Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The New Birth Moon

New Birth Moon

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Lest that last post leave you worried that I am drowning in depressing and darkness....

The veil has lifted. The Birth Moon is risen!

I can't tell what made the change. I finished a big writing portion of my student last week and am actually teaching now. Maybe I finally was able to hang onto the positive attitude breakthrough I've been bobbing in and out of for a few weeks. Maybe it was God showing me, through a question asked at Meeting last weekend of what would heaven look like, that really cemented the change of heart. My response was that heaven looks just like this life, only I get the unshakable, undeniable knowledge that everything that happens is part of the Divine System and really will make everyone stronger, smarter, wiser and happier. It felt like as soon as I wrote those words down the scales fell from my eyes and I really did see heaven here and now.

Yes, I'm still tired. Yes, there is tons of work and stress. But I do really, honestly feel... really know in my heart... that it is all just the work that has been set up, uniquely and purposefully, for me.

Have you ever felt this realization? How have you worked through hard periods in your life? What sooths you in times of stress the way the sight of the new crescent moon soothed me this week?

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** This winter was tough and I got messed up in my calendar. The moon that this post was written about -the Birth Moon - and the moon that it actually was according to Annette Hinshaw's calendar - the Death Moon - are not the same. For more on my thoughts about this, see this post. ** 

New Birth Moon 2008: Waiting

New Birth Moon 2009: Advent, Awaiting the Birth

New Birth Moon 2010: Winter is Dark, Yet Each Tiny Spark

New Birth Moon 2011: It's Hard

I also talked about Very Hard Things in the post Very Bad Things and Our Lady of Sorrows.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's Hard

New Birth Moon

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I'm student teaching right now and it is possibly the hardest thing I've ever done.

What's so hard is the commute. A solid hour each way with the sun rising halfway through the morning drive and setting halfway through the evening drive - if I leave right on time, which I rarely do. It's a long, stressful drive and it leaves me exhausted every day.

What's so hard is how tired I am. To get there before class starts means waking up at 5am. I rarely make it back home before 7pm and then it's essentially make-dinner-pack-lunch-pass-out time.

What's so hard is how lonely I am. I don't see my friends, or really have much contact with them. My days are filled with strangers and people I'm not terribly fond of. And those long, long drives.

What's so hard is how stressed out I am. I have so much schoolwork, both for the student teaching itself and for my other classes. I'm behind in everything, and this knot in my stomach hasn't really left in a couple weeks.

It's all hard, and sometimes I drown in the hardness. Sometimes I can't see out of my own Debbie-Downer attitude about being tired and lonely and stressed out. Sometimes I cry. OK, more than sometimes.

The new moon we are celebrating this weekend is the Birth Moon in Annette Hinshaw's calendar and the Moon of Long Nights in the calendar Jessica Prentice lays out. The Moon of Long Nights is the month of the Winter Solstice, the month of darkness.

In her book, Full Moon Feast, Jessica Prentice discusses a number of authors and researchers who have looked at how the human body responds to light and darkness, disease and health, known and unknown. She says something I've stated before on this blog - that our culture is a culture of light and growth and bigger, better, onward and upward but our physiology needs rest periods. Too often we deny the darkness and fallow periods in life to the detriment of our psychological, spiritual and physical health.

What is interesting to me is not so much the darkness of winter, but other kinds of darkness. I have spent a number of years allowing myself to sink into that rhythm of the seasons and have come to quite enjoy the rest that comes with the long nights and wet days of winter. What I am experiencing right now, though, is a different kind of darkness, a dark time of a trial or that dark night of the soul some people experience when they feel so far away from god. It's just so hard.

Some days, I drown in the darkness. I am lonely and sad and tired and freaked out. I am being pushed and stretched and molded and it hurts. I think about staying in bed or of driving to Texas instead of to my Quiet Little Mountain Town. Some days I am sure my friends don't care about me and I'll never be able to do what is asked of me and it will all end in disaster. It is dark, and hard.

Other days, or other hours, I can bob up out of the darkness and feel the pull of the Birth Moon even in the midst of the darkness. The Birth Moon is the time when new light and new hope is born, even in the middle of the hard. I can see clearly, my head is on straight and I know this is all for the good. The hard is the call, it is the point of it all. If I didn't do anything hard I'd never get any better and this particular hard only lasts a couple more weeks. I am actually coping well and learning so much. And the sunrises, and the beautiful mountain valleys, and the leaves and the kids are all amazing.

