As the year shifts toward darkness and we gear up for October, I’m really excited to be participating in a cross-blog initiative here at Patheos. I’ve teamed up with Jamie Schwoerer over at Loving the Journey to share some of the ways I use this dark time of the year to connect with those who’ve gone before. I’m really excited for the project, and Jamie and I have already had some great conversations about how to get started.
This will be an interesting month for me, because despite blogging here for almost two years, I’m still rather insular when it comes to talking about my Pagan practices; it’s rare that I engage in direct, personal dialogue with people I don’t know well about my faith (old habits of over a decade spent in the broom closet die hard!), but I’m really enjoying stepping out of my comfort zone and sharing what I know.
As many of you know, I’m sometimes quite lazy about my rituals and observances, and fall is no exception. Despite it being my favorite season (and despite the fact that Halloween is my favorite holiday), the dark time of the year is always hard for me, and it’s much easier for me to step back and let things slide past me in the darkness. I’ve always struggled with a bit of seasonally induced depression, although that’s improved dramatically since moving from the cloudy Midwest to the sun-drenched South, but I still sink into stillness from Mabon until Imbolc.
Often, my practice of ancestor remembrance is confined to the days surrounding Halloween, where I’ll dress my altar in somber colors, pull out the framed photos of my maternal great-grandmother and my paternal grandparents, and light a candle in honor of their lives. This year, because of the blogging project, I’ll be pushing myself to make deeper connections with the people who’ve come before me, through both writing and ritual, and instead of only spending a day or two remembering, I’m committing to an entire month of reflection and dialogue with Jamie on our beloved dead. It’s a daunting process, but one I’m really looking forward to.
The darkness has been growing steadily since the equinox last week; it almost feels like someone flicked a switch on both the speed of night and the suddenly crisp weather. Although my first impulse is to snuggle into the darkness and shut down for a few months, I’m ready to cycle through reflections, remembrances, and rituals to honor both my named and unnamed ancestors. I’m thrilled to be walking through this process with another writer, and I can’t wait to see what Jamie and I experience in the next month!
photo courtesy of shutterstock: shutterstock.com
This post is part of the Patheos Pagan Ancestor Remembrance Project.