All Hallow's Eve...Samhain...All Saints Day...All Souls Day...the Night of the Dead.
Call it whatever you want to.
I've read the online news and blogs that I follow on the weekends. They are all abuzz with news of the annual display of righteous indignation of the religious (mostly Christian - because let's face it, that's what drives this particular train) right about what they consider to be a "satanic" holiday full of evil and danger, but don't seem to mind co-opting in order to host a few church "lock-ins" of children and adolescents.
My guess is that outside of those rigidly fundamentalist circles, most kids just see the evening of October 31 as a night they get to put on a costume and overdose on sugary treats given to them by their neighbors.
I also figure a good number of adolescents and teenagers are probably looking forward to either going to or participating in one "haunted house" or another.
For some of us, this day - not just the night - has a spiritual significance that has nothing whatsoever to do with any Christian construct.
It is the day of the year that we set aside time to remember and honor those who have gone before us.
Yes, we have a special day on which we remember our dead. We also do it at other times of the year, but ask a pagan what day is the special day for these remembrances, and you'll likely hear that it's this one.
We, individually and sometimes in groups of likeminded folk, make a ritual of it. Offerings are made. Some read lists of names before a bonfire, and some just close their eyes and remember silently. The ancestors acknowledge our gifts and attention.
It's so simple. Not sinister at all. But the fundies don't want to hear the truth. Maybe they don't honor their dead.
Chief Seattle mused about the same thing in 1854.
To us the ashes of our ancestors are sacred and their resting place is hallowed ground. You wander far from the graves of your ancestors and seemingly without regret...
Your dead cease to love you and the land of their nativity as soon as they pass the portals of the tomb and wander way beyond the stars. They are soon forgotten and never return. Our dead never forget the beautiful world that gave them being...
Dead, did I say? There is no death, only a change of worlds.
I don't know if this has been asked before or not, but what is your take on rituals?
About the only one that I personally do is leaving my tarot cards out under a full moon, however I have a friend that is starting to become curious about them and has done one or two for herself, but she seems skeptical about it all. My thought and advice to her was to do what she felt was right where they are concerned and above all beleive, because if you don't beleive and you scoff then of course what you are doing won't work. I was wondering what other incite there might be out here. So I thought I would ask and share a little. I am not however going to share what my friends' ritual was all about since I would like to keep her privacy, but I can say it did no harm to anyone, so it wasn't something like a vengeful spell or something or other.
Short post, i know, but I figured maybe other people had more experience with rituals than I do and would have better advice about them.
I don't know who in this group reads the cards (tarot), but I do. I was searching communities with interest in tarot and came up with this one. I was doing this because I belong and moderate another community on lj that offers free tarot readings. Tarot_guild. I was really trying to broaden our membership base and get listed on some other community links sections, but I saw this community and the profile seems right up my alley. I am not christian, but at the same time I am not really certain how to label myself. I usually go with spiritual with pagan leanings. So here I am and I look forward to seeing how other people follow their own path.
If you are interested in my community please check it out. We are pretty cool about things and always good if you need guidance no matter what creed you prescribe to.
As to this community, What are your feelings on the cards and how many of you read them as well?
This question was the topic of discussion on a message board I watch. (I have cut and pasted an edited version here.)
How easy should our spiritual path be?
Looking at various beliefs they range from severe aseticism and withdrawl from life (life of Buddha) through the ranges of adherance to customs, feasts and fasts to just a vague feeling that reading a self help book now and again suffices.
Does the more effort we put in, necessarily bring deeper spiritual connection or reward?
I haven't posted a response yet, but my initial reaction to the question lingers with me.
Why should it be purposefully hard?
I think if you are truly following your path, then the side roads along the way give you plenty of opportunities for challenge and sacrifice.
And if you haven't found any of those yet, and you are older than about 10, then I have to wonder if you are skipping down your path with your eyes closed.
Some months ago, I posted links to the journal of stitchwitch13 and her family's saga to educate the Needville (TX) ISD about Native American spiritual practices.
They were trying to force the family to cut the hair of five year old Adriel in order for him to attend school. After a lot of national publicity and the decision of the wussy attorney for the school district - after being confronted with counsel for the ACLU - the School District backed down and allowed as how Adriel's right to religious freedom is the same as any child of any spiritual faith.