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Death Anniversary Ceremony Considerations

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Plans, Procedures, Performance

Death Anniversary

Ceremony Considerations

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

If you are interested in the Death Anniversary Ceremony there may be other sources on the Internet with this information. If you are fortunate enough to know a Filipino man or a Filipina woman, then, they might be willing to explain if their family observes this type of ceremony or tell you the procedures their family uses.

Annual Observance

I used the basics of a ceremony that I witnessed in the Republic of the Philippines in 1989. While the family explained that the ceremony is conducted every year for 10 years straight on the anniversary of the day of the death of the Loved One – they did explain that families sometimes do continue the ceremony for a number of years past the 10 year date.

The point is that the family conducts the observance to remember the Loved One who has passed on. And, even without a formal observance, the memory of the Loved One is kept alive by family stories of their lives that get passed on to the younger generations.

The Significance Of Ritual – Focus

I adapted the Death Anniversary Ceremony to fit my understanding and needs.

Papa Warren had been a Mason. Daddy had been a Mason. When I was 13, I joined the Order of DeMolay and learned the significance and importance of formal ritual. Ritual often becomes so rooted in tradition and history that people forget someone had to sit down and come up with the original procedures.

When I began to research Magick, it became apparent that even the old alchemist and ancient magickians knew the significance of ritual causes the mind to focus. The Altered State Of Mental Consciousness allows you to focus intently on the issue at hand and to ignore any petty concerns that aren’t important to the the matters at hand.

Another tactic of the ancient magickians is they would tinker with their procedures until they came up with rituals that they believed worked for them. Then, they wrote down the procedures and would use them as need. They had created their own rituals.

Candle Choice

In the article, Momma’s Death Anniversary, the candle in the photograph, is a light blue eight inch taper candle.

Blue Candle - In the Philippines, I learned that a candle lit to honor a Loved One is watched closely for indications of the Loved One's reaction of pleasure or disappointment with issues in the family at an Annual Death Anniversary Ceremony. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

There are books on candles that cover color and candle making. Candles are often associated with religion. However, candles share a long history of use in magick.

Some sources point out that the colors of candles suggest the use. White, basically is an all purpose color. Green is often mentioned to use for health or money. Purple is a color to set up to request or perform physic awareness. There are various sources that suggests various colors for various functions.

Some people who work with candles will have a preference of the material that the candle is made out of. Again, there are books and sources on the Internet to explain the various materials used to create a candle.

I used the light blue candle simply because I could not find Momma’s memorial green taper candle that I had put away last year after the ceremony.

I believe the Universe has dealt with people long enough to understand that often times we use what we have on hand at the time.

The Power Of A Candle - A candle is a light in the darkness. Candles have a long history of use in religion and magick. Visit a bookstore, a local library or surf the Internet for books on candles. Some authors point out that color should be considered in their use and explain the different materials that can be used to make a candle. Llewellyn Worldwide is one publisher of books that offers an assortment of information on candles. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Naturally, children should have parents set up the ceremony for them. And, if a candle is used then Mom or Dad lights the candle and makes sure it is watched until the candle is out.

The Time Factor

In The Death Anniversary Ceremony, you light the candle at 6 pm., and let it burn for an hour. The 6 pm, time is used, as it was explained to me, because of a cultural belief in the Philippines that when the sun goes down around 6pm, then, spirits have the ability to stroll about in The Real World. Thus, beginning at 6 pm, in the evening, it is considered relatively easy to establish contact with spirits. At sunrise, supposedly, spirits return to their own dimensions.

Spirit Communications

While Americans might consider only a day or two before of after Halloween as the time when The Veil Between The Worlds are thinnest to allow for Spirit Communication; in the Philippines, in the late 1980s, any day after 6 pm, was considered a good time to try for any type of Spirit Communication.

The cultural belief on Spirit Communication is easy to understand when you realize The Republic Of The Philippines is a devoutly religious country with also has centuries of belief and traditions in folklore magick in the rural provinces.

In the Philippines, the candle flame was watched for a response. Flickering candle flames were a sign that a spiritual presence had made contact. Based on the way that the flame reacted it was believed that the spirit was trying to convey either pleasure or disappointment at some of the family’s actions, during the past year. The way that the wax pools underneath the candle flame is taken as a sign of spirit communication, as well as, the manner in which the hot wax flows down the side of the candle is an indication of the spirit’s approval or disapproval of issues going on in the family.

Ritual Tool

In the Philippines ceremony that I witnessed, once the candle was extinguished it was saved for use the next year. In formal rituals in all ceremonies you have ritual tools that are kept packed away until it is time to use them and then they are carefully packed away until the next use in a formal ceremony. In essence, the candle used in the Death Anniversary Ceremony becomes a ritual tool. Thus, it is carefully put away and not used again until the next year.

Usually a candle will not melt away with only an hour’s use. Thus, a Death Anniversary Candle should last for a few years.

