This is the third, and final part of my series on ancestors, the dead, and inheritance. First let me apologize to those of you following this series who expected this piece on Sunday.
We honor our ancestors every year, at Samhain. Sometimes, it is more often than that. It makes me think about how I want to be remembered. What do I want my legacy to be, and how do I want to be honored? It’s interesting to think about.
So when we go through these little deaths, these changes that follow on the heels of conflict, we give ourselves credit. Someone who has learned something about themselves often feels like celebrating. A good example of this is when I stopped calling myself Catholic. I continued to play along, though in my heart for a year or so, I was pretty much agnostic. I studied and searched, and found a Wiccan educational site by accident. I felt awake, really myself for the first time. I call that a death. I wanted my friends to know that I had found myself. I also wanted to experience the joy of magic. So I did. I honored myself.
There are the material ways in which we want our deaths to leave a mark on the world. I want any remaining money after expenses to go to Circle Sanctuary, and I want an oak planted over my grave instead of a stone. I am writing a living will in case of something happens, to ensure that certain people have a chance to get certain possessions.
Some people want to be celebrated. Not everyone thinks about the concept. For me, I kind of want both. What I leave people is really important to me. I hope to leave a tradition of witchcraft, a family who respects nature and each other, and good friends with whom I have made many lasting memories. I guess this is why I like taking pictures. I like capturing a piece of a moment, forever to keep it safe and within reach. I hate the idea of being forgotten. I think it is really sad when that happens to someone. They grow old, die, and are forgotten, leaving nothing in their wake but bones. I guess it is selfish, but I hope I’m missed, but I hope people will celebrate the good times.
I think it is important, even for young people like myself, to think about this stuff. So I want a big family, a lot of good memories, and a respected position within the Pagan community. We go through little deaths in life as we face ourselves and break through our self-imposed barriers when we are ready. But there is one big death, that throws us back into the spiral of incarnation. At that point, we are out of time to make an impact on the world, at least for that life. We must take with us all we have learned, and save as much as possible for the next time our sun rises. So, I may have said this in a recent post, but it bares repeating. If you died tomorrow, how would the people whose lives you touched remember you? And how would you want them to celebrate you? I guess what I hope for the most is that people carry on the traditions I create, especially those that bring family and friends together, and those that make the world a better place.
I hope you enjoy this.
Endless winding stairway
some rise and some descend
it is not always a fair way
forward they have messages to send
forward to themselves
wounds to heal
songs to weave
books on shelves
of the archives unsealed
dancing and learning to believe
hearts’ fear and desires burn deep
as we climb the stairway
in that deepest sleep
awaiting our new day.