All Saints Festival
As an Animist, place-based spirits, ether imported or otherwise, are an important part of my overall cosmology. It’s helpful to obtain the help of one’s ancestors, saints, spirits, for the sometimes heavy lifting involved in daily life. My main point of interest is where the cross-section of old-world Paganism and Christianity meet. I’m a sucker for crossroads. We find in the cult of the saints a storehouse of potent magical energy still active.
This requires a re-contextualization of Christianity and its truly Pagan origin, after all, the only real records we have (and there ain’t much) of Pagan practices were scribed by priests, as well as being absorbed into the bible itself, eg Leviticus, Revelations, etc. When contextualization begins to paint a picture of how some of these practices survived into Christianity.
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1. American Christianity
American Christianity we can catch a glimpse of how our ancestors revered their dead, sought them for counsel, and even employed them in Magic and divination. How the land itself played a major roll in this drama, how important hilltops, rivers, streams, and forests were for connection with the spirit world.
We can travel back, fowling the threads laid out for us, and we can discover that the genesis of some of the saints was in fact survivors of pagan gods, places, eg, wells, and hilltops etc. We find Saint Peter, keys in hand, standing at the crossroads.
2. Traditional Societies
All traditional societies have a guardian that stands at the gate between this world and the next. This honor was, in the folk tradition, given to the Devil, Lord Of The World. Some modalities of Witchcraft actually use Saint Peter, in hoodoo fashion, as The Devil in crossroad rites. I’ll take this opportunity to quote myself, cuz that’s how I roll.
“When asked about the magical and medicinal properties of plants the shaman replied “the ancestors taught us”. This is a common refrain in traditional societies, the ancestors, the spirits, the ones who came before. In the western tradition, this takes the shape of a war in heaven. The co-mingling of humans with fallen angels and the importation of the wisdom of the earth to infant humanity.
3. Spirits Of Plants
The skills of fire, spirits of plants, the adornment of paint and Jewelry, the teachings of Witchcraft. At the crossroads, we find him, as do all cultures of the world. He who opens the gate to spirit contact, he who led the rebellion in heaven, he who walks with the ancestors, he who brought fire”
On this, The Feast Of All Saints, remember the mighty dead in the form they now take. Remember your personal ancestors and what they had to go through for you to be able to read this. They are talking to you now. If we can slow down, get in touch with the land, make offerings and seek their counsel, we might be able to hear them.