The Traditional Funeral Rites cover a period of 13 months and commence in conjunction of when the Aoghair takes the duties on and the moment of death.
Within the Tradition the soul knows its moment of departure from the body and the Aoghair (the Traditional intervener/minister of the Sagh’ic) may be called prior to this to support the soul in the commencing of its journey to the shores of Bhás and beyond.
Within the tradition of The Tribe, death is a process of continuing journey, a setting down of one thing and a gathering up of another thing.
The Funerary Rites are designed for two shared journeys;
- The soul of the deceased
- The soul(s) of the grievers
The Tradition tells that the deceased and the griever(s) undertake a shared journey through Bhás, one in presence, one in reflection, and that in that shared journey, both reflect each others processes and setting down of attachments, so that both can undertake the gathering of the new journey without impact from or on each other. The Rites are based upon the Sagh’ic stories of the deaths of the first man and woman.
The Traditional journey of the soul across Tír Na Marbh (Land of Death) follows these stages:
- Passing to the shores of Bhás (the Land of the Dead) – dying
- Crossing Tír Na Bhás (the 13 moon Journey of Grieving) – grieving
- Surrendering in Tír Na Diochuimhne (Land of Forgetfulness) – memorial
- Reception of Tír Na Frìnn (Land of Truth) – honouring
Each Stage has traditional rites and ceremonies and guiding spirits.
- Sealachais Glos (The Green Stag) and Danuthair (The Robin Spirit) are the primary spirits called upon to support and guide the dying.
- Arrnwath (Guardian of the Dead) is the primary spirit to support and guide the journey of Bhás.
- Mora oa Croen (The Great Song) calls the soul to forget the attachments of life.
- The Ancestral Stars (Tei Rhionard) are the receivers of prayer with the Ancestral Ones
The Aoghair takes deep and personal responsibility primarily for the dead and secondarily for the grievers.
The Aoghair acts a ‘bridge’ between Tir Na Bhas and Tir Na An Aisling (land of The dream; life).
As such the Aoghair is fully present as a meeting place between the living and the dead at both an emotional and a spiritual level. This is an intimacy that the Aoghair should prepare themselves for by deep journey to a Spirit guide of Bhás, suggesting Art or Mear Dao Earn for women and Arrnwath for men.
This intimacy is a constancy in all rituals and is felt to a greater affect in the Treoir Báis; Preparation for Death and the Dul chun Báis; Passing Ritual.
It is a requirement of the Traditional Way that all funerary rites take place with the body or the remains of the deceased; compassionate consideration is given to this in certain modes of death.
The Rites and Ceremonies
- Passing to the shores of Bhás (the Land of the Dead)
- Treoir Báis; Preparation for death
- Dul chun Báis; The death
- Cnàimh Ionladh (neeve eeon lay) Bone washing
- Ithe Pheaca (eehe far shu); Sin Eating
- Crossing Tír Na Bhás (the 13 moon Journey of Grieving)
- Ag fanacht ar an marbh; Passing time; Ungathering
- Caointe; Keening
- The committal of the dead
- Cnàimh Gibeagachadh; Bone Bundles
- 13 Keenings
- Posadh da Marbh (Marriage of the Dead)
- Surrendering in Tír Na Diochuimhne (Land of Forgetfulness)
- Dìochuimhnicheadh; Remembering to forget
- Cealeabhair ; Farewell
- Reception of Tír Na Frìnn (Land of Truth)
- Transition of the dead to Ancestors
- Additional Rites
- Beathach Pràmh
- Loss Boat