A Sense of Belonging is Grounded in the Natural World and the Ancestors

 

Green Man Tree Oracle: Scots Pine

Green Man Tree Oracle: Scots Pine

“I’m a Lakota woman. I’m so grateful for that. Not a lot of people around the world can say that. And we are still here, surviving. They were trying to take us out hundreds of years ago. They were trying to take us out a hundred years ago. And everything my ancestors have gone through just to be here today. Yeah, I’m going to stand up because enough is enough. And that’s how I felt during that first relay run. No matter how scared I was, how embarrassed I got, people didn’t understand what I was doing and didn’t support me, I’m going to stand up for my ancestors, for what they did so I could be here, so that we can all be here”. Bobby Jean Three Legs, describing her long distance run to draw attention to the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The ancestors show up in a powerful way through our habits and the gifts that we have inherited from them. Much has been written about the painful wounds that are often passed down across generations. But the ancestral helping spirits can also empower us to go beyond what we think we can accomplish because they give us a sense of rootedness and belonging. They can inspire us to protect what is important and reach for a new vision.

That sense of belonging is grounded in the natural world as well. If you are lucky enough to live on the land your ancestors have walked upon, you may experience this connection frequently. Indigenous people often say they live on lands given to them by their Creator. And many indigenous people feel guided or inspired by their ancestors as well. The combination of these two spiritual energies, land and ancestors, can be very powerful as the quote above demonstrates.

Very few of us are indigenous to the lands we inhabit. A lot of ancestral wisdom and ancestor reverence has been lost. Yet we can begin to reconnect to both. The three day holiday of Samhain through Dia de Los Muertos offers a unique opportunity to enhance this connection. In the northern hemisphere, the growing season is either winding down or shifting to winter plants. Lately, I have enjoyed these practices that help me connect to both energies.

Grounding and journeying

In many energy systems, the chakra below the feet and auric field near the skin are connected to your ancestors and home village. I like doing yoga poses or first chakra exercises to stabilize my connection to this chakra and my body. Afterwards, I might use a trance posture to journey to one of my ancestral helping spirits. The shamanic lightbody meditation also helps me to do this.

Outdoor Ancestral “Shrines”

Like many people who honor their ancestors, I have an indoor altar. But the following practice really brought a much deeper experience into my life. On my daily walks, I offer small offerings to places that my ancestral helping spirits feel close to. This has helped me realize how stressed out I can be as I think about my plans for the day. I find that the ancestral helping spirits are easier to hear after I leave my offerings and send them blessings on my walk. I am able to feel their energy lifting me up throughout my day. This can be fleeting but is also very empowering. I’m lucky to be able to go on these walks with my sister or partner.

Two nature energies are specifically connected to my ancestors as a group. The first is water. My ancestors in Europe left beautifully made objects as offerings in bodies of water. When I thank the water I pass by on my daily walks and leave offerings, I connect to an ancestral tradition. The second are pine trees. Pines have been important to my ancestors, showing up on a coat of arms and even on the front lawns of my relatives. One of my ancestral helping spirits feels more clear when I leave offerings at a pine tree. The pines I see throughout the day remind me of this.

Candle Offerings

I am finding this to be a safe way to begin healing “ghost energy” and family beliefs that I no longer want to hold on to. When I first began to “meet” my ancestral helping spirits, I could really tell this difference between their energies and the unresolved issues carried by my ancestors. I wanted a way to send blessings to my unhealed ancestors while reinforcing my connection to the healed ones. I wanted to live in a way that was closer to the healed ancestors’ values.

Fortunately, I was able to ask Jaguar Wisdom (Kenneth Johnson) for his advice. Offerings are often burned on a day in the Mayan calendar that is sacred to the ancestors: Ahau. It is a day that helps people to have courage as well. Some Mayan groups, like the Mam Maya, use candles as offerings on their altars. I burn candles or other offerings completely after my time praying and communing with them. Kenneth told me:

“Actually, Ahau is the favored day for communication with the ancestors. The Maya do have “problems” associated with ancestors, mostly in the form of being out of harmony with “awas,” the code that binds a community or society together. They leave offerings of various kinds for ancestors. I always knew without looking when it was an Ahau day, because you could always see plumes of smoke rising from the cemetery, where people had made a sacred fire at the grave of an ancestor and done offerings.”

Why do this?

I do these things because they help me live in a more courageous way, while feeling connected to deep roots. These practices also help me to speak up when I feel the earth or other people are feeling violated – without feeling disempowered or too frustrated. I feel that my connection to the place I live in is gradually healing. It is a slow process because I was not raised to live this way. But it is happening over time.

Samhain is a time where the veils are thinner and it is a little easier to commune with the ancestors. I hope you feel empowered by your connection to the land and your ancestors.

