Awake Inside the Dreaming Earth:

Meetings With the Ancestors


I sit at my altar this cold, dark morning illumined by a single candle burning. My heart is overflowing with questions too large for me to hold alone. I place a stick of palo santo (holy wood), over the candle flame and watch as smoke moves like a dragon through the air, forming a bridge between worlds.

With closed eyes, images begin to emerge through my inner world from the dreaming earth.

There is a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the soul door. I hear a knock, and although I am not sleeping, I wake inside a dream. Standing at the edge of a wasteland, my gaze follows the hum of a new, barely visible world emerging inside this moment. I want to act, to move toward it, but my vision is still unclear. As I stand in the discomfort between what I want and what is needed, I remember that such thresholds are crossed through enduring the  Great Aloneness of waiting.

Bald eagle emerges so close I can see her eyes. I am alone, yet not alone. Awe and gratitude melts the icy waters of uncertainty, and something begins to flow.

Within this lucid dream, I recognize a reality pulling me toward itself like the answer to a prayer. Not just my prayer, but the Prayer of All Prayers. Something tells me that in my very standing here at the threshold between life and death, my presence is the offering, and that that is enough. As I offer myself to the altar of the full, mad, mess of the human condition, the ancient ones sing to life a wild, holy beauty wrapped in knotted flames so that the heart stays warm and the soul alive.

Although I want to do something, anything, to get out of this discomfort, my bones tell me that if I move too quickly some essential part of me will be left behind. Although this offers little comfort, something true at the center of my wholeness settles into itself and it is clear that no one part of me wants to exist without the rest. And so it is.

And then I hear the future ancestors calling, whispering, singing me forward. They surround me just on the other side of this moment, holding me in ritual space. Immense love and encouragement seeps through the membrane between self and other, filling me with a wild grace and loving me into being just a little more, and a little more. I feel their deep concern but also their enduring wisdom and strength. They help me to stay here in the long dark for as long as it’s necessary until I know just what to do next.

And then slowly, and in a flow as natural as breathing, the ancestors take me deeper into the long dark—into the silence of my own discomfort and something in me lets go. And I wonder, to myself, why surrender is so hard when it is so easy?

They take me to the center of the Earth to a mountain where past and future ancestors gather, and welcome me into their circle. I see things that seem too magical to be true, and yet somehow it all feels so familiar. I return with a renewed sense of commitment to listening and synchronizing my movements in the outer world from the depths of my inner world. There is a new sense of at-home-ness at the center of my being even amidst the uncertainty and chaos of intense planetary change.

Becoming an Ancestor

I open my eyes slowly, noticing a sense of grounded calm in my body, an ease of breath and a sense of presence in the room. The sun has risen by now, replacing the darkness from which I began this journey.

As I return to the demands and complexity of ordinary reality, I write to re-member in the great forgetfulness of modern life. I take the wool blanket from the sofa and go out into the freezing cold morning. A single crow calls through the tall cedars that hold council in the silence. My pores open to listen, and I recognize that the ancestors are still with me and have always been. My warm tears fall with the snowflakes as I thank the ancestors for their generosity, love and guidance.

Thank you for helping me remember whenever I forget, and for helping me stay awake even as I sleep. Thank you for stilling the incessant movement that I have become too accustomed to, and for showing me how to cultivate patience and steady myself though the discomfort of not knowing. Thank you for your unwavering support and guidance. Even when I resist, thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you. I offer myself wholly.

I can see that this is how we all become ancestors: by doing the sacred work of re-membering and re-turning to our place of belonging among the ancestors and the dreaming earth, and by listening for, caring for and sharing our unique medicine in any way we are able. The ancestors are guiding each of us to a space that is waiting just for us, welcoming us to our place in the circle of belonging.

Meeting the Ancestors

Our ancestors come in all shapes and sizes, human and more-than-human, blood related and not blood related. Some of us do not know our blood kin or have had difficult or abusive relationships. Yet there are those who feel like kin even if you have never met, or are not blood related. Perhaps an author whose words have inspired you, held you, accompanied you through difficulties and change. Perhaps a teacher, soul friend, artist, composer, activist, neighbor, or a stranger with whom you make eye contact as you pass on the street. There are the ones who came before us who help from the other side, and the ones yet to be born who guide us forward. Around us live all of Gaia’s relations: stone, mountain, river, sea, octopus, volcano, field, ant, grasshopper, sloth, whale, reindeer, snake….

The next time you feel lost, impatient and/or uncertain step outside or take a walk. Notice a patch of earth that catches your attention, as though it is calling to you. It may be a clearing, stone, beach, tree, plant, cave, grass. Notice everything about this place; the quality of the air, the color and texture of the soil, the temperature, how it feels where your skin and this place meet, the quality of its life force, its spirit. What do you notice in your body in the presence of this ancestral ground? Spend time with this place like a friend. Introduce yourself and ask it about itself. What stories might it want to share? Or does it prefer to be with you in loving silence? Open to it with all your senses; touch it, hug or lay on it (if appropriate or possible), smell, listen with your heart and pores to what it has to share. Share with it how you are feeling in this moment—speak from your heart without editing. Ask it if there is anything it would like to share with you. Wonder out loud or quietly to yourself. Don’t hold back. If there are tears, let them fall as an offering—a blessing. Visit this ancestral ground regularly, bring it offerings like shells, stones, stories, songs, gratitude. Notice how this relationship develops over time. Notice what emerges from this heart connection and deep sharing, and what changes emerge for both you and this sacred patch of earth.

We are not meant to be as isolated as we are in the modern world. We are not meant to move at racer’s pace every day. We are not meant to ignore our body’s needs and signals. We are not meant to ignore the body of the earth and its needs and signals.

How might life be different if you could trust the wisdom of your body? If you began to listen to your body’s true needs, and move at a pace that feels natural? If you treated your body, heart and soul with loving kindness? If you listened to the true needs of the earth and all of its life forms? How might life be different if you felt held in the loving presence of your ancestors, knowing they have your back and are deeply listening with their wise hearts as you listen for the truth inside your confusion, fear, outrage, grief, and loneliness. How might life be different if your medicine was recognized and truly honored? Especially by you? And if you found ways to share your medicine, and could see that you have something that is needed? What if what you have to offer, right now, is enough, even if it’s not fully formed yet?







About the Author: Monique Gaboury is a licensed acupuncturist, in Freeland, WA, specializing in Alchemical Acupuncture. She loves sharing her passion for natural healing at her clinic and through writing her blog ‘Re-membering Wholeness, Belonging and Kinship Through Changing Times’.

Juniper Medicine Alchemical Acupuncture serving the greater Seattle area on Whidbey Island. To schedule an appointment call 360-672-1506 or EMAIL.


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