I have posted on a number of occasions about my on-going work of identifying and learning about my ancestors, their DNA which I carry in my cells, and what their histories teach me about my life and my life´s purpose. So I am thrilled that Barbara Meikeljohn has agreed to share her work with the Ancestors with us.
Barbara Meiklejohn-Free was born and reared in the Highlands of Scotland where the old ways are still practiced. Widely known as the Highland Seer, she has studied and worked with many indigenous cultures. After forty years of practice, Barbara has integrated the ancient ways of Seership, Shamanism and Earth Wise traditions. The following is an excerpt from her new book which is to be published by Moon Books later this year.
"Ancient ancestors I call to thee, To help me connect so I might see, My linage line of blood and bones, Buried under your ancient stones." We are the ambassadors of our blood lines, our ancient ancestors. What we do in the here and now is due to the heredity influences of those who have gone before us. Our ancestral memories flow though our blood and bones. Let us be mindful that one day we will be the ancestors of thos yet to come, those still to be born. "It's time lass!" I heard Swein saying to me as we arrived at Clava Cairns near Culloden battlefield. Arms full of offerings, a group of us proceeded to the centre of the cairns to place on the ritual stone our gifts for the ancestors and deities of the land. It was the eve of Samhain and we had come to this ancient site to celebrate and connect with the ancestors who once lived upon this fertile land. The moon was floating gracefully on the horizon with wisps of clouds painting a collage of dancing moonbeams shining down on the burial mounds. Arms outstretched we invoked the "ancient ones" calling on them to come forth to once again walk on the homelands. One by one we were led from the circle and placed at various gateways around the cairns. I was at northern burial cairn and instructed to sit with my back against the stones in the centre of the cairn and draw my legs up tightly to assist in the transition to the other worlds. "It's time to cross the threshold to the world of spirit." Swein said to me, "to discover and connect with the ancient ones. " With those words ringing in my ears, he left me to face the unknown. The dusk drew in sweeping in a damp mist that clawed at my bones, trying to remove my doubts and fears. I wrapped my jacket tightly around me and closed my eyes. Instantl images of painted warriors running towards me with sword raised caused me to take a sharp intake of breath. I was thrown backwards into a tunnel, grasping at the edges trying to hold on for dear life. I cried out for help as I descended into the deep void that was swallowing me up.Then I heard a deep voice saying "Do not be afraid, we will not harm you, for your sit upon ancient ground that is sacred to us. Here beneath you lies the bones of your kith and kin. We have heard your invocations to us." Suddenly in front of me appeared a dark cave. "This is the cave of the ancient ancestors." I heard them saying as a kaleidoscope of animals, human figures, spirals and handprints danced in front of my eyes. Transfixed I watched as I saw the scene unfold in front of me of the journey they had taken to reach this place. I saw people of many races and colours living together in harmony. I was drawn to a distinctive drawing of a hand print with a spiral in the centre of the palm. Then I heard them say to me "You will travel around the world visiting the sacred sites that have been placed as gateways to the other worlds. Here you will find what you are looking for." I was about to ask more questions when I was thrustbackwards through the wall of symbols and sucked upwards back to my reality. I opened my eyes slowly to see Swein stroking his beard whilst leaning on his staff. "Well lass did you meet the ancestors, did you get the answers you were looking for?" It was not until many years later when I was visiting on of the Anasazi Indians' cave dwellings in New Mexico tha I was to see that symbol of the handprint once again on the wall of one of the buildings. I asked our native guide about the symbol signification. His answer was that it was a symbol of healing, peace, power and protection. Later that day driving through Flagstaff, I was drawn to stop at the local Native American store and in the window was the symbol in silver in the shape of a necklace. The owner told me that the symbol was a sign of the ancient ones who came to Earth, shared their wisdom and then mysteriously disappeared. They were the sky people who came and shared with us the knowledge of the stars. The handprint is for friendship between the people of the Earth and the stars. The spiral represents how they travelled to reach us. As I walked out of the shop with the necklace around my neck I felt a deep feeling of connection with the ancient ones who had spread the seeds of life on Mother Earth. THE PENTAGRAM OF THE ANCESTORS The metaphysical connection to the ancestors, the Pentagram and the five elements, is embedded throughout the annals of history. Discovered in ancient Mesopotamia the symbol of the Pentagram combined with our ancient ancestors foresight, empowers us to reclaim what is rightfully ours. Our birthright is to once again connect, remember and reawaken this ancient mastery that was once denied to us. Through ancestor veneration, you will discover that thosewho have gone before you have a vested interest in ensuring their descendants line is continued and healed. By circumnavigating the pentagram with our predecessors, you will gain insight, of who you are, where you have come from and were you are going. The ritual you will undertake in your journey to discover your past, present and future destiny, will forge and create a deep bond of honor, respect and mutual understanding for the ancestors. In effect, you will have healed the time lines of your ancestral past, thereby fostering new beginnings for future generations to come. BLOOD ANCESTORS Our blood