When Refusal to Work with Ancestors Isn't an Option
For years, I’ve struggled with the idea and practice of ancestral worship. Like so many others, the people that I come from are not good people. I’ll not go into details because it’s neither productive nor does justice to the effort I’ve spent trying to not be like them. Suffice to say, I’ve got my own baggage that I’m continuously dealing with and the Pagan communities unrelenting “honor your ancestors” maxim doesn’t help. I also don’t work with human dead (clarification: the dying are not yet dead, and my work as a Death Midwife does not fall into necromancy,) although I do actively work with animal dead. So while ancestral worship is something I can agree with ideologically, it’s not something I’ve felt compelled to enact.
This post is part of sporadic series on Working with Spirits. The previous post in this series was "Working with Spirits: Making Friends with the Genius Loci." Future posts may cover offerings, communication, how spirit work can benefit your practice, as well as preparing and using zoological remains.
It's not something I came to deliberately. It's not something I ever put much thought into, but so often throughout my life I have found myself in that position, cradling the dying, singing them across the Veil, feeling my body shudder and shake as their soul leaves their body. Of course, it isn't always that dramatic. Sometimes, death comes in a burst, a growing heat-like intensity that suddenly explodes, leaving you trapped at that peak, unable to come down from the physical sensations that seem to be a natural response the living have in response to experiencing the end of living.
Throwing the Bones
Whether you're struggling with something spiritually or in everyday life, bone divination can highlight areas where focus is needed and identify alternative ways forward.
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