[First of all, I’d like to thank my friend Red for helping me figure out a topic for this week’s G post for the Pagan Blog Project.]
For awhile now, I’ve played with the idea of tending graves in my local area. It’s been something that interests me for years now, though I’ve been hesitant in pursuing it very much, for a number of reasons, not least of which being that graveyards kind of freak me out.
Given my apparent obsession with zombies (literature, film, television shows, and more), it might seem as though I were afraid that the dead would rise to life and begin to attack. This is not the case.
I have a lot of respect for the dead. When I was ten or so, not long before Anubis tapped my shoulder, my family and I visited Salem. I remember picking my way between gravestones, not wanting to step on the site of someone’s body. It just seemed so callous to walk over the bodies of those long passed. Years later, my mother and I went to England with my Girl Scout troop. While visiting, we toured Westminster Abbey and I picked my way slowly throughout the Abbey, still afraid to tread on the graves. If you’ve ever been, you’ll know that there are many stones on the floor there with names carved within them. It was only once my mother and the tour guide told me that there were likely bodies buried even where there were no markers that I began to walk normally, although with purposeful footsteps. That is, until we got to Charles Dickens’s grave, but that’s another story.
To this day, when driving next to a cemetery, I hold my breath. I do this out of respect, in my mind, though I know the superstition comes out of different thought.
Growing up, I heard many stories of my mother traipsing through the graveyard across the street from her house. One of my favorite stories is about her visiting the graveyard one day and stumbling across a grave with two, large stone dogs on either side of it…but again, that’s another story for another time.
I was born into that house, the one across from the cemetery. It’s the house where my mother grew up, where my aunt and uncle grew up. I visited it many times when I was a child, until my grandparents retired and moved to New Mexico. It has a special place in my memory, sitting in my uncle’s room and staring out the window at the graves and wondering who was buried there.
But I’m still wary about visiting graveyards and helping to tend them. I’ve felt a quiet call to it for awhile now, not a push nor a pull toward it, but a quiet whisper to care for the sites of the final rest.
Perhaps it’s due to my work and my relationship with Anubis. I can’t be sure, but it feels like it may. I don’t think he wants to push me into it, if he is indeed involved, but I do feel like this would be good for me. Working to care for the markers and land of the deceased, in order to act on my respect and love for them, rather than seeming to act out of fear. I do not fear them, though the graveyards give me a chill whenever I drive by. Not out of fear, but knowledge, perhaps.
So I’m aiming to start tending one or two local graveyards in the next year. Research into local law and what graveyards I can go into and which are more or less closed or restricted comes first, then the actual visits. Hopefully this will go over well, with both those gone and those still here.