Living Amongst Gravestones and Ancestors

Last evening, once I had written my post, and settled down from yesterday’s ordeals…my sister calls… gotta listen to this song she says.

[featured photo is me and Mom – c1970 – I was 3]

Earlier she had done my, hit random and ask your question to the music “thang”…and this is what it gave her ~~ Coldplay’s latest album ‘Mylo Xyloto’ released in 2011 – Us Against the World. If you listen to the words towards the end of the song, there is a portion where they repeat;

And sing slow-ow-ow-ow it down

Through chaos as it swirls

It’s us against the world

Read more: Coldplay – Us Against The World Lyrics | MetroLyrics

It has been established, of course, that is Mom talking to me, or us. My sister asked something along the lines of “Mom, what do you have to say about all this shite with Paula“…and that’s what she had to say.

Rather true, and of course an angle neither of us had considered. True to form, as in life, Mom always had a very direct, yet philosophically understanding way of looking at things.

The ancient people’s of the British Isles, and throughout Bronze Age Europe, to the stone Steppes of Russia and China, and across the sea to the shores of North America, all of these ancient people spoke to their ancestors. They believed in a power born of their blood, sacrifice, and the wisdom that comes from journeying past the death of your physical self, back to your spiritual self.

These early hunter-gatherers turned villagers, often built their dwellings even on top of their more ancient, and revered ancestors. Mounds found all over Britain attest to this practice. As well, these types of “burial mound dwellings” have recently been found throughout the ancient world.

After death the pagan Norse believed a person’s spirit continued to live on, or near, the family farm. This applied in particular to the pioneer, or founding father, of the estate. A large burial mound, a “haugr”, was often built over this individual’s body. This revered ancestor’s spirit was thought to remain in this mound, becoming the family’s – or farm’s – guardian. [from Maeshowe’s Legendary Mound Dweller

I than come to this bit of that song…

Like a river to a raindrop, I lost a friend
My drunken hazard Daniel in a lion’s den
And tonight I know it all has to begin again
So whatever you do, don’t let go

[ Read more: Coldplay – Us Against The World Lyrics
| MetroLyrics ]

We believe our loved ones can guide us, they can intervene occasionally even…when there is need. Like the random phone call my sister made to me yesterday after I’d just left that horrid hospital, sometimes these small gestures can just be exactly what is needed – a call from someone who loves you can make all the difference when you’re feeling wounded and weak.

One can say perhaps I don’t reach out well, but really now, who among us can say they always reach out when they should? We all valiantly try to muddle through, until we can do it no longer. When the strain is too great, and we must ask for help, we feel weak. Society sometimes gives one the impression that we must always be strong, but showing weakness is more a sign of gaining wisdom, than just quietly being strong ever will.

For me the words “slow it down” can be applied at so many levels of my life. When I was young, right on into my teens, Grandma and Mom often said to me “slow it down”…as I was racing through the house in my sock feet on the slippery wooden floors of the Homestead.

SLOW it down, can be seen as saying also “enjoy the view”, as that is really all that truly matters. It tis the reason we even go on adventures in the first place. THE HOBBITT would have been a rather boring read if Bilbo had refused to follow Gandalf out into the wilds of middle earth. Bilbo loved his home, loved his quiet “hobbit hole”. Yet, unlike other Hobbits, he had a spark within himself that craved adventure. Buried deep, that ring called to this inner place inside his soul, and so he turned away from all

English: Original Hobbit Hole, Hobbiton locati...

English: Original Hobbit Hole, Hobbiton location for LOTR trilogy, New Zealand. Español: Agujero hobbit original, localización de Hobbiton para la trilogía de El Señor de los Anillos, en Nueva Zelanda. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

he had ever known, in search of something more.

One can see down into the layers of The Hobbit that the foundation that underlies the story is one of our search inside ourselves. Many identify with this Hero’s Journey, and the first step on that path is to embrace the darkness that rests inside, to seek liberation from our chains, and turn away from the shadows on the wall of our cave.

{Joseph} Campbell held that numerous myths from disparate times and regions share fundamental structures and stages, which he summarized in The Hero with a Thousand Faces:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.[from – Wikipedia]

We all may choose or deny the call of the wild – many refuse – yet it calls inside us all. I wonder if perhaps that call comes from a place within ourselves that craves that time in our collective pre-history when all humankind walked that torrid, wild way of the hunter-gatherer.

The Road of Trials

The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin the transformation. Often the person fails one or more of these tests, which often occur in threes. [ ibid ]

Yesterday when I got off the bus, I had missed my stop and found myself dropped off in front of the London Cancer Clinic part of the Victoria Hospital complex. As the bus came to a stop, and I saw where exactly I was, a lump formed and tears began to threaten my tearducts, and I barely managed to hold it all at bay.

Once again, or perhaps in one long, continuous story that has defined my life, the allusions that weave and warp the very fabric of my day-to-day existence, keep the pattern true.

Than, in their own characteristic way, these loved ones reach out to us. If you listen carefully, if you watch, you will find their supernatural touch within the darkness, they shine a light. They conduct within that light, and following through the passage, utilizing it like a lens of a camera, to focus their intent.

All those ancient peoples monuments define the essence of that passage, or focusing of intent. Whether it be towards the light, or the darkness, in equal measure they understood the need for the balance of chaos and order. For them, the opposite of DEATH was not life, but BIRTH. Life is tissue and wisp, memories and faith, yet death and birth were solid and foundational.

Sometimes it is essential to focus ourselves towards those elements within our lives that give us purpose. Those communities and monumental characters of our past, can refresh us, and often help to define our purpose, and strengthen our resolve.

English: Maes Howe entrance passage. This is t...

English: Maes Howe entrance passage. This is the view from the large central chamber looking back to the entrance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the month of December creeps forward, I am reminded that one of those pivotal moments of the ancient world is almost upon us – The Winter Solstice.

That time of darkest night, the longest night of the year, brings with it that knowledge that the light will, and always will, return. Which is why I suppose that so many near-death experiences share that collective vision, it is symbolic of our birth into this world. We travel from our Mothers womb, out through the birth canal, towards the light.

I believe perhaps that is so that we may know it, and to recognize the warmth and love that light brings us. That light gave us LIFE. That is the message in those symbolic mounds throughout the ancient world.

To appreciate all that though, you have to SLOW DOWN. You have to learn to pay more attention, forget the passage of time, forget the moments that wear us down, and one forgets where it is they are going. You look around, you breath in the scent of death, you swallow the surrounding air, and take in ALL the views.

Within the light, for me there is a voice, and it is that of my Mother. Guiding, inspiring, and enveloping me in a comfort born of familiarity and bloody shared experience. You know, there is such dichotomy in that, when you think that in our modern world this time of year is to celebrate the birth of a son. And so, now, I guess one can say our family has learned how to honour both, in our own way.

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