Going to Four Quarters Farm this year was really different for me than it was last year for this holiday. Samhain. The holiday where we intentionally honor the Ancestors.
I realized something this year that I hadn't before, or at least, that I hadn't truly gripped on to. We honor the Ancestors - this does not necessitate mourning. The honoring will look different for everyone, but it can be honor in the spirit of joy rather than sadness. We can remember and laugh and sing and dance, and also cry (it's not a real ritual if crying doesn't happen - but really).
This year was different not only for that realization, but also because I kept myself fairly closed off during Saturday night's ritual.
Arriving early on Friday instead of Saturday allowed me the opportunity to attend a Misa after the opening ritual for the weekend. Having never attended a Misa before, I wasn't sure what to expect, but it hit me a lot harder than I anticipated.
A Misa is a Santeria ceremony, where participants may serve as messengers for the Dead. The Misa that took place at Four Quarters was more of an Interfaith Misa, with prayers and songs and recitations from many cultures and faith paths.
Messages were received by several attendees at the Misa, and relayed to the group in many ways. The hair on my arms stood on end at several points during the service. Feeling a profound connection to many of the messages, I felt that I couldn't leave behind the world that I so desperately enjoy escaping when I go to the Farm. The heaviness couldn't be escaped, but rather, it is the duty of the living to heed the Dead. To not make the same mistakes, to do better. To learn. Those messages from the Departed were not joyful. The messages were raw.
We set nine more stones into the walking labyrinth. Dig crew below.
The Saturday night ritual was theatrical and participatory and though I didn't feel able to participate, and I didn't feel emotionally lighter at the time, I cannot get the song that I started this post with out of my head. A Farm rendition of "Dance in the Graveyards" by Delta Rae was performed during that Saturday night ritual, and was something that nobody was expecting, but for me, completely made the weekend.
Here's to rediscovering how to do things. Here's to regarding the past. Watch and listen, because it does still speak.