Walking with ancestors

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This morning was one of those mornings when I felt my time was well spent. I was called to visit woods, a particular place I know well. Whenever I am called like this I always follow and I got in my car this morning open to what messages awaited me.

A smell of pines surrounded me on the way to the woods and a field of associations opened up in my awareness. Pines connect me to home, a land I was born in and another place where that association is often activated in is Scotland. I love pine trees and I am so familiar with the smell. While driving I craved to see them and realised that was one reason I was called to this particular wood and not any other. This is the only place where I can find pines in a particular corner of that forest I knew well and worked in before.

 

As I walked into the woods with confidence and anticipation I came across a broken pine branch straight away. I picked it up and put it against my face. The smell at this point was constantly around me and I breathed it in deeply feeling connected. I also felt not alone. It took me back to the days when I was young and mushroom picking with my parents and grandparents. I also remembered my encounters with pines in Scotland and Wales, thick, furry canopy in dark green against the purest blue of the sky. Soft carpet of fallen needles underneath my feet and that crunch of dry foliage and sticks that is so familiar to my ears.

And then there it was, a squirrel. It sat still at the foot of a pine tree and I felt energy going through me and tears coming to my eyes. Grandmother. Memories flooded in. My grandmother loved squirrels. She even had a couple of stuffed ones in her flat. I remember them vividly sitting on top of a television. I watched the squirrel and it watched me. I never before witnessed a squirrel be so still for quite some time. It didn’t run or turn just watched me before starting to climb a tree but slowly with shaking her tail in an interesting sort of way. I felt my grandmother near me as she often is. I the sat down on a stump and my granddad came to mine. I didn’t know him too well but I was around him a lot and have so many memories of him painting and care taking his wounded foot. It needed bandages changed every day and he would do it in this tiny stool, looked like a tree stump. I felt him around too.
In a distance I perceived a deer, vulnerable, soft and gentle, innocent and pure. My sister, I thought, and with a fresh breeze I observed a silver beech swaying her long green sleeves in a wind dance. The birch is a maiden tree to me and also strongly associated with my home land. My sister died young and was the sweetest soul.

Pine smell continued to be around me and it felt comforting. My relatives are buried in a pine woodland cemetery far away in Russia, Siberia. Three graves together amidst pines with rows singing their demands and moans into the wind. Don’t you think crows often sound like that they are dissatisfied with it all. I love them, very characterful and unashamed of their nature. My sense of smell took me to that cemetery once again, a place I remember well. I also had an awareness of my father currently being there and perhaps in the actual cemetery as I sat on a tree stump in England communing with ancestors in nature. I created an intuitive ‘grave’ collage on the ground and while in that space it felt like I was in the actual place.

 

They live within us and their ash fertilising our souls and make us grow with each breath and memory of that connection.
I have always associated deep sadness with the land of my birth, yet today I don’t feel it. They have moved on a long time ago and I have known about it for sometime. They are together, but also go on travels of their own to be with their own essence. It is a forever kind of connection like water or air that couldn’t separate itself from one another’s being. Even with letting go the memory is stamped forever on a canvas of their experience. They might become strangers over cycles yet there will always be a certain recognition on every encounter and there are many encounters throughout a life time, I believe.

As I was leaving I came across these three crosses amidst trees. They looked significant and made sense to me.

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This Litha I am incorporating my ancestors’ altar into my main one for the first time. It feels right to perform a ritual in their honour around this time in June, around anniversary dates and what today’s walk taught me was that remembering my blood lines is to be included in my spiritual practice and something that is natural and within me.

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Life and death as one

life and death

Not taking risks, avoiding what we perceive as ‘risky’ implies that there’s no freedom in our choices only a stagnant, familiar and constrained. Life imprisoned is like constant death anxiety. Surely the more death is feared the more we should embrace life yet we ignore it as if death is not present in life but something of a distant abstract idea, concept that is never to materialise.

Being free in life means being free in death, not afraid of taking a turn unconventional, perhaps, but something that calls us in the moment. Mistake, you say? That’s an instant regret about choosing freedom. That’s beating yourself up about having courage to live in the moment. There are no mistakes only a decision taken in the moment, a choice. How we take that turn is up to us. Will be go for it unconditionally and without attachment to an outcome, or cautiously with a degree of fear in the background. Both are valid to some extent and both are possible.

