What a difference 51 weeks make.
But that's not why I'm writing today. I'm writing because it's Samhain, aka All Hallows Eve!
Agnostic though I am, I have had so many things happen in my life that just don't seem to be coincidental. They were more like messages from another dimension, like someone trying to reach out to me and using a code only that person and I share. Have you had that experience?
Case in point: Just before my family farm in Appalachia sold, Olivia and I were out for a walk on the property. We went down into the hollow where a farm house used to stand. It burned down in 1938, so there's nothing left of it now.
Just as I said to Olivia, "I wonder where the midden pile was for this house?" she stooped over and picked up a fully intact 8-sided jar with not a nick on it anywhere. It was just lying there, somewhat obscured by grass and weeds for 74 years.
Now I use it as a beloved vase.
Yes, yes, coincidence that this jar was just lying there on the ground, muddy and forgotten, until I just happened to think how nice it would be to find the trash heap that these old houses invariably had, so I might, oh, you know, find a pretty glass jar or two. And this jar wasn't on a heap. It was right directly where the house would have been.
If the Veil thins, if our ancestors peer through it to see us, then this practice of veil-hopping goes all the way back deep into the mists of time. What mother wouldn't want to peek through the Veil to see her daughter? Where would that circle be broken?
I never met my great-grandmother, but why wouldn't she come with my grandmother to see me? Why wouldn't she hand me a glass jar?
I don't have answers, but I do have suggestions for Samhain ancestral visitations.
1. Don't pretend like everything is going great if it's not. Be honest with the Kindred.
2. Be respectful, even if some of your ancestors (like mine) were hounds from Hell.
3. Be the kind of person you are. Don't put on affectations, because they will see right through it. They were you before you came along -- so whoever you are, that's who you bring to the fire.
4. If you ask them for a sign that they care, tie a natural object to it, or a song, or some mundane but not terribly common thing (a monarch butterfly, a white feather, a tune or fictitious character they liked). This is where the coincidences start to arise. Like, who expects to see a monarch butterfly flying through the stadium in downtown Baltimore during an Orioles game? It happened to my husband in September.
5. Remember that you are part of an unbroken line. Your ancestors were alive the last time the Yellowstone Caldera erupted. They walked across continents that had no names. They survived to bear children, and their children survived as well. Your ancestors were sturdy.
They are coming to call. Build them a fire, because some day hopefully someone will build one for you.