Learn More About Going into the Dark.

Learn More About Going into the Dark.

Ancestors: Who Made Us?

Ancestors: Who Made Us?

My family is full of stories of those who have gone before us, those from whose lives I come, those who—as someone in a Facebook group of mine said—made me. Those who made me.

It’s an uncomfortable feeling, thinking of ourselves as being more than OUR OWN selves. Yet there are so many ways in which we do not belong to ourselves alone.

For one thing, there are the way in which we work to leave a legacy for our descendants, whether we ever have children or not. Nonetheless, childrearing is one form of legacy building. But tree planting and farming, writing, art-making, Stone Circle building (wave to my friends at Four Quarters Farm), gardening, and all kinds of relationship sustaining activities shape the world to come.

Those extended actions shape the world, and by “world,” I mean Earth and all Her creatures, including our human descendants.

We hope to make a difference—a positive difference—with our lives. We long to find a way to leave things better than we found them. Some of us push ourselves too hard in this regard.

globe-907709_1920More of us disregard our responsibility to the future, I would say. More of us are asleep, not remembering who we are and the power we wield at every moment. I know I am more forgetful of my power than not.

So how do we turn our own little ships around? How do we learn to attend to our own legacy?

One way is to consider what I once heard described in Buddhist terms as, “The Ten Thousand Things.” The Ten Thousand Things are limitless. Ten thousand is a number like 144,000 in the Bible. It means limitless, numberless, and sometimes even all. The idea of the Ten Thousand Things is that there are limitless, numberless, even infinite forces that bring us to this moment. Yes, the DNA of those who sired and birthed us. But so much more. Yes, the people who were their parents. But so much more.

The Ten Thousand Things include things like the fields that have grown the food we have eaten. The people who taught us to make choices, and the choices we have made as a result of that teaching. Those who have woven, cut, sewn, and sold our clothing. And the Earthly systems that have made our clothing possible. The books we read and the people who’ve written them. The politicians who have worked—whether as true public servants or not—and affected our lives and the lives of millions, even billions of people.

And there is yet another way of thinking about our own legacy and how we have come to be. And that is to consider our Ancestors of Blood, Adoption, and Inspiration. Back to those people who made us.

Some of those people are people whose DNA we closely share.

Some of those people are people who affected us and raised as children. (They may or may not be the people whose DNA we most closely share.)

Some of those people are the people with whom we are related, those whose names we know, those whose names we don’t, those who lives we know about, and those who have been lost to us through the marching of time and the loss of memory; through violence, war and genocide; or through oppression and injustice.

person silhouetted against starry skyBut the fact remains that we all have ancestors. And not only that, ultimately, go back far enough, and we share them. We share them. We are star stuff. We are Earth-lings. We are children of Earth and Starry Heaven. We are One.

And yet, just like consciousness and Oneness, we also have particular ancestors of Blood, Adoption, and Inspiration. There are particular people to whom we might light candles, make offerings, or pray. There are particular ones of our Mighty Dead, particular ones we knew or have heard tales about…these are the ones to whom we are most likely to offer light and freshness through the Veil.

And indeed, Through the Veil is my new day-long, online retreat. On October 29th, we will spend time learning about, telling stories about, and honoring our own and one another’s Mighty Dead. We will talk about what it means to have the mixed gifts that Ancestors have left us. We will talk about the gifts we want to leave as a result of the ones we have received.

And while our time together is not a séance, we will nonetheless ponder, contemplate, and potentially commune with our Dead.

The financial cost to you of this event is $60. Most other, four-call, day-long events like this cost upwards of $300. Much of what I’m doing for this retreat is a gift to you. The real cost to you will be in taking the time for you. Retreats are special. They are deep, contemplative times. There will be time between calls to eat, rest, walk, take care of family obligations, etc. But still, it is prioritizing the time that Saturday the 29th that is the true cost, and the true gift for you.

Please do be in touch if you have questions. And to get lots more delicious, helpful information, go here and explore! I hope to hear from you soon!

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4 Responses

  1. On the 29th, Catharine, I will be 2.5 hours away from home, at a hot springs, having a pre-DotD (and my birthday) retreat and soaking away stored aches, pains, and fears. I’ll be with you in spirit.

    Celebrating the turn of the wheel with you as we head into the northern hemisphere darkness, knowing that life is germinating and gathering energy underground. Blessed be.

  2. Catharine, I enjoyed reading your description of ancestors and your expanded view of legacy, which is especially relevant for those who don’t have children. Have a wonderful retreat; I’m sure it will plunge very deep.

    1. Juliet, it appears that I never responded to your reply! I’m so sorry. Thank you very much for your kindness. I learned about Ancestors of Spirit long ago, and legacy to all beings somewhat later. Both, I think, are important for all of us, whether we have children or no.

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