Honoring Our Beloved Dead at Samhain

Ancestor Altar

The Ancient Ones
by Patricia Reis

From the beginning
We have been with you
We are the ancient ones
And we remember

We remember the time when there was only love
The time when all breathing was one
We remember the seed of your being
Planted in the belly of the vast black night
We remember the red cave of deep slumber
The time of forgetting
The sound of your breath
The pulse of your heart
We remember the force
of your longing for life
The cries of your birth
bringing you forth

We are the ancient ones
And we have waited
and watched

You say that you cannot remember that time
That you have no memory of us
You say that you cannot hear our voices
That our touch no longer moves you
You say that there can be no return
That something has been lost
That there is only

We say the time of waiting is over
We say the silence has been broken
We say that there can be no forgetting now
We say

We are the bones of your grandmother's grandmothers
We have returned now
We say you cannot forget us now
We say we are with you
And you are us

When I was in my early twenties I began keeping a dream journal. Every morning upon awakening I would get my coffee and my dream journal and I would write my dreams down, decipher the symbols and figure out what the meanings and messages for me were. What was my intuitive self trying to tell me? Sometimes it was like a treasure hunt or a mystery solving adventure. Other times the meanings were as clear and crisp as a bright autumn morning.

One day I dreamed that I was at a family gathering but was alone in the living room while everyone else gathered in the kitchen. My Nana, Marion Francis and Grandfather, William came to me. I said, "Nana. You are dead. But you mustn't be." She handed me a wooden box. I opened it and inside was a beautiful round, flat polished and large purple amethyst stone with the image of a great tree with roots burned into it in black. It was a powerful and magical image and I knew it was a symbol of the love of my ancestors ~ the family tree. Secondly, there was a teardrop shaped amethyst crystal in the box. I was very aware that I was being given a gift by her.

That morning I woke up, gathered my journal and pens and went to the City Room Cafe on West Pearl Street in Nashua where I often went for coffee and breakfast in the mornings to write. I was sitting outside at the cafe tables when I suddenly saw a kitten run out the door of a small boutique next door to the City Room Cafe. I jumped up, grabbed the kitten, turned around, bent down and gently tossed it back in the door. As I stood up I noticed to my left that on a jewelry display beside me was an amethyst tear-drop crystal on a silver necklace! I called to Joe, the dark island man who owned the shop. "Joe! I just dreamed that my Nana gave me this very necklace! How much is it? I have to have it!" Well, Joe came from a culture that reverently honored their ancestral connections and assured me that this was a gift from my ancestor. The necklace was $45.00 but I only had $30.00 or something like that. He allowed me to purchase it for what I could because he was certain it was meant for me to have it. To this day I keep that necklace, now broken after all these years, on my altar. When I look at it, I often catch myself saying, "That's the necklace Nana gave me," and to me, it will always be this way.