Virtual Ancestor Night (Post #1 – Intro)

Since I have pastordan’s blessing, as it were, here’s my first post on this ritual.

“Ancestor Night” is another name for Samhain (SOW-an), but I didn’t want to scare anyone off before they even looked :-). I’ve done this ceremony with Christians and other non-pagans participating before, so I’m hoping of our non-pagan members will consider joining in.

I’m intending to do the actual ritual on October 31st, probably making the first post around 2pm PST (5pm EST, about sunset). I’ll post the closing section later that night or sometime on Nov. 1, depending on how things are going. I know that the actual cross-quarter, 15 degrees Scorpio, isn’t until 7 Nov, but I’m going with the more traditional date :-).

This first prequel is intended to be an introduction to Samhain, especially for the non-pagans. Pagans might be interested too, since I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject and I welcome input from other traditions.

Briefly put, Samhain was the end of the harvest, and the end of the year in old Gaelic cultures. The boundaries between the physical and spirit worlds were at their thinnest, leading to many of the traditions regarding death and spirits (contacting good ones and avoiding bad, or mischievous, ones). To save StreetProphet’s bandwidth, I refer readers to some good articles:

The ritual I plan on leading focuses on the “ancestor night,” remembering and honoring the dead elements of the holy-day. It’s taken from the Keltrian Druidic tradition, with of course adaptations for the venue. The basic outline of the ritual is to:

  • establish sacred space
  • state the purpose of the ritual
  • invite the deities we wish to join us
  • remember those who have crossed over in the past year
  • remember others — ancestors or anyone else who was important to you whom you wish to recognize
  • thank the deities for their presence
  • “release” sacred space

I’ll get more into the details of those steps in later posts (I expect to post the “Ritual basics” a week beforehand, on 10/24). This diary entry is mainly to give people a head-up, and to invite initial comment. Constructive criticism is always welcome, as are honest questions.

9 comments

wow (none / 1)

What a combination of spirit and technology.
I have a friend who calls it the Ghost in the Machine.
I would be glad to join you.

by empathy on Mon Oct 10th, 2005 at 16:34:04 PDT

I’m in. (none / 1)

Although I may have to “run in and out” to open the door and hand out candy…  🙂

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” — Hunter S. Thompson

by rune on Mon Oct 10th, 2005 at 16:57:35 PDT

I was lucky enough (none / 1)

to experience Samhain in Glastonbury, England on two occasions.

On the second occasion, I was on the Tor at midnight praying with two other women — one of them an English mystic, the other a Navajo. It was an experience. It was windy up there and yet the mist never moved. People were drumming in the ruins of the tower.

Samhain is the Celtic New Year and it is a day when the veil between the worlds is very thin.

Morgan, I will gladly join your prayer ritual.

by Rain on Mon Oct 10th, 2005 at 17:04:23 PDT

I’m very excited about this (none / 1)

thank you for the effort I know it will take.

Join Soulforce-seeking Justice for God’s GLBT children.
Read My Left Wing

by its simple IF you ignore the complexity on Mon Oct 10th, 2005 at 17:45:39 PDT

yes (none / 1)

Thank you, Morgan. I’ll be here.

by samoashark on Mon Oct 10th, 2005 at 18:25:21 PDT

A tradition (none / 1)

that the Catholic Church took over. November 1 is All Saints Day, but November 2 is All Souls, on which all the faithful departed are commemorated. It’s the custom these days to put out a book of remembrance in church, and allow parishioners (or visitors) to write therein the names of their friends and family members who have died in the last year. I have a personal tradition of wearing black on All Souls if I’m mourning a recent loss. Regrettably, I’ll have to haul out the black this year on account of my much-missed spiritual director, who died this spring.

Michael

by musing85 on Mon Oct 10th, 2005 at 20:07:55 PDT

Welcome (none / 1)

Reminds me of the Mexican “Day of the Dead.”
I will see if I can bring a Wiccan friend to this.

by Margot on Mon Oct 10th, 2005 at 20:59:49 PDT

If I didn’t mention that connection (4.00 / 2)

then I goofed a bit :-). Modern observances of Samhain are often influenced by Dia de los Muertos.

by Morgan on Tue Oct 11th, 2005 at 11:39:21 PDT

Much belatedly… (none / 0)

Blessed be, Morgan. This is a wonderful idea. I already know which ancestors I want to mention….

Jesus built a ship to sing a song to/It sails the rivers and it sails the tide

by Progressive Witness on Tue Oct 11th, 2005 at 22:11:43 PDT

6 Responses to “Virtual Ancestor Night (Post #1 – Intro)”

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