Even if you don’t believe in a literal afterlife, the Dead do get to live on, whether in the form of memory or recycled matter. And what would be more pagan than to celebrate this fact of nature with poetry and ritual? We are our ancestors and our ancestors are us — yes, quite literally — we can only honour them by living good, full lives.
And good food. You can’t miss that. Good singing, too!
And so, praise to the souls of those before us, who sustain us still:
those who have tread upon this earth before us
those whose blood now flows inside us
those whose journey we continue
those who have seen the years of old, as we now see the new
We open our eyes to the time you have seen
may we now learn from the things that have been
we open our ears to your wise words and voices
you who have walked many roads, and named many choices
We ask that you lend us wisdom and light
when troubles and vices blur our sight
we ask that you lend us courage and desire
that no dark act can erase our inner fire
We ask that you lead us to our destinations
that we may not fall into resignation
to make decisions we were born to make
to choose the paths we were born to take
those who have tread the soil that we now tread
those who have breathed the air that we now breathe
my gratitude I send across the Greatest sea
to the light in the horizon, shining endlessly
we remember and wish you well,
wherever you may dwell
a sound that never dies
an infinite bell.
All hail, our most noble and mighty Dead and the Gods that keep them. Peace, everlasting peace to them! May they never hunger nor thirst!
Until that day, far from now, when we might meet again, we shall feast in your honour and drink to your memory, and treasure the many gifts you’ve left us. You are ever in our thoughts as you are ever in our flesh, blood, and bones.
PS: Hope you liked the apple pie; it’s the best I’ve baked so far.