Hi folks, I shall be traveling to the National Mall in DC and Arlington Cemetery very soon. If anyone has military dead that you would like honored, please let me know and I will make an offering to them at the appropriate memorial. It doesn't matter if you are Pagan or Heathen. If you have military dead, I will be happy to do this.
My colleague Kenaz Filan has been posting a great series of articles on how to engage with our ancestors. The latest chapter just went up.
check them out here: http://kenazfilan.blogspot.com/
you may have to scroll down a bit to find the first article, but it's worth reading.
My heart bleeds for this little boy. He isn't Pagan or Heathen or Wiccan. He's just a little four year old boy who's father shot him and killed his mother because the father thought he was gay. Mourn him. this child deserved better.
This would never have happened in a culture not so damned disconnected from its roots. This child's neighbors turned a blind eye to his mother's pleas for help. People in his community were afraid of his father. No one did anything. No one raised a hand or a phone to call 911. They turned blind eyes to this child's suffering. he was expendable.
Well you know what? he's not expendable. he is yet one more victim of a culture and a world so terribly bereft of its roots, so disconnected from its indigenous ways, from the wisdom of the ancestors, the medicine of the land, the knowledge of their Gods....THIS is the result: a four year old murdered by the man that was supposed to love and care for him, and help him to grow up, who was his model for what a man should be.
Rest in peace, Jadan. May your ancestors welcome you with love and blessings. May you find a measure of happiness in the arms of your beloved dead. I am so sorry that we as a people failed you.
For once, i'm too upset to write anything more. I'm going to my altar to beg my dead to watch after this little boy as he makes his journey into death. I'm going to light candles and pour out offerings and pray that we as a world wake up and soon. most of all, I'm going to pray that Jadan travels safely and is met by loving arms.
note: this is NOT the devotional that I am editing. That one won't be available until autumn.
There is a new devotional to Sekhmet currently available here: http://www.goddess-ink.com/purchasebooks.html
It is a beautifully written gift to this magnificent Goddess edited by Candace Kant and Anne Key. Check it out, Folks.
Sacred Paths Center in MN, which just set up the first national ancestor shrine, needs our help. They need to raise $7500 to cover operating expenses or they risk losing their space.
those interested can find more info here:
they're doing good work. Please consider making a small donation.
Here is a link to an excellent article on easy ways to get started in honoring your ancestors. This essay talks about steps anyone and everyone can take to develop and nourish one's relationship with one's dead. It's a good read.
Sacred Paths Center has opened a National Ancestor Shrine where our honored dead from all over the world can be remembered. This is a remarkable and powerful piece of work. It's holy work and bless them for doing it!
you can find more info here: https://pncminnesota.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/national-ancestor-shrine-opens-in-paganistan/
Our collective ancestors are on the move and it's a wonderful thing to see!
(I have been away for a week tending to my own obligations to the military dead, so I was delighted to return only to find this waiting for me in my in box. My friend E.L., recently petitioned Hela to take on duties as caretaker for dead children, a unique type of ancestor work and one for which she is very well suited. She graciously allowed me permission to post this here. It’s nice to see someone doing this. Thank you E. for taking this on as part of your spiritual work. –Galina).
Happy 4th to all of you-- hope you have been having a fantastic weekend and are enjoying some good BBQ, fireworks, or just time off this weekend.
I wanted to share with you my report of working with the children dead at Greenwood in Brooklyn.
First, I asked the dead permission to enter and told them why I was there- but they seemed to already know. I felt very welcomed and protected. In fact, they seemed very happy to see me and enthusiastic about my visit. Once I was able to get to a large tree off of the main road I made an offering to Hela and formally told the dead what I was doing and why I was there. I also asked them to show me the where the children were buried. This they certainly did. It starkly reminded me that while we take living to 75 as almost a given these days it was certainly not always the case and many, so many did not reach adulthood less than a hundred years ago. Many of the graves just said "Baby" or the child's first name.
I was lead throughout the cemetery to the graves of children of all ages--it was easy to find them with the help of the dead. I was touched by the love I could feel for the children from their families. As I was approaching each grave I could often not only sense the child (the older ones with spunk & beautiful personalities) but their parents - most often the mothers, but sometimes both parents and occasionally the whole family of the child. I said the names of the children as I left offerings, as a way of letting them know they were not forgotten. I felt incredibly blessed and happy to be doing the work, and while it did make me tear up a few times, it was primarily a joy-filled experience. One moment that I found touching and powerful was when I was in a more neglected area of the cemetery - I had already been to the graves of several children in that section and I asked (out loud) if there were any more children left. In my inner hearing a woman called out to me - and sure enough, when I got to the grave she indicated, there she was with her two infant children. She didn't want anything for herself, but she was so grateful I was remembering her babies and I left something for each of them. That was the perfect expression of the general feeling or attitude I received from all of the dead and families buried there - the adults were quite willing to forgo or would even refuse to take offerings in favor of them going to the children.
Distributing small candies (unwrapped), raisins, cookies, and small toys to the children of Greenwood felt like being Santa Claus--the best kind of Santa Claus, where very small things were immensely treasured. Giving a small toy and raisins to some of the children made me feel like I had given them the best present they had ever received, and I was humbled by their gratitude and love.
Once the bag of toys and candy had been given out, I asked the dead to help me find a protected area of the cemetery where it would safe for me (and away from other visitors) to hold a story time. They showed me, and so I read fairy tales out loud under a tree. When I was done reading I let them know it was time for me to go and thanked them. I left with an empty goody bag and full heart. As I was walking home, I reflected on the experience and felt almost compelled to share it and also say that it is some of the happiest and best Work I've ever been given. I'll be back to Greenwood, and I'm looking forward to my next visit. –E.L
(Thank you, E. for the work you are doing. It’s too easy for us to forget that in the tapestry of ancestor work that is our portion to weave, honoring the children and babies in our line is just as important as honoring those who made it to adulthood. Beautiful work and thank you for sharing this. –GK).