Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ask a Witch: Ancestors and pets

A colleague asked me about talking to a dead pet.  As you know, I'm not much for pets or necromancy, so I was somewhat at a loss.  Her love for the dog really was palpable; I'm sure a dog so well-loved must have a spirit.   I recommended she ask her ancestors to look after it for her. I asked her if she'd ever done any ancestor work, and she explained her family's tradition to me. She's Coorgi.

"We actually have a sacrifice..usually a goat. we also have a special type of lamp that is only light after dark with ghee..and we leave out food and alcohol for our departed. the sacrifice is once a year... We have a house a sort of crypt.. for our dead. we keep it fully furnished.. and stocked...we do it every year.. it is 100s of goats..and the priest is usually soaking in blood after the sacrifice...and the whole area gushing with blood..and everyone is in a trace..."

Her family tradition, however, doesn't have (or, at least, she didn't know) any tradition of working with ancestors anywhere but at their crypt, and so she asked me to write instructions. Her ancestors are very strong; even I can feel them, and I'm not usually much of a medium.  So, really, these instructions are partly from them.  These instructions were particular for her.  I'm writing about them to give you an idea what mediumship looks like; it's mostly feels like really lucky guessing sometimes.

First, designate a place in your house for your ancestors.  A small shelf is fine.  It's best for it not to be in your bedroom.  Wash the shelf down, and then wipe it down with perfume.  I use "Florida Water", but any kind of pleasant, citrusy perfume is fine. Lemongrass is particularly good. Cover the shelf with a white cloth, or maybe red if that seems better.

You will need a candle or lamp (a butter lamp from home would be great!), an incense holder, and a glass or bowl for water. I'm not sure what sort of incense; spicy and a little pine-y. Maybe mastic? It might be frankincense, actually. Probably any incense is fine.  Update:  Her ancestors specifically wanted frankincense, cardamom, mastic; it took me a while to figure it out.

Set out some rice and fruit and ghee.  Also flowers would be nice.  You might also want pictures of your ancestors or a stone from their crypt. You can also put cremation ashes or stones from graves or etc. Arrange these things on the shelf so they are beautiful.

At this point, I tranced out a little bit, and came back with the word "Karna" or "Karena", which I understood to be the name of an ancestor.  However, she told me it is actually the name of the prayer for the dead; the ancestral sacrifice she talked about before.  (Go me, pulling obscure prayer names out of thin air! I love outside confirmation.) Then, I got a little trancier.  When I said she could put ancestor's belonging on the altar, she told me about a gold bracelet she wears with snakes on it.  It's been in her family for 200 years.  I've seen her wear that bracelet many times, and I see it again now.  And then, whoosh!  Super trance.  I say: "Some kind of Kali?  With snakes?  Her head is on fire.  Or, made out of fire?  A crown of flames.  It might be Parvati?"  She tells me that it's Vaishnavi, who I've never heard of.  She's the wife of Shiva, says my friend.  So, that's cool!

Then I got a short communication that was just for her, and I don't feel right publicizing it (even though she said it would be ok)

I told her to light the fire and incense, and to set out water and rice and fruit a ghee.  To pray a Vaishnavi mantra.  To sit with her ancestors and talk with them.  Ask them to watch over her dog for her.  Ask them to guide her and protect her.  Ask for a visit in a dream.

She's gone off to do that, and promises to report back.  This has been a very successful week as a priestess!

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