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, October 3, 2012

Into the Labyrinth

In my earliest ancestor meditations, the visual image I received was the same. Flashes of faces all talking at me, talking to me, as if the sound was turned off. Then the scene opened and a woman or man stood at the edge of a body of water, whether an ocean, lake, canal or pond. The water was always grey, that deep slate blue-grey. Their faces were pleasant and happy to see me but tinged with sadness. They were pointing into the water, out to the unknown, and I knew that's where they were telling me I had to go. I dove into my ancestor work, trying to clear and sharpen the image.
For a while, everything was bigger. My support system expanded, as did my ancestral knowledge and my spiritual universe. Everything I experienced deepened, widened, and exposed its layers to me. The web split open, revealing itself, and my world blossomed, colored with dimension, like a crystal prism filling a room with light. In the shadows of that light the edge was exposed and a hidden doorway became visible. This is why I do the work I do.
It's strange to me, in that wyrd way, that my ancestors pointed to the water, the well of emotions and memory. And it felt each time like they were pointing to a specific point of going in where the emotions were deepest. I could feel the tug of it against my breastbone. I have always been afraid of jumping in the deep end, even feet first, and as a child my inner primate refused to dive head first into dark and deep water, so the visual has a double meaning for me. Go to where the fear lives and open the door.
I once jumped 70 feet into a mountain river, high in the Carolinas, after carefully watching over a dozen other people dive in, watching where they hit, being sure all dozen divers emerged unscathed. It was a moment that filled me with such fear I felt my heart might burst and I understood I was taking my life in my hands. One hand towards joy and one hand towards death. What a wonder it was to expose myself to my own mortality… then I took a breath, and I jumped.
For the last few years, my personal work had me finding my out of the labyrinth, weaving my own thread as I crawled out of darkness, winding it out behind me as I altered myself. It’s as if I were replacing the bulbs along the path from fluorescents to sunlight. If I came this way again, I would not carry fear of the unknown with me. If I know the way out, then I know the way in.
Now, in my dreams and meditations, an old woman and an old man lay naked on a stone table in the woods, a living ancestor altar. They are crying and telling me there is something I have to do. They glimmer like spirit in my dream world and I know they are faces from my family tree. They've given me a quest. I have a travelling bag and a weapon, and they are pointing out of the wood, their faces tinged with sadness. They are sending me out into the world, covering ground, seeking something unknown. This dream repeats, without alteration.
For the last year, I have been winding in, winding down, going into the recesses of this body and healing. In the twilight glow of autumn, I am both Inanna, going underground to know myself, and Ariadne, the keeper of the secrets of the labyrinth. I know the edge I'm walking towards is the scariest one for me. It's the wall that holds me back, the heavy anchor that holds me in place. So it's important to have your thread as you wind through the labyrinth doors. I know the door that lies at the center of the labyrinth.
I pull the earth energy up into my body and anchor myself to it. I pull the star energy of the ancestors down into me and anchor it in my heart. Where earth and sky meet in me, a door appears. I have only to touch it and it will open.

