December 25, 2016 – Honoring The Dead

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Today is an especially holy day for many people around the world. It is a day of rest and reflection, of celebrating the hard work done year round, harvesting the fruits of our labors.

Christmas day marks a day to enjoy merriment with co-workers, good cheer with friends, and opening gifts with family. It is also a special day for honoring the dead.

This day marks the halfway point of the Yule celebration. With six lights across the altar we give praise and thanks to the long line of our blood, those that came before. While we are but buds on the tip of a branch, the mighty dead of our line stretch infathomably deep, down down into the dark, cold waters below.

It is from that well from which we gather strength and glean wisdom, for even though their bodies have fallen their power is no less great.

While I am regrettably unfamiliar with many intimate details of my lineage (though I hope to make a project out of it next year) I do know of one great spirit whom I owe everything to. Honored Grandmother, great snow bear, Janet. While I knew not much of what you taught, much of what we saw, those creatures in the endless green, I still knew… Truly knew the power you planted inside me. That seed lay dormant for so long, a seed regrettably found only once you passed and then returned to speak.

I thank you for giving me my blood, for teaching me the ways of the wood, for showing me the magic of the streams, for planting the seed of faith inside me. I pray that my branches grow as mighty as yours, that another might find shelter beneath my bough.

I call the lantern to glow, and share it’s light with the first six candles of Yule upon the altar…

On this, the sixth night of Yule, the center of our celebration,
we pay honor to the Ancestors at the center of our practice, of our hearts, and of our homes.
Many of our beloved dead taught us to pray,
taught us to honor and love the Gods,
and built the foundation of our religious ideals.
We invite the mighty dead to join us by the fire and share in the bounty of this year,

An offering of adoration and thanks are given from the heart.

Honored guests in our home,
so many times have you hosted us in our youth and formative years,
hosted our Mothers and Fathers and their Mothers and Fathers,
and we are proud to host you in return.

Ancestors of Body, whose blood courses through our veins,
Ancestors of Heart, whose love has brought us healing
and helped us to thrive,
Ancestors of Wisdom, teachers and mentors,
Ancestors of Hearth, who taught us to pray,
Ancestors of the Household, who taught us to respect our guests
and to be good guests in our travels,

We give you honor and respect,
We give you comfort and welcome,
We give you thanks and praise,
This day and always.

Ancestors, accept our offerings!

Grandmother, without your guidance I would surely not find myself on this path today. I truly hope my paws may grow to fill the shapes you left in the snow that one magical night.

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