On these days I feel so clearly and strongly my pronoic foundational beliefs. The Universe really IS a conspiracy to make me smarter, wiser, happier and better. The difficult is doing the exact same thing as the delightful; making my life more fully useful to god's purposes. I am being tested and trained in the crucible, but it is all for the best. Hard is the calling, hard is the name of the game. But it's still really, really hard.

My family's Thanksgiving tradition is to go around the table during dinner and say what we are thankful for. This week I had four different Thanksgiving dinners with four different "families" and four different delicious spreads of food. And at each dinner I said what I was thankful for; I am thankful for my friends and family who do love me, even if my monsters sometimes try to convince me otherwise. I am thankful that no matter how poor or disadvantaged I may feel, I can still buy gas, socks and chocolate ice cream. I am thankful for the hard. It really is working to liberate me from suffering, shower me with blessings and make me smarter, stronger and happier.

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For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

A Thanksgiving prayer by Walter Rauschenbush.

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** This winter was tough and I got messed up in my calendar. The moon that this post was written about -the Birth Moon - and the moon that it actually was according to Annette Hinshaw's calendar - the Death Moon - are not the same. For more on my thoughts about this, see this post. ** 

New Birth Moon 2008: Waiting

New Birth Moon 2009: Advent, Awaiting the Birth

New Birth Moon 2010: Winter is Dark, Yet Each Tiny Spark

I also talked about Very Hard Things in the post Very Bad Things and Our Lady of Sorrows.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The End of the Year

New Death Moon

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I just started my student teaching this week, or my "pre service teaching" as my University likes to call it (student teaching sounds too wimpy, they argue), and have been placed at a very small school in a rural community about an hour from my house. The early morning wake up is hellish, and the predawn drive a bit harrowing, but the school is very good and my cooperating teachers are going to work out really well. The real upside, besides finally getting into a classroom and beginning to actually teach, is my afternoon drives back through the farming country of the Willamette Valley. This is the land people crossed the mountains and deserts to get to, and still are, in fact (the town of Woodburn, about 40 minutes south of Portland, is the largest community in Oregon with over 50% of the population claiming Hispanic heritage). It is a beautiful country full of farms, fields and forests.

As I have been driving back and forth this week I have been noticing just how "done" the agricultural year is in the Willamette Valley. At the hop farms north of Woodburn the vines are all down and the tall support structures empty for the winter. There are many small farm stands along the way with signs up that say "Closed for the Winter", their vegetable patches empty and muddy. Alfalfa fields are mown and the rows of berry bushes are turning crimson and gold in the chilly nights. Higher up, closer to my school, most of the fields are either Christmas tree farms or horse, sheep or cattle pastures which are changing their character for the winter, too. The tall weeds are blackening and the grass is low and wet, just hanging on until spring. Horses have blankets on to ward off the chill and the sheep are woolly with their thick winter coats. One field of sheep has a guard llama in it and it took me two days to figure out exactly what that giant, woolly beast was. Everything is done growing and either dying back or just settling in for the winter. The people who work the land are settled in, too, or have moved on to other places where harvests are still happening. The land is just holding it's breath until the storms of winter come and, later, the renewal of spring.

It's the end of the cycle here at The Wheel and the Disk, too. This post marks the beginning of my fourth year of blogging. Again, this year, I posted for the new and full moon of every single month of the year plus at least one post for each eight solar holidays. In fact, I posted quite a few more posts than that, including two posts that were published in my Quaker Meeting's journal (here, and here) and two posts for Pagan Values Blogging Month (here, and here). Again, I celebrated Ramadan by finding meaningful information about Muslims, Islam and Ramadan and sharing it with my Facebook friends and then with you here at The Wheel and the Disk. My writings this year did an excellent job of highlighting the eclectic mix of inspiration I gather my own thinking from, including Quakers (and here, too), Catholics (and here, too), Buddhist stories, Greek mythology, Waldorf thought and practice and more modern stories, to name just a few. Some of my favorite posts from this year are the stories I wrote about Johnny Appleseed and Krishna and the Gopis. Neither of these stories are truly original - the plot and characters are as old as old can be - but I took them into my own self and brought them back out as original retellings.