Candles have a long history of use in religion and magick. One magick belief is that basically a candle can be seen in other dimensions or to send a message to other spiritual realms. To 21st Century Americans this might seem like a quaint idea, but, if you consider how limited life must have been, even in the United States from the 1700s to the 1800s before electricity finally became commonplace – then, you can appreciate the significance of a candle. In rural America, when the sun went down you either went to bed or used a “coal oil” (kerosene) lamp until bedtime.

Fire Safety

Make sure your candle is in an appropriate holder that will allow a candle to sit upright and burn safely.

Always remember to watch your lit candle. Never, ever leave a burning candle unattended.

Your Procedure

Once the candle is in the holder and lit, you can sit and look at the candle. If you find thoughts in your mind are directed toward the candle, then, that is your procedure to perform the ceremony.

If you talk to your loved one in a chair behind the candle, then, that is your way to perform the ceremony.

If you want to look at the candle and pray silently or pray aloud, then, that is your procedure to perform the ceremony.

The point is whatever procedure comes to your mind is the technique that will probably help you to feel the most relaxed and at ease. One major purpose of the ceremony is to help you to feel at ease and to experience a sense of peace.

Candle Snuffer

If you use candles, then, you probably have a candle snuffer. Mine is a black bell shaped snuffer. The snuffer is a clean, safe way to extinguish the candle. In magick work, you do not blow out a candle.

Candle Snuffer - A candle snuffer lowered over the flame of a candle is a safe way to extinguish the blaze. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

When an ordinary candle is used up, people traditionally make sure it is cold and can be placed in the trash.

Expiration

Eventually, the candle will have melted away. Once the natural expiration occurs, then, you have to decide how to properly dispose of the candle. A ceremonial candle used in an observance: personal, religious or magick is traditionally treated with more concern than a candle used for a romantic dinner or for a power outage use.

A Death Anniversary Candle is a ritual tool and a symbol of a somber observance, thus, the demise should be appropriate. The candle remains, melted wax and any of the pieces can be placed in a paper towel and then placed in a little hole you dug in your yard and covered over. In contemporary America this is an easy way to recycle the candle remains into the earth. As a traditional magick belief, Earth as one of the elements absorbs the candle pieces to purify them and prepare them for rebirth and renewal.

Another option is to place the candle pieces in a nearby stream. Again, in contemporary America, placing the candle pieces into the water is a simple matter of letting nature do the recycling. Water is one of the major elements in Western Magick, thus, by placing the candle pieces in a flowing body of water like a stream, creek or river, you are allowing the earth to recycle and purify the candle pieces.

The Death Anniversary Ceremony is an observance that I witnessed and adapted to fit my personal needs to deal with the grief of the loss of my mother.

Your Personal Grief Ritual

If people feel they need some type of ritual to deal with a personal loss, then, by all means seek out a ritual. Keep in mind,

Rosary Beads On Cathedral Amethyst - Catholicism has a long history of formal rituals for use in worship. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

we all have daily rituals like shaving in the morning. We have rituals like what time we go to lunch and even rituals of – we eat lunch at our desk or leave the office and go somewhere for lunch. Everyone’s life is composed of a series of rituals that we perform so often that we don’t even recognize these actions as small daily rituals.

Holy Bible - Religious books are a source of inspiration in designing a ritual for a specific, personal purpose. Every photo has a story. When I went outside to use the Bible for the photo shoot, when I opened it - it opened to Second Samuel. After trying some different natural backgrounds, I tried this one and opened it to a chapter in Samuel. I had the Bible positioned on the TV snack tray table to take the photo. The sun shined and there were no breezes. As I snapped the shutter a breeze caught the page. I leave it to the reader to determine the meaning. Since the Universe had recommended Samuel when I began selecting natural backgrounds, it could be the Universe might have a subtle sense of humor at times. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Observances are usually formal rituals. Church on Sunday is a ritual. Every Faith has a series of rituals that begin once you step through the door and the rituals are designed to focus the mind on the matter at hand.

You can surf the Internet or stop by the local library to research the different types of rituals used for funerals, memorials and observances. If the chosen ceremony seems elaborate, time consuming, requires a lot of props and gear to carry out – remember: Adapt.

Pentacle In Spheres - My research into the Wicca religion suggests that it is a religion concerned with nature. Wicca, I believe, encourages people to try to live in the flow of the Universe, on earth or beyond. There seems to be a wealth of rituals that can be practiced or used for inspiration to create your own. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Use What Works

Spiritual Beliefs - Death of a Loved One is a Major Challenge to your personal spiritual beliefs. The Personal Grief might force you to look inside yourself and examine your beliefs in the smallest details. I sought out resources from the religious community and decided to try and find a spiritual path, which led to a ritual - The Death Anniversary Ceremony - which has helped me. Anyone should be free to search out a path that works in the time of loss and personal grief. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Use what works. Jot down the information on the ceremony that you find at the library or while surfing the Internet. Work a pencil to add to and take away from the ceremony, until you have come up with your own personal ritual that will be of meaning to you. We are all human, but we each have different needs, attitudes, personalities and life experiences – What works for Aunt Darlene might not work for you.

Use what works for you.

Best Wishes - Best Wishes In Your Journey Through Life. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 Sam

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