For many years, I have used the ritual described in this post as a way of not only mourning for those human and other-than-human beings that death parted me from, but also of helping their transitioning breath souls and free souls to have an easier passage between this condition of ordinary life, and the stranger (but no less natural) condition I know that they come to inhabit beyond.
This ritual is perhaps one of the oldest rituals in my entire repertoire, one that I was engaging in long before the larger body of my known works (and my unpublished body of works) ever existed. I have lost count of how many times I have actually performed it, and of the number of times people came to me seeking a ritual like this to use for themselves, in their own difficult times. I have always (in the past) given these instructions to people so that they could accomplish their own version of this rite.
I decided that formally writing it down now could only help me to bring my thoughts and experiences together in one place, honoring this long past, but also help others who will come to me in the future still seeking this information. My community Cylgh An Carow Gwyn also might be helped by having this ritual at their fingertips, for it is based on the same familiar and enduring bedrock of impulses and principles that the True Old Way sits upon.
It is also fitting that I write this down on this day- December 18, 2018- as the great solstice-season (which my European ancestors called the ‘Yuletide’, and the indigenous peoples of this land called ‘The Feast of Dreams’) arises in power. This season is about the closeness of the eldritch world, the immanent power of the Unseen, generous honor paid to all spirits, and the return or closeness of the dead. In this regard, it is parallel to the old beliefs and customs tied to Samhain by other Ancestors. But it is The Feast of Dreams to me, because of where I live, and the spiritual connections I have here.
No matter what we call it, it binds us all as a time in which we make a special opening to face the deeper realities that are the timeless and eternal scaffolding of our ordinary, time-bound lives.
Writing this is an act of devotion to my deepest principles and beliefs. It is an act of help and aid to all human beings who need it. It is an act of compassion and aid to all of those who die and wander the strange landscapes beyond breathing life. I will endeavor to make this work as available as I can, in every place that I can. Continue reading