Samhain is coming. poliphilo (who'll be mad about this) and I used to run our own coven.
Samhain, as one of the two occasions when the veil between the worlds was thinnest (Beltane being the other), was when we used to invite the spirits of the otherworld - who held no ill-will to the world of men - to join us. We would invoke Epona - Horse Goddess of the Britons to protect us and then invoke Gwyn ab Nud - ruler of the Halls of the Dead - to
"Open wide the gates to Annwyn through which we all shall pass one day. We welcome, to our ritual, the spirits of our loved ones who are in the underworld and any others who offer us no harm or ill will"
We would then extinguish all the lights and announce
When we re-lit the lights we would discuss who had seen what. The, the only time of the year we did it, we would close the circle. Sometimes we'd forget and I'd spend a few days seeing or smelling things and would then go into our temple and close it down.
At all other times we left it open - after all when you invite guests into your home it isn't normal to say ' thanks for coming, now leave' - we found the dissapated after a while.
But there again our temple has been non working for 2 years this Samhain, but it certainly isn't 'empty'