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Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
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As Samhain Approaches...
Article ID: 12126
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Lady GoldenRaven
Posted: October 21st. 2007
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As Samhain approaches and we prepare for our rituals, feasting, and parties, we always raise a roast to those who have crossed over. Everyone always seems to remember dear mom or dad, the grandparents, and even our friends and familiars.
Some even remember to honor our ancestors. But how far back do we remember? With everyone searching for their roots in today's times, it is gratifying to see those who remember that we came from other countries and cultures. But, we tend to forget those who have sacrificed, worked their fingers to the bone, and had to deal with a major culture shock when they arrived at Ellis Island or where ever they entered this country at.
At the time when most of our ancestors immigrated to this country, they worked from dawn until dusk and often late into the night. They lived by the seasons, woke at or before dawn, and often worked by candlelight or oil lamps into the dark. They had only wood for fuel to heat their homes in the harsh winters--all to give their future children a better life.
They toiled in fields, which often times produced little food. They were not accustomed to the new soil or climate. Foods they were familiar with would not grow. Often times survival depended on help from neighbors--which was not always forthcoming. As with our lives today, they had to deal with prejudice, language barriers, and often times either jealousy or pure hatred from others.
You would think we would have learned by now--prejudice, jealousy, and hatred simply does not work! But, I digress.
With all their brawn, also came brains. The inventions our forefathers created in their minds, put to paper, and eventually made into reality helped make their lives more bearable and easy. They created tools, which seem simple to us, but were still advanced above the sickle for the threshing of grains.
As progress continued, engines made labor even easier. From plowing the fields with horses to using the first tractors--this saved much hard work on their bodies and cut work time in half. The same is true for women in the kitchens as well as sewing clothes for their families.
So, as we sit in front of our computers 8 hrs a day on our jobs--I hope we can curb our complaining about how life sucks and how hard we work. We have it so easy compared to our ancestors. We have more stress in our life? I say it is a DIFFERENT TYPE of stress than our ancestors.
At this stage of the game, we know how to control stress, so control it instead of complaining about it. As we sit on our backsides, gaining weight, trying to control high blood pressure, and saying it's time to exercise, but all we do is watch the exercise videos, think about this: While our people had to work hard, their exercise was incorporated into their work. No wonder they were so fit!
We buy our food at the grocery--most do not have to grow their own. Today, a lot of people ENJOY gardening for the pure pleasure of watching things grow and knowing we can eat something which we had a hand in bringing to life. So, think about that when we complain about having to stand over a hot stove making dinner for our families. At least take comfort in the fact, you are not up at sunrise sowing the fields, worrying about pests, disease, and the weather having an adverse effect on our survival.
Today, we scream about the rising cost of food--better the cost rising than having a freak cold snap and killing all the vegetables we need to survive a bitter winter.
If you are lucky enough to know where your ancestors came from, in my case, Ireland and Scotland, by all means address them in Circle. I love standing there amidst the smoke and flames calling out to my people. I also speak Gaelic, so it is especially nice to contact them in their language.
It is hard enough for those who have crossed to communicate with us; the energy needed just to take form is tremendous, so to actually speak --the energy consumption is two fold. So anything we can do to make their visit an easier one, then we should.
I also try to leave a little offering specific to what they would enjoy. Besides the offering of honey, cakes, and milk to the others, I leave a wee bit of Scot/Irish food and drink. I leave some Scottish heather honey, some Irish soda bread, and of course, Guinness and a drop or two of Taliskers. I always have a turnip or two on my altar as well, since that is what was used back in the day in Ireland.
So, as the nights become crisper and longer and the leaves are in their full fiery glory, take a few minutes to think about the negativity you wish to burn away as we begin the New Year.
Burn one for the constant complaining of how hard we have it today. Burn one for the laziest we have all fell prey to as our bodies become overweight and have little or no muscle tone. And, I would suggest burning several to cleanse us of prejudice, hatred, and jealousy.
We speak of how spoiled our children have become--who spoiled them? Are we not also spoiled by our way of life these days? Think on that while meditating.
Ask the Goddess to give you one full day of hard work the way our ancestors had to work. This will give you an appreciation for what we have today. Make your children experience this workday as well.
When you wake up for your workday--before the dawn--give thanks to the Goddess for letting you experience this and ask her protection. You will need it. Begin the day by raking leaves for your elderly neighbors (since it is fall and we cannot plow the fields for planting) and I do not mean just one neighbor! See if their rain gutters need cleaning out, as I am sure yours do. I want you to really work for a FEW HOURS.
When you prepare your meals for the day, forego the microwave and fast food joints. Use your grill or if you are lucky, your outdoor fire pit, create a meal that takes a few hours to make. As it is cooking, continue your yard work.
As you are toiling away, take in the smell of the wood smoke and the food being prepared on it. Feel the chill in the air, but do not go running inside to the nicely heated rooms. Stand in front of the fire and warm your bones as best you can.
By the time supper rolls around, you will appreciate the work you accomplished, the food that has been prepared, and you will have a new appreciation for what our ancestors had to go through as well as a new appreciation for the easy life we now lead.
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