An Altar for the Ancestors!

day of dead

“Walking. I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.” -Linda Hogan, Native American Writer

My ancestral worship began early this year, at the end of August actually. I was fortunate enough to be invited into a wonderful circle of women for an in-depth story telling ritual. Our commitment was to hear each others life stories, in full, with complete attention & awareness, without judgement or critique, hopefully, with love & compassion. There were six of us and the process took approximately 7 non consecutive weeks of meeting with one another for a three-hour period. I didn’t know these women well, it was definitely a stretch to share brutal truths amongst strangers and yet, from the very beginning, it was clear to me that the ancestors had been summoned and were indeed intrigued and listening…

Maybe it’s because the intention was to tell our stories from the beginning, from our births and ancestry to present day. Imagine! How would you be able to fully tell ones life story without an inadvertent homage to all those who have come before you? Thus, we wove our tales, week after week, outdoors, by a gentle creek, with the sound of bubbling and moving water, with benevolent breezes and more oft than not, the summer’s heat. In witnessing, hearing and holding each other stories, there were tears, there were sighs, there were gasps, there was outrage, there was shock, there was compassion, there was respect and most of all there was acknowledgement for six wild women and their passionate life journey’s.

In completion, we decided to build an ancestral altar thereby introducing our ancestors to each other. Afterall, we had just heard the guts and the glory of all these family lineages. We had opened closets, pulled out skeletons, called on ghosts all while declaring our sovereignty from lineage traumas, challenges, patterns, addictions and other inflicted pains. We had stated our truths to the four corners of the universe and we were ready to release and celebrate all that we had been through, in our time together as a woman’s circle, and in our lifetimes of collected stories.

altar

We began by laying a red velvet clothe on the ground at the base of a tree, perhaps it was symbolic of a world tree. We topped the red with a sacred & pure white clothe. We began placing our photos & memorabilia, items such as a Jewish star, A Cherokee poem, a Catholic rosary decorated the altar, which also included candles, incense, alcohol, chocolate, fruit, toys, clothes, crystals, bowls, feathers, jewelry, essential oils, flowers. We collectively adorned a space filled with beauty, with heartfelt prayers, in deep reverence, we built our group ancestral altar and we allowed that sacred space to sit under the tree for 9 long days and nights.

I imagine that our ancestors spoke, while they laughed, and drank, possibly they smoked, maybe they even gambled, they definitely danced and celebrated in a joyous manner. They were remembered! When the six of us eventually returned to break down the altar, it was a solemn affair, a drum beat sounded, the wind rustled around our feet, we made our goodbyes, like a quiet dawn of a new morning, we took our ancestral talismans home, and this ritual was declared complete.

“No one can be free who has a thousand ancestors” -LM Montgomery

dead

It is that time of the year now, Halloween, when the veils are thinning, that I consciously, purposefully and willingly acknowledge my ancestors. From All Hallows Eve through All Saints Day to All Souls Day (October 31- November 2), I celebrate all three days of Day of the Dead. I have written in great length and detail on this topic before, so as not to repeat myself, this Samhein season, I will simply share my process in building an ancestral altar.

Begin by clearing a space in your home or garden to create an altar, quite often a designated table top will do just fine. I like to ritually clean it with white vinegar prior to spreading a beautiful piece of ceremonial clothe atop your chosen altar space (this varies from tradition to tradition, some require white or red clothes, some require clothe with fringe… in all matters of the esoteric world, do what feels correct to you). Next, it is important to maintain a clean & clear space, free of clutter, thus malignant or unwanted spiritual forces will not be attracted to your home. Afterall, we wouldn’t invite Great Gram over to a dirty house. Before I bring anything to the altar, I clear my home with a strong smudging ritual of Belizean copal… I begin with black copal to dispel any darkness, then I end with the white copal, which welcomes the heavenly & angelic presence of my ancestors. (Note: any smudge of your preference will do… sage, sweatgrass, cedar, etc…).

copal

Now, consecrate your space with a prayer. Because I follow a Native American path blended with some old school pagaen worship… I welcome in the four directions by turning to the east with an offering of AIR (a feather) and say, “I show honor and respect to the ancestors of my mother’s side.” I turn to the west with an offering of water (a glass) and say, “I show honor and respect to the ancestors of my father’s side.” I turn to the north with an offering of earth (a crystal) and say, “I show honor and respect to the spirits that are known to me.” Finally, I turn to the south with an offering of fire (a candle) and say, “I show honor and respect to the spirits that are unknown to me.”

