Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The dead

As a witch I acknowledge three types of the dead: Beloved, Mighty and Ancient. I work with them. I do not command them nor do they command me. It is relationship much like the kind you would develop over time with the living. 

My first experience with the dead was pretty typical of anyone elses' experience with the dead: my Grandmother who had passed the veil. This type of experience is classified as the Beloved Dead. One whom you knew in life and loved dearly. The dead in this category are generally easy and safe to work with as they have you best interests at their hearts core. They are easily called upon. More often than not, they show up without being called upon. The beloved dead can also include any furry/ feathered/ scaled friends that you may have kept company with.

The Mighty Dead is usually associated with traditions and large groups of people. For example: in specific traditions of the craft there are those who pass the veil and remain in contact with the living members of that magical tradition. They can be called up in times of need for assistance and guidance. It is rare that they just show up. The situation for that to happen is usually dire. However, we can also break this category of the dead up into association by country. For America our Mighty dead would consist of the founders of the country as well as anyone who has served in the military and has passed the veil. This category can also include national heros and icons. A recent example of this would be Pat Tilman: Football player and Army Ranger. Working with the Mighty Dead requires that you use a whole bunch of common sense. They do not live your life, they sometimes have their own agenda that is not compatible to your situation. They are more interested in the good of the of the whole they represent.

The Ancient Dead are just that. They are the dead of those whose names have been long forgotten to history and have walked a similar path to your own. In my case these would be the witches, the wise women, sages and healers who feet tread the crooked path before history was recorded. They generally are the bringers of prophesy, warning and revealers of secrets lost to history. They do show up and when they do it is often an unnerving experience. Not because they are of malevolent intent, it is usually because they power they bring with them heralds from long ago and has done nothing but increase in strength for thousands of generations. When working with the Ancient Dead, common sense and caution in the extreme are highly necessary. While they may be trying to show or teach you something, the message and power they are revealing to you are hardly safe to dabble with. You either commit to it or you do not attempt it at all. To do anything other than commit to it, should you agree to take lesson from the Ancient Dead, is to be scalded by the light. The policy the Ancient Dead seem to take is: don't call us. We'll call you.

Why, Nalaya, are you bringing this up??? Why why why?? It's not even Samhain yet!

Because the dead are not relegated to a season. They are always there, they are always watching and appreciate it when you remember them through out the year's wheel. They are more likely to help you out if you treat them like you would treat one of your living friends. Light a candle, have an open dialogue with them, leave an offering of something they like. In my tradition, and I am sure this is true of others as well, there is an altar in the West set up just for them.

While the Samhain season makes it easier to communicate with the dead, if you work with them throughout the year's wheel, the veil no longer becomes an obstacle.

The dead have few friends; be one of them.


  1. Fantastic Post, I'll totally be sharing :)

  2. Really good post. I normally do my communicating and honoring during the month of October but I have been known to communicate during the year also..only with loved ones that have passed on.

  3. This is so interesting and helpful, especially for someone who's just starting on this path. Thank you!