ancestors are our loved ones who we knew in this lifetime. We may have memories of them as young children. We will remember their voices, the smell of baking in the kitchen, stories told around the hearth on cold winter nights, someone sitting in a corner smoking apipe or watching them in their garden or greenhouse. Our blood ancestors pass on to us great teachings. These can be in the form of lessons learned. Some can be hard. Most of our ancestors faced two world wars. This left scars both physical, mental and emotional. Most of our fears, pains and self worth issues stem from our forefathers and mothers who carried the burdens and stress of these hard times. By calling out their names in ritual they can help and assist us towards healing our past hurts. Forgiveness is the key in moving forward so our ancestral lines are cleared. UNKNOWN ANCESTORS Our Unknown Ancestors are those who we did not meet in this lifetime but are of our blood line. They are also the ones that the historical records did not record or were conveniently destroyed or deleted. They were the pioneer who overcame hardships, famines, plagues, travelled over land and sea to new frontiers totally foreign to them, i a search for a better way of life for themselves and their descendants. They gave up land that had been in the family for hundreds of years, clans and traditions left behind as they walked away from all they knew and loved. They were the ones who endured torture, loss of freedom and surrendered their personal beliefs systems on pain of death. Many surnames were changed to disguise our unknown ancestors for fear of persecution by religious fanatics or ridicule by family members. They were cast out from their homes because they were the black sheep of the family. Woman were taken away because they had sinned by either becoming pregnant out of wed lock or marrying without the family's consent. The children were given to other families or put into workhouses or up for adoption.Many of us have unknown relatives in our family tree, shunned and forgotten, waiting to be discovered and reunited with their blood family. TEACHER ANCESTORS Our Teacher Ancestors come from all walks of life. From the first time humans walked on this earth, there have been ancient ones who have imparted their wisdom and knowledge to those who would listen. Students have sat at the feet of wise men and woman listening to their philosophy,dreams and visions and recorded in written form, their muses. As children we sat excitingly listening to the stories of heroes and heroines from days of old read to us from books spanning the centuries. These are the teachers who have inspired and influenced us in our day to day living, in our quest to search for the mystical and magical meanings of life itself. From poets, musicians, scientists, herbalist, doctors - the list is endless. These way showers have guided us, supported us in our passion and goals.They have spent endless days and nights preparing you for your rites of passage in the many forms they take throughout your life. Our teacher ancestors can either be known to us personally on the Earth plain, or can be our spirit guides and helpers in the spirit world. PAST LIFE ANCESTORS Our Past Lives Ancestors are here to help us to tap into our ancestral memories. Within our memory genes and DNA are electromagnetic frequencies that connect with both yourself in this moment of reality and in your past lives. This web of energy holds memories of all our past lives and are also contained within the sacred sites and power sites across the globe. From life-time to life-time we sub-consciously revisit and remember where we have walked before. When we travel to distant shores or visit places that call to us we are tapping into lost records and recollections of previous life-times. You have worked with and been a part of another family, your past life family. Within this family you have deep connections, that reache over time and space, from life-time to life-time. How many times have you met someone and "known them"? How many times have you felt that one of your teachers in this life-time has been your teacher before? How many times have you felt the work you are doing now, you have done before? When we connect with our past life ancestors we are connecting with ourselves. We are our ancestors, we are the cunning men and women, the witches and wizards who once walked on this land, come back once more to rewrite history and heal the wounds of our ancestors. We have come full circle. ANCIENT ANCESTORS Our ancient ancestors walked footstep to footstep with the dinosaurs 290 million years ago. This amazing discovery has just come to light through painstaking research. This would mean that our history would have to be rewritten For historians this is problematic. If only this fossilised footprint could speak of our ancient ancestors who shaped and created this planet along side the creator gods and goddesses. They gifted us the knowledge of astronomy, mathematics, writing, herbs, healing, cosmology, to name but a few. These wisdom keepers and wise sages prepared for us a land of incredible beauty, a garden of Eden. When we connect withthe ancient ancestors we honor our first teachers. These wise beings including the world of trees people, stone people, animals, winged ones, mammals, creepy crawlies, crystals, mythical creatures. These ancient ones are the missing link to revealing our true heritage. Whatever path you may walk on today, be it Pagan, Wiccan or Druid know that you are walking with the ancestors. When you combine their teachings, with your philosophies you do this on a soul to soul level. By calling on the ancient ones, you are calling the spirit of all made manifest in this world and in all other realities. In effect the global consciousness of all that has been created past present and future as one. ALTAR OF THE ANCESTORS Imagine a sacred space were you can create an altar for your ancestors to visit and speak with you. This altar honours your bloodline, clan, teachers and all those who have gone before