I don’t know why, but it seems October always sneaks up on me. Maybe it’s that “start-up” thing I get going in September. I never feel quite in the groove before October rolls around. Maybe it’s that Orion’s birthday is in October (the second) so it’s not just the beginning the month, but an event that catches me unprepared.
This week, besides Orion’s birthday, I’m on Blog Talk Radio – The Priestess Show, talking about Ancestors. (The first Friday of the month ALREADY?) The universe is being particularly helpful to me on this one. I was invited by a friend to attend the opening performance of the Black Storytellers Alliance festival. This year’s theme “Leaning on the Ancestors.”
It was truly a privilege to participate in this event, and the audience does participate! These were master storytellers. Their stories come out of their experiences and their history, but they embrace and welcome the whole of the human experience. The storytellers came from all across the country, and even (although he currently lives in Maine) from Brazil.
The event began with drumming, the drummers mostly children from the community. They did impressive work, shared the spotlight and encouraged the audience to clap along with the beats. Then libations were poured out to honor the Divine that has gifted us with our lives, our ancestors and our descendants. This piece was beautifully done. I’ve seen many versions of this and both my friend and I were impressed with the grace and eloquence of this little ritual. But then, these are storytellers aren’t they.
There were family stories and old fables with new twists. There were stories of imitation and of recognizing our own worth. Every performance acknowledged the ancestors as a source of power and wisdom. These are the shoulders upon which we stand.
Orion and I also attended a community equinox ritual. This too acknowledged our history and our futures. We made wishes for ourselves and our community. We cast our coins into the wishing well, but then were taught that we are the well, the water the change makers. We are the one’s with the power to make our wishes manifest.
Because making wishes has consequences we were also given charge of someone else’s wishes. We each got an old roman coin (about 2000 years old). So now I carry, not only my wishes, but the wishes of those who used this old coin to achieve their own desires. Ancestors and Descendants. I am blessed.
Between the late season and my asthma I haven’t spent a lot of time in the garden this year. I was on Blog Talk Radio the other day talking about magic in the garden. I mentioned one of the beds I have is an ancestor garden. Given that it’s Memorial Day Monday and that I’ve been trying to get the annuals in (between thunder showers) that seemed to be a good topic for today’s blog.
My ancestor garden is the one along side the driveway, next to the entry we most frequently use. That way I see it all the time, winter and summer. Winter gardens are a real challenge up here, and my ancestor bed doesn’t make it, but just knowing it’s there under the snow is a reminder that my ancestors may no longer be with me, but that they are still there.
My ancestors are a mish-mash. I have represented ancestors of blood, ancestors of heart, and ancestors of spirit. My best friend from college is an ancestor of heart. He died 16 years ago and I still miss him almost every day. You’ve seen my bulbs, the tulips and hyacinths. (The trails are fading under the lavender.) He was a big fan of the spring flower shows. The bulbs I started there were from a spring planter he’d gifted to me the year before he died. My hope in the spring is also a hope that he’s still watching out for me. I usually manage to get a fall mum in for him as well.
My grandmother’s were both gardeners. My maternal grandmother grew sweet peas, but I’ve never gotten them to go. She also grew pansy’s and petunias. This year I put in viola’s for her. Those old-fashioned wild flowers are all very much representative of her country farm wife ways. My other grandmother had a flair for the exotic. She’d plant cotton bringing the seeds back from a trip south. Or she’d plant silver dollars for good fortune. There’s a hybrid daisy that thrives in that garden for her. The colors are bright and cheerful and I’ve never found another in the seed catalogues quite like it. Maybe I’ll post a photo when it blooms.
The kid’s paternal grandmother loved dusty miller. It was her favorite, I asked. I don’t particularly care for the plant, but when I put it in honoring her, it even winters over. I’ve come to appreciate its strength, resilience and alien simplicity. Now when I see it grow I smile and think of her kindness and patience.
For ancestors of the spirit you may see some Russian sage coming up between the chocolate mint. The sage is for one of my teachers. Russian sage is perennial and he had a fondness for Occidental cultures. The mint is a nod to the cooks, family and otherwise, who have influenced me along the way. I got it out of a friend’s garden in Detroit so there is an extra nod to her along the way.
The cycle of the garden is a microcosm of the cycle of life. Honoring my ancestors in this way I spend time tending their memories throughout the growing season and even in the winter. I pick and choose my annuals, filling in the blanks and sometime adding a new memorial for a season or as a permanent addition. These people are my foundation. They continue to nurture me in my journey as I nurture my garden. Blessed Be.