In theory, public rituals for pagan holidays are a fantastic idea. Invite the community. Create goodwill. Promote understanding. Try to not burn down the place.
Three crucial rules regarding public All Hallows’ Eve rituals:
The Hallows’ Eve the Veiled Lady tumbled off her pedestal on the ancestor altar, body heat emanating from strangers and regulars warmed the Goddess Temple. The circle of metal folding chairs had to be extended due to the crowd. Absently, I noticed that the back of one chair touched the altar. Before I could move it, I was swept away by other duties.
During the ritual, attendees were invited to light candles on the memorial altar in honor of loved ones who had passed. Some placed photos or mementos on the altar before placing flame to wick. I brought photos of three beloved dogs long gone, but always in my heart. My thoughts were of them, not of the restless energy I sensed at the altar.
At Samhain (pronounced SOW-en), the Celtic precursor to Hallows’ Eve and Halloween, the ancient Celts believed the veil between realms thinned, and the souls of those who had died during the past year traveled into the Otherworld. But the portal worked both ways. Ancestors and other spirits from the Otherworld, and fairies from fairy mounds could cross into the human world.
The night the Veiled Lady fell, someone (or a few people) invoked the Dead. The portal opened, and some nasty characters stepped through.
The gray-haired woman occupying the chair closest to the altar drew my gaze. With a stricken expression, she bolted for the sliding glass door as the ritual ended. Cool night air gusted in before the woman shut the door behind her. A temple facilitator rushed to the ancestor altar, raised her arms, and uttered a prayer or protection spell. Noting both women’s actions, my gaze skidded to the altar. The tea lights flared. A nearly invisible malevolent presence rose from the six-inch high flames. The bust of the Veiled Lady toppled, miraculously remaining intact as it landed between raging candles.
The temple’s High Priestess swiveled on her metal chair. “Oh my!”
“Crap!” I said, sounding like one of the characters in my Teen Wytche Saga novels. I rushed to the other facilitator’s side. Together we faced down the coal-colored, three-feet-tall shadow, and banished it. Then I closed the portal. The flames dropped to pinpoints. The other facilitator lowered her arms and returned the Veiled Lady to her pedestal.
Every Hallows’ Eve since, I have been the Gatekeeper of the Ancestor Altar. We haven’t burned down the place yet.
Read the Teen Wytche Saga for free with Kindle Unlimited, or purchase SPELL CHECK for 99 cents during the Kindle Countdown October 15-20, 2019, and SPELL STRUCK, SPELL FIRE, AND SPELL FOR SOPHIA for 99 cents October 24 – 30, 2019.
Teen Wytche Saga
Bullies. A secret crush. A traitorous friend.
Halloween looms, and so does the anniversary of Evie’s father’s death. She needs to pull herself together or she’ll lose her position as Yearbook Photo Editor. Even worse, Evie will lose Jordan, her secret crush, if she can’t stop her friend Parvani from casting a love spell on him. Despite a falling out, Evie never forgot Jordan. Now they are lab partners, and the chemistry between them definitely sparks.
The clock is ticking. Can Evie get her mojo back in time to check this spell?
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More About Ariella
Ariella Moon spent her childhood dreaming of flying to rooftops and searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students that mistook her for a leaning post, marred her youth. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. Now Moon draws upon her experiences as a shaman to create magical Young Adult fiction. Her works include the Two Realms, a fantasy series set in medieval Scotland and Fairy, and The Teen Wytche Saga, a series of sweet contemporary paranormal romances. Moon’s “Covert Hearts” appears in Second Chances: A Romance Writers of America Collection. She lives a nearly normal life doting on her extraordinary daughter, two shamelessly spoiled dogs, and a media-shy dragon.