Honoring the Unseen World of Our Ancestors

10/30/2016--Like a soft, subtle breeze that inches her way into our lives, bit by bit, increasing her intensity and presence, the darkness of winter arrives. The moon rises to light up the cooler nights and we begin to celebrate an inner world, an “unseen” world that, ironically, in the darkness, may be easier to glimpse, to experience than in the bright light of summer. (Note, this writing is a break from my regular blog story)

At this time of the year—of ghosts and goblins of Halloween, and spirits taking form inside our imaginations—I shared my novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit, with a group of mystery writers and readers. It was fitting to do so since my novel sprouted from an energy akin to this time of the year. My novel came from a place of inner journey, where the sun hides, or so it seems, as it creeps down, into the earth, in the early evening, and lights up a place inside of us (inside the earth that we are) that longs to come home to itself. My novel celebrates this inner world, this “unseen world,” which we often call the spirit world or that place from which all life emerges.

Tomorrow’s celebration of Halloween also honors this unseen world. It originated from the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (“sah-win”), a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and a time in which the ancient Gaels believed that the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops. The Christians, who gave this hoce0b65a48bcd9204ddb1aaa7b7dc4032liday the name of Halloween, were also celebrating “hallowed evening” or “holy evening,” as a time of honoring the holy; and those who celebrate Dia de los Muertos recognize their ancestors, and those who have walked before them, making a place for them to visit from the “other world.”

After sharing Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit with an audience of thirty earlier this week, I began to feel the leaves of my abundant summer falling to the ground, preparing the soil for new life in the Spring. It was a challenging week for me, and for numerous people I spoke with. But rather than get upset or push through this energy–in the name of progress as we are taught to do in this culture–I listened. I invited friends to gather in ceremony to intimately honor our ancestors and all that has come before, and to prepare the soil for the Spring.

My reaction to the change of season, and my internal seasons, is so different from years ago. Then, when my soul, my life, urged me to slow down, I resisted. I didn’t know how. I pushed through it, injuring myself, hurting myself, and eventually got to a place of writing my novel because I could no longer ignore that which was unseen that wished to speak.

So rather than be like the person I was, I invite you to be with the seasons that we all are, and honor this time of the year for its gift of life and death, of seen and unseen, of blessing that which has come before so that Spring’s soil sprouts a blessed harvest.

*My recently-published novel, Child of Duende: A Journey of the Spirit is on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Child-Duende-Journey-Michelle-Adam/dp/099724710X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474233011&sr=8-1&keywords=child+of+duende  or at www.michelleadam.net

7 thoughts on “Honoring the Unseen World of Our Ancestors

  1. Thank you Michelle… My mother visited me last night in my dreams to give me a hug and to let her know I love her. My mother read your book and she commented that she was glad I have a friend like you. Peace, love and light, Linda

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. In mid-September, I found myself languishing in a malaise after grieving for my little granddaughter for several weeks. I had been building a guitar, which likewise lay languishing on the workbench. I decided to dedicate it to her, and it became a bridge of sorts–a way of crossing the chasm between the numbness I felt and the love had grown afraid to feel. Bu it would become more than that.

    This past Sunday, on the eve of Halloween, the guitar made its debut at a concert in Cambridge, in the hands of a consummate professional. It sang with incredible clarity and purity as he coaxed the music out of it. To my ears and heart, it evoked all the sweetness that my granddaughter had radiated in her short life. For just a moment, it became her voice.

    I had introduced the guitar to the audience earlier, but did not speak of my granddaughter, or of dedicating the guitar to her. It was only after the show that I spoke with the guitarist and told him of the journey my humble instrument had taken with me. He gave me a hug and told me he was honored to have been given the chance to play it.

    I will never be able to say whether I heard Jackie sing through that guitar, or whether it was just my heart yearning for her presence in my life. But I do know that in that moment, something shifted. My grief shifted from feeling the deep pain of loss to honoring her brief, bright light. Perhaps in that moment she came back not to hurt, but to heal.

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    • Wow, Paul! What a blessing to experience her beauty, her song, her life, through an instrument you made from that grief and praise for her. That is life in its fullness and I am so glad your guitar got the chance to be played and shared. What a journey you have been on with music. It’s wonderful. What you shared reminds me of something my teacher Martin Prechtel has said. In the Mayan language the words “grief” and “praise” are the same words. Because when we grieve we are praising that someone lived and when we praise we are feeling the grief that that person or being we praise may not be here tomorrow. He used to say to him that all the wars and killing that happened in Guatemala and in the world pained him less than the fact that these people were never able to grieve their losses….and that today we carry so much grief in us because we lack a community in which we can feel safe enough to grieve or to even praise. The gift of your guitar and its journey allowed for your grief and praise to be sung into being, and received. What a gift.

      Liked by 2 people

      • That is very much the essence of it — that my humble guitar, and the journey of healing it shared with me, let my “grief and praise to be sung into being, and received,” as you say.

        You and I often spoke of Martin Prechtel’s teachings on grief and praise many years ago. I have not forgotten. I thank you for that gift.


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