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Tarot Layout for Activists and Changemakers

 

Tarot of the Sidhe: Dancer Ten

Tarot of the Sidhe: Dancer Ten

 

1. Which movement or vision of collective change do I resonate with?

2. How does this movement mirror a need for change within myself?

3. What action am I inspired to take?

4. What is the benefit of my taking action?

5. What is the downside of taking action?

6. Who or what will help me take this action? ( Or Which nature energy do I source from?)

7. What blessing will I receive when I complete this process?

 

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Journey to a Healed Ancestral Helping Spirit

FullSizeRender (4)

Wildwood Tarot: The Seer

(This is a reprint from my Solstice newsletter).

In my last post, I described a simple meditation or shamanic journey to connect with your ancestors. There is an important distinction that, once understood, makes these relationships with the ancestors healthier. Many people might not realize the difference between ancestors and ancestral helping spirits.

Ancestors may include both ancestral helping spirits and the dead, who have unresolved issues they take with them into the afterlife. In shamanic cultures, death does not magically resolve the inner conflicts created during life. However, it can make healing more difficult for the ancestors. Some ancestors may try to create resolution for themselves by influencing their living descendants. Often they don’t mean any harm, but their influence can be toxic. This toxic influence is called ghost energy and can help to create dysfunctional family systems. There are excellent in-depth discussions about ghost energy here and here.

Ghost energy can be resolved in different ways. Sometimes a shamanic healing is required. Nicolas Pauccar Calcina describes the use of colors during a Q’ero ancestral healing ceremony. Another practice taught by Daniel Foor involves connecting with healed ancestral helping spirits. These helping spirits are often ancient and possess knowledge that Western people have lost.

A healed ancestral helping spirit feels whole and complete. They want to communicate with you, they may even challenge your assumptions, but they don’t encourage emotional drama. This is because these spirits lived and died in a good way. They have successfully merged with the oneness and now wish to guide their descendants. In some cultures, this is the true meaning of the ancestors. In fact, the distant or deep ancestors are sometimes thought of as the most integrated.

Connecting with a healed ancestral helping spirit can be one of the most important spiritual influences in a person’s life. In my life, the ancestral helping spirits help to ground me. My awareness of them has nurtured a sense of belonging to all of life. This is a great antidote to the feeling of separation that Western culture imposes on many of us. Connecting with a healed ancestral helping spirit can also help to protect us from distracting ghost energy.

  • Ancestral helping spirits can encourage you. They understand your earthly concerns and want you to share your gifts. They have passed down some of these gifts to you.
  • They can help release unhealthy patterns that have been passed down through your family.
  • The reciprocity involved in tending an ancestral shrine reinforces the connection with loved ones who have crossed over. These shrines contain objects that connect to the ancestral helping spirits.
  • Meeting these spirits is a first step in healing ghost energy, if this is an issue in your life.

The following journey is one I have used with other people and myself to meet one of these helping spirits. The intent is to meet an indigenous healed ancestral spirit. This helping spirit will specialize in ancestral healing and be a type of teacher for you. Every person on Earth has this ancestry.

The Journey

  1. Open sacred space.
  2. Journey to the axis mundi. You may see a great tree with deep roots and many branches. Your intent is to meet one of your indigenous healed ancestral helping spirits.
  3. Go through the tunnel to the lower world. In many cultures, this is the location of the ancestors. (Not all ancestral helping spirits will be here.)
  4. Greet your guardian animal spirit or shamanic guide.
  5. The guardian animal spirit or shamanic guide will guide you to some kind of open space like a clearing.
  6. An energy being with a high vibration is coming towards you. As it moves closer, it will take the form of a man or a woman. This is an ancestral helping spirit.
  7. Spend time with this being as long as you wish.
  8. Return through the tunnel or tree roots to the middle world.
  9. Close sacred space.

 

I hope this practice encourages greater contact with these helping spirits in your life. Please feel free to leave comments or any questions you might have.

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Remembering Our Mother’s Mothers

Greenwood Tarot: 10 of Arrows

Greenwood Tarot: 10 of Arrows

(this is a reprint from my Beltane newsletter).

Matrilineal Bloodline Journey

Every person on Earth has indigenous ancestral helping spirits. These ancient ancestors want to help us remember our connection to the earth. They are luminous beings who often appear in dreams or meditations, perhaps taking the form of a symbol or dressed in the clothing of their times. The ancient indigenous ancestors are relatively easy to reach out to, yet it is helpful to also explore the bloodlines that connect them to us. Ancestors sometimes lived in troubled times and may need healing, so try this meditation with a lineage that feels relatively calm. Shamanic ancestral healers like Christina Pratt and Daniel Foor make a distinction between healthy ancestors and “ghosts”. The ghosts are the ancestors with unresolved issues who pass along unhealthy patterns to their descendants.

