Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ancestors - Part Two

Ancestral Karma and Tasks

As individuals, we are a combination of our biological genetic ancestry, our personal spiritual ancestry, and our individual soul’s path of learning—shaped by the land on which we live and the times in which we live.

Because of our biological inheritance from our ancestors, we also carry what I’ve come to call “family karma.”

It may be that not every member of every family is working on family “karma.” And certainly not all that are doing so are conscious of doing so, which is a good thing, actually. But some of us do feel our own pieces of it—at certain times in our life more than at other times. In my own case, I feel strongly that some of the lines I carry simply had to make it to the west coast of the American continent. I am still not completely sure why and am working on figuring it out. But I know I am right where I am supposed to be—about as close to the Pacific Ocean as I can be without being in it!

When I met my Texas cousin I became very aware that certain of us had to stay on the sacred soil of Texas. The geomantic influences of the land we live on shape us. The spirit beings—nature spirits, plant and tree spirits, faeries, land dragons—of each of area have subtle differences, and affect us in subtly different ways. I think this is one of the ways in which our personal karma intersects with our ancestral karma.

Historically speaking, Texas represented a new start for several of my southern families after the Civil War. Moving from the war-torn south to a new land allowed these desperate and torn families to continue. The same may be said about the original journey from Europe to North America.

This is because families renew themselves, just as do individual humans. This renewal is physical and spiritual, and mental and emotional as well. Just as individuals may feel strongly that they must stay put and deepen where they reside, or, move on to greener pastures and new possibilities, so too do families. However, in the case of families, there are many individuals, so various scenarios may be played out simultaneously, for the good of the entire family blood-group.

I have no proof of this; it is just something I feel strongly. I feel the family as a blood-group is, in a sense, evolving, learning, and growing, even though its individual members may not be aware of it. Patterns are played out, things are learned, and information is transmitted—via some deep spiritual-biological mechanism of genetic communication of which I am only dimly aware from my own experiences with it.

About a year after meeting that distant cousin I found myself with an unexpected opportunity to attend a workshop in Georgia. At first my focus was preparing for the workshop itself. But then it slowly began to dawn on me that some of the ancestors (ones I shared with this woman) were from Georgia, and nearby Tennessee and North Carolina as well. These ancestors were both European and Native American. An eerie feeling crept over me as I realized I was being called back to the ancestral lands. I knew there was something there for me, and I knew I had to take a gift. Shortly before I left I happened upon a produce stand which sold Indian corn of various colors. I found they had jars of dried corn as well. I purchased a pound of so of this corn of many colors, and made a necklace of it to take along to gift to the land.

After the workshop I rented a car and took a whirlwind 3 day tour of my ancestral lands. At one point, while driving across the Great Smokey mountains, I felt compelled to pull off to the side of the road and get out. I followed this instinct, and soon was wandering deep into the woods by the road. I came upon a dip in the ground that contained a small pool; the pool turned out to be a tiny creek that flowed deeper into the woods. I stood by this pool and knew this was the spot. As I held the corn necklace and prepared to offer it to the land and the water, something rose up in me and I began to weep. Feelings and memories were flowing through me. But it was a curious feeling, because although they were flowing through me and I was reacting to them, I didn’t feel as personally connected to them as I had with past life memories I’d previously experienced. And yet there was a connection; this I could tell. In less time than it takes to read this I realized I was experiencing DNA memories. My blood and bones were crying out in both joy and sorrow with all the memories they carried about this land. That part of me was very glad to be there, and even happier when I finally dropped the necklace into the pool of water, with love and prayers. Gradually my tears subsided, and something within me felt complete, and ready to move on.

Later, as I continued my drive through the mountains, this experience led me to think of the land as “Mother,” and how it feels to move away from Mother and individuate. There is much wrapped up in this concept of Mother and Motherland. Our relationship with the land beings, and indeed, the Original Instructions given us long ago as tribal people about how to live life and relate to the land, are all tied up in this.

River of Blood, River of Tears

In ancestor work we often refer to the River of Blood and the River of Tears. The River of Blood is all the blood of all the life upon the earth; including, quite obviously, the blood we inherit from our ancestors—our DNA, and all that it carries.

The River of Tears is the river of all the tears shed in all the lives ever lived. These can be tears of joy, of relief, of fear, pain, or sorrow. The River of Tears is the emotional energy carried in DNA. We contribute to it when we cry and grieve for something, as well as when we cry tears of joy. We partake of it when we allow ourselves to be cleansed by the tears, since this River can be clearing and cleansing as well as a place of sadness.

The River of Blood and the River of Tears are both salty, as is the sea.

Salt is a crystal and its geometric structure is the very stable, four-sided cube shape. Because it is four-sided, it is magically representative of the element of Earth whose number is four; this “fourness” includes the four elements and directions. Because crystal holds and stores energy, one may speculate that the microscopic salt crystals in blood may act as a form of compact memory storage.

Our salty blood and salty tears show our connection to the earthy realm of the Underworld Goddess. Hers is the realm of life, death, and memory, and the Rivers of Blood and Tears flow through it.

Working with these Rivers can bring us the wisdom of our ancestors, but it is up to us to receive what is given and work with it, and “make it wisdom” for ourselves and our children. This may involve the cleansing and healing of old wounds, and the breaking down of old patterns and creation of healthy new ones, so that the outgrown damaging ones are no longer passed down through the family. This work is not easy, and not everyone is called to it. But it can have a powerful effect on future generations.


Ancestors - Part One

For some unknown reason the ancestors have been very much on my mind lately. My ancestors, but also THE ancestors. I realize it’s the wrong end of the year to be talking about ancestors—Samhain is the usual time—but here they are, making me look at them again, showing me things, so what can I do?

