Rites of Reparations

I had something come together for me while I was showering (I will admit that water submersion in any form is perhaps the greatest method of drawing forth any inspiration). For some time I had been tossing around in my mind how to spiritually address (or at least start to) the travesties that have happened on our lands in America. From genocide of Native American tribal peoples, to slavery, and Japanese concentration camps (among other things)…we have had horrors of blood shed on this land which is accompanied by unsettled spirits of the dead and unhappy spirits of the land. This no laughing matter to me as a Hellenist because I know well religiously that making amends with divine beings and local spirits, and with the dead who can awaken the Erinyes or whatever spirits of vengeance that they may, to bring plight. Satisfying the souls of the wrongfully dead was to our ancient fore-bearers a very serious affair, as was peaceful settlement and gaining favor of angered divine beings.

The question that I had given myself that I have been mulling over is where to start. I mean this country is so vast and there is literally *so much* that has been done throughout the wide expanse of the country that finding a starting place was like wrestling with mental anaconda.  But then it occurred to me as I was submerged under the hot spray of water that my relationship with the spirits is foremost regional. That is to say I develop (or seek to develop) a relationship with the spirits wherever I may be. Therefore depending on where I am at regionally is going to adjust the nature of the rites but overall it the rites themselves will be focused on the region in which I am currently residing (and in any region in which I visit). As such these rites are best served as monthly sacrifice of reparation in vein of funerary rites and those of land spirits (which are quite similar in appearance) in which offerings are made specifically in the vein of reparation.

As an a recent territory/state, Alaska has its own colorful history. The treatment of tribal people is en par with other parts of the country, but while slavery was outlawed by the time we became an American colony (and beforehand was Russian land utilized largely for trappers), we do have the grievous wrongs committed in the form of Asian concentration camps during World War II in which Japanese Americans in particular, during the height of paranoia following the bombing at Pearl Harbor, resulted in massive imprisonment and shipment of Asian Americans  to concentration camps in the Alaskan territory.

As a whole as one who was born in Alaska, I find the spirits of my homeland to be more amenable to kindly than I have in other places, which probably makes my rites a bit kinder than those that may be undergone in other areas where there are significantly more angry spirits. I was unable to get along well with local spirits in North Carolina for instance, barely agreeable with those where I was at in Arkansas….and the area around Grand Couleee Dam along the Columbia….forget about it. They terrified the crap out of me. And given some of the stories I heard regarding hostile native spirits that particularly did not like white people it perhaps of little surprise. But these things have made me realize over the years that some attempt, even if it is in the end nothing more than a drop in a bucket, has value. To give sacrifice and offering of milk and honey in the Hellenic custom, of sweet smoke.

So here is what I have come up with, and any who are welcome to join me in this please feel free. At the dark of every moon following the Deipnon on the last day of the visible lunar month, but before the Noumenia kata Selene (the proper Noumenia in which we honor the gods at the beginning of the new lunar month), there is that day where I honor the sun and the moon which all men share in common. I figure the dark of the moon is the perfect time following the purification and expiation of Deipnon to take up the rites of reparation from the wrongs done. And I don’t consider my drop of Blackfoot blood to make me an exception considering how much white ancestry I do have, and also given that I am not living near hereditary lands of my ancestors from that part of my heritage either. In addition to these monthly rites, I will be doing the Honey Feast on the fullmoon of July (this was a day I had marked as the Gymnopaidaea which was reserved to honor to the continuance of generations of the people by the celebratory competitions of the young….given that it is not something I can celebrate on my own I find it a most appropriate day for this Honey Feast).  This will be a feast to be shared among kinfolk and spirits alike. A sweet feast (hence the name).

This is my foot forward as my religion has laid down the foundation for that my oikos may enjoy fruitful and peaceful relationship with the spirits of the dead and spirits of the land in all the future years we dwell here.

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6 thoughts on “Rites of Reparations

  1. Indeed thought provoking. I too have been called to similar work. Sometimes I have left tobacco, in respect. But others suggested this may not be authentic because one may not otherwise have a spiritual relationship with tobacco. So, I pondered, how do I give honor to those who ask it in a good and right way? I like your focus of the Sun and Moon which is over All. A touchstone of commonality that can “hook” up your practice and the Native land spirits. Thank you Lykeia! And thank you Galina for reblogging.

    • For myself I give what I would normally give as offerings to the dead and land spirits as per my tradition, to which I might adjust if I get further signs indicating so. Otherwise it is best to start with what one knows and what is the most pious way to honor such spirits.

  2. As a fellow “If I’m taking a shower, it’s not a real shower unless I get 300 ideas while doing so!” person, I am with you on that…not literally, of course, but anyway…!?! 😉

    But also, this is something I’ve been doing a bit of on my own here, too. The Ancestors In and Of The Land, which I consider to be the indigenous people who have been here so long that they are more-or-less indistinguishable from Land Spirits (and whose tribal names are often the names of rivers, mountains, etc.), are the reason I have my current job, and I make sure to honor them regularly and mention them as often as possible in my classes where I teach. I was also involved in the Healing Hearts at Wounded Knee ceremony at the end of December–I met the people doing that when at the World Parliament of Religions in October, and being a part of that was an important link in this chain of ongoing work, too. And, before this year is over (and hopefully before this season is over), I also want to start propitiating the Chinese dead who were smuggled over only to be drowned by a certain famous personage in my area–we don’t know who they were or how many of them there were, but in Chinese tradition, the drowned become hungry ghosts, and thus must be dealt with in a particular fashion.

    It’s important, ongoing, and difficult work, and beyond any of our estimation in significance, I think.

    • Wow I am really impressed with what you are doing so far and the direction you are heading. That is most excellent, and I hope that more folks come to take serious consideration of such things in their own localities too. I feel you are correct in that starting to work in this area is of high importance!

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