Getting Back On Track – Ancestors

The year I began my blog there was a Pagan Blog Project running where each week the organisers would post the letter for the week along with some suggestions of what we could write about. There was even a Facebook group for us to share our blogs in. This project was a real blessing as it made me write and helped me to blog regularly. Following this I found a group for Monday Musings which also helped me to keep blogging but sadly both of these ended and ever since I have found it harder to ensure I am blogging regularly. So this year I have made a decision:)

I am not going to pressurise myself by promising I am going to post every week, sometimes it may be more, sometimes less, but what I am going to do is go back through the alphabet and start again at A. I have decided that I will do two things.

1) I will write a new blog using a different word for my letter of the week

2) I will add a link to any Pagan Blog Projects or Monday Musings that are for the same letter

This way some weeks you will get two blogs for the price of one without having to search back through the archives.

So here we go 🙂

A is for Ancestors

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When I think about my ancestors there are two strands to my thoughts. One of these is  my family and the other ‘all that exists’.

If I take my family first  don’t know a lot about my ancestors, only my immediate family, as far back as my grandparents. I know stories and snippets of memories beyond this but no hard facts and my pathetic efforts at tracing my family ground to a resounding halt.

Some things I do know, such as the fact that my maternal grandmother was one of, I believe seven, but they were spread out between various places in the United Kingdom and U.S.A. and contact between them became intermittent. I know that I have relatives in USA some of whom are of Italian/American decent.  I also know that my paternal great grandparents were Irish but with family records being lost after my father passed I don’t know their names or where they were from. Like many things, by the time I was interested those who could have told me were no longer with us.

Growing up we were never a family who had photographs of ancestors, or of anything else on display and despite being an avid photographer, like my father was, it is scenery and animals that I take photos of, not people, and again none are on display. This is in stark contrast to those who might not only have photographs or paintings of their ancestors around the house but also on their altars as a sign of respect and constant remembrance. Just think about stately homes with large paintings depicting generations of ancestors, a constant reminder of those who have walked this path before. How far away from this some of us, myself included have moved.

In shamanism though I am very fortunate for I can journey to meet and spend time with my ancestors even if I do not know who or what they were. I am still able to make and develop connections. Quite early on my shamanic path I was journeying to meet my ancestors and can still remember my surprise at being able to meet and connect with generations of ancestors despite having no information on them or knowledge of them. I have walked back in time in shamanic dance workshops, connecting with my ancestral past as I have travelled, I have sat with ancestors deep in conversation and am fortunate enough to have a past life ancestor as one of my guides, someone whom I count as one of the biggest influences on my shamanic path.

It is though the sense of being one with everything which gives me my greatest connection to my ancestors and again it was early on my shamanic path that I was shown this. During a shamanic journey working with my ancestors I found myself becoming pure energy and in that energetic state was flew around becoming one with animals, birds, trees, plants, earth, sand, sea, sky, stars and in this realised the truth of my ancestors and I being part of all that exists and that all that exists are my ancestors.

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My original post for A was on Altars and if you click here you can read about them too

Do you have an altar, shrine or sacred space?

 

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I do have an altar but it’s not a worshiping at altar, more somewhere I leave some of the objects and tools that are important to me. At the moment on my altar are; a Cambodian Buddha, a Tibetan Prayer Wheel, some stones (earth), feathers including a condor and an eagle feather (tools but also air), shells (water), a tea light (fire) fetishes of a sun and a condor gifted me in Bolivia and a key.

As someone who is probably best described as a shamanic pagan I don’t workship gods or goddesses and so have no need of an altar or shrine dedicated to anyone. My belief is that everything that exists has a spirit and so I connect with the spirit of whatever or whoever I am working with, usually in non ordinary reality, but sometimes in this one.

I do though use sacred space to work in if I feel it is needed but again this isn’t a fixed ritual as I also believe that we carry sacred space within us and so wherever I am working is sacred space.

On my website is an article about sacred space but to save you having to go and find it if you follow this link it will take you straight there: Sacred Space

Monday Musings – Altars

imageThe only thing an altar should be is a special place to you, other than that it can be anything and be anywhere e.g. in the house, in a special room, on a shelf, in a window, on the floor, or even outside in nature. It can change whenever it needs to change such as over time as you change, with the seasons or with each turn of the wheel of the year. It can be a place where you go to connect with something e.g. spirits, the divine, with your ancestors, or with yourself. It can be a place where you worship or simply a place you like to visit.

The photo on here is of my own altar. It is basically the top shelf of a bookcase in my healing room. Despite having a Cambodian Buddha on it, my altar is not somewhere that I go to worship for I do not worship gods, goddesses or any spirit come to that. My altar is a place where I keep some of the things that are important to me and this includes some of the tools whose spirits I work with. All of the items there are present because their energy makes a positive contribution in some way.

The Buddha is on my altar simply because I like its energy and the peace it brings me when I look at it. The Buddhist prayer wheel is from Nepal which brings back memories, also I love the idea that inside it is the Buddhist peace prayer and that every spin of the wheel sends out the prayer 10,000 times to the world. Tucked in between the prayer wheel and the Buddha is a Reiki crystal which was a present from one of my students. The shape and energy of the crystal remind me of the purity of the energy of Reiki and the gift of being able to work with it and pass it on to others. The key on the blue ribbon was also a present. On it is inscribed that it is a journeying key and this reflects another very important area of my life, that of shamanism.

At the back are two fetishes from the witch’s market in Peru, a sun which, along with the small candle, represents the element Fire and the Condor which came from a witch who told me it was for a traveller. It also balances the energy of Eagle which is here in the small bundle of eagle feathers at the front right. I have other feathers there too, the large feather is from Condor and was another gift. Its spirit works with me in many ways including realigning, clearing and smoothing the energy field. There are other feathers here but the remaining feather that can be clearly seen is Owl. This was a gift at a time of initiation and its spirit now works with me usually at times of initiation of others. Feathers also represent the element Air whereas the various stones that can be seen on my altar represent the energy of Earth. I know how important it is for me to have balance in the energy of elements so also on my altar is, but perhaps not visible here, a shell which represents the element Water.

There are other items on my altar but I am sure that by now you get the idea. Sometimes I add to my altar, sometimes I take away. The cloth and colour of cloth changes often but there is no regular pattern to the changes. Some items are always there, some shift in and out depending on what I need. I always check the energy of the placing of things on my altar and while it may not always look amazing, the energy of it is always perfect for me and the space it is in.

One thing I hadn’t realised until I was writing this is how many of the items on my altar have been gifted to me. This does not have to be so but is how it is for me, at the moment anyway.

There are no rules about altars, no right or wrong, so creating an altar is always a very personal activity and reflects the person who has created it, their energy, their beliefs and what is important to them.

 

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