You may wish to journey into the bodies of your ancestors first. This is a simple journey (or guided meditation) created by Frank McEowen, practitioner of Celtic Shamanism. I have been using this practice to help myself and others explore the matrilineal ancestral lineage. This lineage carries our mitochondrial DNA. The steps are simple. I have created these instructions as if you were exploring your mtDNA. However, it can be used with any of your ancestral lineages. You may want to smudge yourself and light a candle before beginning.

1. Create sacred space.
2. Ground and center yourself.
3. Call on your helping or guardian spirits or spirit teachers.
4. If you practice shamanic journeying, and it feels appropriate, go to the World Tree. Your spirits will guide you.
5. With your guide, see your most recently departed ancestor on a bloodline that you want to explore. If you wish to explore your matrilineal ancestors, it will be your mother, your mother’s mother, or your mother’s mother’s mother.
6. Step into her body. See through her eyes.
7. Now ask to move to her mother’s body. Once again, step into her body. See through her eyes.
8. Continue to do this until you wish to return.
9. Now come back through the female descendants until you reach the most recently deceased relative on that bloodline.
10. Be with your spirit teacher or guardian spirit and receive their blessing. Now thank your ancestors and return.
11. Open your eyes and close sacred space.

If you find this practice to be helpful, I’ll be including an article about journeying to and working with ancient indigenous ancestors in the next newsletter. Remember to journey to bloodlines with more resolved energies. And it is relatively easy to contact your luminous ancestors by calling to them.  Feel free to contact me with any questions here.

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Why The Earth Needs Your Gifts

Greenwood Tarot: The Storyteller

Greenwood Tarot: The Storyteller

Peruvian spiritual teachers say that people who are creative in their work imitate Pachamama, who is always creative. Indigenous peoples believe that all people are connected like the strands of a spider’s web. Every person has gifts that ask to be identified, developed, and given back to the community. By sharing these gifts in a healthy and respectful way, the web becomes stronger.

It would be wonderful if these gifts revealed themselves effortlessly to each of us, but it’s not that easy. Young people in traditional societies may spend time alone in a remote natural setting, or consult a dream expert, before discovering their unique path. Western society teaches us to ignore these traditions, so our individual journeys can be even more challenging. It’s easier for us to get stuck. But here are a few simple ways to reclaim your power.

Getting Unstuck

Trust that your gifts are badly needed. This requires some faith in indigenous wisdom teachings, but you are the only person who can create your strand in the web of life.

It’s okay to change directions. Your gifts are strong enough to be flexible, as long as you don’t abandon what truly matters to you.

The earth is a powerful ally. There are often places in nature that help each of us to feel our best. Try visiting one to renew your dream.

You’re doing this for your ancestors – who couldn’t. The people who came before us achieved great things, but they had regrets and wounds as well. Sometimes it is good to identify the differences between their life patterns and yours.

It’s okay to ask for help. There are so many effective tools available right now. I love Evolutionary Tarot and Soul Dowsing because respect for each person’s inner wisdom is built into the process. We work together to bring that wisdom into conscious awareness.

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Harmonizing with the Elements

Sacred Circle Tarot: The Wheel

Sacred Circle Tarot: The Wheel

For centuries, human beings have honored five elements: earth, water, air, fire, and spirit or ether. These elements make up everything that we see, our bodies, and the world outside of us. It is empowering to build a deeper relationship with them.

This practice of energetically connecting with the elements, and monitoring their balance within your body, is extremely helpful. It makes it easier to perceive these spiritual energies and work with them  for divination or healing work.

You can do this while walking or standing outdoors. Center and ground yourself in your favorite way.

  1. Ask the elements, “Which element do I need?“
  2. Your eyes may be drawn to leaves moving in the wind, a sprinkler or puddle somewhere, a shaft of sunlight, or patch of soil.
  3. The element that you need is often the opposite of the issue that is throwing you out of balance.

Balancing Your Life with the Elements

If you are too earthy, you’re too interested in the practical aspects of life and worried about the mundane. You need the freedom and spiritual connection of wind or the ability to “see the big picture”.

Too airy or connected to the wind element, you need to pay attention to your body, resources, and physical environment. Earth will ground you and help you pay attention to structure and details.

If you’re too watery, your emotions are draining you. Fire will give you confidence and help you to take action.

If fire is running wild, you’re too energetic and pushing yourself too hard. This can lead to frustration or conflicts with people in your life. Water brings peace, connection with feelings, and healing.

