By Patti Wigington, About.com Guide
Image © Getty Images
This ceremony is designed to honor the spirits of the animals - both wild and domestic. Man's relationship with animals goes
back thousands and thousands of years. They have been a source of food
and clothing. They have protected us from the things that lurk in the
darkness. They have provided comfort and warmth. In some cases, they
have even raised and nurtured our discarded children, as in the case of Romulus and Remus.
If you have animals in your home -- pets or livestock -- this is their
night. Feed them before you feed the humans in your family. Put some
food out for any wild animals that may happen by as well.
If you have a pet that has passed away during this last year, you may want to include a photo or keepsake of them on your table during this rite.
Prepare a stew for your family that includes small amounts of as many different meats as you may have available -- beef, pork, game, chicken,
etc. If your family is vegetarian or vegan, designate a non-meat
ingredient to represent each animal and adapt the ritual as needed,
eliminating lines that reference the eating of animals. When your stew
is ready, gather the family around the altar table you prepared during the previous night's Harvest End Ritual.
Place the stew pot in the center of the table, with a large serving spoon or ladle. Make sure you have some good dark bread to eat
as well. Each member of the family should have a bowl and spoon handy.
Go around the family in a circle. Each person should take a scoop of stew from the pot and place it in their bowl. Younger children
may need an adult's help with this. As each person gets their helping,
When every family member has their stew, each takes a piece of bread. As they do, say:
Take your time finishing your meal. If you have pets, don't be surprised if they come visit while you're eating your stew tonight --
animals tend to be very aware of the spiritual plane! If there is any
stew left over, leave some out for the spirits. Any extra bread can be
thrown outside for the wild animals and birds.