[personal profile] asthefiretree
Samhain

It’s been more difficult writing about Samhain than it has been about other High Days. How do you write about a fest to honor the ancestors when you feel no connection to the ancestors, and are not even close to your existing family?

Samhain has been a bit difficult for me. I am not very close to my family, and I know very little about my ancestry other than names and where they came from. My family preserves no traditions and little information about the past...in fact, there is a part of my mother’s family where all information was cut off prior to one great-great-great grandmother due to a family scandal.

This particular Samhain was an especially difficult letdown, having followed such a powerful Mabon. I spent a great deal of the ritual feeling very empty and disconnected, and while I desperately wanted nothing more than to leave, I would not allow myself to do so.

Part of the ritual included a guided journey to the underworld to meet the ancestors and before we went, we were to call out the names of those we wished to meet on the other side. Since i have an interest in attempting to break the mystery of the family scandal and learn about those that came before this person, it seemed appropriate to call her name...Maria Caracappa. I did so, we began our descent...and I felt nothing. There was no leaving this place for me. Many others spoke so certainly of feeling the presence of their ancestors...i felt alone and abandoned.

For me, the strongest part of the evening, what stood out clearer than anything was the part where Will read the omen. One of the runes pulled was the blank rune. Will's interpretation of this was simply "The ancestors were never here." He did not mean this literally of course, but that's how it felt to me. Our purpose for the ritual was to seek guidance in whether we should be looking to old traditions for our learning, creating our own traditions, or finding some blend of the two. Further interpretation of this rune was that it was not for the ancestors to say, but for us to discover.

Feeling cut off from the past presents a challenge when taking part in a religion that places such importance on ancestors. Even in knowing that we are talking about more than our literal direct ancestors, it is difficult to listen to people who can tell stories of great grandparents and generations-old family traditions. On one hand I am not bound to any such obligation. On the other, I have no connection. How this will continue to color my work within ADF remains to be seen.

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asthefiretree

March 2010

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