The surface of the ancestral shrine is washed with a fresh white cloth soaked in warm water infused with Vervain and Hyssop. Each item is gently positioned just so, it has to be visually pleasing to me and hopefully the ancestors. An ornate skull, and crossed bones set before my Grandmothers recipe book (annotated with my Great Grandparents note to her) holds a red candle upon his crown anointed with Rosemary Oil and burns with the light of the ancestors’ wisdom shining from the distant past into the present guiding me always. He is the progenitor of the craft current. Surrounding him are photos of relatives passed some I dearly loved, some I never met. I have objects too, my great Grandfather’s WW1 medals, my Grandmothers ring, bent and distorted into the shape of her aged finger next to my Grandfathers pocket knife and cufflinks…little tangible glimpses into their previous lives.
I set fresh bunches of Rosemary, for remembrance, and Yew, the undying spirit in to the vase. A brazier gently smoulders sending wisps of incense smoke into the room tempting the spirits closer…ever closer. I sing their songs, my Grandmother’s favourite ‘When Your Old Wedding Ring Was New’ by Jimmy Roselli. Their cup is filled with hot mulled wine, the plate decked with fruit, bread, chocolate, tobacco and a little snifter of sherry. I smell my Grandmother’s perfume…Estee Lauder ‘Youth Dew’ mixed with the beeswax polish from her cupboard under the stairs, I hear her laugh (more of a cackle) and pray that she guide us all through the dark days ahead…ever the cockney matriarch!