This next year will be hard for me. One week into student teaching and I am already exhausted and overwhelmed. I wonder how this blog will fare when my time is so much more dedicated to teaching. I hope to keep writing both for myself and for you. I have seen my own thinking about the topics I explore deepen and broaden over the course of these three years and I want to keep exploring as long as I can. Next year, I would love to incorporate thoughts from another excellent book I have that is organized around the lunar months, Jessica Prentice's Full Moon Feast. She talks about seasonal food, community and connection through the lens of the seasonal round of moons. I think bringing this focus to my thinking, practicing and writing would be a wonderful challenge to align my life with my ideals about safe, sustainable and healthful food. I will take the year of blogging one step at a time, but promise to post something for each full and new moon, even if it is just a note or a photo.

As the land readies itself for the deep of winter, so do we. It is time to light our lanterns off the spark Michael took off the dying sun just those few weeks ago. It is time to bundle up, cuddle up and turn inward. Our season in the sun, expanded out towards the cosmos, has brought us a treasure trove of knowledge, now is the time to spend time working that into wisdom, as the gnomes work the sun's sparkling light into crystals during the winter.

How are you noticing the end of the year? What did you do in the last 12 months that you are most proud of, or from the last cycle you completed whether it took shorter or longer than 12 months? What wisdom did you bring back from your journeying and how are you lighting your lantern for the winter ahead? How has this blog touched you and your thinking? What would you like to see me think about, change or add next year? What was your favorite post from this last year?

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** This winter was tough and I got messed up in my calendar. This post was written at the right time for the right moon, but there are other posts dated the same time about a differen moon. What tha? Where was I?? For more on my thoughts about this, see this post. **
New Death Moon 2008: Time is a Circle

New Death Moon 2009: The Soldier and Death (another one of my all time favorite posts. I absolutely love this story, and am quite fond of my own retelling of it :)

New Death Moon 2010: Night and Day

I reviewed my first year of blogging at The Full Sorting Moon and my second year a Year Two Complete!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Snow Moon: Connecting with Our Food

Full Sorting Moon

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The moon a month before the winter solstice in Jessica Prentice's book, Full Moon Feast, is called the Snow Moon. In a pre modern society, this is the time of the year when the larders are full and people are beginning to live off their stored food rather than fresh food. It is fascinating for us, modern people with modern conveniences, to ponder life without refrigeration or electric freezers. What exactly does it take to make sure your household has enough food stored in a way that it will keep until fresh food becomes available again? And what does it mean to us and our connection with our food, with our food producers and with our larger community of spiritual beings that we don't have to think about where our food comes from?

Like most Americans, I get most of my food from grocery stores. On any day of the year I can easily get to a store and bring home almost any kind of fruit or vegetable, hygienic foods preserved in cans, bottles or frozen and even any number of prepared foods for a rather reasonable price. It is a rare week when I have to think about what I am going to eat further in advance than a couple of hours or maybe a day or two. Jessica Prentice points out that Americans tend to act like big babies when it comes to their food. We expect it to be available to us at any time with very little thought or effort on our own part. She notes that we are aghast when people claim they don't know how to drive but hardly bat an eye when people say they don't know how to cook.

Our ancestors, and many people all over the world, put infinitely more care into their food than we generally need to. Many people need to spend hours of the day for months of their year to collect, prepare and preserve enough food to meet their needs. These people are intimately in touch with their food from the exact part of the garden or field that it came from or which individual animal provided the food, through to what it looks and feels like in the kitchen through how it acts when it is prepared and preserved. They have an deep, visceral connection with their food.

Over the past few years I have been making small, spiraling movements towards this kind of connection with my food. I grow a garden each year and revel in my own small harvests of snow peas, snap beans, cherry tomatoes and radishes. My garlic crop is my pride and joy and I relish the yearly rhythm of planting it right around Halloween, watching it come up in the February, monitoring it through the spring and deciding exactly when, in late June or early July, to dig up the whole patch. Then there is the process of tying the bunches to dry and checking on them every few days until they are ready to be trimmed, brushed of dirt and sorted into seed garlic and eating garlic. Luckily, garlic is good to eat at every stage from sprout to cured, so there is no wasted garlic out of my garden.

