I had to think about which Samhain was the most special to me for a while before replying.
And then it hit me last night. It was the first Samhain ritual I ever led as a High Priestess in 1994.
My Calling to the high priesthood of teaching and leadership was accidental for me, and this took place in 1994, so the Samhain ritual was really my first ever major ritual I performed. I had been doing Full Moons regularly, but not a Sabbat, and especially nothing like Samhain.
I had been learning Dark Magic from a Native American Shaman, who was the one who encouraged me to be a High Priestess in the first place and trained me how to lead and teach a group, and harmonize the energies of an Open Circle, and how to work with a High Priest...he was my first High Priest, as well.
I was known for being a Witch around town, and he was known for being a Shaman. Joining together as teachers made quite a sensation, and by word of mouth only we had a large following. I had been in traditional covens previously, and had been Solitary as I was in the Army across the states from my coven back home in California. So I was really taken off guard by the whole experience. I was only 23, and he was only 21. We sort of just got thrown into the experience...and our students ranged in age from teens to people in their 50s, in fact, my mother flew out to California to join the group and became my student, and she made friends and had them join, too! My head was spinning.
I was married at the time, to another Wiccan, and we had been in the same coven in California. Which had the tradition of secrecy. We also happened to have an open marriage...he had girlfriends but I did not ever explore that freedom for myself...but magic choose for my Shaman teacher for that (like I said, we were young) and to prevent problems, we cut off our relationship.
But we had this coven, and Samhain was coming up. I hadn't seen or heard from him in a few months, and I didn't know what to do. So I prayed for guidence. "What do I do now?" And afterwards, I went into the living room to turn on the stereo. It was set to the radio, which was unusual, and the volume was up very high...and it was the Shaman's voice speaking. He had entered into a radio contest he had won. I turned to my husband, and asked, "Did you hear that? I asked what to do. What do you think it means?" He said, "Call him." So I did.
It was an amazing ceremony! I don't know what it is, but when I work with the Shaman we make a very good team. We led everyone in a death and rebirth guided visualization that was a journey to the Summerland, and then woke them back up after their journey. My mother opened her eyes and called me, "Mother" in a little girl's voice. It made my heart skip because it was so weird being the daughter, now in the role of the Mother for my mother in ceremony.
I am still very good friends with the Shaman, in fact we are chatting right now, and last night it was odd because we both remembered leading this Samhain ritual together so many years ago. That moment in time changed my life completely. My life was never the same after that.
It just was very profound on a spiritual level how the Shaman and I were brought together by coincidences, and how it my personal and Goddess directed initiation into High Priestesshood, when I never asked for it and had not believed in this sort of thing as a traditionalist. It took me many years to accept this Calling...I am still in awe of it. But this year I have fully embraced it, and the same phenomena has been happening that reminds me of 1994, though I have led covens as a High Priestess since 1996...this is the first time I really accept I have this Calling and have the experience to really now understand the lessons learned from the mistakes I made when I begun this Journey. I also feel better now because my HP and HPS of the BTW have been very supportive of my Calling, despite it is not traditional, and they have assured me that they believe that this is a Calling of the Goddess, and I have answered Her voice. I think I needed that assurance, that though this goes against tradition, it is what She choose for me, and I am learning to trust that.