The Spiral Dance: A ritual to honor our Beloved Dead and to dance the spiral of rebirth
The holiday popularly known as Halloween is the time of year known to witches as Samhain. The veil is thin between the worlds of the living and the dead.
In San Francisco we have gathered for many years to remember and honor our ancestors, our Beloved Dead, and all those who have crossed over.
As we mourn for those we love who have died since last Samhain, we also mourn the loss and pain suffered by the Earth, our Mother.
Yet even as we grieve, we remember and honor the sacred cycle of life, death, rebirth, and regeneration. We honor the births of our children born this year and our own vital connections to the Earth and each other, in which we ground our hope.
The first Spiral Dance was held in 1979 to celebrate the publication of Starhawk’s book, The Spiral Dance. Starhawk, a founding member of Reclaiming Collective, wrote the original script which remains at the heart of the ritual, although it has been altered and embellished over the years by her and many others.
Traditionally, the Spiral Dance calls upon the energy and talents of musicians, artists, poets, dancers, crafts people, singers, technicians, priests and priestesses from Reclaiming and beyond, and we are grateful to everyone who helps create this magical experience we all share.
This is a participatory ritual and pageant which has become a central event in the Wheel of the Year for the Reclaiming community and beyond. Hundreds of people join in this observance of the Witches’ New Year, and the event raises funds which support our work throughout the year.
When we dance the spiral as a community, we remember and honor our own past at the same time that we renew our vision and embrace the future.
As with all Reclaiming events, we strive for inclusiveness and diversity. Reclaiming rituals are open to folks of all ages, all genders, people of diverse physical capabilities, people of color, LGBTQ+ folk, Witches, Pagans, non-pagans, activists, seekers, and the curious.
Let it begin now!
Photo by Michael Rauner / courtesy Reclaiming archives.
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Let It Begin Now: Music from the Spiral Dance
See next page for this and other Reclaiming music albums.