Celebrating Other Spirituality 365 Days A Year – Colchester Oyster Ceremonies


October 20th

Colchester Oyster Ceremonies

Since 1196, when Richard I bestowed rights for the Colne Fishery near Colchester, business has been booming. Generations later, the same corporation still maintains control over the Fishery. Every September, the mayor and councilors open oyster-dredging season with great fanfare. A proclamation of 1256, declaring that “from time beyond which memory runneth not to the contrary” the rights have belonged to Colchester. The company then drinks a toast of gin and eats gingerbread, upon which the mayor lowers the first oyster-dredge thus opening the season.

On October 20, the famous Oyster Feast in Colchester is held at Moot Hall. The festival was a well-established custom by the 17th century, coinciding with the St. Dennis Fair dating from

1319. More than 400 people, often including the royal family, attend the feast, at which it has been reported more than 12,000 oysters have been consumed. This event is still held today in Colchester, Essex.


Recipe for One of my Favorites:

Oyster Stew

32 oysters, shucked

¾ cup clam juice

5 drops tabasco

Paprika to garnish

¾ cup cream

½ tsp. celery salt

6 Tbs. butter

Combine cream, clam juice, celery salt and tabasco in a sauce pan. Simmer over low heat. Do not boil. Bring water in the bottom of a double boiler to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. In the top part, melt butter and add the oysters, stirring with a wooden spoon to let them heat evenly until the edges curl. Pour the hot cream mixture into the oysters. Let the stew reach a simmer, do not boil. Ladle into four deep bowls and sprinkle with paprika. Serve immediately.

Calendar of the Moon for July 7

Calendar of the Moon

7 Duir/Skirophorion

Day of the Dagda

Color: Brown
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon a brown cloth lay a wand made of an oak branch, a great cup of ale, a bowl of porridge, and four brown candles.
Offerings: Feed the hungry.
Daily Meal: Soup, stew, or porridge, enough to feed more than just the House. Let the rest be given to those who need it.

Invocation to the Dagda

Hail Eochaid Ollathair, Father of All!
Hail Ruad Ro-fhessa, Lord of Perfect Knowledge!
Lord of the Oak Tree,
Phallus of the summer saplings,
Rough as tree bark is your wisdom,
Yet deep as sunken roots.
You who can call the seasons with your harp,
You are called upon by the common people
For your gift of fair weather.
You whose club is so great
That nine men are required to carry it
And even then it plows a great ditch;
Whose terrible end slays hundreds at a blow
And whose other end can restore them to life;
You stake your life on the fertility of the land
That others may survive the cold winters.
You who build great fortresses,
You know what it is to be the sole protection
Of those you love, and to go forth
In battle to save their lives.
You are a king, yet you go among the people
In the rough clothing of a peasant,
Rejecting the trappings of the wealthy.
Your great cauldron is never empty,
Nourisher of your people, and of all people.

(The ale is passed, and then poured out as a libation. The stew is ceremonially carried into the kitchen, and the day’s chant sung over the kitchen table.)

Chant: May you never hunger, may you never thirst.

[Pagan Book of Hours]

How To Hold a Samhain Rite to Honor Animals

How To Hold a Samhain Rite to Honor Animals

By Patti Wigington, About.com Guide

Celebrate Samhain and honor the animals in your life.

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.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varied
Here’s How:
  1. 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.

  2. 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. Say:

    Samhain has come, and it is the end of the Harvest.
    The crops are in from the fields,
    And the animals are preparing for the coming winter.
    Tonight, we honor the animals in our lives.
    Some have died that we may eat.
    Some have provided us with love.
    Some have protected us from that which would do us harm.
    Tonight, we thank them all.

  3. 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, say:

    Blessed are the animals,
    Those who die that we may eat.
    Blessed are the animals,
    Those we love and who love us in return.

    When every family member has their stew, each takes a piece of bread. As they do, say:

    As the Wheel of the Year continues to turn,
    The harvest has ended, and the grain has been threshed.
    The animals sleep for the winter.
    We thank them for their gifts.

  4. 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.
  1. If you want to mix a bit of stew in with your pet’s everyday food, it’s a good idea to check with your veterinarian first.
What You Need:
  • An altar table
  • A pot of stew
  • Some hearty dark bread