Tuesday, November 8, 2011

To Be Silent

Last night was the astrological cross-quarter of Samhain, the ritual honoring the ancestors and the end of life mysteries. Our society shies away from death, so its no surprise that the decline of life isn't talked about so much.

I was fortunate this year. No one died in my family, that I know. Even though my eldest cat is suffering from Chronic Renal Failure, she's stable, if slowly declining.

I have a bit of a cold or crud or seasonal somewhat happening to me, so the ritual I wrote to honor my ancestors was tossed for something less strenuous and simple. Simple is good! :)

I unpacked my ancestor box, which is what you see in the photo here. Photos of my ancestors, trinkets, flowers, shells, stones, and other things that make me think of my beloved dead are stored there and maintained year round. Only at Samhain do I ever unpack the contents. I keep a list of the names of my dead there as well.

I established my space, and sat silently writing the names on parchment. The entire ritual was silent on my part. I sat and considered my photos and their names. I offered them beans and tea, which reflects something of my family ancestry.

All in all, the result was a peaceful and sweet rite.

I can only hope that others' rituals were as meaningful.

It doesn't sound much like what people think of when they're imagining what a Witch does for this time of year. No loud chanting or spellcraft here, no poppets or spells. I do those things, but only when necessary.

I just don't see it as necessary very often. My usual work is more focused on what T. Thorn Coyle calls the Great Work. I want to know myself and be the best me ever. My practice is about growing and knowing peace with myself, good and bad.

I know that not everyone sees their spiritual or magical tradition that way, and I try not to judge too harshly. Yet when I see people embracing their jealousy and thriving in it, when people allow their anger to sweep them up, I find that I can be all too judgmental. Losing yourself in destructive emotions instead of engaging them and discovering why and what is their source seems counter to living a spiritual existence to me.

But I'm not them, and I don't know the background. Some of them, no doubt, look at my simple little ancestor right and wonder where the juice is, why I don't call down the Gods and dance vigorously, why I don't stir the powers up and make them bring me more prosperity or something.

They're not me, and don't understand my life either. :)

And I value those differences. Nature adores diversity, and abhors homogeneity. I need to remember that.

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