John Beckett in Patheos: Pagan Thoughts on Death and the Afterlife
“Ultimately, we can’t know what happens after death. Our Samhain rituals, observances, and celebrations help us become acquainted with death without actually taking the Big Step beyond the Veil. They help us remember our ancestors and reconnect with them. They remind us that some day we will be the ancestors, and so we strive to live in ways that will be worthy of the honor of our descendants.
“And then when death comes – as it comes for us all – we will not fear, for we will have experienced the Otherworld during our lives, and we will go happily into what comes next.
“Whatever that turns out to be.”
Mystery ~ mystery
Samhain ~ October 31
Patron: The Queen of Heaven
Reflection: between the worlds; risking change; opening to mystery:
What relationships, this world or beyond, need completion?
Can we say: thank you; forgive me; I forgive you; I love you; goodbye?1
Story: Descent of Inanna
Visit: GateKeeper to confront/be confronted by the Veil
Rite: Dumb supper
Ritual: Samhain Sumbel
The core of this Samhain ritual is a feast, hosted by the Lord and Lady, in which we meet with our beloved dead and share the bread of the feast blessed by the Lady’s own hand. During the feast, the empty Cup is passed from hand to hand, as in a sumbel. There are 5 rounds, each corresponding to one of the steps of relationship completion (from the traditions of hospice):
- Thank you
- Please forgive me
- I forgive you
- I love you
When the departed have again departed, we remain in the Presence of the Lord and Lady and continue to pass the Cup, this time filled with water, mead, or juice.
1As I understand it, hospice elements of relationship completion