Samhain ritual to honor victims of COVID-19 and police brutality

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This is an interfaith ritual that I created with the help of several friends, which we will be conducting as a public vigil this weekend. The ritual includes Wiccan, Religio Romana, Celtic, Norse, and Anglo-Catholic elements — but feel free to make any changes you see fit. Some parts of the ritual were adapted from books, and some were written by me. I originally wrote this ritual for a group, but in this post I’ve adjusted it for solitary practice.


  • Two black candles of the same size and shape
  • One white candle, about the same size as the black candles
  • Candle holders (optional, but recommended)
  • Appropriate offerings for any spirits you choose to invoke (For our ritual, we chose to use seasonal squashes and pumpkins as well as pomegranate juice.)

Ritual Outline

Begin be preparing your ritual space as you see fit. We prepared for our ritual by cleansing the space with incense and khernips (a sort of holy water used in Religio Romana). We chose not to create a Circle because our ritual was public and open to outsiders, but you might want to create one for your ritual. Include whatever other ritual preparations you feel are appropriate.

Opening Prayer (from Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham)

“May the powers of The One,

The source of all creation;

All-pervasive, omnipotent, eternal;

May the Goddess,

The lady of the Moon;

And the God,

Horned hunter of the Sun;

May the powers of the spirits of the stones,

Rulers of the elemental realms;

May the powers of the stars above and the earth below,

Bless this place, and this time, and I who am with you.”

At this point, invoke any spirits you want to call on in the ritual. I chose to call upon the Irish goddess the Morrigan and the Norse god Tyr; my friend who is a Roman pagan chose to call on Mercurius Interpres Divum and Ceres Legifera; our Christian friends chose to call on Archangel Raphael and St. Martin de Porres. You should call on deities or spirits you have a good working relationship with — you don’t have to invoke the ones I mentioned. Just remember to make appropriate offerings to whoever you invoke!

Next, recite the territory acknowledgement. You can visit to find out who originally lived in your area and what the land is called in their language.

Territory Acknowledgement (adapted from Revolutionary Witchcraft by Sarah Lyons)

“I honor and acknowledge the land I stand on,

Which was once called [indigenous name for the land]

And is home to [name of indigenous group].

I acknowledge that this land was unjustly taken, 

And that the mistreatment of its people continues to this day.

I honor this land and its original inhabitants.

Thank you for the many gifts you give us each day.

Thank you for allowing us to fight on, with, and for you.”

Next, recite the Samhain prayer.

Samhain prayer (adapted from Cunningham)

“On this night of Samhain, 

I mark the passing of the sun,

Through the sunset into the Land of Night.

I mark also the passing of all who have gone before, 

And all who will go after.

Oh Eternal Mother and Father

Who receive the fallen,

Teach me to know that in the time of greatest darkness,

There is the greatest potential for light.” 

Now, light the first black candle. As you light it, recite the prayer for the victims of COVID-19.

Honoring Victims of the Pandemic:

“With the lighting of this candle,

I honor those who have died of COVID-19.

May they enjoy peaceful passage into the afterlife.

May their memory motivate us to seek a cure and vaccine,

And make healthcare available to all who need it.

May their names be remembered.”

Hold a moment of silence for the victims of the pandemic. You may choose to use this time to speak to or remember anyone you know who has died of COVID-19 or of a similar illness.

Now, light the second black candle. As you light it, recite the prayer for victims of police brutality.

Honoring Victims of Police Brutality

“With the lighting of this candle, 

I honor the victims of police brutality.

May they enjoy peaceful passage into the afterlife.

May their memory motivate us to end police violence,

And create a safer nation for all citizens.

May their names be remembered.”

Hold a moment of silence for those who have been killed by police. You may choose to recite the names of any victims that you know of.

Finally, light the white candle. As you light it, recite the prayer for healing.

Prayer for Healing

“With the lighting of this candle, 

I bring light and healing into the world.

May our bodies be healed.

May our minds and hearts be healed.

May the bonds between us be healed.

May we be made whole.” 

Focus on the candle flame and allow your vision to go fuzzy. As you stare at the flame, visualize what a healed world would look like. Imagine a world without COVID-19, without police brutality, and without hatred. Hold that image in your mind for several moments as you continue to focus on the white candle.

When you have completed your visualization, repeat the final line of the Prayer for Healing: “May we be made whole.”

Let all three candles burn down completely. You can choose to continue to sit in the Circle and watch them burn, or end the ritual and simply let the candles continue to burn. Either way, when you are ready to end the ritual, use the following prayer.

Ending the Vigil

“I thank all the powers that have been with us tonight.

Go in peace.”

What next?

After the ritual, place all food offerings outdoors where they can biodegrade naturally. Pour out offerings of drinks onto the ground.

Remember that, although prayers, magic, and energy are great, they work best when they’re backed up by action. If you can, keep attending protests, raising awareness, and exercising your right to vote. If you can afford to, make donations to nonprofits that are working to help people during the pandemic and/or end police brutality.

Rituals of this kind can be intense, so don’t feel bad if you need to take a break afterwards. Make yourself a snack, cozy up under a blanket, or take a long, hot bath. Do something nice for yourself to replenish the energy you sent out during ritual.

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