When Honouring the Dead Seems Wrong

Samhain is a time for gratitude and honouring the dead. We create altars, bring out the photos, make food, gather around the fire and reminisce and share stories about those who went before us. We remember and give thanks for their influence on our lives.

In recent times though, we’ve been reminded that for some, our forebears were horrible people who did terrible things. What if some of our ancestors were violent abusers, homophobes, or genocidal racists, slave traders?

If our ancestors were not and are not people we would welcome into our lives or at our hearths, we owe them nothing.

We are under no obligation to venerate them just because they came before us.

Instead, we owe it to ourselves to recommit to our own efforts to break the cycle.

What can we do instead to build a better legacy for our future generations, to do and be better than those ancestors were?

We are the ancestors of the future, celebrate this fact in whatever way you see fit. Perhaps create a meaningful ceremony to reflect this dedication.

Part of my own ceremony also honours those who were unjustly killed by those who colonialised and invaded other cultures. None of my own ancestors did that according to my family tree, but in my culture, many were invaders and murderers across the world. By honouring those who were hurt and killed by those actions we also set an intention that it never happens again.

Creating a line of distinction between you and your ancestors reinforces this too –  a cord cutting exercise will help too.

Along with a full moon releasing ceremony which can be as simple as this, add your own wording to it:

Make your own ceremony empowering and sincere – taking back power and creating a strong message to the Universe of your intent.

Blessings to you, from my hearth to yours.