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, May 21, 2014

Ancestors in the Woods

As the internet posts this blog, I will be far from electricity that could handle more than one hairdryer plugged into an outlet at a time. I will be in the mountains of Massachusetts, celebrating Rites of Spring with the EarthSpirit community for my eleventh year. I don’t have to be psychic to say that I am having a good time right now.
I will be tending the Ancestor Shrine for the gathering, down in a thicket of woods along the beach. The space is open as a natural spot where the living and the dead can commune together, alongside the living creatures of the physical place. It’s a way of using the magic of the natural world as a tool to peer into Spirit. We will hang the names of our ancestors in the trees, and ask them to watch over those we have lost in this last year. And we shall feel our feet on the earth and we shall have gratitude for the breath in our lungs. We are living because They Were.
While I am off teaching in the woods, I wanted to share my favorite poem with you. If you are someone who likes poetry and likes nature, and you haven’t checked this poet out already, I highly recommend Mary Oliver’s work. It’s hard to choose a favorite, really, but this one resonated most authentically with me. It’s how I feel when I spend time in nature.

Sleeping In the Forest
by Mary Oliver

I thought the earth remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

(Tune in next week for my 200th blog post!)

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