Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tarot Blog Hop: Honoring the Beloved Dead


For our Tarot Blog Hop this Samhain, I'd like to share my ritual to honor my Grandma Elda who died on October, 15, 1998.

According to Mexican tradition, we all die multiple times with the last time being the time that someone says your name for the last time.  As I've grown older, I've realized that we are always connected to our loved ones that have gone before us and that it is our duty to keep them alive through our memories and our traditions.  One of the practices I have recently started is to take a pause on the death day of someone who mattered to me.  I create an altar in my tarot journal, I write them a short letter to thank them for the wisdom they've given me, and I ask them three questions:
  • What do you think of who I am now?  
  • What advice do you have for me?
  • What can I learn from your life?
This practice keeps my beloved dead and strengthens my connection to my beloved dead.  I practice this ritual for both those who died who were personally connected to me as well as people who have died who have impacted my life in some way such as Frida Kahlo, Marilyn Monroe, John Glenn, and others.  I generally use the Bonefire Tarot for this practice as it just feels appropriate.

My Grandma Elda was not my grandmother by blood, but by choice.  She was my babysitter from the time I was six months old until I was about 10 and she was part of my life until she died.  She'd been born in Germany in 1902 and immigrated to the United States before World War II.  Her husband, who was Greek, had diabetes and was confined to a wheel chair.  She took care of him as well as anyone else who came into her sphere of influence.  My Grandma Elda was the best cook I knew and with her food was truly love.  It was from her I learned to love pasta, beef stew, and other amazing food.  Her home was tiny in size, but was large in love.  One of my favorite traditions was that my family would go to her house the day after Thanksgiving and have a feast of love.

Dear Grandma Elda,

Thank you for being there for me and for loving me.  You were the grandmother of my heart because my grandmother who truly loved me was true far away to see on a regular basis and my other grandmother was not very interested in being my grandmother.  From you, I learned the love of family, the love of good food, and the value of hard work.

I loved the Angel Food cakes you made for us every birthday because I knew that your love was baked in.  And the salads that we had with every dinner made me love salad.  I always loved pulling down your wooden salad bowl and smelling the faint scent of vinegar that always lingered.  I wish that my children would have gotten to know you.
Thank you so much for everything.

What do you think of who I am now?

You have been through a hell of a battle.  In some ways, you were fighting for your very life in your marriage.  However, you are a survivor and you are much stronger than you know.  Although you have been battered and bruised, you have also learned and grown from the struggle.  You have also done an amazing job of recognizing that your children were battled and bruised with you and you have worked hard to help them heal as well.  They are healing and they are starting to believe that love and peace are real.  I'm proud of the job you've done in not letting your pain and disappointment scar you and harden you.

What advice can you give me?
You need to learn to let people in and collaborate.  All too often you think that you can do it all by yourself and you don't need anyone else in your life.  However, this is not true and you need to let go of the go it alone mentality and learn to trust and collaborate with others.  This card also tells me that you have been and continue to be on a spiritual journey as you continue to learn and grow.  As with other collaborations, spiritual journeys often need other people to help you along or to guide you.  It is important for you to let others help you.

What can I learn from your life?

Fight for those who matter to you and defend your boundaries.  I lived through WWII and there were times when it would have been so much easier for us to give up, however, it is important to defend that what is important to you.  That means not only defending your loved ones, but also defending the beliefs and attitudes that you cherish.

This was an interesting reading as there was so much of it that I heard my grandmother's voice in.  However, my grandmother was not a political woman so I'm not sure about the meaning of the last card.  This is something I will need to meditate on.


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