Our Ancestors reach back in an unbroken chain billions of years long, including literally billions of people, trillions of non-human Ancestors, and many more. Today our Ancestors speak to us, and we speak to them.
Death, the dead, and our Ancestors fill our minds today. It’s easy for us, in our busy lives, to forget how truly immense the past is – yet thousands upon thousands, and millions upon millions of years stretch behind each of us. One small marker of our vast history is seen in the Venus Figurines. While we don’t know exactly what their (undoubtedly varying) meaning was, they were clearly very important due to the amount of work going into them at a time when survival itself was often in question. For instance, the Venus of Cucuteni was crafted ~6,000 years ago – long before any of the Abrahamic religions. However, that is brand new compared to the most famous Venus Figurine, the Venus of Willendorf.
Much of her fame is probably due to her being found over 100 years ago, when most of the others had not yet been found. At over 20,000 years old, it’s hard for many of us (certainly me!) to fully understand that length of time. Yet even the Venus of Willendorf looks young compared to others of these likely Goddess Figurines. Among them, the Venus of Hohle Fels is ~36,000 years old. It’s amazing to realize that she was already 12,000 years old (over twice as old as the oldest of the Egyptian pyramids) before the Venus of Willandorf was even made! These are some reasons why I have a replica of the Venus of Lespugue, who is often on my altar, especially around Samhain.
Our Ancestors accomplished an unbelievable amount in those many years, giving us our world. Mark Green at Atheopaganism has written about extending their memory by introducing Lore Day. Lore day helps us remember that. Keeping that knowledge and memory alive helps us live, giving us meaning for who we are and purpose for building a just, healthy and sustainable world.
And how did my trip to Erebus go? It was great! Yet another way for us to celebrate our sacred time around Samhain. Appropriately, Erebus is specifically set up as a time machine, showing “horrors” from different times – and thus calls so many of our Ancestors to my mind. The horrors shown were often real for some of our Ancestors. Fortunately, in reality I still have my arm!
Some of the ways many of us are celebrating were published a few weeks ago, and at least for my family, celebrations are ongoing, with a party last Friday, CUUPS ritual Saturday, and the Anishinaabe Spirit Feast. I feel the connection between life and death, and see the echo of my grandparents in my kids. And did you see the Edinburgh Samhuinn Fire Festival? Wow – thousands of people celebrating Samhain! I’d love to make it to that some year – it would be a spiritual pilgrimage. For some of us, the celebrations will be later this week – the actual midpoint between the Equinox and the Solstice is November 6th. However you are celebrating, may your be celebration be blessed.
This is an updated version of our annual Fall Equitherm post.