BARE BONES: GREIVING OUR ANCESTORS
Beginning with Samhain (the ancient festival that honored the ancestors and evolved into Halloween) and on through to Thanksgiving, November has always been for me the month to remember and honor friends and loved ones who have passed on.
This remembering takes on two forms for me. First there is the celebration of who they were in their lives and how we are still connected even though they have passed on. The ancient Celts believed that this time of year is a “thin time” when we particularly feel that close connection and the presence of our loved ones. They believed that these individuals are always present with us in our lives and that we continue to be in relationship with them. This is a belief that I tend to hold as well.
The other form that this remembering takes on for me is grieving. There is always a grieving period when someone we love passes away, and even when we reach that point of understanding the ongoing connection we have with them, there are still moments of grieving.
This year I had the opportunity to join friends in attending the twentieth anniversary of the annual Bare Bones production. Although I had heard of the event, I had never had the opportunity to experience it before. This outdoor evening celebration usually presents a story from various mythologies that explains the change of seasons as we move into winter. These stories are very “earthy” and are told through music, song, dance, puppetry, and fire juggling.
This year, as they celebrated a milestone anniversary, they chose an overall theme of grieving, and how time helps us to work through that grieving process. Before the show began, cast members wandered through the audience sharing their “griefcases” and the stories held with in. As the show began and progressed, we were able to watch as these individuals worked through the grief and loss they were feeling.
My favorite part of the evening though was the Grieving Tree. This tree was set up as a sacred space where people could attach mementos of loved ones and light candles for them. It was truly a moving experience.