All cultures have a history with ancestral reverence and tending to the spirits of the dead– if you go back far enough. Some cultures have a living and breathing ancestral reverence practice to this day.
There are a lot of reasons tending our ancestors has fallen out of style: the busy modern lifestyle, globalization, intense focus on the development of the individual over the collective (no judgement there– it just is), organized religion creating fear about communicating with the spirit world, etc.
On top of it all, we’ve created a culture that fears death. Death (and physical ageing) is to be avoided at all costs and all expense. Elders are often removed from society in part because they remind us of our own mortality. When it is time to die, few of us know how to do it correctly and peacefully. We fear it, the unknown that comes after and we cling to life– sometimes causing long and unnecessarily painful deaths.
When a loved one does die, the body is often whisked away as quickly as possible and prepared for burial or processed for cremation by strangers. In some families the public expression of grief can also be stymied by social convention– blocking an important part of the dying process for the dead. It sounds a little strange, but our tears and our wailing help the dead find passage to the other side.
Complicating things further, when someone dies their soul can sort of “shatter.” Trauma, rage, grief, addictions and other unresolved emotions and situations can’t crossover. While the soul at large may crossover, imprints of these unresolved or unexpressed emotions stay earth-bound are are often responsible for hauntings, psychic disturbances and even the transference of issues to the living.
For example: Old Uncle Bill passes away of liver disease. He became an alcoholic early in life as a result of PTSD from the Vietnam War. His generation, and perhaps his culture, didn’t encourage therapy or the processing of emotions much so he died a very haunted man. Upon death, part of his soul shattered– the traumatized parts. The shattered piece of Uncle Bill that was addicted to alcohol happened to lodge itself in his grandson, Tom. Tom is young at 22 and hasn’t yet developed a firm sense of self or of personal boundaries, making it easy for spiritual attachments to form in situations like this. Further, Tom is at a stage in life where he frequently goes out to bars and clubs and drinks with his friends. Tom is far from an alcoholic but the alcoholic and traumatized part of Uncle Bill’s soul recognizes an opportunity to “stay alive” and to keep feeding the addiction (it really can be parasitic). A few weeks after Uncle Bill’s death, Tom is beginning to wonder what’s “wrong” with him and he’s starting to feel a bit out of control: He’s drinking more often and more heavily than usual. Instead of drinking to socialize he’s finding himself craving the drink even when he’s alone. He’s also experiencing some frightening nightmares that he can’t make sense of and finds his nervous system is always on edge, as if he’s waiting for an attack . . . until he takes a drink.
(Please note: if this explanation of death and dying doesn’t resonate with you, just let it go. You don’t have to be on board with this cosmology to continue with the course, although I do encourage you to keep an open mind).
And in my course: Become An Ancestral Flame Tender, we’ll return to Tom and Uncle Bill with some suggestions on what to do to prevent this situation and how to clean up the mess if it’s already been made.
But the point is: the consequences of forsaking our dead have never been more grave or more clear: intergenerational pain and trauma. Patterns of addiction and even death that jump from generation to generation– waiting to be resolved. And, to solidly place myself even further down the rabbit hole, I believe (and I’m not the only one) that the world’s current political climate and even global climate change are in part exasperated by the unresolved issues of the dead. These issues hang around, polluting the global consciousness.
If you join Become An Ancestral Flame Tender you are stepping up as part of the solution. Every little ember stoked by ancestral flame tending has a butterfly effect in this world and in the spirit world. And I haven’t even told you the best part yet! There are rich gifts that come along with being an ancestral flame tender: fierce physical and spiritual protection, blessings, guidance and trans-generational healing included.
But hurry, this course begins this Sunday, October 1st and enrollment closes Sunday morning.