Ritual For The Ancestors

On the past weekend, I had been invited over to W’s. He and some others had planned a ritual for the ancestors (Samhain) and he had asked me whether I’d like to join them. Obviously, honoring my ancestors is a bit difficult for me. W was sweet. He gave me lots of opportunities in the weeks before this ritual to talk to him about who I regard as my ancestors, if I need to honor them and so on. It was a very intense preparation for “just” one ritual, but I feel it was worth the effort. Sadly, it brought back so many thoughts about my mother I had thought to be discarded already. I just asked myself where she might be today and if she’s still alive, perhaps married to a nice man she has other children with? Does she even think about my brother and me sometimes? Well, and I wondered whether I wanted to find her or not. John says, some things are better left untouched, but if I want to, he’d help me the best he can. My brother says, he doesn’t mind her at all and just doesn’t want to be bothered in case she might need money or a caretaker or whatever. Of course I miss having a mother, but I never had one, so what exactly could I miss there? I guess, it’s just the imagination running wild.

Back to the ritual. I guess I can’t fight being the son of an insane man and a mother who gave a fuck about me, but W helped me to develop a sense of who my ancestors are, you know, like more figuratively. That would be Lord Shiva, of course, and Yogi Bhajan (founder of Kundalini Yoga), but also John, my Yoga teacher, a therapist I worked with in former years, W himself and some others. It’s quite interesting, but there are more men than women here. Anyway, regarding them as spiritual ancestors helped me to overcome some moments during the ritual that otherwise would have been awkward.

When I arrived at W’s, he blessed me with an incense stick and a short prayer. When he does things like this I always admire how natural these things come to him, while I still feel ashamed to speak freely, especially during a ritual! Just like in the last year, first of all we had dinner. Again M had prepared it for us, stuffed pumpkins, a pie with trout and herbs, couscous with fruit and spices and applesauce with ice cream (not for me). So good!

After M had left, we went to build the altar. This time, I had brought my prayer beads and a small statue of Lord Shiva. W had asked me whether I’d like to call upon the Gods to come to us, but I feel ashamed to do so, and someone else did it. It was very interesting, because he just used gestures to do so, no words at all, but it was very intense to watch. W told us to relax and center and ask our deities to come to us. I could feel Lord Shiva there with me. I guess I’ve improved my ability to sense him, even in small things.

This year, the ritual itself consisted primarily of a reading. Everyone of us should draw three cards from an oracle card set (one after the other) and the woman the cards belong to read them for us. First card: my connection with my ancestors (is this connection strong, what does it lack, what can I do to improve it?). Second card: tasks emerging from this connection (what do I need from my ancestors, what do they need from me, is there anything to be done, a task, they could not fulfill during their lifetime?). Third card: a message from my ancestors.

I was a bit confused about the reading. I guess I would have never come to the idea to ask these things and found it a bit strange to deal with my ancestors that way. But I found that the others were comfortable with it, so I presume that’s because of what my father did and because I don’t have a strong bond with my ancestors.

After the reading, which quite took a while, two men played the drums (djembe) for us. So beautiful!

When I drove home, I saw a badger, and I felt as if he had just waited there for me. I don’t know.

I’m really thankful for the possibility to feast with W. I learn so much from him.


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