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When death comes…

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When death comes I will not shudder before its cold stare
For I have witnessed bluebell woods at spring time
I will not turn my face away from its shadowy presence as my soul remembers the smell of hawthorn flowers
Embrace of a child as sweet as honey is in my skin’s memory, so death’s empty hands can perform its ritual
I will surrender my body. Take it. It’s ready. It has been a precious carrier of love, loss, tragedy and ecstasy, it knew it all, but
I will keep my soul’s essence, as I am led through the darkness into the light of myself
For I know the joy I felt in my life and I have seen the sunset with my sweetheart as the most sacred moment
I touched the earth with my bare feet and felt the sweet song of a morning breeze
I won’t turn away as I know myself just as death knows me who’s always walked
Alongside me
We will walk together hand in hand towards the next adventure with no regrets and only peace for eternal company

Raw Pagan

Death and rebirth in dreams

death and rebirth in dreams

Dreams are lately filled with things dying, bodies falling apart and fresh blood. There are recognisable themes of death and rebirth and the need to step into the new, which is a signature of this year. This is time to be reborn into a new identity, into the ‘now’ identity. Blood in dreams signifies new life, new beginnings. It is life-giving and our base line and indication we are living and breathing. It has a lovely vibration for me in my dreams and I welcome ‘bleeding’ dreams. I also got to know well that scenes of death, bodies, funerals and all things associated with the ultimate end are ways of showing me that parts of myself, as they are, need to ‘die’, renew, rebirth. In alchemy this process is called Motificatio

Following death dreams there is always an appearance of things transforming and for me it is always associated with love and alchemical marriage of the feminine and masculine. These are my absolute favourite dreams, because of how they feel. Incredible unconditional love surges through my body and all senses as I sleep in deep enjoyment of that experience. Those dreams are often difficult to explain or even express what they felt like as they are beyond words beautiful, other worldly. They are truly an embodied experience of love so huge, which we are part of.

After that stage of there is the birth of the new identity where I make choices in what to wear, what to put in my bag, which route to take and saying no to things that don’t feel right to me. These dreams lately are changing into presenting parts of myself as more assertive, confident and knowing. There is more fire and intuitive associated with them and it feels reassuring and deeply grounding on waking.

We all go through mini-cycles like this again and again, as we constantly renew depending on where we are in life and what is calling to be manifesting. For new to come in something needs to go. Through tracking dreams it can put us in touch with our inner processes on a deep level and images presented to us in dreams can become navigational tools we can engage with on our journeys through cycles.

 

When great trees fall…

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When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.

Our memory, suddenly sharpened, examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.

Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of
dark, cold
caves.

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

~ Maya Angelou

Dying gently

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Take my frail body into your warm embrace

Lull me gently into oblivion, not of dark Abyss, but of deep purple spirit

With space expansive so I feel reborn in the whole of the spirit’s grace

Take my frail spirit and reunite it with the eternal light

Not of endless joy and glory, but of human love and warm compassion

Let me bask my soul in the golden light I merge with for eternity

Take my frail body back to mother, back to Earth

Let her natural instinct wrap me in her ever knowing blanket

Of moist soil and warm darkness

I rest here now and I rest forever knowing I arrived to where I started from

I am home

When death comes…

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One comes to realise that we are all but a temporary expression on an eternal canvas of the universe. This time last year she came in black clothing with a sombre expression on her unmerciless face and with a single gesture of her bony hand she froze us all in despair and sorrow.

When death comes in the final hour, when all stops in frozen time, when breathing comes to an end and there is no life left within a chest, it feels final… Is it? Is it really? We cling on to the indescribable feeling within, confused, lost. Is it really that the loved on will never again feel the warmth of life, tenderness of touch and laughter of a human beating heart? Is it really the end?

We are bound to a period of moaning when death comes. We are to revisit again and again that space in the chest that grips all senses and throws us off our feet. We are to make sense of it in our own time, in our own way and at a pace we can allow ourselves. Is it final? Yes, it is, but once a hope of virgin new light begins to creep in once again in time passing we can feel that beating heart of theirs within ours and we feel comforted once again. They live within us for eternity.