“To my ancestors, all those remembered, I honor you. To my ancestors, all those whose names have been forgotten, I honor you. To my ancestors, those who dust is scattered to the four winds, I honor you. To my ancestors, those whose bones lie within the Earth. I honor you”.. http://www.africaspeaks.com/reasoning/index.php?topic=2775.0;wap2-

It is now time to conjure up your ancestors and decorate the altar. Contemplate who you are inviting to the altar this year. If you are not adept in this sort of ritual, please use extreme caution in inviting any deceased family members who committed suicide or who died a traumatic death, or anyone who was emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive and/or those who had an unresolved substance abuse. These characters tend to bring disruptive energies to your life if they have not been assisted in an elevated crossing. Pets? Yes, you can welcome deceased pets. Living people with who you are disenfranchised? No, do not put a picture of a living person on the altar lest your bring some harm to their lives.

Old photographs, objects of memorabilia, flags, stones from their birth country, dirt from a graveyard, jewelry, names written on paper, official documents, alcohol for the drinkers, tobacco for the smokers, family heirlooms, money, food, fruit, candy and lastly, flowers are a MUST. Some traditions insist on white flowers, white candles and white everything! Being from Caribbean ethnicity, I use lots of color!

ancestors

Prostrate yourself in front of this beautiful creation with a commitment to communicate with these wonderful relatives over the next days (or whatever time frame you deccide on, I leave my altar up til after the Winter Solstice holidays). Bring them food, refresh their water, direct prayers at them, share their stories with your living relatives. They are pleased to be called on, they would love to assist you in the current dilemmas of your life. Celebrate them! Remember them! Honor them! They are the road map that has led you to the place you currently find yourself in your own life.

We all will die, maybe we will be remembered, by a future ancestor, possibly our story will be told!

Death

Before us great Death stands
Our fate held close within his quiet hands.
When with proud joy we lift Life’s red wine
To drink deep of the mystic shining cup
And ecstasy through all our being leaps—
Death bows his head and weeps. Continue reading

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Honesty in the 6th Galactic Night of the Mayan Calendar

“confess with me

your inner most thoughts,

your deepest desires,

your darkest secrets,

your most desperate longings,

for I shall not judge thee,

but embrace thee!”

-author unknown

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chakra woman art by mary hettinger

In the Mayan evolutionary theory, we are in the Ethical Era, and in order to evolve as a species, one must be living truthfully.  Any white lies, large lies or areas of your life where you have misrepresented yourself or been dishonest will become so very painful in this, the 6th night of the Mayan Calendar, November 8, 2009 to November 2, 2010. The final purge has arrived and for some individuals their way of life is about to dismantle.  Confession time is imminent!

André Agassi, former World Champion tennis professional, considered to be one of the world’s best players ever, recently revealed in his new autobiography that he engaged in taking drugs to win a tennis open one year when his form was off.   Failing his drug test,  he proceeded to lie to the sports council regarding the matter.  I am not surprised to witness his revelations to the public in his new book as the incoming Mayan evolutionary energies of the last 10 years has been revolving around the theme of truth & integrity.

I went to school with the Agassi’s.  André’s sister, Tammy, was one of my good childhood friends.  They were a lovely family filled with integrity, strong opinions, and a good conscious.  I am convinced André confessed his actions as his consciousness got the better of him.  He revealed his truth and in doing so said to the public at large, “I made a mistake.  I am sorry.”  We, as humans recognize his infallibility, commend his brave admissions and release his actions.  He may lose his title and cash prizes- every lie has a consequence-but he will be forgiven and the heavy load of his lies will be all the lighter.  Sooner or later, it will become a distant past memory, embodied, learned from, not to be repeated.   Life will usher in renewed, powerful experiences for Andre Agassi and his rebalanced spirit will triumph once again.

