The church has been deconsecrated, as it is no longer needed for Christian services. We find it a hospitable place for rituals that honor the ancestors and help us connect to the elemental energies of fire, water, earth, mineral, and nature.
From June 13-16, 2013, we will hold an ancestralization ritual, designed to help our ancestors find their way home to the Other World. When we do not release them, they stay connected and enmeshed in this realm, and they bother us, seeking to be released so they can continue their journey.
The ritual process helps us clarify our relationships with them, enabling us to recognize what in our consciousness is truly ours and freeing us to develop our own gifts so we can offer them to the community. By building a home for the ancestors—such as an underground chamber—we provide a place where we can commune with them and maintain a reciprocal relationship.
The Dagara tribe of West Africa believe that water, the element of transmutation, is required to convey the dead fully into the other realm. At a funeral, as the living grieve, the spirit of the deceased is carried away on a river of tears, which releases emotional and psychic entanglements. People cry for days until they become happy.
If someone connected to the deceased wasn’t able to attend the funeral and is holding onto pain or unresolved issues, an ancestralization ritual helps them release the emotional trauma, freeing both the dead and the living to continue on their paths.
The ritual will be facilitated by Glenn Leisching, a South African who has studied ritual, mythology and Zen meditation for over twenty years. He works closely with a number of African elders and shamans. He is the first white man to be initiated by West African Wairo Some’, a blind, revered sage and shaman who disappeared and practiced for years in solitude before returning as a gifted healer.
Glenn feels our society does not fully mourn its dead. “There is a lot of grief backed up in our culture,” he says. “That’s why we keep repeating patterns, not individuating, so we can’t fully express our gifts. When you grieve for the dead, you let them go, and what remains is you. It becomes clear where they begin and end and where you begin and end.”
The ritual is open to the public and will be held in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, June 13-16, 2013. The cost, including meals and sleeping space, is $225 if registered by May 30, or $275 until June 10. Participants may remain onsite for the whole 3-1/2-day period, or may come and go at certain times, but must be present the entire night of Friday, June 14. For more information, or to register, go to http://ancestors.eventbrite.com.