I also have taught myself to make a number of foods that are traditional ways to preserve foods for the winter. I recently made a big batch of yogurt and have made sour cream and kefir, another fermented dairy product, in the past. I occasionally make sourdough breads and really enjoy making fermented vegetable pickles. Sauerkraut, kimchi and other fermented vegetables are, as Jessica Prentice points out, excellent ways to ensure a supply of enzyme and vitamin rich vegetables through a long, dark, cold winter. The fermenting actually increases some vitamin levels and also provides lactic acid, a digestive aid that no doubt helped our ancestors deal with an otherwise plain and coarse winter diet of dried or salted meat, beans and grains. Even today this tradition continues to serve fermented vegetables with heavy foods like sauerkraut with sausages and cornichons with pate. In Korea, kim chi could provide up to half the food intake for a family during the winter and is especially full of healthful food compounds thanks to the garlic, onions, ginger and chilies that usually spice the potent cabbage dish.

This autumn I finally gave in to the giant "sauerkraut cabbages" for sale at my favorite pumpkin patch farm. For less than 4 dollars I was able to take home 18 pounds of cabbage to turn into as much lacto fermented goodies as I could fit in my fridge. I used some of it to make a giant batch of coleslaw and another goodly pile of it became a braised cabbage dish but the rest became three kinds of sauerkraut, a fusion kim chi and three jars of cortido. My fermented cortido is based on the Latin American cabbage salad with pineapple, onion, garlic, chiles and oregano spicing the cabbage. It took me over a week to process the entire head of cabbage but now I have enough kraut to last at least through the winter.

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2011 Fusion Kim Chi

Check out my other blog for some more detailed instructions for making fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, pickled vegetables or kim chi.

Shred a pile of green cabbage and put it in a large mixing bowl. Fill it up about half way.

When you get sick of shredding cabbage, wash out a couple jars with lids, maybe two quart jars, or four pint jars, or whatever old spaghetti sauce jars you have. Slice 2 carrots into thin coins, planks or match sticks and toss them in with the cabbage.

Slice half an onion into longitudinal planks and toss that in two. Add in two handfuls of pineapple chunks, if you happen to have some sitting around like I did. You could add firm apples, pears or jicama instead, or leave that out all together.

Sprinkle about a tablespoon of salt over the cabbage and toss it. Peel a big ole knob of ginger and about 10 cloves of garlic. Chop them all up together into a fine mince, or slice them into planks. Toss that in with the vegetables. Doesn't it smell delicious?

Add a big shake of ground red chiles. (I usually use New Mexico chiles because I like the warmth and flavor but this time I used Aleppo pepper, a middle eastern variety. You can buy ground pepper for kim chi at an asian store, but every brand I've found has added MSG or other flavorings.) Add a little pepper flakes if you want more heat, or even some cayenne or fresh peppers if you like your kim chi fiery.

Look at it now. It should be glistening and moist, and bright red. Mix it up -
with your hands, of course.

Taste a piece of cabbage and add some more salt if you need to. When it is good and salty, good and red, good and tasty start packing it into jars. Press the vegetables down until the brine comes up over top of the veggies. Pack the jars full but not over the threads of the jar. Close them up,
let them ferment and then move to the fridge. Enjoy with macaroni and cheese, rice or anything else you serve at your winter table.

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Our spiritual connection with food is a huge topic that I intend to explore more fully this year but even this vast topic starts with the daily actions of eating and preparing food. We are adult beings who are able to take responsibility for feeding ourselves and do not need to abdicate that to restaurants or food manufacturers. Taking back our connection to our food starts with making dinner, with an pot of herbs on the windowsill, with an experiment in making jam or pickles or yogurt. I certainly don't claim any special knowledge on what is the most healthful or most ecologically sound diet, I just know it is important to care about what goes into our mouths. That food becomes us, it is our vital, physical, chemical, energetic link with the rest of creation. That shouldn't come out of a box.

What foods or dishes are you most connected with? Have you ever done any food preserving or growing food in a garden? Does what food you serve change as the seasons change or do you continue to take full advantage of our modern food distribution system (or both, like in my house)? What food means winter to you?

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Full Sorting Moon 2009: Full Sorting Moon

Full Sorting Moon 2010: The Rains Have Come

A number of posts from my first year of blogging here contain recipes. At the Harvest Moon 2010 I shared a recipe for another of my favorite preserves, plum ketchup.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dia de los Muertos Altara


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It's been really nice to have the nature table set up in the dining room. It has become a real part of the house in a wonderful way. In the past, I have decorated an altar in my bedroom for the seasons, including Day of the Dead/Halloween/Samhain but it is really nice to have it in the main living space. Part of the idea of a traditional Mexican altara is that it is a place where the spirits of the beloved dead can come and visit the family, be invited back into the home. Having the seasonal table in the main living area really does that better than having it in my own room.

