Last night I attended “Ancestor Night” at the beautiful Irish Cultural Center in Phoenix. The ritual was hosted by The Grove of the Rising Phoenix, which is a chapter of the ADF and the Wolf Pack, which is a local Heathen group.
Both of the above mentioned groups do a lot of work and volunteering for the Cultural Center, in order to provide for their communities this truly beautiful venue for rituals. There is a large courtyard, paved in cobblestone and surrounded by some green areas with trees and the buildings that comprise the Irish Cultural Center itself. Those buildings have a decidedly “old castle” look. What better place! AND…one of the truly nice things about living in Phoenix is the ease of holding ritual outdoors all year round.
The ritual itself was comprised of the Druid framework, which does not cast circle but creates sacred space by making offerings. First the “outdwellers” or any spirits who might be capable of causing harm or mischief to the ritual are given an offering, thereby purchasing peace. Then offerings are made to Mother Earth, The Land Spirits, The Cthonic Ones, Gods and Goddesses, to Brid, specifically, and finally to the Ancestors including the Nordic Ancient Mothers, the Disir and Ancient Fathers, the Alfar. Many were honored with song as well. There were many participants who made the different offerings and spoke parts with regard to the season and reasons for the rite. It felt sincere and praiseful and joyful and quite moving.
Once Sacred Space was undeniably and solidly established the folk (almost 100 of us, I think!) were given the opportunity to make our own offerings to our ancestors or loved ones who had passed. One of the leaders played bagpipes while the offerings went on.
Finally, we were treated to a deep and powerful meditation led by a member of the Heathen Group. We were guided deep into the earth under a sacred tomb, deep into our own personal ancestry and history. I felt as though I made a very personal connection.
And, of course, in true pagan style, the ritual was followed by a potluck feast and toasts to everyone who could be toasted. All in all, it was a great evening! I’m grateful to all of the leaders and helpers for putting this together and I look forward to being a part of this group in the seasons to come.
Brightest Blessings to the Wolf Pack and the Grove of the Rising Phoenix, the Irish Cultural Center and all those who participated!