Remembrance for the Dead

white is the colour of bone and ash
to speak to the dead we bathe and fast
red is the colour of blood and death
we rub the bones and give them breath
black is the colour of womb and tomb
we sit in the dark to leave the room

.I.  Cleansing

In silence, I scrubbed the hearth and washed my tools, cleansing the bits of old and forgotten from pan, pot, and spoon.  I swept the kitchen floor and washed the counters by hand. And then I went to cleanse myself before making the offerings. With lavender soap, I cleansed and purified my body, murmuring a chant the whole while.

I cleanse myself for the ancestors, may you find me worthy of your presence this night.

I cleanse myself for the spirits, may you find me worthy of your presence this night. 

I cleanse myself for the gods, may you find me worthy of your presence this night.

Thrice for the ancestors, thrice for the three, and thrice again for the ancestors I whispered my words beneath the flowing water.

.II. Offerings

Rich tomato soup, roasted beets, and homemade bread. I cut and sliced and cooked mindfully, imbuing my intent into each food, each step, remembering those who had gone before. As I held the largest beet, now freshly peeled and still steaming in the chill October air, I marveled at how it looked like a fresh heart, so large and vivid and dark in my hands. I gave thanks to the ancestors in silence, thanking them for their trials that led to me standing in my kitchen that night, the steaming chthonic root still in my hands, staining my hands and fingers red.

.III. Ritual

Unplanned, we three arrived in red, black, and white. This chose our seats for the evening: each would sit at their color and read the words of the Necromancer’s Chant there before we began. We plated and poured, setting meat, bread, and wine on the table for us and for them. A meal to share with those gone by.

The table set and the seat veiled, we said the words and rang the bell. We ate in silence, pausing now and again to listen when we sensed we weren’t alone. The chair sat veiled, the meal before it, sweet red wine poured in the glass. We sat and we ate, thinking of those that had gone before, offering them to share in our meal, red as blood, red as life.

Once more, the bell was rung, once plates were cleaned and wine was drunk. We were free to speak again, and we thanked them for their presence, inviting them to stay if they would, or go if they must. We thanked them for their gifts and lives, and thanked them for their joining us this night.

Out came the cards, the pendulum, the acorns with silver symbols sketched on their shells. We shuffled and talked of what we had experienced during the meal, sharing wine and red juice and laughter. Once ready, we drew the cards, a spread of three, asking for each of us what would come next, what to do, and what to watch out for. We drew and we shared our readings, helping one another interpret the cards. Then each of us drew an Ogham rune from the bowl, the acorns inscribed with silver words, for further guidance on the paths we take.

The night was spent with good food, good wine, and good company, talking of love, of life, of witchcraft until the hour was late. Then, we cleared the table and said our goodbyes. Until next time.

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2 thoughts on “Remembrance for the Dead

  1. Pingback: To Trouble the Water | The Autumn Hunt

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