Dining with the Dead and Settling a Promise

Dining with the Dead and Settling a Promise April 16, 2021

My dead don’t wait until Samhain to poke at me.

My mom died four years ago. Was killed four years ago in an accident. I remember that day, what my dad said when he called, and who came over.

In the Northern Hemisphere, it’s Beltane-time and thoughts often turn to the sunshine, dancing around a Maypole. Frolicking. Merriment. Joy.

But in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the time of Samhain. I feel that in the balance. And I hold that just as reverently right now after a year of death at all times of the year. Ancestors who joined others more quickly than they expected. Than any of us expected.

This weekend, I celebrate her. I celebrate all of the dead that died suddenly and too soon.

There is joy there too. I ask them to dance with me too.

image via Pixabay

Dining with the Dead

Coincidentally, I’ll be at a dinner of the dead this weekend. I’ll be talking about my mom, her life, and the way that she still taps at me when I least expect it. I’ll be celebrating her life, not describing the way she died. Or the autopsy report I have. The one I never read.

I love dinners with the dead. Some that are formal, some informal, some that happen when I get the urge to bake the bread she made for my family on holidays.

Or the times I make things the way she did. Or I order the foods she loved so much.

The marshmallow eggs (the cheap, plastic chocolate kind). The black jelly beans (that I hate). The Diet Coke (which I swear I was weaned on).

I think about her. I wonder what she’s doing or feeling. I wonder how she sees the world and the way it is. I give thanks that she has not had to deal with this year. Or previous years.

I will tell stories about her. About the way she would have me plant geraniums and petunias in the front flower boxes. How she’d need to remind me that I should water the roots and not just the leaves because they were easiest to see.

That lesson sticks with me.

Settling Promises

This time of year also reminds me of things I promised to do. Things I told godds and my mom that I would do. That I haven’t done. That I need to do now.

So, in this time of life and death (is there really any other time?), I will celebrate and mourn and take up the promise I made as a living, breathing being. As a Witch, as a human. It’s taken years to get to this place of being able to make good on this promise.

Perhaps as I toast, as I chew, or as I swallow down the food I will bring, I will finally nourish a part of me that needed to wait this long to be ready. To be fully immersed in who I am and what I want my life to be, outside of reactions to those around me.

Outside of the reactions to who I think I have been or need to be.

I know this blog is pretty personal and vague. I get that I’m not telling you how to do something or how to think about something. But maybe you’re feeling some weirdness and wondering if it’s okay to think of your dead during the sunshine.

Of course. Always.

Maybe you’ve wondered about all of the dead surrounding the world right now, the ones that died because of ineptitude, because of selfishness, because of a world that often forgets how we are all connected. That waters might separate us, but we still impact each other.

You may want to feel the aliveness of the dance. You may ache for it and for the warmth of bodies. The drips of sweat. The uncomfortable moments of wondering when the dance feels done.

Let me remember promises. Let me also remember the dead who dance with us too.

About Irisanya Moon
I’m a Witch. I’m a writer. I’m a priestess, teacher, drummer, feminist, and initiate in the Reclaiming tradition. I serve the godds, my community, and the Earth. I’ve called myself a Witch for nearly 20 years, and my life has been infused with magick. I am interested in shifting stories – the ones we tell ourselves and the ones that are told about us. I’m continuously inspired to engage as the storyteller and the story, the words and the spaces between. I am a devotee of Aphrodite, Hecate, the Norns, and Iris. I seek to find love and to inspire love by reminding us we are not alone, while also meeting myself at the crossroads, holding the threads of life, and bringing down messages from the godds. (I've also published some books. You can get them at my website.) You can read more about the author here.
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