I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted from living through a major historical event.
The soul deep tired I feel doesn’t seem to reset on the weekends anymore no matter how quiet they are. I find myself fantasizing about spending a week in the woods, away from all technology and the accompanying deluge of horror internet access exposes me to.
And, at the same time, I know that running away from the deep wounds currently threading through the world isn’t the right answer either. Bearing witness, using my voice (and sometimes my body) to support change, staying present and doing the Work is vital. I am exhausted and I am needed, and I suspect that is true for most Pagans right now.
So, what do we do? Where do we root when the earth around us feels cracked and barren?
One of the types of Ancestors I personally venerate are Ancestors of the Order – humans who followed a similar life path to my own. In my case, these are the priestx classes of many cultures: the people who chose to place themselves in service to Spirit, the journey of human souls, and the creation and maintenance of sacred community. Our ancestors lived through incredibly tough times and did so without many of the modern marvels we take for granted (vaccines, medicine, air conditioning, safe places to sleep). As a result, they have deep wisdom to share about how to survive when the world is falling apart around us.
I use meditation and journeywork as regular parts of my spiritual practice. So, I decided to seek guidance from the Ancestors of the Order. My experience contained information that resonated strongly with me and I think it is worth sharing. I encourage you to seek wisdom from your own ancestors as well. Mystical experiences – Unconfirmed Personal Gnosis (commonly referred to as UPG) – varies dramatically between people. Our contacts with Spirit are always colored by our perspective.
What I did to seek guideance
I lit an offering of incense and sat before my altar. I repeated my intention three times to myself: “My intention is to visit The Ancestors of the Order.” Along with those words, I was holding onto the idea of the Ancestors who served in a spiritual capacity. Most of us have multiple Orders we are a part of, so specificity is important.
My journey took me through the Underworld and into a forest at night. The Hall there was grown from living trees and the inside was lit with torches and candles. Gold light spilled out through windows and breaks in the trunks. I could hear voices talking and laughing. I walked up the steps to the door and it opened inward.
An older woman took the incense from my hand and several others pulled me inside. Faces from different eras of history, every race and gender expression imaginable, and a few I’m-pretty-sure-that’s-not-humans were there. The overwhelming feeling was of love and comfort; the ancestors seemed excited to see me. It felt SAFE. Like coming home. I didn’t even get a chance to ask a question – one of them put her hands on my face and said ‘oh, baby’ in an incredibly soothing, sympathetic tone and I started to cry immediately. All the tired and burnout and struggle bubbled up from below to be released.
What The Ancestors told me
After the first wave of tears passed, we talked. The Ancestors told me:
~ They never did this alone. Those of us who are priestx need groups of other priestx to talk to and trade care with. ‘That’s why we were always part of an order. It’s dangerous otherwise.’
~ The patterns *matter*. Go through the motions even if you don’t feel like it. Sit in front of your altar, make offerings, do the meditation, draw the cards, whatever form it takes. Do the practices. They help hold you together when everything else is falling apart. The pattern itself contains the thread of Mystery.
~ PRAY. ‘It takes burdens from your hands and places them in the gods. In most cases, that’s where they belong.’ Prayer. Prayer got mentioned repeatedly as one of the most important things to do in terms of mental health and staying the course.
~ They all had something like a sabbath day or days. A time of prayer/rest and nothing else. A conscious break. ‘You need to STOP. We died when we didn’t. Remember, we cared for the sick and weak. When you’re exhausted, you’re vulnerable to illness. You MUST rest.”
When I returned, I immediately wrote down the journey, and then started to think about how my practice has been lately. I realized that I’ve gotten sloppy and minimalist again. I’m meditating, but not for very long. It’s time to revise and renew my devotionals. I am going to add more prayer into my practice. I’m also trying to figure out a full rest day – a day when I am truly offline and not in service to anyone other than myself and my gods. I am going to try to follow the guidance of the ancestors.
I do not know if this message will help, but most of the time when I have such a strong experience, it’s because it is meant to be shared.
So, what are your ancestors telling you? What threads are you holding onto in the darkness? Hit me up in the comments.