Saturday, October 13, 2012

Honouring our Beloved Dead

The great thing about being challenged on something is that it gives you the stage to achieve clarity on something you just assumed you knew, but never really gave a second thought.

At the Montreal Witches Ball this year, there is a public ritual that has been announced as follows:
"The veil between the worlds thins, it is time to honour the ancestors, pay tribute to our dead, and celebrate the Pagan New Year. [..] Bring yourselves, memories of your ancestors, your colourful masks. Altars for the dead will be set up. Feel free to bring a small item to place on one of the altars to remember those gone before you. The Ferryman will greet you at the entrance to collect the name of your dead and your token, and the Lady will collect the names of those born this year."
I posted this on Facebook, and in response to this, an old university friend posted:
"Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!"
To which I replied:
"Ah yes... Deuteronomy 30:19-20. The thing is, taking time to honor the dead is not a denial of life. At this time of the year, we take a moment to remember our honored dead. But we do not celebrate their death: we are celebrating the beauty of their life, how lucky we are that they shared some of it with us, and how we are changed because of that beautiful gift of life.

Death is a part of our lives, and it is part of what gives our lives meaning. By remembering our loved ones who have passed on, we are giving thanks for their presence in our life's path. In our own way, we are ensuring that we all enjoying ever-lasting life by keeping their memories alive."

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