TROE - What The Ancestors Taught Me


Instead of laboring over individual posts for each of the nights of the Trans Rite of Elevation, I decided to make a cumulative post about my thoughts now that it is done.

This was only my second year doing the rite, and it was quite different than the first time around. Due to time constraints, I reduced the time I spent on the ritual of most nights. But this year I had access to all of my belongings and had a more grounded sense of what felt right to include in the altar. I followed a pattern of lighting my candles, free writing a prayer to read aloud, reading it aloud, turning on a battery lit candle (so I can leave it lit all night/day without fire hazard), and closing it out with divination with my Pixie's Astounding Lenormand deck.

The first two nights I was really getting my footing, trying to balance all my ideas with the practical execution. By night two I had started invoking the energy of the tarot card connected to the day of the ritual.

Over and over the divination revealed symbols of security and grounding, as well as those of grief and pain. The House, the Anchor, and the Whip were some of the most common throughout. Only one night went undocumented, the night that the Child appeared. Last year's rite involved a lot of work with what seemed to be a reoccurring energy that accompanied the Child card. To see it return was powerful, and the divination that followed was unlike any other throughout the rite. It was specific, clear, and spoke to recent events that were happening to me outside of my ancestor work. It is for this reason I chose not to photograph it.

The final ritual of the rite was completed on the Day of Remembrance, and was the only ritual I did during the day. I was alone in my space, and aloud to completely feel and express the grief that built up over the course of the ritual. It was exhausting. I read all 350+ names trans people reported dead this year. I spoke honestly about my fears and hopes. I expressed a truth that is far too sour to hold in my head all the time, but needed to be acknowledged: Just like my ancestors, I will die before the world is a place safe and nourishing for trans people in the way we are working for it to be. I will die with wounds and grief, and descendants of our long long history will have to help heal me.

NIGHT 5 (13).JPG

Over all, I think I learned mostly about how to just hold space for ancestors. My fears about not being able to do enough or say the right things were not necessary. What is more important is the act of declaring space, time, and energy for the purpose of ancestor healing. This is what we do for the living, especially when the problems or wounds are out of our control. I cannot keep my fellow trans and queer siblings from being oppressed, but I can work to create spaces where they feel sanctuary and rest from the onslaught of violence and discrimination. I can do this for myself in some ways as well. Healing is a skill that we learn when we recognize that not everything can be prevented, but it can be mended.