As Witches, we do not preach our religion, we experience it. Just as our Pagan ancestors taught the mysteries of life and death through great public rituals in which all who honored the Old Religion were invited to participate, so we seek to revive public Samhain mysteries in our corner of the world. Samhain (Hallowe'en, Oct. 31) is a Wiccan "Greater Sabbat" and Celtic New Year. It is the time when the veil between the world of the living and the realm of the dead is thinnest -- when Witches honor our Ancient Wise Ones who have lived and died before, and divine future events.
Our Samhain rites portray a different theme each year, but always focus on a traditional aspect of the dark time: death and rebirth, divination, etc. They are free of charge and open to reverent participants.
In these pages we describe each year's ritual and the various challenges we've had to overcome to see them through -- facing down Christian protestors, negotiating with city bureaucracies, handling unexpected media publicity and solving logistical problems. In the pages for the first Samhain ritual you will see the press release that generated an avalanche of news coverage in the weeks before the rite. We have included some of that coverage, along with our critique of the media trends and biases it reveals. For Witches who want to organize public rites in their own towns, we offer a page of advice gleaned from our experiences and those of others we know who have conducted large Wiccan rituals.