you. Here you can step between the veils of the mundane and spiritual worlds. You can ask questions to find out your bloodline tracing back thousands of years. As a child I sat beside a gravestone on Culloden battlefield. I felt at home with this clan. It felt peaceful comforting. When I felt sad or alone I always went to this gravestone. Many years later I was to discover that they were my blood ancestors. No longer were they my unknown ancestors. Through adoption I had lost my connection to my blood family and yet I had intuitively known and been drawn to be with them.They had called to me and I had answered. Firstly create and clear an area in your house for your ancestral altar. It can be a shelf or a small table, even better if it is in the living room or kitchen. It's important to separate it from other altars, for this altar is for those who have passed to the summerlands. Try to ensure that it is not touched by others and that you do not place any pictures or memories of anyone still living. To clear the area to be used as an ancestral altar, use your besom if you have a small one for your altar, then herbs or incenses to smoke out and cleanse negative energy and create sacred space. In my Scottish tradition I woul ask for a blessing and protection by 'saining', using water and local herbs. Once this is done place an altar cloth on top of the table or shelf. This material can be from a blood relative. It might be a crocheted table cloth or an item of clothing like a scarf that they loved. It's important if you can, to place your altar facing the four cardinal points. This is because when working with each direction you can face the appropriate ancestor when doing your ritual and invocation. BLOOD ANCESTORS OF THE NORTH On the North of your altar place photos of your loved ones, items of jewelry, perfume or other personal items. I have my mothers hairbrush and perfume on my altar so I can still smell her. It's important to use these items to stir your senses and hold the memories when working with them. Also place a dish of earth or a container of sand or soil from your blood ancestors lands to represent the element of earth. Once you have done this place a candle in the north and say: "Ancestors dear, of blood and bone. From Earth you have to Spirit, flown. Let's cleanse past hurts of yours, now mine, That flowed from you, like ancient wine. Ancestral lines now heal at last, And break free from the chains of past." UNKNOWN ANCESTORS OF THE EAST In the East section of your altar place incense or herbs within a container or holder. Next to the incense place feather to direct the smoke from the herbs or incense in the direction of east. Also place on this area a representation of a family tree. It can be a photo, or a picture or even a small statue of a tree. This is stating your intention to discover your families' history. Once you have done this, place a yellow candle in the east and say: "Whispers carried through the Air, Reaching out to whom is there. Those of mine, I call you home. No longer to be felt unknown. Piece together missing parts, Complete and place deep in my heart." TEACHER ANCESTORS OF THE SOUTH In the South direction of your altar place books, music, letters, poetry or any music that has inspired you throughout your life. You can also place personal items from your teachers that were gifted to you when they were alive. You can also place photos of them as well. Here place a separate candle to represent the element of fire. When you have done this place a red candle in the direction of the south and say: "Through fierce flames step my guides, Protecting me through life's rough rides. Teacher spirits walk with me, I welcome you, and honour thee. The Fire is stoked, our passions blend As you assist me to transcend." PAST LIFE ANCESTORS OF THE WEST In the West direction of your altar place soil or earth from the lands you once walked upon, including any statues of deities lands you feel drawn to, ie: if you feel a connection with Egypt you would place statues of Egyptian gods and goddesses in this area. Also photos of places, sacred sites, temples that you feel a connection with through your past life Ancestors. Place a chalice filled with water in this direction to represent the element of water. Once you have done all this place a blue candle in the direct of the west and say: "From the powers of the West, Memories call, the Water blessed. Remembrance flows deeply and vast. Souls connecting from the past. Lighting up my path today To 'Know Myself' - for t'is the way." ANCIENT ANCESTORS OF SPIRIT Here in the centre of the altar place your cauldron, athene, spirit bell. Place all your petitions to the spirits in the cauldron. Your athene is to direct energy and cut ties from any unwanted ancestors. Place food and drink to feed the spirits and also flowers. In front of the cauldron light a white candle and say: "From the centre of the Star I call the spirits near and far Of Earth, of Water, Air and Fire To learn from you is my desire Ancient truths upon this hour, Consume me, as I stand in power." You can work with just one group of ancestors when anniversaries, deaths or birthdays arise. This way you have a direct focus on one group of Ancestors. If you wish to find out more about your past life ancestors then just focus in that area after first honouring the other ancestors. All you need to do is light the candle representing that area and direction. It is important to change the water, food and flowers to ensure they are fresh. Working with your ancestral altar is not just for Samhain it is a sacred gateway to the Summerlands, one that is important to maintain keeping your connection with the ancestors. The Ancestors live on forever with your prayers, thoughts, connections and focus. When we no longer honour our ancestors they fade. So too do our hopes for our future descendants to come, for we are tomorrow's ancestors and if they die so do we. To survive we must tell their stories. We shall not forget. Written by Barbara Meiklejohn-Free Invocations by Flavia Kate Peters