“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.” Thich Nhat Hanh
As the spiritualization of culture continues to grow, one of the great processions is the reconnection to ancient traditions in novel ways that nourish contemporary times. One of the more exciting evolutions is the reconsideration of the meaning of celebratory days. People are desiring to celebrate more deeply and spiritually such things as solstices and equinoxes and a great gift of ancient culture is that many of the days of celebration coincided with energetic events in the natural world and were viewed as means to connect to the Earth with joy and power. In a present culture of harrowing disconnection from the natural environment, these ancient celebrations can help us reclaim connection to the Earth, as our ancestors did, in jovial celebrations of our planet’s mysterious power and diverse cycles of life.
Many of us are tired of hearing about the doom and gloom of the environmental crisis and the rational solutions that often leave out our heart and soul. While it is important to find ways, for example, to create more renewable energy, lessen carbon emissions and the like, it’s also important to find ways for us to respond to the environmental crisis which moves our soul. Celebrating these ancient traditions of honouring the cycles of nature affords ways for us to connect to the Earth with positive intention and even ecstatic feeling and in ways that allows us to harness the transformative powers of nature. When we talk about sustainable energy, the ancients might very well tell us that celebrating the energetic flows of nature through ritual celebration are some of the most excellent ways to sustain energetic connection to the Earth itself, which will bestow on us a spiritual energy dearly missing from our overly materialistic lives.
What food is to our body, ritual is to our soul. A ritual keeps us connected to our spirit, our soul and our purpose. Rituals are also activities in which we call the spirits of our ancestors to come forward. Our ancestors can see cross-dimensionally, which means they can help us to plot our course. For example, they can help us connect the [energetic] wires that have become loose within us so that we can regain our health or our consciousness.
Modern, Western culture is largely bereft of any notion of honouring the ancestors and this creates a tremendous spiritual poverty in our lives. In many indigenous cultures, it was known that those who have passed on live on as spiritual beings residing in ethereal dimensions that interface with the physical world. These beings are considered the ancestors or ancestral spirits and are said to offer their support and profound wisdom which they have garnered from the spiritual worlds and through the consummate experience of their life to the living. As African wisdom keeper, Sobonfu Some offers: “In the Dagara tradition, when someone dies they become smarter.” Spiritual traditions affirm that death is not an end but merely a portal of transformation from physical into more spiritual beingness as we continue our soul’s journey. In the ‘afterlife’, we are in remembrance of the greater, eternal passage of our soul, giving us tremendous insight into the experiences of our existences. This is why the ancestors are such boons of wisdom. Moreover, these ancestral spirits are also profoundly loving of their still living kin, watching over them, protecting them in mystical ways and ready at any call to render aid through the vibrational means of the spirit world, such as spontaneous insights and transmitting healing energy.
In different hours, a man represents each of several of his ancestors, as if there were seven or eight of us rolled up in each man's skin, - seven or eight ancestors at least, and they constitute the variety of notes for that new piece of music which his life is. Emerson
I recall an indigenous teacher once explaining to a group of us the power of the ancestors. She said when she went into prayer to connect to the ancestral spirits, she was told to look behind her and right there was a person looking powerfully loving onto her, holding a fiery torch aloft in victorious gesture. As she looked behind him, she could see a line of people going all the way to the distant horizon, up and down rolling hills, of other ancestors all holding torches aloft, all looking on at her with love as far as her eyes could tell.
Hallowe’en is one of the most powerful times of year because traditionally it was seen as a time when something very mysterious and powerful happens on Earth: the veils between this world and the next become thin and porous. As with most ways that modern culture celebrates these holy-days, there’s always remnants of these ancient traditions intertwined. For example, dressing up as ghouls and ghosts honours the ancient practice of celebrating our closeness to the world of the dead. This ‘opening’ is celebrated as a time to honour, remember and celebrate our dearly departed who have past from this world into the next.
As I’ve been writing immensely on my Druid blog in the last year, there’s a palpable shift happening in humanity that I’ve been observing not merely in my personal field but in the whole field of global consciousness. This shift or upliftment is of the nature of a great awakening to the true qualities of empowerment for humanity which I feel largely has to do with our awakening to our powers of creativity, stepping into our role as sovereign Creators of the world. For too long, our species has been indoctrinated and dominated to be sheep following the dictum of tyrannical leaders. This is an old story that has reached its final chapter. As humanity breaks free from the chains of this subtle and complex slavery of body and mind, we are awakening to the fact that we can be self-reliant, self-governed and titans of creativity.
