On this day that people in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s a day with a lot of energy, both of thankfulness and of hearth and home, larder and abundance, of friends and family.
It’s a day associated with the harvest, like many other days between the Summer and Winter Solstices, though probably the latest harvest festival of the Gregorian year. It is a day that’s the height of increase. It’s interesting that this year it falls so close to the New Moon, at a place of decrease, and also that it falls when Mercury is retrograde, a time often associated with things going backwards. Appropriate since there is a general spiritual climate with the current economy, with the unemployment, with the recent protests, of lack, not abundance.
With the importance of family on this day for most Americans, it begs the question, who are you thankful to? Is it to the Divine or land spirits, those that bring abundance? Is it to your living family and friends, those that are part of your life in the now, the present, and all the blessings they give you. Is it to your ancestors, recent or ancient, blood or spirit, the ones that helped you get where you are today? I think it’s as important to know who you’re thankful to as what you’re thankful for, for this tells a lot about you.
When you hear the word “ancestor”, what do you think of? You grandfather that died a year or two ago? Your father that died? Those who you’re descended from who made the crossing to the New World? Someone sitting in a grass hut in pre-history? Or do you think of the Might Dead, of the dead of your spiritual line, those who mentored you, who mentored them? Those form part of the current you ride in your journey? If you believe in reincarnation, do you only think of the ancestors of this life, or of all lives?
Memory is passed in the blood and is stored in the bones. Not the memories like what I had for dinner last night, but the ancient memories. Who we really are, where we really came from. As the baby grows in the mother, their blood mixes. Her blood flows through her bones, picking up the memories. Her blood flows down the umbilical cord, mixing with the baby’s, and passes, along with the oxygen and nutrients, the memories in her bones of what came before. And the baby’s blood circulates through his body and those memories join others in his bones.
And other memories come also, memories from the Neshamah, who has lived many lives before. She passes these memories along the cord, very much like the physical umbilical cord, that connects her to the newly developing Nefesh. These memories are carried within her in the Threads of Wyrd, of Fate, that lie at her core. They are passed down that cord to Nefesh. And Nefesh is closely tied with the blood and the bones, and takes these memories and stores them in the bones to join the others in the baby’s bones.
These memories are what ties us to both our physical ancestors and our spiritual ancestors. And the new born baby knows all things that came before, but can’t communicate them, being without words. But with the coming of words comes restriction of memories, for the memories that he can’t put into words no longer hold meaning and are forgotten. With language comes ignorance and forgetfulness. And we spend the rest of our lives re-learning, re-discovering, re-remembering. But the memories are still in our bones, as they are still in the wind that blows across our skin. So close, yet so far. Right there, yet they might as well be in the stars. And they are.
Magic and the craft is in our blood and our bones, for those who aren’t clayborn. It’s tied up in those memories. Call it Witchblood, call it the Witch’s Mark, call it whatever you like, but it’s there, waiting for use to find it. As it was in our parents, whether physical or spiritual, and in theirs, all the way back. And where do we go, looking back? How far and to whom?
There’s a story common in the Craft, and elsewhere, both esoteric and exoteric, both legend and myth, The story tells of beings descending, seeing the beauty of the Daughters of Man, and having children of them, and teaching them all things, all crafts, all sciences, all arts, all magic. Some call them Watchers, some call them Guardians, some call the Gods, some call them the Sons of God. There are different counts of them, seven, eight, twelve, 200, other counts as well. In many traditions, those with the Witchblood or Mark are those descended from these beings. The things they taught aren’t just passed down from teacher to student, master to apprentice. They are in those memories, in our blood and our bones. If we’re not taught, still we can learn. If we just listen to our bones, listen to our blood, listen to the wind.
If we are descended, both physically and spiritually from the Watchers, from the Guardians, they aren’t guides or teachers or protectors. They are our flesh and blood, some of our most ancient ancestors. They are family. When we encounter them in the Circle or Compass, or at Dawn or Dusk, yes, they are distant and removed, the ultimate reaches, the stars in the sky. But they are also family, also our ancestors, the most ancient of the Mighty Dead. They are distant, but they are also close, in our very blood and bones, just as we were in their loins and seed. The connection is more than just a teacher and a student, or a protector and witness to our Arte. They are one with us and us with them. One blood, one body, one soul.
When we say we’re thankful on this day, yes, let us look to the spirits and the Divine, yes, let us look to our friends and families, yes, let us look to our ancestors. But let us look to all our ancestors, recent and ancient, physical and spiritual, human and stellar. We are made of stardust, and we also carry it in our blood and bones, in our Nefesh, our Ruach, and our Neshamah, in the very strands of Wyrd that connect us to the past, the present, the future, all that was, all that is, all that will be, all space, all time, all earths, all heavens, the mundane and the sacred, the human and the divine.
“Let us give thanks…”