The altar cloth is a piece of crochet my mother's mother's mother made. On it is a Virgen of Guadalupe candle, seasonal nuts, leaves and feathers and a couple other candles.

The photos in the upper display are of my mother's mom and dad (Grandma Jean is still alive, but this was the best picture I could easily find of my grandfather), my mother's father's mother, Myrtle, and my dad's dad at sea in WWII.

Pictures of two family dogs, Lacey and Lucky are here as well as a little black lab figurine representing a number of other dogs I've known and loved who are no longer living.

On the left is a postcard I bought at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts. One of the coins is a Canadian coin with a polar bear on it. Samhain seems like an excellent time to remember the individual animals and entire species that are no longer living thanks to Western culture's actions and practices. The fossilized ammonite brings this same thought, only with more focus on the natural cycle of birth and death even beyond the individual level.

There is a wooden owl behind the red candle, almost under the oak leaf. Owls are often used to symbolize the passage of spirits into the underworld, and are always symbols of wisdom, knowledge and the people who seek those attributes.

There is a piece of tangarine quartz laying on the crocheted cloth. I chose it specifically because of its festive orange color, but tangarine quartz is also known for its healing properties. It is said that tangarine quartz can help a person see the underlying order in an apparently chaotic world and find compassion for the events and people who bring sadness or pain. It is said to help a person be able to leave the past in the past. All of these sound like excellent qualities to be mindful of during this season of commemorating the dead and working through grieving and questions about death.

My jade buddha is there on the right and the copper colored ganesh is over on the left. They, along with the namaste and gratitude engraved stones are pretty much always gonna be here :)

The skull card is an invitation to a Halloween party.

How do you celebrate Day of the Dead? What do you, or would you, put on your altara?

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Halloween 2008: When the Veil Between the Worlds is Thin

Halloween 2009: What Do You Really Want to Be?

Halloween 2010: Doggy Heaven (one of my all time favorite posts - it still makes me choke up a little every time I read it) and The Power of the Dog.

Halloween 2011: Day of the Dead

The Full Death Moon 2009 post mentions the Halloween season and the posts Martinmas and Nurturing Warmth at Martinmas are about another holiday associated with this point in the Wheel of the Year.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nurturing Warmth at Martinmas


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St. Martin, St. Martin,
St. Martin road through wind and snow
on his strong horse his heart aglow
He rode so boldly through the storm,
his large cloak kept him well and warm.

By the road side, by the roadside,
by the roadside a poor man arose
out of the snow in tattered clothes
"I beg you help me in my plight
or else I'll die of cold tonight."

St. Martin, St. Martin,
St. Martin stopped his horse and drew
his sword and cut his cloak in two
one half to the beggar man he gave
and by this deed his life did save.

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Martinmas is a newer holiday for me to celebrate, but one that speaks very plainly to what I feel is an important movement during this time of late autumn and early winter. The festival is celebrated with lanterns containing the spark we found during Michaelmas season and are charged with carrying through the winter. As our sparks are held and protected we can be as generous as Martin was when he sliced his cloak in half to give to the beggar. The story of Martin is one of a man who made a flamboyant but genuine gesture of giving to someone in true need. As the winter cold begins to settle on the land, what can we do to both nurture our own spark and spread the warmth - physical, emotional and spiritual - to all the people of the world so in need of warmth.

Click on the image of the music below to go to a video of the song.

Be sure to check out In These Hills' post about Martinmas where I first learned this song (and all her other posts about Martinmas and the gesture of giving). Also, see the adorable pictures at Growing With My Girls and others that Carrie at The Parenting Passageway has linked to.

How are you marking the shift into winter? How are you protecting your spark as the days get darker? Are you involved in any charitable giving this time of year or making plans to do so as it draws nearer the winter holidays? How do you find, grow and spread warmth? Do you prefer to eat goose or almond shortbread cookies at Martinmas? Blessed Martinmas!

I took the photo of the sunrise mist and barn on my drive to my Quiet Little Mountain School. The lantern photo is from Recently Seen. Check out more of her photos on Flickr.

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Here are all my posts about
Halloween, which is the solar festival that Martinmas is aligned to.

