Day 1: A Week of Honoring the Dead

Tonight was the first night of a rather intense ritual cycle. Each October, we hold rituals nightly from October 25 through November 3. We’ve done shorter rites and preparations earlier throughout the week, but tonight was the first big ancestor ritual. It really did feel good to return to this practice. Even though we all honor our ancestors regularly, this type of formal ritual seems long overdue. 

Tonight, we specifically honored our male ancestors, naming those we wished to name, honoring groups of our male dead, telling stories, praying with and for them. (Tomorrow we honor our Disir, our female ancestors, Friday is Hela’s feast day, though as tonight, Veles will get his due as well. With so many Slavic dead around in our household, this, I think, was inevitable. Saturday and Sunday are for all our dead, and form the primary focus of our Winternights rite, and then the next few days are for more personal veneration and cemetery work.). I honor the dead as I was taught years and years ago, and this is the form that has become customary in our House. 

We kept our ritual very simple, consecrating space with fire, praying to the ancestors as a whole, praying to Hela, pouring out offerings, offering an unexpected prayer to Veles because He was suddenly so very present and the Slavic ancestors really wanted Him honored, pouring out offerings, then prostrating to the dead, telling their stories, saying their names. This year we incorporated a simple symbel (a ritual where the horn is passed around three times and ancestors and Gods hailed). I have a novice training to become a gythia (priest), so taking this ritual slowly and simply allowed me to really delve into each of the constituent parts with her. It was a surprisingly powerful rite.  

Tomorrow, we repeat the whole thing again for our female ancestors. What a motley crew we are in this House, ancestors from every corner of the world, and it is wonderful. May they all ever be hailed.  For those of you who celebrate at this time, what do you have planned? 

The Household Ancestor Shrine for the next week of rituals (the only sad thing is that our regular ancestor shrines get denuded of photos and items during this time! lol)

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on October 28, 2020, in Ancestor Work, Ancestors, Holy Tides, shrines and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I’m still working on developing my cycle for this time of year. I have a specific ritual for Persephone that I do on Samhain night, and this will be it’s 3rd year. Haides is tangentially honored in that one, but it’s mostly about Her. Tomorrow, I’m planning on going to my great grandfather’s grave for the first time since his funeral when I was (I think) 7. I’m pretty sure he was the first spirit who ever contacted me, and I was terrified as a child because I didn’t know how to handle it. I never met him in life, I was living on the other side of the country, but I have been so drawn to do ancestor work for him. I am finally going to his grave tomorrow and I’m excited and a little apprehensive. November 7th is also the date of death of someone I considered my grandfather, who wasn’t blood related but more my active in my life than my ACTUAL grandfather. I am planning on honoring him both on Samhain and on his death day. I think about him every year but this will be my first time lighting incense and pouring libations for him. I know he’ll appreciate it, and I know he’ll be an ally. In life, when a 50 year old handyman was sexually harressing my cousin and I (we were both 14), he was the ONLY one on our side and who didn’t give the dirty old basterd the benefit of the doubt. I loved him a lot and his death was a great loss. I’m bitter about how his children treated my grandmother after she nursed him through kidney failure for years. They were unmarried for social security reasons, and they gave her a month to move out of his house. After using her for free hospice care. (Don’t ever live with a man unmarried, ladies. Oldfashioned, I know. I don’t care.) But he was a good man and I miss him. I want to honor him and this will be the first year, just like my great grandfather. I am getting heavy into ancestor work for the first time this year.

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