From now on, the days get longer, even while the world gets colder.
This has been a busy season, and yet… I have been saying ‘No’. I have been slowing down with the season. I have been seeking the stillness. Returning to roots; food and fire, hearth and home.
Turning inwards and outwards at the same time. Learning about the Runes, seeking my ancestors, discovering how I have grown.
I spent last weekend with some of my living family, last night with my friends. Between the two, however, it was time to Feast with the Dead.
Prompted by Ms. Dirty’s Midwinter Madness (Magic, I mean Magic!) challenge to feed your ancestors something that they’d actually recognise I finally did a bit more concrete digging around who my ancestors were… found out more about where they were from than what they were like: Poland, Normandy-via-Essex-via-Kansas/Mass., South Wales, London… a thread of Germany in there. Mostly Northern Europe really.
In looking for traditions, well, I didn’t find very much that I was certain of. I didn’t dig as deeply as I’d have liked to either mind. Many of them were Christian and, though I’m not quite sure which flavour, I figured a Nativity scene would probably be appreciated.
Candles and cooking seemed like the best way to go.
I acquired a piece of red cloth to use as a tablecloth and to, most likely, embroider as an ongoing ancestor-connection project later/over the years.
I found the recipe for rock-cakes my Great-Nana used to make.
I researched Polish foods and created a recipe for stew which fitted.
I bought milk to make mac’n’cheese.
I cleaned house and lit a fire in the hearth.
Lighting a candle for Hella who has been a long time presence in my life, and candles for the gods of my traditions and of my ancestors, I set out a cup and biscuits and invited those that wanted to join me in the kitchen to tea.
While cooking I felt them near; bustly, strong, female presences. Making food that nourishes is important work.
My partner and I sat down to eat with a place set for my ancestors, but, until I sat alone with a cuppa and a rock-cake and let my mind still I didn’t feel them clearly as I had in the kitchen. You have to listen to hear, of course.
Recognition that they cannot do other than be part of my foundation, cannot do other than support me – though they could rock that foundation if I don’t act with honour.
A reminder to trust my instincts.
A sense of caring.
I left food out overnight for them to help themselves.
In the morning, I was surprised to see the teacup was still full of tea. Seemed to me that, really, it should have been empty…