Ancestral studies pair best with impermanence. Devote ourselves to the former, and we tend toward melodrama. Devote ourselves to the latter, and we spiral into an existential void, or become overly identified with a system that emphasizes a lack of identity. Our indigenous heritage is like a hearth fire that animates Buddhism, prevents it from being what it is not—cold, stripped of id, abolishing names in terrifying unity. Impermanence is warm and alive. Impermanence is the loyal dog at our feet. Its reductive quality focuses us, clears our head like a good shower.Read More
Sometimes I feel like a dying star; the muses ride me hard in wasteful explosions. It’s garish. The space around me teems. Hermits and astronomers know that you can find a dying star wherever space is ample. And only there.Read More
Disowned qualities orbit us like little moons. When we deny darkness, we stabilize its orbit, and keep it circling us closely. We cannot disown anyone, much less those who bring our deepest sickness to the surface. We cannot disown Dylann Roof any more than the liver can disown the kidneys. Large-scale dysfunction, systemic suffering, and death result.Read More
Our ancestors express the miraculous scope of improbable unions that gave rise to us. When we deny those who have given us our eyes, our gifts, our bones, we insult everything that has enabled our existence. When we identify as transgender, agender, or gender-fluid, we still embody the same history. We're still the same little live wire at forefront of a particular and vast ancestral circuitry.Read More
The natural impulse to modulate our own well-being runs deep in our memory, when our mothers knew just what plant helped which kind of ache. Most of would have grown up with contextual herbal education, embedded in the feedback loop of our own vital bioregions. Divesting this power to an authority figure for everyday health concerns is a relatively new dynamic that offers few empowered solutions.
Now, mothers, including myself from time to time, lovingly give our kids drugs that arise from well-lit laboratories, which are different from the whole plants that grow from laboratories of loam. We can all remember and wield some basic medicines to take our health back into our own hands.Read More
In the first installment of Voices of Ancient Europe, Erin Langley interviews Jack Roberts on the ancient Sheela-na-gig stones of Ireland:
"I always knew that as a man, my work with the Sheelas is restricted to some extent, and I carried out the research in the hope that it would encourage women to bring them alive again. [...] As an antiquarian respecting the wisdom of the ancients, revealing the Sheela-na-gigs is my way of helping women discover the path back to true liberation, their former position in society and spirituality."Read More
1. Practice quality listening. Nod at appropriate times, and remember you’ll miss them when they’re dead.
2. Use inclusive thoughts and language. Think “we” when referring all of our different religious beliefs, dogmas, races, classes, abilities, politics. Avoid the “us/them” schism. When your wonderful Republican churchgoing family starts showing off their guns, be like, “Wow, isn’t it amazing that we’re one, big family?” Or, “What a fascinating study of traditional Southern values!” Or, “Go, biodiversity!” Or, “How great that they love me—a radical feminist commie on the far-left fringe?” [Can substitute said labels with “person.” How great that they love me—a person! etc.]
3. Be a scientist. Witness the chaos rather than succumbing to it. Become a curious and interested observer. Bring a notepad if it helps. “Wow, check out that meltdown vortex. How about I not get sucked into it!”
4. When you’re feeling stressed out, reach for a glass of water or a breath of fresh air. Humans love air and water.
5. Whether you're traveling or not, learn a new, local plant. It’ll help you connect to your surroundings. Take a picture and tag Ancestral Acupuncture, if you want. hashtag sanity
6. Bring an herbal ally with you for grounding and immunity. You can bring a tincture of St. Johns Wort or a bag of yarrow leaves, or whatever. Wear it like a talisman around your neck or in your pocket, or drink to wear it on the inside. Your plant ally has your back.
7. Accessorize for psychic and physiological protection. When I'm feeling depleted, I like to wear an amethyst necklace my aunt Opal made, and a scarf around my neck because the back of the neck is another psychically-sensitive area. (That's why old Chinese people always wear scarves--to protect against colds and flus.) I also sometimes wear a red, woven belt wrapped tight around my waist. Lots of traditional cultures still use this as a means of protection. Any piece of fabric will do.
8. Say something funny. Humor harmonizes.
9. Hang out with the kids. No one’s saner.
10. Go for a walk in nature. Trees will always be there to tell you, “Calm the eff down.”
Be the grown-up you want to see in the world.
Don’t beat yourself up when you fail miserably. We’re talking about family, after all.
Hot New Tips for 2016:
The family that watches Bob Ross together stays together. Gather 'round, and witness him gracefully spin mistakes into beauty. Generalize those "happy little clouds" to the air around you.
If all else fails, bond over your shared hatred of Comcast!Read More
To know deeply who we are helps us stand with each other.
Apathy makes us an accessory to murder. Inaction makes racism our legacy. If we are tired of hearing about injustices against black lives, we almost surely benefit from institutionalized oppression. We who have the luxury of ignoring this struggle are those who are now called to engage, to speak up, to avoid being complicit in systematic murder through silence.Read More