Today we celebrate Samhain (Samhuinn) with the Grove and this year the central part of the ceremony is an ancestor meal.
So I thought I’d take a bit of a look at this and have read through all the posts from a blog that was attached to a previous website and found …….. nothing! However, I’m sure I’ve written something at some point probably to accompany the Honour the Ancestors incense we make. But I can’t find it so I will take it that new thoughts are needed from me at this time.
I was first asked to make an Ancestors incense about three years ago by the lovely Annee Bury who works with the dying and their families as a soul midwife, celebrant and bereavement advisor. Growing up in the Channel Islands my only understanding of this time of year being about honouring those who had gone before was the regular Remembrance Day ceremony and a couple of October half term holidays spent in France where we noticed the large number of families visiting cemetries with wreaths and flowers for Toussaint.
So when I was asked to make this incense I welcomed the opportunity to explore an aspect of my chosen path that had not really registered on my radar until then. I spent some time thinking of what is meant by honouring someone’s memory. There is a sense of gratitude, pride, respect. Maybe a sense of loss is mixed in with that. Other thoughts that spring to mind are that we build who we are with our ancestors as a foundation. This fits with the correspondence with (in Western/European circles) the Northern part of the Wheel or Circle and Earth. Colours associated are generally green and brown. Keywords include stability, grounding, sustenance, nurture, provision, strength. In plant energy and aromatic terms how was I to communicate all of this.
Over the years I have built a reasonable library to which I now turned to provide some ideas and guidelines and a framework from which to draw when the need to then work intuitively to create the incense “arrived” or when I felt the need to understand how my intuition was guiding me.
Some ingredients suggest themselves quite easily. Oak for strength, support and protection: associated with our celtic ancestors and especially the groves of the druids. Rosemary for remembrance but also protection and cleansing. Orange Peel for gratitude and positive energy . Cedarwood brings in positive energy, strengthens confidence and promotes a calm meditative state, restoring a sense of spiritual certainty while helping us to ground and connect. Ginger strengthens and promotes courage. Vetiver grounds and protects and Melissa helps us deal with issues around death, promoting understanding and acceptance and helping to relieve blocks due to grief.
Interestingly the recipe finally came together on 31 October 2010 and has proved extremely popular ever since.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/pantheon/2010/10/honoring-the-ancestors-samhain-and-beyond/ explains why we should consider communing with those who have passed on a more regular basis than once per year.
Who are our ancestors?
They are all those who have lived on this earth before us. Our culture and technologies may be different as with the ethnic mix of our country but underneath we are still very similar to those who were here centuries before us. Bringing it closer to home we can specifically choose to remember our blood relatives, grandparents, great-grandparents.
It is believed that at this time of year, as at Beltane the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest and it is easier to feel the presence of loved ones who have passed over.
Maybe tonight is a good time to host an ancestor meal. Make dishes that were chosen by your own family or have been handed down, lay an extra space at the table and light candles to show them where you are or use the rite here http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/samhainoctober31/ht/Ancestor_Rite.htm.
Know that you are loved and supported and share time. Allow yourself at this time to heal too. Who knows what the next turn of the wheel may bring.
Samhain blessings and blessings of the ancients to you all