The Hedge – The Ancestors

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The ancestors are a very important part of the Witches’ tradition.

They have a lot to do with moral and ethical frameworks.

As we realize the interconnectedness of all things, we come to the point where we know that we are all related.

We all came from the single-celled life forms that emerged from the oceans all those years ago.

We have a shared ancestry.

We also know that the world of the living is built upon the world of the dead.

We cannot have life without death.

The soil that we grow our food on is made of decomposed plant and animal matter, and so we honour the ancestors each and every day simply for the earth that we walk on, the food that we eat.

We know that without the ancestors, without those who have gone before, we simply would not be.

However, most often when we are working with our ancestors, we think of our human ancestors.

This might be because we can relate to our human ancestors perhaps more easily than we can to those single-celled organisms.

We still honour the fact that we would not exist were it not for all our ancestors, but for many, the focus lies on human ancestry and that is perfectly fine, as long as we remember our shared ancestry with all life forms.

In Witchcraft, with our human ancestors, there could be three different strands.

We have ancestors of blood: those human ancestors with whom we are directly related.

Yes, we are all related to each other if you go back far enough, but our blood ancestors help to narrow down the group a little bit in order to find a number that we can actually function with on a more intimate level.

So do we honor our parents and grandparents, our great grandparents, and so on, as far back as we can remember their names and their history.

For their stories are also our stories, and their stories flow through our veins.

If you are adopted, then you have two bloodlines from which you can work.

You can honor your blood relatives if you choose to discover who they are.

You can also honor the bloodline of your adoptive parents.

You may want to work with both at the same time.

The second set of ancestors which we work with is the ancestors of place.

These are the ancestors of our locality.

Working in the Hedge Witches Craft, it is useful to learn the local history and geography of the place we call home.

In doing so, we come to a deeper understanding of the place, and of our place within that place.

The ancestors of place are those who have gone before and who have lived upon this land.

The third set of ancestors honored in the Witches tradition are the ancestors of tradition, those spiritual ancestors whose faith, belief, work
or person has inspired others on their journey.

These could be modern-day Witches or Pagans who do great work in the community or a teacher that we remember fondly who inspired us in our school years.

It could be a religious figure, such as Gandhi or Mother Teresa, or from any other tradition, such as the Buddha.

It could be an artist who inspires us, or a poet, scientist, or musician.

If we look at the bigger picture, we can also bring a fourth strand of ancestors to the mix.

These are the ancestors of the future, those who will carry on after we have passed away.

These might be blood relatives, or they might not be.

These are simply those who will inherit the world that we give them.

When we consider our ancestors of the future, as well as being guided by ancestors of blood, place and tradition, then our Craft
is deeply rooted in time, in place, and in a deep sense of wakefulness.

To connect with your blood ancestors, you can do the following exercise as a meditation.

Close your eyes, and focus on your breath.

Choose a bloodline to follow, whether from your mother’s or father’s side.

Choose a single parent, and envision them standing behind you.

You can feel their presence behind you, and a line that links your heart to theirs.

As you breathe, you breathe together, that line also linking your breath.

Breathe with each other for a moment.

Now, see your parent’s parents, standing behind your parent, with a connecting thread to your parent from their hearts, which then connects
to you through your parent.

Breathe with them, all three generations breathing together.

Now envision your grandparents’ parents, and their parents, back throughout the mists of time.

Even if you don’t know their faces, feel their presence behind you, stretching back and connecting to each other, breathing together through that single thread from your heart.

Now, turn to face your ancestors, acknowledging them, breathing with them.

Spend a moment just breathing with your ancestors, and then listen to the message that your ancestors have to tell you.

Now turn away, but still feel all your ancestors behind you, breathing with you.

Know that they are a part of you, and will always be a part of you.

And slowly, with each inhale, allow your ancestors to fade from your view, but not from your consciousness; generation by generation, until
you stand alone once more.

Though they are gone from your vision, they still live on in your heart, and in your breath.

Focus on your own breath once more, and slowly begin to be aware of the sounds around you.

Wiggle your fingers and toes, and when you are ready, open your eyes.