At the start of the labyrinth, before I step in and cross over, I honor my parents, still breathing in this world, still loving me from this plane. My sister and brother, my nieces and nephew, my great-nephew are my anchors. I carry them with me into the labyrinth.
At the first turn, moving inward, I honor my grandparents, my Beloved Dead, the four who have crossed over to other world, one of whom I never knew: Richard Riddle (factory worker) & Donna MacDonald (pediatric RN) ~ Mark Dutcher Eaton (bookkeeper) & Ruth Emma Ruston.
At the second turn, moving outward, I honor my great-grandparents, all deceased, those who lived and grew up at the turning of a century: Robert George Art (blacksmith) & Margaret Loretta Burke (glovemaker) of Lockport, NY ~ Harold Lafayette Riddle (factory worker) & Elsie Elizabeth Durant of Lockport ~ Frank William Ruston (insurance salesman) & Minnie Estelle Wicker (singer) of Lockport ~ Royal Levant Eaton (prison guard) & Hattie Eva Smith of Auburn, NY.
At the third turn, outward again, I honor my 2x great-grandparents, those who saw this country's Civil War and all the change that came after: George Art (gardener) & Katherine Pils (housekeeper) of Lockport; Frank Burke (lock tender) & Eliza Conners of Lockport ~ Lafayette Riddle (farmer and factory worker) & Frances Gillette of Royalton, NY; George Francis Durant (laborer) & Emma Louise Burnah (housekeeper) of Lockport, from VT ~ Charles Evan Ruston (laborer) & Ruth Ireland of Lockport, immigrants from England; Hiram King Wicker (grain and feed store owner and Mason) & Emma Angeline Whitcher of Lockport ~ Bennett Eaton (farmer) & Theresa Cordelia Tenney of Somerset, NY, from MI;  Silas Parker Smith (farmer) & Hattie Eva Dutcher of Wilson, NY.
At the fourth turn inward, I honor my 3x great-grandparents, the soldiers and farmers who helped villages become towns and towns become cities: Adam Art (soldier) & Katherine Maria Schmeelk of Pendleton, NY, immigrants from Germany; John F. Pils & Mary Burzee, of Pendleton, he an immigrant from Germany; David Conners (laborer) & Mary Dowd of Lockport, both Irish immigrants; Thomas Burke (hack stable owner) & wife Ellen of Lockport ~ Marquis DeLafayette Riddle (farmer) & Sarah Clickner of Royalton, NY; Levi H. Gillette (farmer) & Jane Berry of Royalton; Albert Durant (laborer) & Rosella LaValley of VT, immigrants from Quebec ~ Richard Ruston (wealthy farmer) & Anna Richardson of England; William Ireland & Phoebe Lenton of England; Thaddeus Rice Wicker (carpenter) & Cynthia Lusk of Lockport, from VT; Bailey Harrison Whitcher (shoemaker) & Ordelia DeLozier of Lockport, from VT ~ Solomon Gould Eaton (farmer) & Hannah Ann Treadwell of MI, from Lockport; Philitus Tenney & wife Malvina; Ammi Smith (farmer) & Sophia Sears of Hartland, NY; Reuben Feagles Dutcher (farmer) & Eliza Marsh Bird of Somerset.
At the fifth turn inward, just after, I honor my 4x great-grandparents, the soldiers and farmers who expanded west: Barney Dowd (farm laborer) of Lockport, immigrant from Ireland ~ Freeborn-Moulton Riddle (farmer) & Abigail Chaffee of Batavia, NY, from MA; Ezra Wheeler Gillette & Mary Ann Boots of Royalton, from VT; Francis Berry (farmer) & Elizabeth Hill of Mayfield, NY; Francois Xavier Lavalle & Rosella LaRoche of Dannemora, NY, from Quebec ~ Pliny Wicker (ferryman) & Chloe Morgan of New York, from VT; D.V. Lusk (farmer) & wife Mary of Lockport, from MA; Simeon Whittier & Dorcas Kittredge of VT, from MA; Peter DeLozier (P.O.W. and cabinet maker) & Lucy Raymond of Lockport, from CT ~ Joshua Eaton & Lucy Gould of NY, from CT; Herman Sears & Clarissa Dubois of NY, from CT; Martin Dutcher (soldier and farmer) & Cynthia Ann Feagles of Somerset; Manley Bird (broom maker) & Irene Pond Marsh of Somerset.
