Honoring the ancestors is a rich tradition in many cultures, and certainly in my own family, sitting around the Scrabble table learning the family lore was part of the program, at least the lore of the maternal lineage. The Pater’s line, not so much. It’s just as rich, I’m pretty sure.
So learning the lore was part of it, and what’s kind of funny is that I learned that my grandmother was a saint, and her mother, a heroic saint, so I suppose that as the lore was passed down, the further back one went, the more saintly, even if the great aunts and uncles and such were more often portrayed in all of their often funny and flawed humanity.
I wonder if it’s that way in all families, that the direct line is the least flawed.
At any rate, the other day I heard a podcast that included a guy named Orland Bishop, and he was talking about ancestors and such, and one of the things that he said is that our bodies only know five generations worth of our ancestry, and I grok that bodily knowledge bit, for sure, even if the five generations thing was new to me, and like all new ideas I take it for exactly what it is, at least for now, an idea, and I consider it.
I kind of like that idea.
For one reason, I like it because in terms of honoring five generations worth, heck, I honored the crap out of three generations worth, for years, by spending lots of time with them and tending their graves. And it weren’t no easy tending to do sometimes. So I figure I have pretty good ancestor vibes, I mean, I put lots of hours into the family burial grounds, and communed with them, it’s kind of hard not to consider them when resting one’s butt on their graves. The paperwork was often even more of a chore, mostly because I don’t like paper work nearly as much as I like physical work.
But the other reason I kind of dug the five generations idea was that I decided I could pretty easily consider myself an indigenous person in this land, I was going to say an indigenous American, but it’s getting so disgusting and shameful to be associated with the political entity that runs this land, the one that’s running it into the ground, that I don’t want to call myself that, I’m just a person, just like that person from Syria is just a person, and that one from Botswana, and the one over there from the Philippines, and very, very few of us have anything to do with or say over the Powers That Be.
So as a totally non-patriotic or apolitical which really I’m not but a good word isn’t coming to me, a person without loyalty to any political entity, but instead as one who feels complete love and devotion to the Land, and Water, and Soil and Sun, one who loves Life, and not just human life, and this is the Land that I am biologically and genetically and ancestrally for way more than five generations on both sides of the family connected to, well, I like that five generations idea.
And what’s kind of funny as I just ran back through that maternal lineage on the web site for the family burial grounds, and yes, the grounds has a website, with genealogies, kind of cool, that, while I spent two generations with folks born in Oklahoma, very quickly I get to New England, Vermont and Connecticut, and in New England for about just as long as those of us with western european ancestry have been.
Six generations is as far as I can get with the mitochondrial line, in Connecticut then, three generation's worth. If I start letting the men into the picture and go back nineteen generations, turns out I’m descendant of Robert the Bruce, cool that, too, a freaking king, and when I look up WTF a bruce is, I kind of like it, too, especially given the number of spiders in my life in recent weeks.
Lots of spiders.
Anyway, so, I feel like I’ve honored my ancestors, plenty, and I’m not all that much into looking back, not beyond fond remembrance of people and places and things and events, or lessons learned, regrets, eh, not many, wrongdoings, I can come up with a few, for sure, but none I can’t live with, I mean, I live with them, very few if any I can atone for, that’s the thing about learning lessons, just try hard not to do wrongly that way again, so for me, looking to the future, and not so much for myself, at all, it will be what I make with what comes, but for the progeny, even if I don’t have any, lots of folks do, and there’s also all the other progeny of the earth.
I mean, the earth, well, we’re all its progeny, no? It’s not ours. It is our ancestor, that’s a fact, we are its children, unless of course the ET’s seeded us here, but then I guess that would make them the ancestor, but really, face forward, look ahead, think of the future, at least a little bit, if not for the earth itself, then for your children and grandchildren, because the fact of the matter is, if they earth dies, so do they.
The planet is pretty sick, it’s not anywhere near the end of its potential lifespan, and as much as I hate to say it, it’s all our fault. We can be parasitic or mutualistic. The former leads to death, the latter, life. Which shall it be?