[Today’s piece is a guest submission by Carrie Pitzulo. Carrie Pitzulo holds a Ph.D. in American History, but she would rather talk about ghost hunting, tarot cards, or her dinner with Hugh Hefner. Spiritual and metaphysical exploration is a lifelong passion that has brought Carrie to writing, teaching, and mentoring women on alternative spiritual paths. You can follow Carrie on Instagram, Facebook, or her personal website, Ancient Magic Modern Living.]
It began at this time last year, autumn eve, when my three-year-old daughter asked me to play dead. We did this on several occasions until she solemnly inquired, “What is die?” Unprepared, I fumbled through a lame, stuttering answer.
Reverence is the way of radical respect. It recognizes and honors the presence of the sacred in everything — our bodies, other people, animals, plants, rocks, the earth, and the waters. – Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
As the seasons change and we move into the fall months, discussions of ancestor reverence and the Mighty Dead become more prominent. Seasonal ancestor altars are erected and many practices engaging our connection to those who have transitioned from their physical existence become the focal points of our traditions. These very practices are a part of many different cultures, and are not exclusive to Paganism or Polytheism by any means.
As sunset creeps ever closer towards what was afternoon just few short weeks ago, our activities and thoughts turn inward. Strolls through the brilliant foliage of October give way to the occasional bare tree patches that pop up in November. We cherish warm apple cider, and wear sweaters to ward off the cooler temperatures that mark the transition from the heat of summer to the cold of winter. The Polish word for November is Listopad, a time when the leaves fall. In the Northern Hemisphere, this time of year is one when the veils are still thin between the worlds.
I remember certain parts distinctly; or I should better say that the images are clear; some details less so. I was cooking something, but not in a house. It was a professional kitche; there were lots of pots and a few Dutch ovens. I also remember seeing a tin food mill hanging close by. I know I was preparing some kind of food, but it wasn’t a quick dish. For some reason, I think it was a terrine of some sort.
DARLINGTON, Md. –Free Spirit Gathering is one of a growing number of festivals which has been held for more than 30 years, making it a touchstone for Pagans and polytheists seeking to connect with like-minded people. That kind of longevity also means that loss is part and parcel of the community. After several beloved members left this life behind in a short period of time, this year’s coordinators sought a ritual team specifically to aid in the grieving and honoring of those blessed dead. I always go to festivals with my reporter’s pad at the ready, but I attended this one of several priests from the Hellenic Temple of Apollon, Zeus and Pan who were tasked with providing an opportunity to venerate community ancestors, including those freshly minted.