Over the course of the millennia, all these ancestors in your tree, generation upon generation, have come down to this moment in time-to give birth to you. There has never been, nor will ever be, another like you. You have been given a tremendous responsibility. You carry the hopes and dreams of all those who have gone before. Hopes and dreams for a better world. What will you do with your time on this Earth? How will you contribute to the ongoing story of humankind? Laurence Overmire
One of the next stages in our evolution as a species is opening ourselves to the love, support and wisdom of the ancestors. If we are to truly step into our role as Creators of a new Earth, we can no longer do it alone but need the support of the spiritual dimensions. Moreover, the power of humanity will be taken to a whole new level when we acknowledge that our lives are actual singular continuums of karmic knowledge, genetic wisdom and evolving consciousness. We are more like rays of multi-dimensional, living light, travelling through the journey of eternity in the great cosmic adventure of consciousness.
Connecting to the ancestors is simpler than we think. The true challenge is to constantly check our over-wrought rationality which for too long has been put into a stead of dominance and is threatened by the more non-rational, mystical aspects of our being. Simply closing one’s eyes to create a moment of grace by coming into mindful awareness of ourselves, rooting to the vibrant energy of our body (the vibration of our soul) and calling on the ancestors can open a miraculous instance, even in the midst of a busy subway car. The mystic realms are as close as our breath. Intention has a key for the door to every world.
We need to haunt the house of history and listen anew to the ancestors' wisdom.
I believe our world is in a crucial moment as we as a species awaken like never before to the powers of our creation. It is an intense revelation, for we are also having to process the impact of our creativity when it is expressed without spiritual alignment and the support of such things as the wisdom of the ancestors who carry the gift-waves of eternal truth. As we acknowledge the devastation of misaligned creativity upon the natural world, the rampant creation of war and other immense sufferings, we are called to right the ship. I believe the ancestors are impassioned to come through us like never before, to help us bridge the spiritual world to our own, and give us a taproot to cosmic intelligence that will bring miraculous solutions to the prospect of global destructivity. Indeed, when I call on them, I feel a vast army of spiritual warriors ready to fight by our side with weapons of love and mystical skills to create a world of sustainable peace and justice for all. We are far from alone. In fact, the support is overwhelming to feel and requires ecstatic arts such as dance, song and revelry to be able to fully embody the big love keen to flow through the currents of our lives. And best of all, as we ask for the help of the ancestors, their great love which has largely been forgotten and unacknowledged is given creedence to become.
Connecting to the ancestors widens our sense of ourselves. We begin to realize that to be a human being is much more than simply being an individual—we are a constant flow of consciousness, waving through ancestral incarnations, passing wisdom and the teachings of suffering onto the next in a perpetual enthusiasm to uplift, rarify and clarify the light of life. We invite a sense of adventure into our lives that we realize has been deeply missing, as we consider the works of those who came before and begin to discern that our own dreams and motivations contain the seeds of those departed. As we commune with these strands of life-force, the eternity of the soul comes clear and we are infused, relentlessly, with a grander purpose and context in which to plant the mighty roots of our own life. A fertile passion to fulfill this deep quest of spirit overcomes all of our trivial worries and anxieties, helping to aim all of our dissonant and disparate mind-stuff like a lazer toward a glorious goal. Any sense of loneliness begins to dissolve, which can be frightening as well, to know that any dark dealings we do when alone are no longer hidden from view. However, this can sternly embolden us to consummately transform what is dragging us down and we can suddenly draw on a great support network formerly unknown. We don’t have to do it alone and are in fact doing it, the good that is, not just for us but for those who came before, who are continually rooting us on, and imparting saving graces of wisdom and noble feeling through the ethers to our ethereal circuitry. Moreover, we look also forward, acknowledging one day we will also take our stead as an ancestor and that it is best to make our life as virtuous as possible so we may be such a beacon and sacred resource for the generations to come…
“Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.”