Thursday, 7 October 2010

New Moon

The new moon is days away so at some point later this week I will be lighting a candle for Briganti, leaving some food and milk for the household ungods and making a pot of tea for the ancestors.

Yesterday I rooted through some of the the boxes packed away after moving in to find some of my photo collections, mainly in a search for some photos I have of great grandparents and the like to tie in with the ancestor observances.

It occurred to me that to be perfectly frank, most of my immediate ancestors for probably a generation or so back really wouldn't approve of what I am doing as they were either staunch Catholic of Welsh Baptist. So I find myself wondering whether I should either (i) be arrogant enough to assume they now see things differently and persevere or (ii) carry on regardless of their disapproval. the fact of the matter is that those ancestors who would be more approving (probably) are the ones I don't know and never really will.

It is something of a dilemma.


Potia said...

I know what you mean with this and it's one reason why I have chosen to do my ancestral observance in silence.

The fact that I am taking some time regularly to remember them is something that I am sure they will have liked in life. Some of them may have felt a touch uncomfortable about the fact I make a little ritual out of remembering them but I think overall they would be ok with it. Most of them did like a cup of tea :)

Deiniol said...

My own background is not dissimilar: predominantly Catholic with some Scottish Presbyterian thrown in. However, both sides of my family have a fairly strong tradition of "talking to the dead". Not in any kind of ghost-whisperer "fam trad" kind of way, just an assumption that the dead are kind of always around and keeping an eye on things.

So for my own ancestor observances, I more think of it as sharing a pot of tea and a chat with people who are hanging around already, and a formalisation of family belief that when you talk to deceased relatives they can hear you. I've not had any suggestions that they disapprove, really.

It's interesting that this attitude is pretty incompatable with what we can reconstruct of archaic Indo-European practices: libations were poured and offerings made which were most emphatically not for sharing with the living, for fear of contamination. While my own practices involves pouring two cups and lighting two cigarettes (all of the close dead relatives I speak to on a regular basis were smokers, so it's only polite) and sharing them. The far more distant ancestors would probably think I'm crazy.