What is Remembered, Lives: Practices of Devotion

Oct 20th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles

de·vo·tion
/dəˈvōSH(ə)n
1. love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause.
2. religious worship or observance.

If what is remembered, lives, then remember I must.

At this Samhain time, I take inventory of how I have cared for my dead — how I have faltered and how I have been present. As there are more dead upon my ancestor altar, I expand my definition of devotion to include them and to include the time that stretches across the year.

After all, in the land of the dead, there is no time.

Perhaps, there is only memory to reach out from here to there.

Devoted to my Beloved

While the first year of grief after my mom’s death was a time of wordless, tear-filled memory, the second year has a different quality. I know what I can expect to feel, the days that might be complicated, and the things I need to feel comforted.

I am focused more on celebrate and holding onto stories. I’m not as focused on holding onto her.

I’ve made peace with the fact that isn’t going to happen again. I don’t like it, but I realize it’s what is true.

And while the magick of relating to ancestors and Beloved Dead has always been something that I’ve worked with, it’s not something I embraced as an ongoing practice until now.

These days, I look at my mom’s picture and talk to her almost every morning and night. I don’t always say a lot, but I’ve started to tell her what she’s missing or what’s bothering me because there are still moments when I reach for the phone to call her.

On the anniversaries, I make space for myself. I allow myself to go to the places I need to go, often the ocean, to listen for the voices of the dead. To be honest, my mom hasn’t been that chatty yet. I think she’s still figuring it out and I think this Samhain is the time when she will start to find peace.

I hope.

Creative Commons License – Jim Pennucci (2010)

The Long Journey Home

North Bay Reclaiming, the group I plan rituals with, is working the story of Demeter and Persephone on this Samhain, the version in which Persephone goes down to be with the dead because she knows they’re confused and need help.

They need the daughter to leave the mother, to become Queen of the Underworld and to live her purpose.

We will be invoking Persephone and leading people down the road to their dead, to the place of whispers and quiet, to the place where the dead try to figure out what happens in their new existence.

Maybe this is the year I too will remember my purpose when I hear the voices of the dead, when they are loud enough to hear or when I am quiet enough to listen.

Devotion is not a one-day thing.

Devotion is the act of coming back, of remembering.

Devotion allows me, allows us, to transcend time and find the hands that one touched ours.

Devotion is not a casual agreement.

It is a promise.

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