Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How Wise Are Those Skeletons?

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," walking this world with an aching heart and a worried mind! Which makes me human, right?

Over at The Wild Hunt, guest blogger Caroline Kenner posted an interesting essay about the role ancestor worship should play in our search for the divine. I most certainly agree with Caroline when she writes that one Ritual on October 31 is not enough, and that we should always recognize Ancestor when performing Work.

Caroline brings up an interesting point that sparked much further debate. What do you do if you're the first person in (perhaps) 70 generations to worship as a Druid? Aren't you going to anger those 69 generations of Christians who engendered you?

Sometimes people who change praise and worship paths have trouble with living members of their families, let alone the spirit of Granny, who ran the Baptist Sunday School for 45 years.

My grandfather was an ardent Baptist himself. He helped to found a church in Cumberland, Maryland.

(As an aside I'll say that I found it insulting that the pastor of that same church didn't even know Granddad at all when Granddad died. It's like someone preached George Washington's funeral who had never heard of the U.S.A.)

I often invoke my beloved grandfather when doing Work. It would never occur to me that he would object to my way of worship. This is because I hope that in Spirit, all divisions are resolved.

If we believe in life after death, then can we believe that the Afterlife is as segregated as Sunday morning, with each religion having its own heaven, surrounded by trenches and barbed wire? Some faiths would have us believe this is so. I don't buy it.

What are the goals of Ancestors? That we respect them, seek to know them, and behave in ways that shower goodness upon them. If we know that we had evil ancestors (who doesn't?), we can elevate them by having higher moral standards. If we had good ancestors, we should strive to be like them.

I won't venture a guess as to what my grandfather would say about my change in spiritual path, if he still lived. But he's beyond the grave. Where beings are either wiser than here ... or far more miserable.

So let us feel that in the Afterlife, if not in life, all bored gods ... Goddess ... God ... Thunderbird ... intermingle happily with all Spirit. Ancestors walk with us because we are of Them. The deities we worship should matter far less than the content of our characters.

Bless you, Granddad. I love you still.


THE Michael said...

Listening to you, Anne, I sometimes think we are more "christian" than any christian could hope to be. I personally might have met one or two real christians in my entire life. How many have YOU met?

JaAnBe said...

My father's mother was the only grandparent I knew. Grammy was a lifelong Presbyterian whose parents came to Canada from Scotland. When she visited us, she shared my room with me (which I will admit truly bugged me at the time). I remember surreptitiously watching her every night kneel beside her bed to pray. I'm glad I had her, she taught me to knit, make bread and quilt. And I'm very glad that when I got out of college and was able to travel on my own I spent time with her in Sherbrooke. She would have been concerned that my children are Unitarians, but I also believe that if there is a heaven to meet in, it will be ok.

Aquila ka Hecate said...

I also work with one of my grandfathers - yes, the Baptist one!

Since he readily takes the hand of Hecate, on his right, when he joins hands with me in our circle of deity-ancestor-incarnate human, I assume he's 'way beyond monotheistic jealousy.

Terri in Joburg


my grandmother called me a heathen because I was a catholic..she'd spin in her grave finding out i was a pagan...which is all part of the fun