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Blood of the Earth

May 24, 2013

Blood of the Earth: The Longing for Place


We have a gift we have been trying to give you…We want to fill up your emptiness with meaning…

While the words above were spoken in an Australian court of law by an indigenous aboriginal Australian, the exact same sentiment is effected every day by the Q’ero of Peru when they impart their spiritual traditions to any and all ‘foreigners’ who come seeking. What is it that is at the core of this restlessness we feel? With all that western prosperity has allowed us, why are we bereft? Again in the company of the Australian wisdom keepers we are pitied for our lack of spiritual grounding, true grounding, the knowledge of who we are in terms of where we belong, a literal mapping of our place in the geography. Knowing where we belong is more than birth right, more than some happiness quotient, more than where we gave birth to our children, more than where we bury our parents. The place of our belonging is that, but it is also the place of our becoming, the earth where our best self rises up to meet us, it is the place from which we will source a lineage of power, of Being, of Dreaming. To not know this place, this geographic location of our right to exist on this earth, in this universe, is to lay waste to our best purpose.

And so I ask you. Where do you belong?

In the innocence of childhood we store up memories, smells, tastes, sensations that can trigger a sense of comfort in a moment’s attention– the smell of newly mowed grass, the first warm sun of spring, the silence of snowfall, the rocking of a boat tied loosely to a dock, water cascading over pebbles on a shoreline, thunder–these are some of my childhood triggers. But where we belong is more than where we were as innocent children. It is a place, a real feature of earth’s geography, a particular evocation of all that innocence coupled with the potential of a universe of possibility. Indigenous people who maintain their rituals and spiritual paths know of these places. They set out to find them in ritual ceremony. What, then, do we do if we are not indigenous to the country in which we, and probably many generations of our ancestors, are born? The poet David Whyte once said that we Celts are the indigenous peoples of the British Isles. And of course, he’s right. It turns out that most people in the British Isles who are Indo-European, descend not from the Roman invasion, but from the ancient tribes who lived there before. (And you can very likely identify which tribes by DNA testing). While I don’t think it is wrong to follow a Native American path to belonging if you aren’t actually Native American, I think you are missing an opportunity to flourish in the blood of your true lineage by co-opting another path. It’s not wrong to honor the Australian indigenous wisdom when you and your ancestors have lived on that land for many generations, but fill that cup of care, that essence of belonging to the top with a blending of what is in your blood and where your feet now put you. Not understanding where you belong can stifle your life, undermine your sense of self, as if you are just off balance enough never to quite reach your goals.

The idea that the path of the Celtic shaman is unknown, a dead lineage, is untrue. As long as there are people called to the path who have what we call Celtic tribal origins, the lineage lives. And we may find its traditions in plain sight, in the geography and archeology of the land. The Incan shaman would tell us to find our mountain, the one majestic and most powerful place in the world for us, and from there source all knowledge of what will come. For them, the geographic feature must be a mountain, it would, of course, since they live in the high Andes surrounded by mountains in full power. For us, our ‘mountain’ may be an ocean, a lake, a river, an ancient forest. You will know it when you find it. As with the mountain of your beginning, your place of birth, this mountain of your becoming completes a circle of empowerment. Don’t give up until you find it. What is the mountain of your Dreaming?

note: This essay is part of the introduction to a book I am writing about the Celtic shamanic lineage called The Painted People.

I’m posting this as we come up to another lunar eclipse overnight, a perfect time for ‘illumination’ of your Dreaming. Please post your experiences in finding the place where you Belong. Slainté, Jane.








loch in Scotland photo by Jane Galer 2012. 

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