Martinmas 2010: Martinmas

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day of the Dead


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This Samhain season I've been called to explore more of the Day of the Dead aspect of this important holiday. I certainly picked out a pumpkin at the pumpkin patch and dressed up and went out with my friends over the weekend, but the month of October has had a real theme of dealing with my ancestors and other beloved dead. My older sister has been spending some real effort to discover family stories and tracing our geneaology in recent months and she asked me to look through
our dad's photos for a picture of our grandmother. That search spurred me to do a major overhaul of his photo albums which were in dire need of repair or updating. My grandmother had put two albums together for my father sometime in the 1950s and they were physically falling apart. I've spent many hours over the last month or so taking the photos off the disintegrating paper and putting them in new albums, a process that has led to a number of very fruitful conversations with my dad about his life history and family (Ok, those conversations have been as fruitful as possible with a man who generally considers "grumph" a reasonable response to most inquiries).

Neither side of my fam
ily really has close intergenerational ties. Both of my grandfathers died decades before I was born and my father's mother died when I was a young child and had lived my entire life across the country from her. Both of my parents were part of the Baby Boom generation that rebelled in many ways against traditional family structure and values, a movement I still believe is valid and valuable, but that has caused irreparable rifts in family ties. Two years ago, when I wrote about my Halloween altar I noted that I had a picture of an extinct species because I almost felt that loss more strongly than the loss of my own family members.

This puts me in a place that is inherently different from the vast majority of humans over time and across the globe. In many, maybe even most, cultures, ancestors are a close and vital part of each individual’s community. Grandparents and maybe even great grandparents would have played a strong roll in raising a child and those people’s deaths would give the young adult an intimate connection with other ancestors who were no longer living. People very often lived in the same community, or even the same homes, that their ancestors had lived in and followed daily practices and traditions that they shared with those ancestors. This is not, in any way, my reality.

My first real cognition of that strong, shared connection with my ancestors came from my study of cell biology and genetics. I realized that the mitochondria in every
cell in my body was exacly the same as the mitochondria in my mother’s body, and those in her mother’s body and her mother’s body. Something as intimate as my own DNA was shared with these women who I knew only barely or not at all. Later in my life, through conversations with my father’s sister, I had a realization that habits of mind and speech, childhood baggage and other less tangible aspects of what I consider myself are passed down from generation to generation in a family.

won tickets earlier this month to see a play at a theater here in Portland that focuses on Hispanic culture. The
play, their Dia de los Muertos production, was a billingual story about a young woman experiencing revolution in a 21st century middle eastern country being visited by her ancestors who tell their story of experiencing revolution in 19th century Mexico. One of the things that struck me in the play is how present her ancestors were to her, both physically and emotionally. This morning I listened to an interview with a prominent Mormon journalist and blogger and she said she felt the same presence of her ancestors. Their stories of conversion and migration to live out their Mormon spirituality felt very heavy to her and she said as a young person she experienced “visitations” and proddings from her ancestors who seemed quite invested in her daily life. In talking about difficulties in her relationship with her father she was very clear that her tradition believes that families choose to be together, that they somehow know each other before their earthly births and come together to have certain kinds of experiences together. This thought is held in Waldorf communities, too, and is one that, despite it’s issues (does anyone choose to be born in extreme poverty, with debilitating illness or deformity, or into abusive situations?) provides some level of comfort to me.

I don’t have the strong intergenerational connections of a
traditional Mexican family and I don’t believe in eternity spent with my current family, but I do know we are in this particular journey together. My parents are a deep part of me, and through them so are their parents and their parents. Other branches of my family are a part of me, too, even the parts that I share no blood with. I believe that my purpose here on earth is to, through my incarnation into this body and self, have a physical and relational experiences that the non-physical spirit of god can not. Humans have their core physical and relational experiences within the family and so, no matter how difficult it may be, those relationships are vitally important.

What are you celebrating this Halloween season? Were or are you close to your grandparents and other ancestors or have you had a journey of discovery like mine? When do you feel closest to your ancestors? Is it now, during the time of the year when the veil is thin between this world and the other? Rob Brezsny's homework assignment this week was "
Which ofyour dead ancestors would you most like to talk to?Imagine a conversation with one of them." Which ancestor would you most like to hear from this early winter? What did you dress up as for Halloween?

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These photos are my personal family photos. If you would like to know more about them please send me an email.

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Halloween 2008: When the Veil Between the Worlds is Thin

Halloween 2009: What Do You Really Want to Be?

Halloween 2010: Doggy Heaven (one of my all time favorite posts - it still makes me choke up a little every time I read it) and The Power of the Dog.

The Full Death Moon 2009 post mentions the Halloween season and the post Martinmas is about another holiday associated with this point in the Wheel of the Year.