“Ancestors, those of blood and not of our blood. Those of our Bone, and not of our Bone we call you forth tonight and ask that you join us in our Temple….”
Samhain, the time when the Crone Goddess aspect comes into power, and the time when the God dies; the time when we all dress up our “witchiest” and gather and do what? We gather together here in Memphis to honor our Ancestors. The above phrase is always used every circle; but at Samhain it becomes more real. Many of us have lost loved ones while the wheel of the year has turned: children, siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, pets.
We all come together and bring a candle to represent our Ancestor (usually we paste a picture of them on the candle) and the circle is cast widdershins (counter-clockwise) because things are about to change. From that point forward until IMBOLC all circles will be cast in that direction for the time of the Crone has come into play. Some midsouth circles will bring in the “Bone mother” as they call her (Cailleach, Nephthys, Hekate) some of us will just call in the Hag. Many of us will send the God to the underworld with gifts and offerings (this is my Egyptian practice), some will not mention his “absence” at all.
Stones will be piled high on the altar to make a monument that will honor our ancestors, and we will all walk a spiral to the center to call, and get an answer from them regarding something we want to communicate with them about. For many this is just an apology, for some of us it is just to “reconnect” and say hi; most will ask for advice since it seems Ancestors crossed over are released from mundane worries and responsibilities and give us better advice than what we would choose for ourselves from time to time.
A dumb supper will be laid out, the table all black and mourningful, many of us will wear veils, the candelabras will be burning, the tissues aplenty…and we will eat in silence with our dearly departed as they speak, touch, and communicate with us in waves of spirit-filled emotions during that dinner.
Every Ancestor ritual we do at Samhain I leave out offerings for my Grandparents and friends…but I communicate especially with my Mamaw and Papaw who I held so near and dear to my heart (and still do). It is good to take the time to pause, and reflect and to acknowledge in a healthy way our loss. It is a catharsis of the spirit that I look forward to every year; and never grow tired of this release. I realize of course, I can speak to my Mamaw or dearly departed Elders every day of the week…and I do many times. However, taking the time to set aside one day of a year; before the changing of the clock and my “new year” starts is what I have come to find as the meat and potatoes of my spiritual practice.
After the serious crying, mourning, communication, divination…then we will play drums, games, break a piñata, decorate pumpkins and eat so much candy our bellies will hurt. We know too that our Ancestors, and dearly departed impart that wisdom…”enjoy being human, and those things that make you happy to be so.”
I do not know what you do to celebrate this ritual at your home, or in your circle and would really happy to have you share that underneath this post. As always, I thank you for the gift of your time, and the love that you send to us and ours here in the Bible Belt as you read this post.
How to have a “Dumb Supper”:
Cook some of the favorite dishes of people you have known and loved. For example my Papaw loved German Chocolate cake thus I always bake one at Samhain. Sit at the Table with your family and leave an empty chair (or pull it up to the table) for your dearly departed. Pray, invite them to partake of the food with you.
After you are done eating “re-decorate” the table and make sure to pour drinks in the glasses, use the good china, and fill plates to a heaping. I lay out one for every person I can think of (make sure the table is full and the food is a heaping). Leave the food out overnight, and in the morning clean the table, burn incense, and thank them from the bottom of your heart. If you have a candle you designated just for them, let it burn down to the end to release all the love and happiness you send them. Your Ancestors will thank you for it, and you will be grateful you took the time to acknowledge all those people in your life who formed and shaped you into the wonderful person you are!
“To all of those who came before me, I thank you. May I leave the tree of our family sturdier, and may I leave the path behind me wider and safer for those who follow behind me…” SMB!*
(P.S. The pictures are to give you a clue where I came from...Hope those are Southern enough for you!!!!)
She presented a workshop at Gathering of the Tribes and delivered main ritual with an "Egyptian Flare" for the Tribes to build permanent structures in their cities and towns sending them home with firm foundations and Pagan Pride. She has persistently published Southern Fried Pagan and was honored to be a presenter at her mother church in Index, Washington sharing the mysteries of Ma-at and Anubis at Hecate's Sickle ( The Aquarian Tabernacle Church Fall Mysteries).
Her greatest feat thus far has been meeting her hero Pete Pathfinder (and secret crush) face to face, marrying the man she truly loved, and delivering safely a young "Golden Child". She lives in East Memphis with a handsome Highpriest husband, Brian Clark, a rambunctious pagan toddler, a Boston Terrier named Betty, a Cat named Bowie, and a rabbit named Ruby. Her motto in life is..."Fortes fortuna adiuuat"-----and you will find her almost every night of the week at the Temple of the Sacred Gift (www.tsg-atc.org)where the Goddess is alive, and magic is afoot!