At this time of year when the Veil thins, we of the Wicce will often notice that we feel even more reverent. As this is the time of year when we acknowledge and celebrate the death process as part of the great cycle of Life, I like to take a walk through a cemetery to meditate upon the meaning of death and to offer a sincere blessing to those buried there.
Of course, spirits are all around us and you don't need to go to a cemetery to find them. As a matter of fact, most spirits who dwell near us aren't at cemeteries at all, but rather tend to visit their relatives, check on their former homes, and hang out where they were happiest or most emotionally effusive during their lives. Yes, there are those who are trapped in ugly places, such as prisons and mental institutions, but most spirits travel on and come back for brief visits. And now that the Veil is thin, it's easier for them to do so. So the reason for this walk through a cemetery isn't to commune with spirits. It's to reflect on death and what it means to me.
Before I enter into the sacred ground of the cemetery, I do a quick ward. This is just a good idea, although as I said above, spirits don't just hang out in cemeteries usually. However, when we are dealing with the Veil, it's good practice to ward, so that's what I do. I include in the ward the strict statement that nothing and no one may follow me home from the cemetery or any other place. So guarded, I set off to one of the lovely old cemeteries in my city.
Before I enter the gate, I greet all of the departed people who rest there and ask permission to enter, giving my respects. I walk around the grounds, reading people's names. I state their name softly and say, "may you be blessed." When a stone is too old to read, I still acknowledge the person buried there, saying "unknown soul, may you be ever blessed." As I do this, I think of how one day, I shall be an ancestor. If I do feel that a person is present at their grave, I engage them in conversation. I might simply state that I've come to show my respect for the dead, or if the person feels like talking and I can understand their sentiments, I might sit and chat. Sometimes in the past I have brought a four pack of the small bottles of inexpensive wine that they sell at the liquor store and I pour a bit out onto the graves for a libation. If a stone is crooked and not too large for me to straighten it, I straighten it.
Before I leave the cemetery, I give a blessing, saying, "All those here who have been forgotten, you are not truly forgotten. I honor you. May you ever be blessed." Leaving, I state again that I cannot be followed. Then I go home and sit with my ancestor altar and talk personally with my own beloved dead.