At the sixth turn, at the key, at the crossroads, I honor my 5x great-grandparents, the soldiers and farmers who began to move, settling into new territories: Joseph Riddle (soldier) & wife Mary of New York, from Monson, MA; Eliphal Gillette & Abigail Hannah of Royalton, from CT; Joseph Boots (farmer) & Harriet Gower of Royalton, immigrants from England; Thomas Berry & Gertrude Dixon of Mayfield, he immigrated from Ireland; Alexis Lavallee & Marie Amable Langevin of Quebec ~ William Wicker & Susannah Parker of VT, from MA; Abner Whittier, Jr. & Elizabeth Dow of VT, from MA; James Kittredge & Mary Bailey of MA; Oliver DeLozier (soldier) & Eleanor Erkells of NY ~ Benjamin Eaton & Hepsibah Skiff of NY, from CT; Willard Gould & Ann Arnold of NY, from CT; Isaac Sears & Abigail Andrews of NY, from CT; David Dutcher & Jane Palmer of NY; Edmund Bird & Mary Coleman of MA.
At the seventh turn, outwards, I honor my 6x great-grandparents, the immigrants, the children of immigrants, those whose families founded this country and those who came seeking better lives: Pierre Paquier Lavallee & Marie Agathe Charland of Quebec; Walter Dixon & Annatje Goedemoet of Mayfield; John Berry & Nancy Machet of Mayfield, immigrants from Ireland; Alexander Hannah & Mary Calhoun of CT; Wheeler Gillett & Julianna Merchant of CT; Thomas Bootes & Mary Glyde of England; Thomas Ridel & Rebekah Moulton of MA, from Ireland ~ Peter Lozier & Fytje Zabriskie of Hackensack, NJ; Isaac Dow & Martha Hanniford of MA; Jacob Wicker (soldier) & Abiah Washburn of MA; John Parker & Jane Pearson of MA; Abner Whittier & Jemima Davis of MA ~ Thomas Eaton & Elizabeth Parker of CT, from MA; Stephen Skiff & Elizabeth Hatch of CT, from MA; Jeremiah Brooks & Elizabeth Brooks of CT; Caleb Arnold & Tabitha Luther of MA; Knowles Sears & Susannah Townsend of CT, from MA; Henricus De Duyster & Helena Van Deusen of NY; Enoch Bird & Silence Lyon of MA.
At the eighth, outward, I honor my 7x great-grandparents, more who helped build this land, for good or for bad, with nothing but the hope for better lives for their children: Jean Francois Paquet dit Lavallee II & Marie Madeleine Coulon of Quebec; Baltus Goedemoet & Gertrude Michel of NY, from the Netherlands; David Calhoun & Catherine Coe of CT, he immigrated from Scotland; Hugh Hannah & wife Margaret of CT; Eliphal Gillett II & Mercy Smith of CT; Thomas Bootes & Mary Jennings of England; Solomon Glyde & Mary Hyland of England; Freeborn Moulton (captain, soldier) & Rebekah Walker of MA, from CT ~ Jacob Zabriskie & Antje Terhune of Hackensack, NJ; Nicholas Le Sueur & Tryntje Catherine Slote of NJ; William Wicker & wife Rebekah of MA, immigrated from England; Joseph Washburn & Hannah Johnson of MA; John Parker & Sarah Lillie of MA; James Pearson & Hepzibah Swain of MA; John Whittier & Mary Hoyt of MA; Joseph Davis & Jemima Eastman of MA ~ Thomas Eaton & Lydia Gay of CT, from MA; Thomas Gould & Eunice Brooks of MA; Jabez Brooks & Mary Bateman of CT, from MA; William Benedict Arnold & Ann Coggeshall of RI; Jacob Parker & Thankful Hemenway of MA; James Sears & Desire Tobey of CT, from MA; Direck De Duyster & Jannetje Hendrickse Bondt of NY; Abraham Van Deusen & Jacomyntje Van Schoonhoven; Lemuel Lyon (soldier) & Lydia Perry of MA; Samuel Bird & Anna Atherton of MA.
At the ninth turn, into center, I stop. I stand at center, at heart and home, I honor all those who stand behind the first seven generations and all those who will come after me. I honor them in my quest to be the best and strongest version of me I can be, making choices those who came before me were unable to make. I believe I am altering the larger ancestral pattern behind me and altering the one before me, to better ease the passage of those yet to come.


  1. I am also descended from Abner Whitcher and Jemima Davis.

    1. That is wonderful Leeann! Which of their children is your ancestor?


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