Community Altar for October 2018: Hel and The Ancestors

October 30, 2018 | Filed Under Altars, Community Altar | No Comments

This month’s community altar is dedicated to the Goddess Hel, and to the Ancestors.

An altar with a an image of the Goddess Hel, a vase of flowers, two candles, a glass of water, and a small plate with a slice of bread on which is sprinkled salt and sugar.

Community Altar October 2018 – Hel and The Ancestors

This month’s altar is simple, and yet rich with symbols. The flower bouquet is half carnations (flowers of springtime) and half mums (flowers of autumn, traditionally associated with death), reflecting the two halves of Hel’s body, and the realities of our human lives: we are dying every moment we live, and death becomes the beginning a new life.

The alabaster candle holder on the left is the Ancestor Candle that is on each Community Altar; the holder on the right is the Community Candle that is on each Community Altar.

The glass of water and the plate holding the offering are from my grandmother’s Blue Willow china, which recently came to me, 18 years after her death. Some of the pieces are over 100 years old, and all have deep connections to family; these were the breakfast dishes used daily to feed the family around the large table in the dining room every day.

The plate holds a piece of bread, on which are an offering of salt and an offering of sugar. Salt is essential for life, and sugar makes life sweet.

The image of Hel is by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince; it’s the Two of Earth card from her amazing Dark Goddess Tarot. As the Wheel of the Year turns, we in the Northern Hemisphere see the last of the harvest and the fields going dormant for winter; those in the Southern Hemisphere see the first signs of spring and the new life beginning after the temporary barrenness and death of winter. Hel’s body, half living and half dead, exemplifies this both/and nature of our being and of life.

Prayer to Hel and to the Ancestors

Hail, Hel!
Quiet Queen of Helheim,
Tranquil Lady of the Dead.
I thank You for Your gentle care
of my Beloved Dead.
May they be at peace in Your realm,
Free of the cares of mortal life,
Resting, healing, being made whole
In Your loving care.

Hail the Ancestors, Beloved Dead!
Kin of body,
Kin of mind,
Kin of heart,
Kin of soul.
I know your names, and speak them with love;
Or, if unnamed, honor you as “Teacher” and “Guide”.

I know you by your words,
The truths and tales
Which survive the years.

I know you by your deeds,
Your daily work of living,
Your life’s work of giving.

Inspired by you,
I create my life
Day by day,
Word by word,
Deed by deed.

I move through my day in strength and grace
And make the world a better place
For now, and for those who will come after.

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