Merry Meet Friends and Lurkers!
Ok, so I confess, I'm awful! After all my ranting about the Witches' Ball, I haven't even mentioned it! I must profusely apologize!
What can I say, the 4th Annual Witches' Ball kicked some serious ass!!!! I wish I had more pictures to share, but honestly, just after the Circle was closed and the ritual ended, the DJ kicked off the festivities with, "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult and I never stopped dancing long enough to take out my camera!
The ritual itself was awesome! It included a working that is commonly done on Samhain which involves the "calling of the dead". In a heart beat like rhythm, a drumbeat began as a backdrop for a chant celebrating our ancestors. While the chant was being sung, those in attendance called out the names of the deceased loved ones that they wished to remember, honor and to invite to be present at the celebration. I was a little concerned that those who had never attended a ritual would...well, either freak out or alternatively, be so caught up in the emotion or mechanics that they would lose sight of the actual purpose of the working. Despite it's name, the Witches' Ball is not an exclusively Pagan event. There are those who attend simply to support the charity, the sponsors, or to just enjoy the festivities of a Halloween night masquerade ball. For those who never experienced anything like it before or are from a more conservative religious background, I would venture to say it might be a little intimidating. I am thrilled to say that this seemed not at all to be the case! As I and the other Quarter callers chanted and danced, prompting the guests to join in, I was able to look into the faces of some of those in attendance. It was wonderful to see so many people so focused on the working...eyes closed, chanting the names of their loved ones, completely entranced or moved to tears. It was a very powerful experience.
The other working that was done was a witnessing of one's Fate. The Quarter callers would come to each person in attendance and ask them if they would like to witness their fate. They had the option of accepting or declining. If they agreed, they were shown their reflection in a black mirror at which time they made a spoken promise to themselves to either fulfill the fate they were shown or to change it. I spoke to many people afterwards who told me that they never expected to be so moved by a public ritual. Our High Priestess, Deborah Lipp, shared an email she received afterward from someone who told her that the fate working proved to be a life altering experience. Ya gotta love when that happens!
Things were pretty much a blur for me from that point on. I completely lost myself in the music, the pleasure of being with friends, new and old, and the amazing energy! I am happy to report that a lovely donation was given to PAWS Animal Shelter of Montclair and that there was such positive feedback, that we've been asked to perform the ritual for next year's 5th Annual Witches' Ball!
In darkness, light!