumpkin ‘head’, illuminated by the living flame, the life within the decay of death. Death is acknowledged not as an end; its primal essence imbues precious remembrance, itself the bond of all that shifts through the eternal Now, the train of being and eternal link between all honoured gods and men alike; they who birthed all we are this day and for all days to come. We offer reverence for those great leaders, priests and warriors of Time. For through their Strength and Purpose is carried forth by la Guiden.
The bones of the dead provide stabilty and foundation for growth. They speak upon the winds, uttering hoary wisdoms, of prophecy true, of things yet to be in eternity. Divinatory arte, a shadow gift of the season pierces the threshold veil where the uncertainties of the season demand the insights received. Nuts and apples are consumed in celebration of both fertility and divinatory aspects of these ancient and sacred fruits. Later, the Feast of the Dumb, the fulfillment of the Cult of the Dead. Spirals, the motif of confusion, of trance, of serpents, mystical forces and ultimately, of life – of death and re-birth, are celebrated today within Cochrane’s Clan as the twin circles of All Hallows Eve. The Mill links us in days of future past, in strength and honour, binding true the ‘Folk of Goda,’ a priesthood of the natural mysteries of the Northern Peoples, of tribes and Clans of old; here, upon the cold earth, we pattern the weave that binds us ever to them all.
As Martinmas, its prominence engages all Craft in its Troth, of those ancestors closer to us on that mighty wheel, of farmers and guildsmen, of horsemen and toad men, all Tubal’s men. To them we toast the frothing, spicy ale, ladled from within the Cauldron set upon the hearth’s own fire. The rite closes when the pot is kicked over by the Summoner, preserving all within the Mound. The Maid declares the feast in honour of the Old Covenant, sealed again for another year, cementing the bond in troth between the People, and Tubal Cain. Within this Hallowing of Martinmas, three levels are held sacred on this night of renewal, of All Souls, All Saints and All Hallows; each a level of the Mysteries. The role of the priesthood in its folklore and traditions of land and trade, of toil and harvest, preserve the male mysteries; of the the female mysteries, allegedly ‘lost,’ yet are discovered in the restoration of mysticism through awareness of the divine feminine, the ‘Word’ revealed, inspired and intuited.. the utterance of the severed head, of the watery, serpentine Medusa.
- All Soul’s Day – a reminder of death and a remembrance of ancestry – sprig of Rosemary. This is ‘His’ as Lord of the Mound – Male Mysteries [the cunning, wit and the arte; the form of application]
- All Saint’s Day is the telling of the Maze as the round of life/ingress/congress and egress. Priestly Mysteries [ascension and descent, the search for the ‘pilgrim’ self within.]
- All Hallows acknowledgment of the Pale Leucathea, Madame la Guiden, whose ambivalence is matched only by Her Beauty. She who is the womb and the tomb. Hers is the mirror of the Heavens, the Celestial Barque adrift in the sea of stars. Female Mysteries. [Dreams, illusions, Truth, compassion. The force of all causality]
All Hallows Eve:
Witness: The Covenant of All Hallows
Two sacred circles form the lemniscate, the vesica of the Creatrix, one lit with the fire of life, the other dark and empty. Candles are borne aloft, one for each soul we Hael in thought and memory.
‘Charging the Pot’
Three women elevate the platter [of herbs] to the Moon, and empty its contents into the Cauldron.
“TIME IS OF REMEMBRANCE, OF LIFE SPENT. WE HONOUR OUR LIFE IN THE FACE OF THEIR DEATH. WE RENEW AGAIN OUR PLEDGE, OUR COVENANT TO THOSE WHO SHIELD US IN SHADOW, WHO AFFORD GNOSIS WITHIN THE PROMISE OF LIGHT TO COME IN ETERNITY.THE BRANCH WHICH KNOWS NOT ITS TRUNK MUST SURELY DIE; SO IN MEMORY DO WE SUP OF THE SACRED DEW DRAWN FROM THAT MOST HOLY TREE, WHOSE SUSTENANCE SHARES TO EACH A MEASURE OF THE WHOLE. THE CALL OF THE RAVEN USHERS THE WINDS OF DEATH AND CHANGE, SENT FORTH TO CLEAR THE EARTH OF THE OLD BEFORE THE COMING OF THE NEW. FOR SHE WAITS BEYOND THE RIVER. TO GAIN ENTRY TO HER HALLS, YOU MUST FIRST KNOW THE PATH THAT YOU HAVE PLACED YOUR FEET UPON.”
Strange days, of stranger moods. Melancholia alights, shroud-like about the fading earth. Memories. Deep visceral longings. There is a need to connect, the soul yearns for the warmth of the dead, the dis-carnate forms of those lost. They fills waking dream. Musing on their voices, we hold Silence as the key! All is quiet, within the circle of the dead, for the wind that carries forth the voice of spirit, the otherworldly presences from the outer realms of existence. It is their night and our communion is at their behest. It is we who are summoned to the very peripheries of alternative realities, in a place where time has no meaning. There to suspend mundane reality for a moment, to feel death through, and through them a life beyond this. Another strand of Fate that binds us ever closer.
All angst subsides, its sting neutralised by the cooling draught of the Void, the yawning maw of the Dark Goddess, Creatrix and bringer of Death, Her chthonic presence palpable in this bleak tide. Once again, we carve out a large pumpkin for the Hearth, the vibrant core and lifeblood of the Clan – our shrine to the ancestral dead. A mirror, as the microcosm reflecting the mystical arcana of the macrocosm, reveals virtue, summoned forth as witness to the self.
