Honoring Our Ancestors
Imagery of hands offering support in all directions has been evolving with me since the beginning of the pandemic.
As so much of the world that I knew, and the facades I identified with, began to drop away, I became inexplicably drawn to the circle and the color indigo as a means of self-soothing. Meditating on this singular shape and color was a way for me to establish a sense of certainty within myself, to feel anchored within the chaos and not-knowing that felt so overwhelming.
The circle is one of the most ancient symbols used by humanity to communicate; it was utilized long before written language came into existence. As such, connecting with the circle connects us with the very roots of our evolution as a species: a sense of deep interconnection and belonging that has been with us long before we arrived.
While the wisdom of the circle is both ancient and timeless, Carl Jung was the first westerner to observe and document how people naturally gravitate towards circular shapes during times of upheaval and transformation. He began working with the mandala as a means of understanding his own individuation as well as that of his patients.
Resting within the mandala (Sanskrit for “sacred circle) allows both the viewer and creator to access a sense of calm within chaos; it is a powerful tool of the subconscious for calling back fragmented parts, of inviting wholeness and a sense of timelessness.
Ancestral Study no 13, 7”x7” acrylic on paper. Influenced and inspired by late mentor Richard Yarde, a connection who years later is my greatest gift from my studies at Umass Amherst.
This particular image is a representation of all 1024 hands that comprise the 7 generations of the 512 people that have formed and shaped your unique genetic imprint. You exist in the center of the golden Vesica Piscis.
It is a portal into ancestry both past and future, spanning seven generations in both directions of linear time.
Working with this imagery connects the viewer with the whole of humanity and what’s known as Seven Generations principle: a sacred philosophy honored by many indigenous cultures, a vital code of ethics that is crying out to be remembered.
Ancestral Medicine Mandala
To sit in the center of this mandala is to connect with the constellation of beings that comprise the seven generations of ancestors who have shaped your very DNA; whose life paths echo in the very bones, tissue, and subtle body of your being, whose songs reverberate deep within the subconscious.
This fractal pattern appeared before me this past spring as I was meditating in my garden on the honeybee, specifically around it being one of the most ancient symbols associated with the divine feminine. That contemplation later turned into a mandala illustration of 108 Honeybees, which interestingly, became woven into the mandala you see here, as a visual representation of the feminine aspect of the bloodline. Mandalas within mandalas 🐝
Mandalas have been utilized throughout cultural traditions all over the world as pathways for honoring interconnectivity, dissolving the illusion of separation, and integrating one’s sense of self within the Universe. Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung also utilized the mandala in his personal work as well as with his patients in offering a “safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness.”
I’ve shared an initial glimpse of what this project means to me in my story section titled “7 Generations” and will be revealing more as the messages continue to ripen. This is the most richly-woven tapestry of healing and inquiry that has ever come forth from within me to date, and what’s most exciting is it feels as though I’ve barely scratched the surface.