The Season of Grief and Memory: Remembering the Beloved Dead

The Season of Grief and Memory: Remembering the Beloved Dead October 6, 2019

“…and I call to the Beloved Dead.”

As a Witch, I understand the shifts in seasons and cycles. I know what it means to watch something grow to fullness, then falter and wither and return to the Earth. I can feel the way people, places, promises, and thoughts move from one state to another, sometimes clearly. Sometimes understandably. Sometimes not.

In the season of ancestors in the Northern Hemisphere, I believe that what is remembered lives. I know that what we celebrate and honor goes on, even if it’s not the hand we can hold or the conversation we can have over the phone.

And yet the weight of turning is heavy. The veil might be thinner. The opportunity might be greater. But to say that the dead are closer now feels like a slap to their memory.

To me, it feels that saying this is the ‘right’ or ‘better’ time to make contact hurts more than the death.

Photo credit: X1klima – Flickr, Creative Commons some rights reserved













The Beloved Dead are Here, Right Here

It is simple, even easy, to say the dead are there and we are here. It is clear, boundaried, and efficient. And for a time, I believed that too. I believed the dead were where they were and we were left to mourn the loss.

And we are. So many of us are mourning losses of dead people, dead pets, dead relationships, and dead expectations. We hold the complexity of having one reality that seemed certain and then shattered.

And we grieve.

Perhaps it is easier at this time of year to embrace the sensations of loss because we’re surrounded by skeletons, gravestones, and rituals for ancestors. But I offer to expand this time. I offer to push into the idea that there is this or that.

Grief and loss are timeless. Bodies and spirits are beyond normal explanation.

Not time bound.

This is not to say we should live in the place of sadness or longing. But we visit. And we might stay there longer some days or weeks than others. And these trips into the memories of what came before and what came after allow us to be fully integrated, feeling humans.

For what is aliveness without feeling?

What is magick without knowing joy and despair?

The Beloved Dead are here. Right here. They are the hand on the shoulder during moments when I don’t know what to do or say. They are the sudden lightness during a time when all feels heavy.

They are the laughter that sings in a dream. Or a picture that falls into view when you weren’t looking or reaching.

The Beloved Dead are already here. Always here.

Let us celebrate them in all times. Celebrate their beauty and their complexity. Celebrate the things they have taught us about ourselves. Witness and know their errors and their ignorance. Make an altar to the ways they hurt and the ways they show us healing.

Perhaps make offerings to heal backwards and forwards in time.

I invite you to sit down with your dead, sing with them, argue with them, and touch their memory.

I invite you to remember — every day.

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  • Ember1

    I’ve been dreading this time (and so far for good reason.) My husband passed unexpectedly during the eclipse in January. I’m still processing our relationship. And so much of what people say either discounts the loss or diminishes what I do have with him now or overemphasizes what I have now. And I get that most people don’t know how to handle grief. But “they mean well” doesn’t mean no harm done.

  • Irisanya Moon

    I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. Unexpected death is traumatic and people don’t know how to respond when you need them the most. I want you to know I see your hurt and send love and blessings to you as you travel through memories and unresolved things. May the godds hold you with ease and grace this Samhain season. What is remembered, lives. xo

  • Irisanya Moon

    Wow. Thank you for sharing. That sounds so rough. (And I resonate with the pain and the complicated feelins about family relationships.) I’m sending you blessings that you have times of ease and comfort. What is remembered, lives. xo