Living the Celtic Year Ceremonies

By Debbie and Steve Merritt. Featured image photo credit: expatriateskitchen

At the heart of Druidism lies a love of Nature and her changing faces as the seasons turn. Eight times a year, about every 6 weeks or so, Druids participate in a celebration that expresses this love.

Some people have asked if they have to have particular beliefs to join in with our ceremonies. The answer is simply, no. Our Druid Order (the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) is comprised of people of many faiths, who join together in celebrating the power and beauty of Nature in our lives. We work with spiritual teachings that combine the inspiration of the ancient Druids, and the old stories with contemporary scholarship and insights into the relationship between human beings and the world of plants and animals, stars and stones. There is absolutely no requirement to join the Order, and will only talk about it if someone asks us to.

For thousands of years the indigenous peoples around the world have lived their lives around the seasons. Many of these formed the spiritualities or religions of the people. As the seasons changed, the focus of their lives changed, such as resting and mending or making in the winter, and harvesting towards the end of summer. Our farmers and gardeners follow a modified year today, and more and more of us, as we turn to nature for solace and inspiration, mark the turning of the year with ceremonies and festivities.

Steve and I have started to hold seasonal ceremonies throughout the year, open to all who come in peace. Children are especially welcome (accompanied by an appropriate adult). We are grateful to Heather Lodge, who have welcomed us there. It is accessible to all, and is, of course, on the bus route!










Samhain or Hallow’een

31st October All Hallows Eve, 1st November All Saints Day,
2nd November All Souls Day

All Saint’s Eve (or All Hallow’s Eve) and Halloween fall on the same day each year, October 31. The concurrent holidays have been influenced by both Christian and pagan beliefs and rituals.

Traditionally, through most cultures this is a time when we remember and honour our ancestors; family, friends and those we honoured in Life. All around the world there are celebrations such as the Mexican Day of the Dead. It is also considered as the last harvest, when livestock would have been slaughtered and cured to last the winter.

The word Samhain is pronounced Sow(as in cow) -inn, and is sometimes written in Scottish Gaelic form as ‘Samhuinn’. It is said that at this special time, the veil is at its thinnest. So our world, and that of the dead, blend as one. It is no wonder that this night has become so wrapped in superstition. It is a night of wonder and magic. On this night the Cailleach (the Crone) comes to strip the leaves from the trees, so that it may feed the new life to come. We can also ask Her to take unwanted aspects of our personal year away, so that these too might be transformed.

The importance and mystery of life after death was central in the Western world from the early Middle Ages, when charades, pantomimes, and short plays were common. The tradition of masquerading in costumes on Halloween probably came from these performances. In the Christian tradition, the performances were a means of warning people to heed the message of salvation.

The custom of “trick-or-treating” had some origins in Christian rituals. There was an English custom of knocking on doors to ask for a “soul cake,” after which the recipients would offer prayers for the dead of the household. In some places, the door-knockers would sing, tell a joke, recite a rhyme, or perform a kind of trick before receiving a treat. Over time, the idea evolved to a light-hearted warning that a prank would be performed if the resident did not provide a treat.

We will be celebrating on Saturday 30th October at 3pm at Heather Lodge, Brodick.
Please contact me at if you plan to attend so that we can plan according to numbers.