As soon as you pass into the inner realms, the little things with which we surround ourselves fade away. Our excuses to ourselves, our fantasies and our deliberate blindness all fall away, leaving us no option but to see ourselves as we truly are. This is not a spiritual revelation that happens overnight. It is a slow but steady awakening from which we cannot retreat .
We gradually begin to see the true consequences of our actions , be they good or bad, and we are unable to turn from them. 'Sorry' is a word that does not exist in the inner worlds. If you cause something to happen, you and you alone are fully responsible for the full unraveling of the consequences of your action. No matter how long, how many life times, how many regrets you have. It is not a punishment, merely a cause and reaction. It is the natural law of power and balance.
Ancestral work is one of the hardest things to do, mainly because of the emotional baggage usually passed down through families. But also because of the energetic dynamics of the work. When you do ancestral work, you are not truly working with an individual but a whole genetic line that flows in both past and future.
Modern concepts of ancestral work are taken from tribal and shamanic practices without the accompanied wisdom of land, beings and power. Tribal ancestral work consists of working or communing with a being that is not particularly your ancestor, but is a composite being made up of human, faery and land consciousness. Most ethnic shamans or tribal magicians understand this, without rationalizing it, because the consciousness of the people is such that it operates from within a holism .
A faery being or land spirit connects with a human at birth, and the tribal consciousness is woven into the child from the moment it draws breath. So when the person dies, the consciousness of that faery being is still there and operating within the structure of the human identity. It is this being that is worked with as an ancestor within a tribal cultural setting. It is not masquerading as an ancestor, rather , it upholds part of who that human was in one life, echoing the soul that has since moved on.
A second form of ancestral contact is working with ancestors within the world's many ritual burial mounds. In this case, they are still present in a spirit form for us to work with. They are there to do a job within a certain span of time, usually connected to the welfare of the land. The greatest tragedy occurs when archeologists, in their pursuit of the past, hack into and remove the bodies of these sleepers. When a body is removed from its ritual sleeping place, the interaction between the sleeper and the land is ended.
So what are sleepers and how do they get there? A sleeper is a priest or priestess who has opted to step out of the cycle of birth and death to act as a threshold or inner contact between the tribe, the land and the inner worlds. The death would have been a ritual slaying with the permission of the victim. Please note that the Aztec sacrifices were a degenerate form of this tradition, and forced sacrifices are relatively modern in history. What we see in the Aztec culture are the twisted remnants of what was once a sacred mystery.
The ceremony of ritual slaying would ensure that the spirit of the person did not pass on, but stayed within the body that was usually, but not always, buried the earth. A mound was built around the sleeper: it was revered as a sacred place. The seers of the tribe would establish contact with the sleeper and the sleeper would guide the tribe by acting as an intermediary between the inner contacts, the deities, and the people.
Some sleepers where there as guardians of the land. Their spirit would guard the land or sacred enclosures, keeping the land healthy and strong. It is ironic in today's world, which has the most need of these sleepers, that we dig them up and stick them on public show.
Not only is this a terrible indignity, but it strips the land of the interaction between humanity and the sacred earth. All inner protection that the land and tribe jointly enjoyed is destroyed out of greed and curiosity.
There are many examples of this destruction, from the beautiful tattooed priestess on the Altai to the mystery woman in England. In the early 1990's, Bath Abbey in the UK found a sacred burial while undergoing renovation of the crypt. It consisted of a woman buried in the center of a circle of men. It was thought to be an early Christian burial. The men were re interred with a full requiem mass. The woman? She was placed in a recess in the floor of the crypt and a plate of toughened glass laid over her so that she could attract the tourists.
The Abbey authorities stated that the burial was early Christian . So do not early Christian women have the right to a Christian burial too ? The burial was situated in the immediate enclosure of the ancient sacred springs and temple that was dedicated, in ancient times, to an Underworld Goddess called Sul. It later became the roman baths of Sulis Minerva.
It does not take a masters degree to work out that the burial was probably some late pagan early Christian ritual burial to honor the Goddess or the Mother of God. It was very primitive and hostile treatment that the bones of this woman suffered at the hands of the modern church.
Such burials should be honored, and left unopened, untouched. As a source of Ancestral wisdom, they should be honored by visits and communion. Sitting quietly and going in to vision, you could approach the mound carefully and offer respect to the sleeper. You may not get a response ( they are sleeping!), or you might get a very vigorous discourse from a mediator who is very willing to work with you. You have to find out for yourself.
