Honouring our ancestors

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Flower offerings on the altar, alongside Maman Brigitte from the Dark Goddess Tarot and an icon of Mary

Today is Samhain. Today is the Day of the Dead. Today is a New Moon in Scorpio. It is a time of potency, and a time of magic. It is also, a time to honour our ancestral lineage.

Our modern world, with its constant future-driven deadlines and technological advances, has little time to spare for our collective past. Yet, as a practitioner of natural magic, as a pagan, tarot reader and astrologer, knowing my past, where I come from and what sustains my roots in this physical and psychic world, is as imperative as the air I breathe. And I find myself, a Romanian born kiwi now living in tropical Australia, at a cross-roads in my magical practice.

It’s more of a conundrum, I suppose, and it essentially boils down to this: what traditional practices do I make use of, what do I apply from the rich lore handed down over generations (and what do I discard), now that I live in a place that is so foreign to my cultural background, but also that is essentially uncharted territory from the perspective of modern magic and witchcraft, most of which is based on English or American traditions.

As a simple example, take Samhain, an autumn festival, which is now being celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere – however, down south, most of the pagans, witches and those immersed in the rhythm of our natural world, are celebrating Beltane, which is a spring festival, in line with the climatic (seasonal) changes that apply “down under”. But let me take even this one step further, and note that to be honest, in this part of Australia (north Queensland), there are only two seasons: winter (dry) and summer (wet). You can see it’s starting to get murky, for to me, the practice of natural magic is a practice rooted in your own current environment, and a knowledge and awareness of that environment is critical to your success – particularly when you start to work with herbs, with the crystals and stones of your own ground, with the waters that flow in your region.

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Flowers and Frankincense (Star of Bethlehem) on my altar prior to craft work

And so, I found myself pondering these matters yesterday in preparation for my ritual work today, and came to the conclusion that I need to do what feels right for me (versus what a book dictates). In line with this, the New Moon in Scorpio confirmed this to be an auspicious time to honour the dead, specifically my ancestral lineage.

With this in mind, I collected a mix of flowers as an offer to the dead. These were all collected on the morning immediately prior to the ritual, and grow easily in my garden: nasturtiums, dill, marigolds and Mimosa pudica (sensitive weed).

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Burning incense: frankincense, myrrh, sage and lemon myrtle

I also offered fresh water and incense, and burned a variety of herbs for protection and magic. I acknowledged my ancestors, and thanked them for their guidance and blessings. There is no set ritual wording I use for this – it is a fluid, flexible dedication that comes from the heart, in the spirit of connection and reverence.

Once done, I spent some time shuffling the cards and doing an Ancestral Lineage tarot spread, which I will share with you next time for it’s too long to go into detail here. Suffice to say, it left me a little stunned to read (in a good way!). I literally felt the magic envelop my room as I was dealing the cards, always a good omen that my dedication was acknowledged.

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Ancestral Lineage Tarot Spread using the Haindl Tarot (to be posted in the next instalment)

Finally, I went for a walk and collected sensitive weed. I will also post about this in a later post, but essentially, I am trying to work with what I’ve got, for both medicinal and magical purposes. It’s a thorny plant, so I figured it goes well with that Scorpio Moon energy🙂

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Collecting sensitive weed (Mimosa pudica). This is, as the name suggests, labelled a “weed”, and yet its medicinal uses have long been recorded and recently proven by science.

Wishing everyone all over the world a safe and magical Samhain / Beltane / Halloween / Day of the Dead, and New Moon in Scorpio.

Blessings,
Monica

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4 thoughts on “Honouring our ancestors

  1. pippalot October 31, 2016 / 6:45 pm

    what a lovely post Mon! You have inspired me to honor my Mum and Dad for all they gave me xx Zoe

    • Monica November 6, 2016 / 1:31 pm

      Thank you! Much love to you x

  2. Tammy November 1, 2016 / 9:27 am

    Thank you for sharing your Samhain ritual. I feel the same as you in many ways. I have been on my path for many, many years and much of that time was spent going strictly by books; what to do, what not to do, what to say, etc. Over the last few years, I started questioning everything and almost quit practicing out of frustration and of not feeling a connection. So, after much thought, I just started doing things my way. I kept what fit and tossed out the rest. I am a lot happier now and I feel more of a connection to everything because I am not trying so hard to remember what the “right thing” to do or say is. I am no longer worried about the proper way to do something, which was rather silly any way because I am a Solitary practitioner! 🙂

    • Monica November 6, 2016 / 1:34 pm

      Thank you Tammy, yes it is both a challenge, and a freedom, to find ourselves in a place where we may use part of the tradition as we see fit, but are not strictly bound by it. I find the best ritual work is that which is done with intent and comfort, so that I am not constantly trying to remember the “right thing” as you write. Being ourselves brings its own power to the altar, so to speak🙂 Blessings.

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