Honouring the Ancestors
I’m one of those witches and pagans that honours her ancestors weekly. I learn their names and their stories. Normally, I give offerings of thanks for all that they have done for my families just by living and teaching us how to survive. This past week I did something different. I thought of all I’ve given to the ancestors for offerings. More and more, no single “thing” I gave felt like it was enough – or appropriate. I decided to take a different approach. This past week, while I did light my candles for the ancestors, I gave no offerings. This past week I fasted for the ancestors. To be clear, I set a time for my fasting. I had a protein shake for early breakfast and set my fast end for dinner. As a diabetic and compulsive snacker, you can see where this would be difficult for me. It lasted eight hours. While I stuck it out with only having water, coffee or tea, I thought of my ancestors. From both sides of my family, my ancestors were labourers, farmers, soldiers, hard workers and harder spiritual workers. They came from not so poor families themselves. While everyone could read and write, not everyone had three meals a day, or even a bed to sleep in at night. They worked long hours in risky places for less than optimal pay even for the times. They served their countries and put their lives on the line for their families and friends. If they could make that sacrifice, surely I could stick out eight hours. If you ask my friends, they may regale you with stories of the feasts that were held in my home. Food is how we celebrate life and death. This time, I chose to recognize not just the lives of my ancestors. I recognized all they sacrificed so that I would have a better world to live in and make the world a better place for others. And so I did. After eight hours, I had my first solid meal. It was plain food. I don’t even remember what I had. I do remember thanking all those of my blood who only had one meal a day – maybe – for all that they have done for me and for their sacrifices.