They rules of etiquette are : no burying crystals ! Be respectful and maybe leave a gift on the mound of something that is precious to you. If you live near the site, take regular offerings of food that you have made yourself and leave it there for the animals to eat. ( Just make sure it is something safe for animals ie no salt, chocolate etc )
You will soon establish your own skills at communion and will learn very quickly when to leave a mound alone.
The form of ancestral contact that my vision employs, is working with the ancestor in their own time. You are not working with a dead person who is hanging around just for you to contact them. You are reaching out of time, passing through timelessness to connect with a person in their own life. Interacting at that level effects all the generations that come after that person.
This dissolving of the barriers of time is the key to ancestral work. So what is time? It is a condition that is bound by substance, movement, gravity. Our everyday living on the surface of the planet is bound in a series of rhythms and cycles. These cycles denote time, a linear time that starts at A and finishes at B. We accept this as a whole reality: the be all and end of life. And with that acceptance, comes the concept that life has no inner pattern nor existence outside of the physical body. And if we look at the world simply from that physical plane, then it is not that far from the truth.
But the world is not just a physical plane. There are many levels of consciousness, many forms of existence and energy that exist without physical expression. The physical substance is merely the outermost expression of being: the end of the line, so to speak. Once you stretch beyond the physical substance, to the inner consciousness, then gravity and time have no meaning. They are simply laws that govern substance, but they do not govern reality.
Stepping out or beyond the base physical reality frees a person from the bonds of time. It allows them to experience the true expression of consciousness without its strictures of substance.
To step out of time, you must take your consciousness beyond the world of substance. Doing that is simpler than it sounds. Tuning into the inner flame and passing through the flame in to the void obviates time immediately : allowing you, by the power of disciplined thought, to move freely through time. This is not a theory. It is an active working technique.
Next comes the question of why would you do ancestral work and what you would use such a working for? Working through and with your ancestors is probably one of the most profound and powerful ways to work on tribal/family issues. It is also a very effective way of working on ones own internal issues beyond the usual mundane gripes that we carry.
When you trace back and work with an ancestor, you are given the opportunity to interact and transform the negative and difficult patterns that become so entrenched. These patterns trickle down through the generations and effect everyone in their path.
As the generations flower, the original situation that manifested the pattern is forgotten, but the effect still lives on from generation to generation. Simply finding the original cause of a family pattern of behavior can go a long way towards healing that pattern.
The other great joy of this particular work is that it often uncovers surprises. It is work that is often undertaken by people who have no real idea of who their family is. It enables them to track back through their line and reconnect with their ancestral and tribal line. No matter how fast we live and how independent we consider ourselves, there comes a time when the rooted-ness of blood becomes very important.
CEREMONY FOR THE ANCESTORS
The are many ceremonies for ancestors in the various spiritual traditions so I do not see any need to add to rather a large world collection. However, this is a little something which is less formal.
If you live near an ancestral burial ground for your own family, this is where you will work. If you do not, find the local burial ground and look for the oldest untended graves. These are someone's ancestors, but their memory is uncared for. By caring for ( adopting) a forgotten ancestor, you are taking a step towards the consciousness of responsibility. Maybe someone somewhere is doing the same for your ancestors.
When you have found what you are looking for, take them a gift of food or wine. Put it on their graves and tell them, in your mind about yourself. Tell them about your world, what is good and what is bad. Tend their grave, plant flowers , leave poems written and folded up.
It is not that they are hanging around listening, they will probably be well on their cycle of birth and death. It is much deeper than the personal. It is the respect and acknowledgment of what has been before. It is respecting the struggles that the early peoples went through so that we may have life. It honors their memory which is all part of the building blocks of community.
If you choose to honor and tend a ceremonial burial ( a mound, chamber etc. that is still intact ) then it is a different story. The consciousness of that person is still there, tied to the land or tribe.
They offered themselves in sacrifice to act as an interface between the tribe and the people, or they agreed to such a burial so that they could stay within the consciousness of the land in service. This is why it is so destructive for archeologists to remove ceremonial burials: they are stripping the land of its human interface.
With such a burial, it is often easy to interact with the being that is there. Honor them and be quietly respectful. Offer your best wine and food as an energetic gift. Do not try to perform ceremonies or magic in connection with them, that is just bad manners. Instead, be a servant, a tender, to acknowledge them without interfering with their work.
I made contact with a woman in a ceremonial burial in Madison WI, where there are many such burial mounds. All she wanted was to be remembered. I offered her a ring of gold in friendship. It was a gold ear loop. Sometimes I wear the other one and leave one ear bare in her memory. So where ever I touch the naked lobe, I think of her and she is honored in her work. It is very simple and clear. That is all they want.
© COPYRIGHT 2001 JOSEPHINE DUNNE, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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