Since traditionally Samhain has been associated with the thinning of the veil I am thinking this month is a fantastic time to take a closer look at ancestor work. I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet-devotionals, meditation, offerings, reminiscing. There are so many things and ways I could approach this subject it seems like more of a jumping off point than anything else.
I was already planning on making this Samhain ritual an ancestor ritual (not sure what I meant by that exactly when I dreamed it up, but there it is). So-now the research can be multifaceted. I wanted to do guided meditation, but the group I’m working with didn’t seem exceptionally excited by the prospect (or at least not enough of the group for me to do it), but I am posting below the mediation I was thinking about modifying to use for the ritual with the only attribution for authorship I found initially.
“Blood of the Ancestors” Guided Meditation-
This is a meditation to connect with the spirits of the ancestors. These may be recent, known relatives, less recent cultural ancestors from the lands of your heritage or even more primal ancestors, the mothers and fathers of all mankind. You may not know until you do the meditation which ones will appear. You might choose to hold an object while doing this meditation, a stone or crystal or perhaps a small empty box. You might begin your meditation by counting and working on your breath or whatever means you ordinarily settle yourself into a meditation. You may choose to memorize the script or record it to play back for yourself later. Remember to leave time in your recording for any revelations or conversations that might take place. Below is the guided portion…
You are in a landscape reminiscent of your ancestral homeland. This may be a savannah, a prairie, a forest, a desert, a rocky shoreline… You hear faint drumming, the drums of your ancestors, faintly coming from somewhere in the distance. At your feet, the earth tilts away from you, a worn path leads downhill into an opening in the ground. The opening is rimmed by what looks like a tremendous bone, part of the spine of a very large animal. A memory comes to you, one you’re not sure is your own, and informs you that this bone is known as the atlas, the uppermost vertebra in the human spinal cord through which your brain stem passes, and even more strangely, that this archway is your own atlas.
In your hands is a large smoky crystal. You know that you will soon travel down this path and enter the archway, so you take all of your fears and anxieties and you pour them into this stone. You see the smoke within move and swirl as it consumes and swallows your fears. When you are finished, you place the stone at your feet and step over it towards the worn path. As you make your way down towards the opening, the light above you fades and the walls beside you rise as you descend. The sound of drumming becomes focused, less distant. Cool air escapes from the archway as you duck inside. You have just passed through your own life system.
You stand for a moment to let your eyes adjust to the darker space. The drumming seems to come from somewhere underground, but not in this immediate room. The walls are stone and slightly damp, the dampness lingers in the air. There are four walls and in the center of the floor is a wide pit, all visible by the light of torches anchored to each wall. You turn to see the opening you just came from. Hung above the atlas, guarding the way, are two crossed weapons and a shield all made and decorated in the way favored by your cultural ancestors. Note what they look like and what weapons are present.
You turn back towards the pit. The wall on your left is hung with grave markers, some symbols you recognize, you may even recognize some names… these are the shrines of your forbearers. Embedded in the wall across from you is a skull. You examine it’s pale features for any signs of who this person might have been, but you know that whoever it was, came and left the physical world many years before your birth. There is a deep niche in the wall to your right, so deep that the torchlight does not fully illuminate its contents. From the darkness, you see the eyes of an animal watching you, the guardian of your clan, examining you and finally seeming to accept your presence. Note what this animal is.
The beast makes a small indication towards the pit, as if urging you on your way. The pit is circular and deep. You see, on the rim directly ahead of you, the beginning of a stairway leading along the edges, you can see it twisting to the left in a clockwise direction down towards the bottom in a spiral. The walls of the pit are lined with what look like vines rising from its depth, the main shoot curling up opposite the stairs crossing them at even measure, the suggestion of a double-helix. You step closer and as you near the first step and look down, you see that below one flight of steps, the pit is filled with something. The substance is a deep, opaque, crimson red. You know right away that it is blood.
You watch it for a moment, listening to the drums, and then take your first step. You slowly, carefully descend the spiral staircase carved into the rock walls of the pit of blood. As you round the circle, you see that the vines you noticed earlier are throbbing and share the same crimson color as the liquid in the pit. Your own veins respond to the throbbing of the walls and the thumping of the drums until they all share the same rhythm. As you descend you become more and more aware of the humming of the liquid below and feel that same
humming inside your own body.
When you complete your circuit, you find your feet at the surface of the blood. You know, even though you cannot quite see them, that the steps continue on down under the surface. You continue, breaking the surface first with your feet, and then your legs. The blood is warm and the humming you heard and felt is now clearly felt in your submerged body parts. The drums still thump and your heart still pumps. Soon, you are submerged to your shoulders. You continue forward, letting the liquid overtake your mouth, your face, your head until you are completely under the surface of the warm, thick liquid. You breath out carefully, but produce no bubbles. Your exhalation dissipates into the substance around you and you find that when you inhale, the <blood around you provides the oxygen you need to continue on your way.
The color of the blood from under the surface has changed slightly, taking on a vaguely yellow caste as lit by the torches above and you discover that you can see more clearly than you would have expected. When you open your mouth, you taste the blood. It has the sharp, metallic taste of iron and oxygen and when it flows into your nostrils, you can smell it. It tastes and smells healthy and you know this blood was not spilled long ago, that it is the living blood of a living people, that it is your own blood as well as your ancestors. <You can feel your own veins open up to receive it, to absorb it, recognizing its own. This place is comforting and warm with the sensation of floating and the sound of throbbing and the feel of humming as you continue walking slowly through the liquid downwards.
The light from the torches above becomes darker and darker as you descend, the blood above you quieting the light until you can no longer see in the darkness. Through the humming and throbbing, you begin to feel something else. There is someone very special waiting for you at the bottom. You feel love in the humming. The sensation of strength and wisdom come to you as well. Knowing you are not alone, you carefully step off the staircase and into the middle of the pit, floating down through its thicker and thicker depths. The arms of your ancestor reach up to you and catch you as you float down to them. They clutch you to them as a long lost child. You open your eyes and find that you can again see in the depths. Remember what you see and hear, remember what your ancestor tells you…
When the conversation is over, your companion helps you back onto the spiral staircase and you know that you will see them again, in fact, will never be without them. You ascend, far quicker than you descended, the liquid buoying you up as you come back to the surface. As you rise out of the blood, the cool air returns and the humming fades. You emerge from the liquid unstained, any clinging blood having been absorbed into your veins. You climb out of the pit and look around the room once more. You thank your clan guardian and look towards the light coming from the entrance. You listen to the drums fade and your heartbeat return to normal, then you duck back through the atlas and emerge into the world. If you chose to retrieve your worry-stone, you may, otherwise, you may leave it behind as you come out of your meditation.