Humbled by this display of surrender and sacrifice in our wake, we know we must never underestimate the sheer force of assimilation, which takes much practise and expertise to master. As mere conduits, we remain in awe and are constantly overwhelmed by its magnitude.
The Rose grows upon the tree of life, implying regeneration and resurrection; placed in the centre of the cross it symbolises the power and point of unity, the conjunction of opposites – of positive with negative, of life with death, of superior with inferior, offering the cross-roads of possibilities and choices of construction and destruction. Esoterically, the cross is a synthesis of the seven aspects of space and time, indicative of the destruction and maintenance of free movement. It is antagonism, the root of existence, the sky and the earth
Each elemental force disintegrates all keys into ‘dust’, powdered, crushed stone by darkly hooded spectral figures. A soft voice whispers in the rising wind ‘….we are but dust….’ even as we turn again, around and around, the Mill of Ages. We face again the fire and note its molten fluid, it forms and sets around a central core of dust and ash! Purple flames leap and dance, arcing vigorously – decay and death concealed again by the variant forms of life.
Masked, we encircled the ring of light and life, spiraling outwards into the dark ring of death, of promise of re-birth and life beyond. Dark and damp, the sky offered no illumination. No stars, no moon. Bearing only the stark light of our soul candles in the circle of death, we stave the shadows and the chill of the grave.
All dedications, although silently expressed were sincere and heartfelt. The Mill, through brief reflected the stronghold fortress of the Other-World, turning endlessly, churning new life, a place where the dead are reborn and where the initiated are re-formed again within each of us. This then, our sacred Covenant, held and witnessed again by gods and men, assigns all in Troth for all time to come. Its aegis, awesome is truly, ‘dreadful;’ its blessing is of wisdom, longevity and communion – hazelnuts, apple cider and pomegranates. Ours to share and assimilate. Finally, we return to the spiral of life, greeted by a blazing hearth, ever brighter, ever stronger, ever present. Light in every sense of the word, a contra yielding of fate in time and tide; here we realized the immense shift from the gravid intensity of the dark circle.
The Ritual of the Old Covenant – invoked by, for and of the Clan’s ancestors, to bear witness to the most ‘Hallowed’ and sacred rite that reinforces the bond betwixt us and the Gods. Unseen eyes sanctify this enactment of the ‘Old Covenant’ in our Circle of Arte. Reflected in the skies above, the arc of the heavenly vault, a perfect vista for Her Spinning Castle.
This space we share with them is a true privilege beyond mortal remit.
- Son of Hazel – Teacher/Bard
- Son of Plough – Farmer/Farrier
- Son of Son/Sun – Priest/King
The rising of the ‘ploughman’ in the skies as Cain, the teacher, the father, the farmer and the priest/king of our Clan immortalized by the circumpolar stars around the axial Nowl star directly above our circle.
- All Hallows – Cain almost sunk below the ecliptic, only his head can be seen. He effectively ‘dies’ [reflected in ritual by the dismembered skull and the sickle]
- Yule – Cain slowly begins to rise again, N-NE. [reflected in ritual by re-birth of the sun/son of light, of life and renewal of life].
- 12th Night – Cain is risen, arms extended outwards pushing the plough. [reflected in ritual as the celebration of the power of the Father perpetuated in the cycle of the sun/son and the creation of mankind by the generative potential of a living sentient god-force within the universe] Curiously, a shower of meteors known as the quadrantides [four points], coincidentally the most prolific and abundant of all annual meteor showers, burst forth from the east, in the region of the rising Cain, seeding the Universe with light and power, the semen of the god, for the ritual ‘ploughing’ of the earth, into the receptive body of the Great Maar.
- Candlemass – Cain, now fully risen arc across the sky. [reflected in ritual as the progression of light and return to earth of the fecund powers of nature, of growth and expansion]
- Spring Equinox – Cain approaches close to optimum Zenith [reflected in the apogee of the ‘Hieros Gamos’, the tale of creation, of ‘Zep Tepi’, the first time, the time of the gods
- May’s Eve – Cain reaches the azimuth. [At his strongest, he is reflected in the ritual as the green man, the warrior and farmer, the gift of life, male essence, the viridient spirit of god without].
- Midsummer – Cain begins his descent, dropping into the western half of the ecliptic. [reflected in ritual as the sun/son moving into the aspect of the father, of dormant/latent energy].
- Autumn Equinox – Only half of Cain remains visible above the ecliptic, but the full council of seven [Corona Borealis] remain fully visible. [reflected in myth as the descent of the Beloved, where she learns of the powers and purpose of death in the cycle of life, instigated and witnessed by the Council of Seven ]
Her glyph, a five pointed star, a hollow pentagram in which the Hammer of Tubal [smith] crossed with the Sickle of Cain [farmer] within the four lower points of the elements. The Fifth, upward point of spirit is of course the Great Ma.
Duty served, in perpetuity we grow from strength to strength. In life, in this eternal moment of NOW,we share all Fate. In death , we all share all Fate.
“Into mid-ocean’s dark depths hurled,
Grown with each day to giant size,
The serpent soon enclosed the world,
With tail in mouth, in circle-wise;
Held harmless still
By Odhin’s will.”
Valhalla (J. C. Jones).
Images: photo credits Shani Oates.
Casper Art – Einherjar
Zdzislaw Beksinski – Medusa
wiki commons – loki & ygdrassil