Guided meditations are a great practice for Wiccans. They relax the mind and let it flow into a fantasy state in which visions are possible. This guided meditation puts you in the viewpoint of the Lord at Samhain, which is the third and final harvest of the year in which he gives his own life in sacrifice to ensure the abundance of next year’s crops. Record your voice reading the scenario…very slowly. When you are done recording, sit or lie down somewhere quiet, play back the recording, and allow yourself to see and feel everything it says. When spoken, the meditation is about eight to ten minutes long.
You are the Lord of the land, a mature man, a king. You bear the battle scars of a long life. Laughter and bitterness have etched their storylines into your weather-beaten face, and silver threads gleam in the darkness of your hair and beard. On Samhain night, you stand at the doorway into winter and the cold settles into your aching bones. The dead are everywhere, crowding close, pushing at your mind. The dead, who have not yet passed to the Summerland. Tonight they have power. Tonight is when they walk free. They have come for the people – to devour every last man, woman, and child. In their cold, fierce hunger, the dead have come to eat the living, the people. But you, the king, can stop them. You can ransom the people with your life’s blood. You can buy the people safe passage through the doorway of winter with the bright coin of your life.
You lie naked upon the stone altar. Icy cold seeps through the stone and spreads through your body. You lie with your face turned up to the stars but there are no stars. Smoke from the bonfires rolls overhead like veils, holding back the dead. Blotting out the stars. Breathe in the sharp smoke that reeks of singed animal hides, and taste its dusky flavor. It tastes of wood and dried moss and salt. Taut cords cut into your wrists and ankles as your shivering pulls them tight. The icy cold burns your skin. It almost blots out the feather-light caresses from the hands of the people upon you. Your people, touching you with reverence as they whisper prayers to send you to the Summerland. You are their king. You are saving them. Sacrifice. Your sacrifice.
The bronze blade opens your left wrist in a bright flare of pain. The first cut. Your flesh parts beneath it like gossamer. The blade cuts deep. Now it opens your right wrist and your blood slicks the stone. The second cut. Fear surges within you. You have never been more afraid – not in battle, and not out upon the open sea. Sweat springs to your hairline and streams over your icy skin. Your blood pumps with your sudden heaving breaths. You smell its heavy sweet richness. You taste its bitter metallic flavor like an old coin in your mouth. Your faith must not waver. You must give your life whole-heartedly. If you fail, the dead will stop the Wheel from turning. The sun will not return. You must pass through pain and death. You must not fail your people. The bronze blade caresses your throat in the third and final cut on this night, the third and final harvest. Three cuts, three, the sacred number. Blood spills across your chest, steaming in the cold night air. Carrying you away on a sluggish tide of darkness.
Your soul flickers at the end of its wick. It gutters like a candle. You cup the spark with insubstantial hands. You hold your soul spark in your mind’s eye as your body turns to water. You cannot move. A linen shroud rasps over your stony skin and the people lift your blood-stained form from the altar. Your shroud slides apart and you see with insubstantial eyes the swirling smoke from the bonfires and through it, the stars. The cold stars that have watched you die countless times and will watch you live and die again, repeating the cycle in a world without end.
The people give you to the bog. You in your blood-stiffened shroud. Breathe in the moist, decaying vegetable stench. It tastes of mud and rust and mold, like half-fermented apples, sweet and rotting. The people slide you within the marshy waters of the bog. The sacred bog, which is neither water nor land. Between water and land. A sacred place. You sink within the heavy water. You descend. Down you sink into the icy brown water. The people send your weapons into the bog. Your sword and your shield sink with you into the secret depths. You hold your soul spark as your essence threatens to dissolve. It is not yet time. You descend through endless coldness until you reach the bottom. Now it is time.
You are in the underworld, standing on insubstantial feet on a low hill in the darkness underneath a spill of stars across an ink-black sky. The stars are fixed. In this place, they never move. In this place, they form no patterns. They have no meaning. Holding your soul spark, you take a slow step forward in the dust. One step. Two steps. Ahead of you is a low, crumbling stone wall. Three steps. It is so hard to force your spirit body to move. Four steps. Only the fragile warmth of your soul spark gives you the strength to continue. Five steps. Beyond the wall lies a glistening beach that leads to a silent sea. A boat awaits to take you to the Summerland. It lies half in the water with its keel drawn up on the sand. Six steps. At the far horizon, the line where ocean meets air, the sun glimmers over the Summerland, about to rise. You take your seventh dragging step and reach the wall.
Here you step over the wall, and your soul spark flies free. It returns back to the world you left behind. It flies back to return your essence to the speck of life growing even now inside the Lady’s womb. You have not failed. You have died well. You have saved the people. Freed, now, you go to the boat. Your eighth and ninth step spring light over the wet sand. You are going home. Your tenth step is hesitant, reverent, feather-light – up into the boat. You are going home. Home to the Summerland.