The Legacy of the Ancestors
It’s now a full year later, my solar return has come and gone, and the entire world has been forced to reconcile with great disruptions, tragedies and impossible events. Like everyone else, I’ve been stripped down to the essentials of refuge, food, medicine and other basic needs, with the comfort of social life relegated to the sidelines. Even going for a walk is daunting, with the potential of a deadly virus waiting around the corner to contaminate our lives. And how dis-empowering, to think of the people, places, and objects of our desire as a hidden source of danger!
New words are part of our vocabulary too – terms like “self-isolation,” “shelter in place,” “quarantine,” “essential workers,” “community spread,” “flatten the curve,” “online reality,” or “covidiot” (covid denier). Instead of café culture, bookstore browsing, visiting art galleries and going to spiritual gatherings and conferences, we now spend our days in our homes - humble or palatial as they may be. Except for the super-rich, everyone is suffering an economic hit, and the ability to keep a roof over our heads is in jeopardy. Knowing how capitalism is structured, without the daily intake of profits our beloved community restaurants and shops will never rise from the ashes. And right now, it’s hard to imagine what the world will look like, in a post-COVID era.
Intellectually I understand that the virus will run its course – some will catch it, others never will; some will die and others recover. These are plain truths I can deal with, with a grudging acceptance and communal grieving. But still, there is stress in the disruption of my routine, plus the ongoing worry of falling ill. COVID-19 has changed our world on a scale never seen before, and yet we had so much to begin with! Until 2020 I was feeling the irony of living in an era of hope and cultural renaissance, at the same time that western civilization seemed to be collapsing under its own weight. For many years I watched for omens of the apocalypse, and as a society, we’ve been comfortable with “the sky falling” for decades now. Warnings of monumental change and the breakdown of ecosystems have been part of the public discourse for my entire adult life. A civilization that destroys the natural world to live, will destroy itself. It’s a given. And altering the balance of nature by massive deforestation and the annihilation of natural habitat, can unleash viruses like COVID-19 on the world.
During the summer of 2020 as the pandemic set in, and after a proper time of adjustment and bemoaning, I finally went, “wait a minute!” As a Celtic Animist with a focus on Matriarchal Studies, I had an epiphany that the clanswomen in my motherline would also have endured times of dire deprivation, as no era is exempt from the cyclical forces of birth, life, death and rebirth. They would have found their ingenuity and strength when the rains did not come, when the ground was barren, when the forest was on fire, when the storm lashed the valley, when the river flooded the land in the middle of the night, when disease gripped the babies and the Elders, when a horde of marauding horsemen threatened their borders, and when the cold and ice was so unrelenting they thought it would never end. And to withstand all this, and more, without electricity, hot baths, craft rooms, Netflix or gourmet food delivery!
Our Ancient Mothers love us so much, they are always there to support us, and patiently guide us. Working from an eternal place of continuity and care, our motherlines have prepared us for a “time of awakening,” when the power of the Eternal Feminine is rising once again. The gifts of the Ancestral Mothers are manifesting in every sphere – in the urgency of women’s leadership, the revival of the gift economy and egalitarian social organizations, the emphasis on the “we” instead of the “me,” the double roles of the birth and death doula, the need for wise elders, the supremacy of unconditional love, and the passion for venerating our Beloved Ancestors in the here and now. As in ancient times, on the rise today are the green seers, mystics and spirit-walkers, those skilled with oracles, dream and vision interpretation, storytellers, gardeners, artisans, warriors and guardians. We have re-discovered our skill with animist lifeways, interspecies communication, plant-spirit medicine, important rites of passage, magical intuitive “knowing,” honoring the sacred, reciprocity with Earth Community – and finally, making decisions that honor the Seven Generations yet to come.
Drought, fire, flood, hurricane, war, famine, disease – all these and more we have endured and will endure again. Keeping the era in perspective, there is also a “destroyer” aspect to feminine deity, and goddesses like Kali and Coatlique bequeath the land and all beings with cataclysmic events in the “great re-balancing” – cycle upon cycle through the great wheel of time.
So what is the best way forward? The stress and grief we are facing is real. And yet, we need to keep our spirits up and stay positive! To trust that the Primordial Mothers - the weavers embedded in the land - are summoning us back to our most ancient selves, to the Ancestors and wild nature. For the first time in many years, Mother Earth is flourishing from reduced pollution, and the portal is open wide to animist connections and nature bonding. The natural world remains the foundation of all life, and the sacred wisdom of re-connection has not wavered. Even in the modern era we are still “People of the Earth” and our true power is found in our ancient communal past, when we remember the sacred essence our bodies evolved from, so many aeons ago.
As we connect to the land, the Ancestral Mothers witness us from the thin place between the worlds, know our hearts and souls, and help us to heal from trauma. They send us the message that we will recover from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger, smarter and more compassionate, and new initiatives will manifest as we rise to the challenge. And at some point in the not-too-distant future, the impulse to find our kindred spirits will bring us back to each other again. As we gradually emerge from this traumatic time over the summer of 2021, I intend to find a Grandmother Tree, curl up in her roots and pray - pray for the revival of our beloved Earth Community.