Once upon a time, talking to the dead was easy.


Two weeks ago, I picked up my much neglected yoga practice, for the first time in a few years. I went about it slowly and mindfully, focusing more on not stretching the body to the point of injury (something I’m too likely to do because I don’t seem to register pain as a warning to stop, but rather a challenge to be overcome by barreling through, which is not useful). It was fun and humbling to discover the ways in which my body has changed in the few years since my last serious practice. I haven’t gained a lot of weight since then, but it’s certainly redistributed, and I’ve accumulated aches and pains and injuries (and possibly gout) that require concessions. My routine is an amalgamation of asanas, mostly lifted from Kripalu Gentle, with a few more picked up from books here and there. Once picked up again, it is like an old, familiar friend. These are the moves, this are the variation of sequences, that I have used as a devotional act for Poseidon since I started practicing yoga back in 2000. I can be mindful and push myself, or I can let my body remember the forms and let the mind go where it needs to go.

I remembered, very soon into the practice, that yoga helps things come out, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that I began purging some emotional ick. And, really, the only emotional ick that I have any room in my being for at this point is ick over my grandparents having died last year.

Naturally enough, the practice barely happened last week. However, I noticed that I was sitting with their having passed a lot longer, a lot deeper, a lot more mindfully, than I had been.

Grief is such a funny thing. I belong to Odin as much as I belong to Poseidon. Death isn’t new, and it’s not even a frightening thing. I know our loved ones remain with us, that a relationship can still be maintained. Dying is a process, like being born, and it’s a useful word that describes something, but it does not, in my experience, mean “gone”. My immediate family is made up largely of disincarnate beings, human and otherwise, and never-incarnate beings, so having a physical body is not a requisite in my book for relationships. So, when grief hits me this deeply, with the “if I don’t let go of my awareness of it right now I will end up screaming in a ball in the corner” I’m always somewhat bemused. That sort of grief is for the people who cannot or do not experience a continuation of interaction . . . right?

Am trying my best to set aside reason and value judgment. We grieve how we grieve how we grieve.

This week has been rough. Small, tiny triggery things that won’t quit. And this is after weeks and weeks of Pointed Dreams. Am I caring for my Beloved Dead? Or have I dropped that?

I’ve dropped that, like a hot potato. They are in my mind, naturally, but that’s not what I mean when I talk about caring for my Beloved Dead. Where are the gifts? Where is the time spent? Where is the reflecting and remembering to keep the mindfulness fresh?

I am not one who can hear the general dead, but I can hear my dead. (And, of course, there is a bit of my brain that says it’s all psychological comfort to help with the grief and nothing more. On the days when I buy into that, it still doesn’t change what my goals are, but most of the time I don’t buy into that because there have been Things, often enough that those are easier to buy into.)

The goal is to get the ancestor wall in order by the next dark moon. Should be easy enough; I don’t have photos for everyone but I have enough that my familial lines will be represented. My grandparents are both pretty serious about getting a rosary over there for them, as well. Which is fine, since Beth’s grandmother is pretty serious about our getting a Mezuzah (and I found a Tree of Life design for one!) on the lintel, and some of the Queens want an image of the Virgin Mary with their shrines. Look, you know, we’re a multi-faith household. It’s good. (Mostly I can only hear my dead, but I think anyone could hear Beth’s grandmother if they just tried . . .)

It’s entirely possible that pictures will be forth-coming.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Beth says:

    My grandmother was very opinionated during life, so it’s not much of a surprise that that hasn’t changed. LOL.

    Finding a Virgin Mary representation that the pagan Queens can also live with is going to be a bit of a challenge…

  2. Soli says:

    It sounds like a good goal to me. In my case, I do a weekly ancestor veneration but it’s a rarity when I hear anything specific from them. At most I get this sense of a collective hovering around me. And I’ve finally figured out how to do the book recording my dead. Instead of trying to get all the names in at once, I just put in one name each week when I do offerings.

    The veneration does not take me long as a rule but I do feel great once it’s done.

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