Here we are – on the 29th October 2019 – right on the cusp of Samhain. Others might know it as being Halloween or All Souls night. Yet the underlying theme of this time is of death and dying. Of remembering and honouring those who have ‘gone before’ . It is so core to this time of year, to this point in the cycle of life and death, that it is reflected all round the globe.
“Hey ho darker grow the days
And the wind blows rain across the land
See the leaves are falling
Hear the Spirits calling
Hey Ho Darker grow the days”
There is a deep seated recognition and need in all of us to honour and celebrate the dead.
As an example of that, I offer the following story. Until a few years ago there was no actual Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City. However, the 2015 James Bond film, Spectre, opened with a powerful sequence of such a ceremony and the following year, the city adopted it ‘for real’ with 250,000 participants. Now I believe it is bigger still. There is evidence that the pre Columbian cultures of the region marked death and the ancestors going back 2,500 to 3,000 years. In the Inca religion, the entire month of November was given over to Ayamarca – The Festival of the Dead
Our own culture has evidence of skulls being interred in ancient long barrows where it is possible to imagine a community regularly coming together to honour the ancestors and perhaps call upon their wisdom in times of uncertainty or unrest.
“Its the blood of the ancients
Flowing through our veins
Yet the cycle of life remains”
I want to share a story from my youth. I was 19 years old and had been travelling through the Middle East for several months and was hitch hiking on my way home up through Italy and up to the Brenner Pass – the border with Austria. I was dropped off from a lorry near there and then had to walk a few miles along a valley in the Alps – the valley where my mother was born. It is called Stubaital and it is flanked by high mountains like the Serles and the Habicht, with a great glacier at its end called the Zückerhüttl. Anyhow it was the middle of the night and in those days there wasn’t either the traffic or the road system that there is now, so it was very quiet as I walked along the old tracks. It felt ancient and it was easy for me to imagine how it would have been thousands of years ago. Winter was coming on and the night felt particularly deep – not least because it was by now about 3am in the morning. I approached my Mother’s small village in the distance and just about could discern the dark high church spire against the sky and mountains behind.
Anyhow, as I approached the village and passed near the church, I became aware of an eerie flickering glow emanating from behind the church wall. Feeling more than a little disconcerted and a little scared, I walked over to the wall and pulled myself up in order to look over. My goodness, what a sight greeted me – Every grave seemed to be alive – dancing in the light of individual candles – some graves had several lights. All together it made for a remarkable middle of the night ‘light show’. Then I suddenly realised – it was All Soul’s night – the time for honouring the dead.
That vision has stayed with me – not least because some of my ancestors were dancing in that light with me that night.
A key aspect of bringing a vision of Sovereign Earth to fruition is to have our ancestors
central to our sense of place and of being – connecting us to our source and inspiring us for the future – yet firmly rooted in the now. The remarkable gift of being an ancestor in progress – with the stage of life and of creation available to each of us only for one short flash of light on a fireflies wings
I am tomorrow’s ancestor
The future of yesterday
For what I am in the here and now
Goes rippling out always
Goes rippling out always
2 You are tomorrow’s ancestor
3 We are tomorrow’s ancestors
(words and music: Glennie Kindred and Brian Boothby)
The sheer numbers of our ancestors is simply mind boggling;
We each have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 Great grandparents and so on, spiralling into the depths of time. Did you know that if you go back about 19 generations – then you’ve already got over a million direct ancestors. Go back a bit further to around 30 generations and its up to a billion. Allowing 3 generations per century, thats only 1000 years back
If ever you are feeling a lack of connection – ponder that – We are ALL remarkably connected.
In a grove of trees with the forest spreading back for miles and miles behind us.
If you imagine all of your own ancestors fanning back behind you – it is said it would reach for 27 miles. Awesome -and yet that is the common lineage of each of us.
Take time to acknowledge and give gratitude for your incredible lineage of ancestors – right back through time to the mystery of our source.
Then taking your attention skywards, become aware of the moon – the very same moon which every single one of our countless ancestors will have seen, witnessed and experienced in their own lives. Then imagine the billions upon billions of stars in the universe – hundreds of billions of stars in our own galaxy of the Milky Way – and then there are some galaxies out in space with more than a trillion stars and there are hundreds of billions of galaxies .
“When each child is born, a morning star rises, And sings to the universe who we are.
When each child is born, a morning star rises, And sings to the universe who we are
We are Grandmother’s prayers; We are Grandfather’s dreaming;
We are the breath of our Ancestors, Spirit of Light/ Spirit of Love “