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Author Topic: Grave Tending as a Ritual  (Read 4622 times)

OpenHands

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Re: Grave Tending as a Ritual
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2011, 09:53:51 pm »
Quote from: Caroline;1370
Our family tradition is to visit on particular anniversaries (sometimes birthdays, sometimes death dates) and as frequently as necessary to tend to grave plants (more often in summer when watering/pruning etc is required more often). Sometimes a few words are said, usually more conversationally than anything else. Personally I also do libations and incense offerings.

 
Thanks for the info, that's very helpful.  :)  I like the idea of chatting with the deceased while doing some weeding or burning incense.  Suppose I'll have to check the cemetery rules about plants and such, hm.

OpenHands

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Re: Grave Tending as a Ritual
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2011, 10:09:47 pm »
Quote from: Dragonfly68;1406
You know, this is how I feel, about the remains, but my daughter has been pushing to visit the graves of her grandfather and great-grandparents.  It's not so much that I don't want to do this for her, but I'm having a hard time understanding the reason or need too.  I'm really interested in what people are saying in this thread.  It might help me understand her point better.

 
Y'know, I felt that way for a long time too.  It just started niggling at me after my paternal grandfather died in October, but the urge didn't really smack me over the head until we buried my maternal grandfather last month right after coming back from Japan and seeing the care given to graves in Tokyo.  I was really impressed and realized after doing some reading that grave tending is pretty widespread so there must be something to it.  

Part of the puzzle fit into place when I realized that there is a disconnect in my head to believe that the physical world is just as sacred as any other, yet maintain the old idea that the graves, the bones of my family don't mean anything.   I'm even reconsidering my wish to be cremated and have my ashes scattered completely.  I might want to have some buried in a place where I can be visited (potentially, at least- I don't want to flatter myself and think that descendants will be flocking to my grave!).

OpenHands

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Re: Grave Tending as a Ritual
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2011, 10:14:55 pm »
Quote from: Asch;1598
This is my problem too. My mom is buried in a cemetery literally a block away but I haven't been to visit it in probably two years because it totally wrecks me for days afterwards. She died very suddenly in '06 and yesterday was the fifth anniversary of her death. I tried to go but just...couldn't. Which bothers me, I really want to do something for her grave to honor her etc both as part of my faith and for the simple fact that she's my Mom.

*ponders*

 
Oh Asch, I'm so sorry for bringing this up on the anniversary date!  Stupid me, I just commented about it on your blog too, what, yesterday?  I'm sorry for this being such a sad day and for poking any especially painful bits with my post. :(  

My hubby lost his mom about 6 years ago and he has never visited her grave because it's too emotionally overwhelming for him.  *hugs*  I hope tomorrow is a little better for you.

Asch

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Re: Grave Tending as a Ritual
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2011, 10:44:54 pm »
Quote from: OpenHands;1735
Oh Asch, I'm so sorry for bringing this up on the anniversary date!  Stupid me, I just commented about it on your blog too, what, yesterday?  I'm sorry for this being such a sad day and for poking any especially painful bits with my post. :(  

My hubby lost his mom about 6 years ago and he has never visited her grave because it's too emotionally overwhelming for him.  *hugs*  I hope tomorrow is a little better for you.

 
Ah *hugs* don't worry about it this is something that has been buzzing around my head kind undefined for a long time. See, ADF consider Ancestors (capital A = serious bidness) as one of the three Kindreds but taking the big A and applying it to the little a ancestor of my blood and personal knowledge is a bit of a challenge. She's not some far off distant ancestor, or (like half my family) a basic stranger living in another country across an ocean, she's my mom soo it's kind of a challenge to cross that line? Bridge? Thingy?

