We have many kinds of personal ancestors, some direct and traceable, some indirect and unknowable. If we trace back far enough on the genealogical Tree of Life, our ancestors would probably include fish and amphibians—not to mention bacteria and viruses. More immediately, less distant in time than single-celled creatures, we have three kinds of ancestors: ancestors of blood, ancestors of spirit, and ancestors of both blood and spirit. And who’s to say which are the most important?
When I began imagining artwork for “Bone Voyage,” I was immediately transported back in time to my ancestors. I “saw” four figures—two male, two female—emerging out of a vessel that represents the Earth as the World Egg of creation. These four beings are my ancestors of spirit, ancestors who dedicated their lives to the quest for spiritual communion and enlightenment. Two are male: an old, grey-haired monk and a Hassid with a black hat. The Hassid may be an ancestor both of blood and spirit: my father’s grandfather was a rabbi, so you never know. Two are female: a priestess of Brigit, her glowing red hair a reflection of Brigit’s association with fire and sun, and a strong-faced priestess of the Cailleach, the Scots/Irish creatrix goddess associated with the winter season of long nights and bitter cold. She and Brigit trade places during the year and may be two faces of the same goddess.
Eager to be seen and tell their stories, these figures emerge from the World Egg into the light of modern day. I find myself listening to them, learning about their lives, intrigued by the shifting polarities they represent. They are my ancestors of spirit. Perhaps if you listen to them, you will hear their voices too. Perhaps you will discover that they are your ancestors of spirit as well.