In the United States we have very little reverance for our Dead. We generally watch them pass, bury them, and then perhaps visit the grave once a year. This is backwards to many cultures across the world and across many faiths.
As a child, I was raised as a Christian, and I could never quite understand the concept of just being gone. There was always a feeling of something more, and not like Heaven. It always seemed strange to me that if we live on after Death, how come we never hear from our loved ones afterwards?
Since I was very young I have been able to see and interact with some people from the other side. Yes, that means I've spoken to ghosts, you read it right. I used to spend entire afternoons after school chatting with a grandmother who passed on when I was too young to remember her. However, I can remember her brilliantly, and in a much younger version of herself than I ever would have met. I remember her with long flowing red hair in twin braids, with soft eyes and a warm smile. By the time I was born, her red hair had been white for many years, and her eyes had dulled with age.
This led to a complicated situation. My parents don't believe in ghosts or anything other than Heaven/Hell after death. I believe in much more. I have to believe in more due to my own personal experiences that state there is more than just death. This, in turn, led to many a punishment for "lying" about speaking to my grandmother. Eventually, I tuned out my ability to speak to the Dead for fear of retribution.
Fastforward several years. Now I am in the House of Netjer as a Shemsu.
One of the five pillars of Kemetic Orthodoxy is the Akhu.
Akhu means the Blessed Dead. Those who have gone through their 70 day journey across the other world and passed the weighing of the Ib, or heart. If the deceased's heart is equal to the feather of Ma'at, then their Ka continues on as an Akh (Akhu being the plural.) It is believed that the Akhu reside within Nut, the Sky Goddess, as imperishable stars watching over us.
Oh sweet Goddess Nut,
You Who is full of Shining Souls,
Bring us Peace of heart,
Fill with blessings our bowls
For the Blessed Dead
As a Kemetic I am learning to reconnect to the Dead. As a Kemetic, I am pressed to honor my Dead and learn from them. The thing is, my Akhu have given me some of the best advice I've ever gotten. They're not much different once they're gone; they're just quieter and we must learn to listen harder. The Dead speak in whispers and dreams.
My lovely father (love you Dad!) has started a project discovering our ancestors, my Akhu. Because the generations are so far apart in our family, we are unable to just ask older generations about the family, as they've all passed on. So we are working on a genealogy project, creating a family tree. We've learned much about our family that we didn't know. I've learned oodles about my history that my Dad didn't even know!
So if you don't know much, if anything, about your ancestors.... try asking them for some advice, no matter what faith you are! The chances are they'll answer, and with something surprising!
With unending love for my Shining Souls, known and unknown,
Grandma Marie - 1900 ~ 1989
Grandpa Frank - ???? ~ ????
Grandpa Johnson - ???? ~ 2005
Grandma Campbell - ???? ~ 2004
For those unnamed - ???? ~ ????
(As an aside, the reason I crochet is actually for my Akhu. :D Crochet allows me to connect to not only my Gods, but my Akhu as well!)