Sunday, 1 November 2009

All Souls Day (El dia de los muertos)

Following on from the Pagan celebration of All Hallows Eve...

Many ancient and indigenous cultures throughout the world have honoured and worked with their ancestors for millennia. From the Native Americans to tribal Africans to pagan and Nordic cultures, the ancestors were just as important as the living. Try visiting ancient stone burial mounds – you can sense the voices from the past.

The Day of the Dead is celebrated on the 1st November at this time in Mexico – here, an altar is made for the ancestors – this is highly decorated with flowers (bright marigolds), photos and offerings such as tobacco, food and drink.

Requiem masses are said on the Feast of All Souls (1st Nov) asking for ancestors souls to be delivered from the ‘trials of purgatory’ asking for cleansing that will help them move on to heaven – or the Light. A procession then takes place from the church to the cemetery where fresh flowers and candles are laid as gifts.

In modern society, Constellation work and the Orders of Love are psychological techniques that allow an individual to facilitate deep healing within their family line.

Science (such as epigenetics) is starting to reveal evidence that the experiences of our forefathers have been passed down to us. For example, it is believed that the affect of war on the adrenal system can be passed down creating an effect on our endocrine system, affecting digestion, hormones and metabolism.

In many cultures the Shaman, medicine man or equivalent could step between the worlds and contact the dead to bring forth knowledge and healing. They believed that the ancestors held the knowledge that was the key to the present and future, and their wisdom was deeply honoured.

In Shamanic practice today, and in my own work, we look beyond the individual when seeking the resolution of problems and issues. We see an individual as part of an ancestral line, of those who are alive now, those who have died and those who have yet to be born. All of these individuals are inextricably linked in a soul group that expand through the eons of time. Many issues that first presented themselves long ago in the family bloodline, cascade down through the generations with an often discreet, yet profound impact.

When one individual in the ancestral line decides that they want to clear some of the issues or patterns from the past, they are actually able to facilitate this healing throughout the bloodline – for generations past, present and future.

Today is a great day for honouring your own ancestors and to send healing into the ancestral line to cure repeating or destructive patterns, and to gain wisdom from those who trod the earth before us. Make an offering to those who have passed – even planting some spring bulbs into the earth as a gift to the physical process of death and rebirth.