Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What Comes After

“I do not claim to know what comes next or
what happens to that bit of life. I don’t know
what happens. But I have faith
that something does.”

I said those words in an earlier post. Faith. I do not believe I had the ability to understand the true meaning of that word. As a child I thought faith meant “believe it because I said so and I know better” and I trusted it was true. Now it means something more like “believe it because you feel it to be true even though there is no evidence you are right.” Faith means trusting your intuition, even when the world tells you they disagree. It’s one of the reasons I both respect and fear fundamentalism. That kind of faith amazes me. It has dense power that moves like strong current. But that kind of power is uneasily wrought by those who refuse to see another side. “With great power comes great responsibility” is not just a movie quote. I believe the truth is that there is no one right answer.

Stepping onto a path of faith is stepping closer to yourself. People disconnected from their own faith and intuition are more easily led by someone else’s momentum if the person of faith has complete conviction. What led me on my religious journey through multiple churches was that I wanted to have my own conviction. My beliefs have been defined by my experiences, both physical and emotional, and probably more emotional than physical. In my mind, it is more important that you stand firm in your beliefs, and that your roots are planted deeply in the ground of your own choosing. For me this is more important than what you choose to believe.

When my father’s father died in 1982, I didn’t understand what it meant beyond the fact that I wouldn’t see him anymore. I can’t say I understand it now much more than that.

When we separate from our physical body, we lose all the html code that created the cells and walls of our body, joining cells into strands of DNA, weaving strands into mobile, tangible structures. But it is our spirit that fuels movement and relation. When our spirit is strong we are invincible and when it is weak we are unmotivated. It is our spirit that dissipates into the ether.

I imagine all this spirit energy combines in a great pool. We cease to be me and you and all are One. It’s a cliché and it’s true. The newest arrivals swirl on the surface, where the emotional storms of spirits struggling through the transition are more frequent and severe. The further down into the unending well you travel, the stiller, darker, and stronger the density of energies. This is where the Ancestors dwell.

It’s important to understand that there is a cycle of energy that our spirits go through as we leave our bodies, even though there aren’t knowable answers to be attained. It is hard to do more than honor your ancestors if you do not believe that spirit/soul/anima/energy exists in the natural world. In light of this truth you have the opportunity to develop a cosmology or visualization that suits you.

Still water is a beautiful mirror of the world around and above it but beneath, still water grows silty and marshy. Insects roost and lay eggs and claim. In the silt vegetation rots and decays. Movement in water comes as currents break a way in, pushing and changing the flow of the water, displacing what doesn’t fit or stands in the way. Movement cleanses the water.

The motion of physically honoring my ancestors is important, symbolic or not. But the physicality of walking through the work I do creates movement in my physical body beneath the surface. This creates a new, shared experience of my physical, emotional, and intellectual bodies. The action of ancestor worship is creating a change in me, moving me towards the calm centeredness I long for.

Meditation for Connection and to Create a Devotion to an Ancestor
1) Sit in a quiet room. Think about the name of a Grandparent who has passed on (at any level). Pay attention to the memories flooding into your mind at the thought of their name.
2) Now speak their name out loud. Feel the emotion flooding to your heart center at the sound of their spoken name. Pay attention to the memories flooding your mind at the sound of their name.
3) Now speak their name out loud and wrap your arms around yourself. Hug yourself. Feel the emotion flooding to your heart chakra at the sound of their spoken name, and the feeling of arms around you. Pay attention to the memories flooding your body.
4) How has the quality of memories changed?
5) Now take that energy you have built and bring it out of yourself: Holding a candle in your hand, speak the name of your loved one. Think of a happy story you have about them and laugh out loud. Let that laugh grow in your core and rise to your heart. Let the energy of that happy memory fall down through your arms, into your hands, into your candle. When you light this candle, you honor that loved one.

Every time I walk through this meditation, it creates a wave of peace in me. Every time I do this I change. In worshipping my ancestors I am walking myself towards being a better version of me. In honoring my ancestors, I am taking steps closer to honoring myself.

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