We Are the Ancestors

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by Glenys Livingstone Ph.D.

originally published in Gaian Voices Volume 6, Number 1 & 2, 2008.

In the last couple of years two significant friends of mine have passed, trans-formed. I feel deeply their passing. I have photos of them on my altar, amongst many other photos and special objects … memories arranged in an order I find meaningful. Such memories are like fossils in layers of Earth – She remembers Her story, I remember my story. I remember these beloved ones who have been part of creating this present moment. Their lives have been harvested earlier than I and others would have wished, yet in that, many have received their gift, their presence, more intensely. It is interesting to me how there is a way in which an absence can be a presence. What each of these two friends has given me while they lived in this form has grown stronger within me in their trans-forming.

One taught me Poetry … I write it with a capital because it was sacred expression: he could speak Rumi and Iraqi and Rilke by heart, and with the female pronoun for the Divine which pleased me. He could seduce whole groups of people gathered for other purposes, with these oratory experiences. I learned from him how people loved to hear this sacred Poetry, to have this experience: it was a hint of a form of “church” or ceremony that most have little real access to. I now facilitate seasonal ceremonies that I understand as Poetic experiences. And I have learned by heart some of the Poetry he used to speak. His presence lives in me in this way.

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Lyn’s ceremonial basket decorated for Samhain 2009.

My other friend who passed, Lyn, used to come to the seasonal ceremonies at my place and she also came to all the Goddess classes I taught. She was an artist and a drummer and a single mother. She knew deeply the journey of a woman learning to speak for herself, to speak her story. Our women’s circles were a space where she grew that. In her passing she invited three of us – her Goddess circle – to create a Goddess ceremony for her funeral. We did and it was beautiful: many learned from it and expressed desire for such ceremony for their own passing. I inherited from Lyn a large shallow woven grass basket which is now permanently in the ceremonial space in my Aphrodite corner. For each Seasonal Moment and ceremony I decorate it according to the colours and theme of the seasonal transition. At Summer Solstice I use it to hold a bounty of food in the ceremony.

Lyn’s departure from us had eventuated Poetically, taking place at Autumn Equinox when traditionally the story is that the Beloved Daughter (Persephone) is lost: the Seed goes into the Earth. Lyn’s last ceremony with us had been Summer Solstice when we throw a full flower on the fire representing our returning of our fullness of Being to the Universe. We have many beautiful photos of Lyn’s participation in all the ceremonial celebrations, but particularly those of Spring Equinox, when the Beloved Daughter returns from the depths with new Wisdom won. I see Lyn smiling radiantly holding a large bouquet of flowers. I talk to her often in my mind as I prepare for ceremonies. I am aware of her as a sister who has gone before me – a Persephone on the “other side of the veils” as we may think of it. Whereas really we are all present in the flux of Creativity – this manifest form and the manifesting all at once: it is simply a matter of perspective. That is, just as the colour green may appear simply as blue and yellow dots close up … further back there is a synergy, a present relationship.

Our present lives are formed by all who came before us. We are in-formed by them, whether conscious or not. They are really not so far away as we have often thought and felt, as many of us have been brought up to believe and sense. It is possible for each of us to make an effort to remember, to be our own archaeologists … of our own bodyminds, to plumb our depths. This Land within our own skins holds so much, and it may be jogged by photos, objects and places, but it also may be listened to and felt. Within our own organism is a Thread of Life that goes all the way back to Origins. We are in fact seamlessly connected to Origins via human ancestors and via the entire Context within which all these ones arose.

It is good to remember our lineage – the common one we all share, via our Beloved Ones who pass, who pull us back into the Deep to whom we belong. And when I see the Beauty in the new young ones … which I do in my grandchildren, I have felt them as the “Promised Ones” – a Beauty to die for! And we do! We become the ancestors – we die for this beauty, make space for the new: we may graciously let go. The future is born of us, as we are born of the past. We are the end and also the beginning.

copyright: Glenys Livingstone 2008

CD setFor a Samhain/Deep Autumn Meditation: PaGaian Cosmology Meditations where individual tracks are available digitally. Samhain/Deep Autumn Meditation is $3.25: it is a package of tracks 1, 2 and 3 off CD 1 – about 22 mins all up, though one should allow longer for the actual experience.

For a taste of the meditation

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