As I am writing this article, it the day after Halloween, or for Deanists and Filianists, the second day of the three day festival of Tamala. In addition to being a festival to face some of the scarier parts of life and to honor the dearly departed, Tamala is also a festival to honor our ancestors.
Ancestor worship is a practice in most traditional cultures, and remnants of it can be found in the Christian celebration of All Saint’s Day. In the modern world, there is a misconception that ancestor worship is a superstitious or primitive type of spirituality. Actually, in the truest meaning of the word, it is a “primitive” type of spirituality, in that it is one of the earlier forms, and closest to the Primordial Tradition.
So, one may ask, why would people honor their ancestors?
To answer that question, I think it is important to understand who is being worshiped when we honor our ancestors. Yes, on one level, we are honoring departed parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, but there is another level to ancestor worship that is far deeper than this.
To explain this, I need to refer back to two previous articles that I wrote, The Unfolding of the Ages and Where We Come From, and Why it Matters. The most important part of these articles is that the Traditional understanding of our origins as Axial Beings is that we have been created from before the dawn of time. There was a period before time that we existed in Union with Dea as Primordial Maid. Each generation that passes is a generation further away from Primordial Maid.
The current movement of physical manifestation is away from the Center, or away from Dea. We believe that at the end of time, all of us will be re-united with Dea, although, that understanding is a bit beyond our comprehension from an un-Enlightened state. Tamala is, in part, a celebration of this end of time. Yet, for now, we are aware that the movement is towards decline and separation.
Ancestor worship is one way of holding on to a line to Dea even though we live in a time of decline and separation. Each previous generation was one generation closer to Primordial Maid, and in worshiping our ancestors we keeping a connection all the way back to Primordial Maid, who lived in Union with Dea. We are also worshiping Dea in this fashion, and remembering the time that our souls were much closer to Her than they are now.