Anyway I'm enjoying the conversation and the stories :) It's a good topic, thanks for posting it :D

Juniperberry

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Re: Grave Tending as a Ritual
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2011, 11:01:40 pm »
Quote
ash



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The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Valentine

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Re: Grave Tending as a Ritual
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2011, 05:14:41 am »
Quote from: Marilyn/Absentminded;1352
It's not exactly solemn or reverent (except when it is) but the local cemeteries have 'decoration' days two or three times a year.  People go and tend their relatives and friends, people meet over family graves, and the whole thing tends to develop a festival atmosphere.  *snip*

 
This sounds like a lovely tradition to me.
I don't have access to family graves any more, which is painful, but before I moved across state lines, gravetending for strangers was an important part of my regular devotional practice.  I'd pack a bag with some assorted holy books and poetry, some tools, and stuff to make libation or food offering, and then I'd go to one of the older cemeteries in town and clean up overgrown headstones, leave offerings, or stop by graves whose dead seemed unsettled and take requests for readings and prayers.  It was really...good for me?  and I miss it as a practice.  I've been trying to work myself up to going to the Colma necropolis to start again, but haven't made it yet.
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OpenHands

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Re: Grave Tending as a Ritual
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2011, 03:06:09 pm »
Quote from: OpenHands;1329
...


Guys, thank you all so much for your thoughts and experiences on this topic!  I can understand that everybody feels differently about visiting graves- a year ago I would never have considered it.  Explaining when you go and what you do has given me a lot to think about.

I think I'll start with a visit next time I'm visiting my hometown and have a couple of hours to spare.  Love the idea of just chatting with the deceased- sharing memories and keeping them up-to-date on family gossip while burning some incense and keeping the area tidy.  Thanks again to everyone!

dragonfaerie

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Re: Grave Tending as a Ritual
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2011, 08:20:55 pm »
Quote from: OpenHands;1329
I was wondering if anyone has ever tended graves as a family tradition or has incorporated it into a form of ancestor veneration.  What sorts of things do you do at the gravesite?  How often and when do you go?

 
I'm not really into going to the cemetery, to tell you the truth. I haven't been back in there since we buried my mother in Nov 2008.

I'd rather do my ancestor veneration at home, via offerings I know they'd have enjoyed, or other work. To me, tending graves is something the living do for the living... the dead don't care if there's flowers. We do that so other family see the flowers, or strangers know that this person here has living family. It's like so many other social rituals that seem meaningless to me.

But grave tending does give many people comfort, and I can understand that, too.

Karen

Catherine

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Re: Grave Tending as a Ritual
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2011, 01:05:24 pm »
Quote from: OpenHands;1329
I was wondering if anyone has ever tended graves as a family tradition or has incorporated it into a form of ancestor veneration.  


Yes, it's something my grandmother taught me. She used to take me grave visiting with her when I was little. Mostly to her parents graves.

It was about showing respect and fulfilling family obligations. She always said that she did it because it's the right thing to do and it's expected. She joked that her mother would be spitting mad if she left her grave unattended. Even though I don't think she really believed the dead knew what she was doing.

Since she basically raised me, I consider her my mother. So, I visit her on her birthday and death anniversary. I have an uncle and aunt in the same mausoleum, so I stop by and say hello to them too.

Everyone else, I honor at home.

outlaw393

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Re: Grave Tending as a Ritual
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2013, 09:55:57 pm »
Quote from: OpenHands;1329
I was wondering if anyone has ever tended graves as a family tradition or has incorporated it into a form of ancestor veneration.  What sorts of things do you do at the gravesite?  How often and when do you go?


I've heard of finding the most remote and forgotten about graves and decorating them with flowers and praying to the person buried there and telling them they are not forgotten - as work for Hel.

:)

I thought about doing that at one time. I might still do it.
Conformity is the death of individualism

woodhick

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Re: Grave Tending as a Ritual
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2013, 01:21:25 pm »
Quote from: outlaw393;92994
I've heard of finding the most remote and forgotten about graves and decorating them with flowers and praying to the person buried there and telling them they are not forgotten - as work for Hel.

:)

I thought about doing that at one time. I might still do it.

 
that is a very common practice in western PA where I am from. Most of my family is buried in one of the oldest cemeteries in the county and on any given day you will see people in there visiting every grave they pass. Flowers are planted, graves are tended to, and candles are lit. I don't get to go often since I moved to central pa, but my sisters go every week to visit family. They often comment on stuff that was done by an unknown individual, my grandmother says  its been going on for years. You see it in the old cemeteries there too. There is a family plot by my mothers house that dates back to the mid 1600's and it is always upkept. The family is no longer in the area. As kids we would stop and tend to it when we were in the area. I think a lot of it has to do with the culture of the area.
Where the wild things are is where I am most at home." - Kim Antieau

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