 

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Love from the Elements and the Earth

Kunzite and Hiddenite: Crystal Ally Cards

Kunzite and Hiddenite: Crystal Ally Cards

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, a holiday that I have mixed feelings about. I have really enjoyed the recent emphasis on celebrating and nurturing my heart, as much as my relationships. Here are some lovely ways to receive love from the elements and the earth:

Fire: I love candles, so why not light them for Valentine’s Day?

Water: add a few drops of Bach Holly Flower Essence to meals or drinks today in order to encourage the ability to give and receive love.

Air: Red roses symbolize love and passion, but their fragrance also connects me with the nurturing energies of the feminine.

Earth: Rose Quartz, Kunzite and Hiddenite are three stones that I carry with me before and during Valentine’s Day. They are wonderful heart healers and remind me to receive.

Storm: Flower reading and healing or The Lovers reading to check in with my feminine and masculine.

Wishing love and harmony to all of you.

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Elements in the “Fortune Formula”

sacredsitescroaghpatrick

Sacred Sites Tarot: King of Swords (Croagh Patrick)

The four elements are so fundamental to daily life. It’s easy to find them within crystals, herbs, even the tarot suits. Earth, water, wind, and fire are some of my favorite nature energies to work with as well. I love to walk outside and ask myself, “which element do I need?”. I immediately sense the sun, wind, ground, or mist in the air (I live in humid Florida!) – and feel which energy I need.

The Fortune Formula by James Wanless

The Fortune Formula by James Wanless

One of my passions is connecting tarot to the creation of a better relationship with the natural world. I’ve been reading the Fortune Formula by James Wanless, creator of the Voyager Tarot. I was thrilled to discover the following questions; they are perfect for a walk outside, time with my journal, or a tarot reading. I decided to ask these questions while walking, trusting my intuition to suggest an appropriate tarot card to match each element. (This Sacred Sites Tarot King of Swords card was one of one of them.)

“What does air and breath say about liberating yourself?

What does fire say about your creative drive?

What does water and ocean say about your emotions and intuition?

What do rocks and minerals say about your wealth, health, and longevity?”

– James Wanless, Fortune Formula

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Welcoming Brigid

Brigid: Dark Goddess Tarot

Brigid: Dark Goddess Tarot

Bride (Brìghde) or Brigid is a Celtic goddess of creativity, healing, and poetry. Imbolc is her holiday, falling on the first day of February. In Scotland, people lit candles in her honour and visited holy wells on her feast day. This combination of fire and water is an intriguing aspect of the goddess, depicted above as “Temperance” in the Dark Goddess Tarot. Imbolc reminds me to take my first steps to manifest the “seed” I received at the Winter Solstice.

Brìghde is a goddess who can bestow healing wisdom and inspired action. In the days leading up to Imbolc, I use this layout and candle divination to cultivate both qualities. For me, the combination of candlelight and a cup of dried blueberry and elderberry tea represent both energies associated with Brigid.

Imbolc layout

Imbolc layout

You will need a tarot or oracle deck, candle, and (optional) a great cup of herbal tea. Center and ground yourself in your favorite way.

  1. Light a candle. You can “make the fire friendly” by offering a tiny piece of sage to burn in the candle flame. I like to flick a drop of tea on the floor to thank the earth.
  2. Turn your deck of cards face-up. Draw one card to represent healing and another that represents inspired action.
  3. Look at your healing card. Breathe into your left side and pay attention to how receptive you are to healing.
  4. Look at your card of inspired action. Breathe into your right side and notice if you feel blocked or ready to act.
  5. Turn the cards face-down. Shuffle and ask for a card that will balance or bring the two together. Select a card and meditate with it for a few moments. Check in with your body. Do your left and right sides feel connected?
  6. Once you feel relaxed, begin asking your questions of the candle flame. You can wait for the flame to increase in a dramatic way, signaling a “yes” answer. Or you can scry into the flame.

I hope your year of creative inspiration begins with Imbolc.

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Manifesting with Star Energies: Ursa Major

Ursa Major

Ursa Major

Winter is a time when the earth seems to sleep, dreaming of new growth in the spring. We slow down, spend more time indoors, and begin taking our first steps towards creating our goals for the year. Many spiritual teachers advise us to take the time to tune in and (as Christina Pratt suggests) “renew your dream”.

Stars, earth and wind are some of the powerful nature energies that I source from during this time. Stars seem especially bright in the winter night sky. Since I love star lore, I was thrilled to discover Ursa Major and its connection to soul purpose. It makes sense; this constellation is a pointer to the North Star.

Ursa Major (or the Great Bear) can be seen year-round in the northern hemisphere. Like bears in hibernation, this constellation becomes more visible after the vernal equinox. It is a powerful symbol for many cultures, even representing Seven Sages Sages who guide mankind. And several galaxies are located in this part of the sky.

So let the stars that guided Paleolithic hunters lead you towards a more fulfilling life.

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