Sunday, April 30, 2017

Death and grief while pagan

It seems almost appropriate.

Tonight is Walpurgisnacht, the last night when witches get up to mischief before spring puts an end to the revels. A night when the world walls are thin.

And last night, a fine witch crossed into the Summerlands.

Kali had fought pancreatic cancer for two years. She had suffered, and sorrowed but never quite despaired. We went to see her for her last birthday, and despite being exhausted, I'm glad we did. She thought the world of my youngest and Oli adored her in return.

She was a large soul and given a chance would take up most of the psychic space in a room. She was generous and loving, with many who loved her in return. She was terrified of storms after 2010, when her house flooded during the May 1 floods.

Pagans have an odd relationship with death. We treat it as another stage in our life cycle. But we still hurt when it happens. Every death leaves a hole in us. I was raised believing that when you cried because someone had died, you were only feeling sorry for yourself. I agree with the idea, if not the condemnation. We are feeling sorrow and pain because a part of our life has been taken from us and we will never have that piece back.

We cry and we sing and we remember the good things. We think of the person often, for the dead hear us remembering. And at Samhain, we add another picture to the altar and speak the names of those we have lost.

Depending on our beliefs, we know we will find the person again, if not in the afterworld, in another life and another form. For now, we mourn the end of this life, and remember.

Freya, we send you a warrior.
She has fought against impossible odds.
She has stood on her feet twice as long as most who face this enemy do.
But she has lost the battle.
Welcome our beloved Kali.
Give her the riches she has earned.
Let her feast and drink deeply that she may recover her strength in your Hall.
And grant your love and care to us, who must continue here,
with bleeding, Kali-shaped holes in our hearts and lives.
Freya, we send you a warrior.

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