Although I am new to the Mayan calendar theories, I am schooled and versed in the Tarot.   This era can be compared to the “20” card named Judgement Day/Reckoning Day.  In the traditional tarot imagery, the brilliance of  the angels shines upon the people in the card, rendering them naked in truth before a higher power.  The meaning of the card is that each and every individual will have to search their heart and mind to see what illusions persist, what games are being played and what lies will be revealed.  Celestially purged of the unnecessary, one can finally wake up to a new and exciting reality.  In the next year, no stone will remain unturned as the 6th night seeks to complete its final creation mission which is to lead everyone on earth into integrity.  Every soul will have to hold a mirror to themselves and face their reflection.  Do you like what you see?  Are you a sparkly, multifaceted diamond filled with light?  Are you a magical kaleidoscope of shapes?  Are you a crystal clear ball of luminosity?  Are you a midnight shining star?  If not, you have some work to do!

No worries though, jaguar is here to help you.  Jaguar is the Mayan animal that teaches us about truth, integrity & impeccability.  Jaguar’s mission is to devour any unclean aspects of our behavior.  Jaguar dishes out penalties for inappropriate behaviour, meanwhile offering rewards for those who have operated in honesty (Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams & David Carson).  Jaguar says that he must roam our dreams now.  Jaguar rules the 6th galactic night. Some people, and you may know a few of these, would rather die than be honest or live honestly.  I am from the Belizean Creole culture.  For the most part, we are a chancey, sneaky and liared (creole for deceitful) tribe.  We are descendants of slaves & pirates and have inherited a few undesirable behavioural characteristics along the way.  My Belizean tribe is in trouble in this 6th night.  I send a prayer out to all those with ears to hear that they may learn to embody the new spiritually awakened energies.  We live in the heart of Mayaland and jaguars literally roam around us:  here the energies will be brutally intense.

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as the ship sinks…

What most people worldwide require at this time is the “inipo” ceremony- most commonly called the sweat lodge.  Inipo is a Lakota word which means “you should purify yourself”. (The Lakota Sweat Lodge Cards by Chief Archie Fire Lame Deer and Helene Sarkis).  The intense heat and steam of the Inipo Lodge forces all disease, fear, and maladies to leave the body.  Often sacred herbs like copal, sweetgrass or sage are used to assist the spirit.  The Inipo prepares one for a sacred journey.  Our sacred journey is the Mayan Galactic 6th night. We must tread this time in wonder and with reverence.

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Copal Sacred tree resin used in Mayan smudge ceremonies

Remember in a previous article I likened the Galactic 6th night to the 6th night of Biblical creation- God’s last night of creation before the 7th day when he shall rest. This is it- our Creator’s final glory! If you have done some inner work, life will be offering you beautifully, powerful growth & creation experiences in the next year; if not…woe be to your nervous system.  Dhyani Ywahoo, Shaman, Cherokee Tribe says, “The denial of the fire of truth in yourself is going to be the denial of your heart’s beat- maybe you make your arteries get hard or something like that.”  This has always been my understanding- an inability to evolve leads to death.

Swedish biologist and Mayan scholar Carl Calleman says, “What is about to transpire now is in other words not something that has ever happened before in the history of the universe. Maybe this impending change, partially unknown, causes the widespread denial that I feel dominate many people at the current moment.  If my understanding of the Mayan calendar is correct we will in this coming night be witnessing the most significant transformation of consciousness ever in the history of mankind. What seems clear however is that people will be divided as to whether they want to flow with the incoming energies leading towards a new world or if they will resist them and seek to hold on to or go back to the system of the past” .  One recommendation he makes to successfully come through the next year is ethical living and telling the truth.

The urgency here stems from the fact that our telepathic powers are returning in full force.  As this happens, the current hologram ( “reality” ) we live in is quickly shifting.  Cataclysmic pole shift, I don’t think so, intense magnectic realignments leading to hologram renewal is more like it.  In order to access our own powers, in order to survive, you must be standing upright and honest-you must be transparent. A quote from Ariel Spilsbury & Michael Bryner of The Mayan Oracle deck states, “In transparency, (new) worlds are created”. Reread that line- it is simple and profound.

Enlightened Souls, once again these times can be manuevered with grace, our new world is here- let us then simply live transparently, telepathically sharing our thoughts without shame or manipulation.  Back in our delightful earth garden (the Garden of Eden), innocent, joyful, passionate, with absolutely nothing to hide.  Baby butt naked if you like!

Navajo,

May It Be So

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panamanian molas

(calling all her loved ones to clarity and reminding all that the truth shall set you free)