Many are those that focus on female divinities, leaving male divinities in the shadows if they get mentioned at all. This is a shame. Here I will share my thoughts, stories and prayers on male divinities. Currently focusing on divinities placed in an atheist "graveyard".
Honoring the Dead
The thought of ancestor worship makes me flinch. It is not that I do not respect my ancestors or think that they are not deserving of honor, because they do. It is the phrase “worship” that gives me pause. The only ones deserving of worship are the gods.
I honor my ancestors because who I am and where I am is partially due to their influence, for good or bad. Even science is starting to say that what your grandparents did or how they ate has some sort of influence on you now. If something they did has caused a negative occurrence then by addressing them, I expect their aid in fixing that wrong. If something they did caused a positive occurrence then they deserve appreciation but also maybe they can continue to aid you in making wise decisions that affect your own descendants.
None of this is going to work if you do not have some sort of relationship established with those beyond the grave. If you honored and respected your relatives in life, why not in death? By remembering them, they are never truly gone. If they have done wrong in your life, why not address them in fixing it? If one can honor the spirits of the land, why not the spirits of those who have past? I admit religious ceremonies are not my strong suit. I’m rather cerebral and tend to over think everything and so the doing part is a lot harder for me, but this just plain makes sense to me.
One of the things I’ve been trying to do each day since the equinox (illness, insomnia, house guests, etc. has gotten in the way more often than I would like, embarrassingly enough) is write a letter to one of my beloved dead as a way of remembering and honoring them. Currently they go on to my personal blog. I will then copy them down and place them in a paper decorated sugar skull box. (For me, decorated skulls represent memories and the reminder that one must live life to the fullest, colorfully, with no regrets.) On November 1st, I will burn these letters, scattering the ashes in my gardens.
How do you honor your ancestors, whether of blood or heart? Are there decorations you keep out year round to remember your beloved dead?
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