We have crossed the threshold and now dwell in the dark half of the year. The”spooky” season is here, and we believe the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest. Halloween, or, for some Samhain, is just around the corner. During this time, there is much talk, also pressure about honoring our ancestors. It is believed by many to be the time that the spirits of our ancestors our among us.
Has anyone stopped to question this?
Why would our great ancestors come through this veil (that separates us from the spirit world) to be with those they have never known? Why would they care? Haven’t their souls moved on? At Walpurgis/Beltane, the veil is also thin; why don’t we bring out our ancestral altars during that holiday? Why do many believe their ancestors are only going to be present now? What if you’re adopted? Do you truly know who it is you are honoring?
I might sound like an atypical witch posing these questions, but I like to bring some reality and food for thought into my witchcraft practices. And I hope that I am inspiriting you to put some thought into yours as well.
If you don’t feel connected to your ancestors or feel uncomfortable having to revere immediate family who crossed the veil, then don’t do it.
With concern to immediate family, many don’t get along with their family when they are alive, so why should one feel obliged to honor them because it’s “that time of year”? If you didn’t want to give someone the time of day when they were alive, wouldn’t it be hypocritical to do so after they are no longer in their physical bodies? Especially if you’re doing it because you’re following the herd mentality that states it’s the time of year to do so.
Regarding distant relatives long gone, those ancient ancestors you have never known and who have never known you nor even had presumed the existence of your immediate family, why honor them? What do you know about these distant bloodline ancestors? Aside from where they originated. Ask yourself, would you have gotten along with them? What type of person were they? Is their spirit worthy of your time?
Let’s face it, like with an immediate family, many of us got unsavory distant ancestors. Nobody, witch or other, is obliged to lend time and energy to one who might not have been a good human. Just because an ancestor is distant or ancient doesn’t make them any better or more powerful than those in your immediate family. In many cases, one’s immediate family are far better humans than their great ancestors were. It doesn’t matter what accomplishments an ancestor might have made. Some of our ancestors brought harm to others, were cruel, racist, discriminatory, or have committed great crimes without remorse. Would you really want to honor someone like that? In my opinion, prior to lighting a candle or giving an offering to an ancestor, it is best to find out as much as possible about them personally, their character and how they treated others. Know that you don’t owe the past anything.
In my personal practice, I don’t worship nor connect with ancestors from my bloodline, but instead I light a candle in respect to those who have suffered and died in the name of witchcraft; and what that consequence has entailed for those practicing and terming as witches today. I also lend respect (not worship) to the spirits of the land and dear friends who have passed in recent years; and to the witches and magicians who have influenced my practice; through their works, they have served indirectly as my mentors. You should know; I don’t do this on October 31st, for it is Halloween. On this day, I rededicate to the Devil and His Bride, then I join a few sister witches for a dumb supper, followed by a session of scrying and some other seasonal activities that witches do. The entire month of November is when I light a candle each day to hold respect for those mentioned.
Know that with this article, I am not attacking anyone’s personal practice but that I’m just sharing my thoughts on the matter. It is in my nature to get people to think and take a peek outside the collective bubble rather than blindly follow the flock. In my opinion, it is perfectly fine to revere a grandparent or other family member with whom you were close to. There is nothing wrong either if you keep a permanent space, like a picture with a candle and some flowers on a small table, for example, to honor those who meant something to you on a personal level, be they a blood relative or not. I also encourage those who have pets that crossed the rainbow bridge, to do the same for your fur baby. Just know who it is you are paying homage to.
*To clarify for those reading this who are not current with what the dumb supper is.
Dumb Supper: Dumb is a synonym for mute or silent. So, the essential rule of a dumb supper is to remain silent while dining. Usually, during a dumb supper, a plate of food is put on the dinner table for a spirit that wishes to join, if there is one. In some traditions it is customary to fix a plate containing the first cuts of the meal, and place it outside the front door. The premise behind setting this plate is to nourish a spirit while on it’s journey towards the light/beyond the veil. Know; that there are witches that will invite a deceased loved one to join them, the latter; isn’t what my friends and I practice.
*Something interesting for those who celebrate Samhain, did you know; that the Earth Spirit almanac, which follows the astrological dates of holidays, Samhain actually falls on November 7th it begins at 5:45 am eastern time zone.
Whether you revere your ancestors or not, I wish everyone reading this a Merry and Blessed Halloween and Samhain. Feel the magic in the atmosphere and embrace the dark season.
*Keep in rhythm with the season, follow this link to read an article put out by Lufolk, about Samhain. https://lufolk.com/blogs/paganism-and-folklore/samhain?goal=0_a1bda45e47-fa9511bd95-356697745&mc_cid=fa9511bd95&mc_eid=09aa86448c
Copyright Kindra Ravenmoon