I did quite a bit of ancestor work in the mid to late 1990s’ and have, in fact, a half-written book on the subject gathering dust on my hard drive. The ancestors were really talking to a lot of us back then. In the late 90s a friend had an important dream which inspired her to create a major ancestral working. It turned out to be a very powerful working for me and all concerned, and the ancestral line I worked with in that ritual was pretty quiet after that. But recently I’ve begun hearing from some of the other parts of my lineage so I’m thinking it’s probably time for some work on those lines.

At any rate, it’s what’s been occupying me the last several days, so I thought I’d post of a bit of what I wrote several years ago on the subject, in case it might be helpful to someone else.

* * * * * * * * *

Ancestors are those who have walked the earth before us. They are uncountable in number, and they stretch, in a chain, back to the very beginnings of humanity on this planet. In every generation of them the entire general spectrum of humanity—the wise, the foolish, the ordinary, the extraordinary—is made manifest.

We are born into families. From our forebearers we inherit everything from physical characteristics, such as the color of our hair and eyes, to personality traits and talents. We inherit tendencies toward certain physical gestures and facial expressions. We inherit propensity to certain disease or physical imbalance patterns. We inherit blood types. The good, the bad, and the ugly—we inherit it all, or at least a potential for it all.

Quite obviously, it if weren’t for our ancestors we wouldn’t be here at all, and we most certainly wouldn’t be who we are.

But we are more than just the sum of our ancestral parts. We are each a unique combination of the genes passed on from our thousands of grandmothers and grandfathers; this is what makes us unique individuals. It’s what we get in the luck of the genetic draw that makes each of us different from the next person, and even from our siblings.

Recognizing the importance of the ancestors, most cultures and societies of the past have had some way of recognizing and honoring them even if it was as simple as keeping track of the genealogical lines. Many tribes committed their genealogies to memory. In particular, noble or royal genealogies were often memorized by tribal “rememberers” of some sort.’ Those of us familiar with the Bible will recall the seemingly endless lists of the “begats.”

There is another level to this. Early on, many tribal people considered themselves descended from a primal mythic ancestor or god/dess. Thus, there are tribal ancestors as well as simply personal ones, and people would refer to themselves as the “children of” or “clan of” a particular deity.

As time went on and civilizations and religions developed, people began to claim a spiritual ancestry that harkened back to particular spiritual traditions and lines of spiritual power. These, too, became “the ancestors.” Examples of these are found in the East, where some of the spiritual traditions have roots going back to various holy people or gurus of the past, as well as in the Kohanim of Judaism, whose male ancestral line traces back to the Biblical Aaron, brother of Moses. This is also found in our western world in the Catholic tradition of the priesthood wherein a priest is ordained “according to the order of Melchisedek,” as well as in Mormonism where both the Aaronic and Melchisedek priesthoods are to be found.

The ties that connect us to our mythic-tribal and spiritual ancestors are not usually bonds of blood, but rather, bonds of specific energetic patterns related to the particular traditions and lines of spiritual power, although the Judaic Kohan tradition has been found to also have a genetic link.

The Family as a Being

Although we tend to see ourselves as individual selves, we are, in truth, members of families. I tend to see the family as a “Being,” an entity with many parts—physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, karmic, psychic—and an awareness of itself, including a type of memory. As a Being, a family shares DNA, and transmits information throughout its structure. Similar to other beings, the Family Being, perhaps, has “organs” and parts (sub-beings) which perform various functions for the Being. What comes to mind when I think of this is an image of how all life forms are composed of bodily parts and of other life forms—right on down to the bacterial level. Each has its part, its function, and contributes to the overall health, well-being and functionality of the entire being.

There are certain themes that come to prominence in families, and are worked on by various family members in differing places and circumstances, so that the Family Being may learn, grow, stay healthy, and balance itself. Toward this purpose there are certain gifts, strengths, and weaknesses both physical and psychological that are passed on and manifested differently by different individuals.

And since we are, each of us, from several different families, the situation gets quite complex. From my own experiences I suspect that certain family lines may come through us as ‘dominant ‘ in the same way that some particular genes are dominant, and it is these we are most concerned with in any given lifetime.

Otherworldly Beings tend to see us not always as individuals, but as part of a family, or bloodline. Therefore, if there is some spiritual or healing work to be done with a family, anyone suitable in the family, rather than one specific individual, can do the job.

On meeting a distant cousin a few years ago, I had the distinct sense of how my family, which had started (on this continent) in Virginia, had moved itself across the entire continent, somewhat like how trees or plants “walk” their way across the land—their seeds carried far by the wind or dropped in bird droppings, and growing new little trees or plants further on from where the parent tree stands. When I hugged this new-found cousin for the first time, I had a strong sense of being the part of the family that had “walked” across the continent to the far western shore to work out our karma in interaction with this bit of the continent, while she was the part who had stayed in the place we'd been in earlier, working our karmic tasks in that place, and with that land and its spirits.

I felt that there was something important about this movement as related to Life (i.e. living beings exhibit movement as one of their characteristics), and that even though we all pride ourselves on our individuality, individual lives and karma—which are quite important—another aspect of our being is tied up with our "Family Ties." I think each of us choose (or end up with) pieces of family stuff to work out and on, and that our individual karma plays a role in what we choose.


Friday, July 10, 2009

The Fairy Congress

Here is a lovely and respectful short video about the recent Fairy and Human Relations Congress that is held annually in north central Washington. The video was written and produced by Colin Mulvaney and Kevin Graman of the Spokesman Review.