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Fairies in various human-like and animal-like forms feast in a forest together

Ancestor Feasts in an Interfaith Family

New Moon nights are ancestor nights for me. This tradition is primarily based on the Grimms’ folktale “The Moon,” in which four travelers purchase the moon from a distant kingdom and bring it back to light their own, only to ultimately take a quarter with each of them to their graves. This causes the moon…
Ancestors and spirits of the dead return to the graveyard as a rooster calls at dawn. This is a painting by Arthur Rackham.

Bad Ancestors: Folklore, Ritual, and Responsibility

Ancestors. It’s a powerful word, but a difficult one for so many people, especially in these times when it is nearly impossible to avoid looking critically at the people who have made us. We see their flaws, their pain, the pain they caused others. Many of us turn away from them: through casual disinterest in…
Brown leaves on the the ground

All Hallowed: A Contemplation for the Darkening Time

Our dead are in the soil, in the water. Their voices are in the wind. Hear them howling against the window, voices thin as cobwebs, dry leaves? Let them in, warm them, bring them comfort. Their bodies, laid into the earth or burned in the funeral fire, have broken down like the leaves crunching beneath…