Autumn Approaches

Autumn is thankfully fast approaching and already it feels like there is so much to do to get ready for what is, for me, a very important time spiritually. (I also loathe summer with a passion so I’m always glad when it’s over). Starting with the fall equinox, I begin a rather intense ritual season. While I honor my ancestors all year round, as autumn approaches suddenly it seems like they are very, very present and my whole world becomes about them, the military dead, and Odin pretty much through the new year. The Hunt comes after all, as the weather turns (please Gods) chill, and scours the world for wondering or maybe wandering souls (1.).

This year it has begun so much earlier than normal. For about two weeks now, the military dead have been close. My own ancestors have stepped back to allow this particular group to press forward with their voices eager to be heard. I do not know what they want this time, beyond the offerings I normally give, beyond giving them a voice as best I know how in my work. This time it is the WWI dead and they began to make their presence known two weeks ago. I started waking from dreams of hell in the trenches, half-remembered images of experiences that are not mine. These images like shadows haunt my waking hours and suddenly references to that war seem everywhere. There’s a growing sense of them ever more palpable and they whisper around me and it’s started so early this year. Usually this doesn’t happen for at least another month but now, now since July they’ve been with me, a growing presence.

There are a few stragglers from WWII, a handful from Vietnam but for the most part it’s WWI dead. The ‘war to end all wars,’ which didn’t, this war that destroyed the world, ending in reality only twenty seven years later with the decimation of Europe and Japan. They come to me, the dead, and I walk with them. I hold rituals and make offerings to them. This time the press is so very strong and I do not know what they want, and rituals previously held have no power now to stem the tide of remembrance. Perhaps that is what this autumn will bring: new ways of remembering, of carrying their memories forward, the screaming of those who died choking in the trenches or returned home carrying hell within as we send generation after generation off to die. They were haunted by the war and I am haunted by them. There is no one left living (to my knowledge) who shared their experience. World War I has passed out of living memory and we are, I believe, the worse for that.

If you can, go talk to the veterans in your family. Record their stories. Buy them coffee. Listen. Listen to the weight they carry and the dead that walk with them too. See if there’s anything you can do to help your local VFW.(2) Go and learn their stories. Remember. That is, I think what they want and why they come shrieking forward so powerfully now. Remember. We are a world tumbling forward into exactly the same type of hellish morass that so many of them found themselves catapulted into in 1914. I think that is why they are now so loud.

 

  1. I’ve always been intensely amused by the folklore that says that to ward off the Wild Hunt, wave a sprig of parsley at the leader’s horse. I have this image of some poor fool standing in a field, eyes closed, holding out a piece of garnish as though it were a cross to repel a vampire. LOL.
  2. The British Royal Legion has a program I very much support called Every Man Remembered. It allows you to personally commemorate a WWI soldier and at the same time help living veterans. They also record their stories.

(Photo below, titled “Doughboy” is my own.)

KrasskovaGalina doughboy

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Posted on September 3, 2016, in Ancestor Work, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. LOVE the photo of the doughboy! Maybe use it as a prayer card for the war dead with a poem by Owen or Sassoon on the back?

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    • Oh! that’s an excellent idea. thank you!

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    • There’s a common prayer that I’ve seen everywhere….have to look up the author: “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
      Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
      At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
      We will remember them.”

      it’s a passage from a poem that I think was turned into a hymn

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      • Found it for you: Laurence Binyon’s Ode of Remembrance.
        Let me(us) know when it’ll be in the works and I’ll be happy to contribute to it. I don’t have the spiritual connection to the dead that you do, but as a veteran, the war dead are never far from my thoughts.

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  2. Thank you, Petros! I just sent the files over to my printer so anything you want to donate to the printing (it usually is $50 total) would be lovely. You can paypal me at tamyris@earthlink.net, just let me know it’s for this particular card.

    I wasn’t able to go into the military due to back and neck injuries (spinal damage) but I am the daughter and grand daughter of veterans, the niece and great niece of veterans and I respect those of my line who served greatly.

    what branch of service were you in? My dad was army ordinance, WWII and Korea.

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    • I was sergeant in the infantry(11Bravo). I served 1987 to 1993. I never saw combat(the first Gulf War objectives were completed so quickly that my brigade was unneeded. When my time was up, my distaste for the way the military was used(and abused) kept me from re-enlisting. Giving up what in some ways I felt I was born to do tore a piece of my heart out. But, enough about me!
      Both of my grandfathers served in WWII. One in logistics in the Army Air Corps in North Africa, the other in a coastal battery on the East Coast. My father served in a non-combat role in Frankfurt during the Berlin Crisis and my uncle was a medevac pilot in Vietnam.

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      • Thank you for your service. I think the way we treat our military now, and the way the military treats its soldiers is shameful. It is very, very different from what our grandfathers and great grandfathers experienced, a very different military.

        My uncle was in Vietnam but never ever spoke about it. My father was thankfully too old by that time for active service. I was still in high school during the Gulf War, otherwise I would likely have enlisted.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Some funds just sent your way.

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  3. Excellent blog post, Galina. I’m glad you’ll be doing a prayer card for the military dead.

    FYI, there is a book about WWI called The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 by Margaret MacMillan. Margaret MacMillan is a Canadian historian and she is highly regarded. I’m going to add it to my reading list.

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