I’ve been struggling with the idea of an ancestral altar for months. People say it benefits them with spiritual work. I barely speak to most of my family. We have had two paedophiles plus a spectacular selection of sadistic narcissists and outright freaks. All but one have been on my father’s side.
My Great-Grandmother has been on my mind because she’s on my mother’s side. I never knew her but she was by all accounts a lovely woman with an incredible knowledge of herbs. The sticking point had been that she was the mother of my Grandmother who was an abusive narcissist who emotionally abused my mother which wrecked her confidence and then paved the way for my mum to be emotionally abused by my narcissistic father and weakly sit back while he emotionally abused me and his freak of a family tried to control every aspect of our lives. This caused some anger from me towards her. I did think; what if my Great-Grandmother had been stricter with my Grandmother and not spoilt her so much.
This evening, while I was cooking dinner, I decided I could not incorporate ancestor reverence into my practice. I then looked over at the kitchen window and saw a couple of sheets of paper. They were copies of a poem that my Great-Grandmother wrote when she was a young girl. My mum had sent me them a year ago and I’d completely forgotten about them.
The poem is about a conversation between a snowdrop and a crocus during winter. The snowdrop is impatient to grow and show off its new dress, “spotless white and green”. The crocus warns it to stay underground until spring and describes the terrible weather, warning that if it grows too soon its “spring dress will go to waste”. One of the terrible weather conditions described is actually the surname of my father. I’m not saying which one for obvious reasons.
My Great-Grandmother wouldn’t have known that this family line would be joined with hers. But it’s eerie to read her writing that protection must be sought from this “monstrous” name. I’ve walked past that poem so many times and not noticed it, yet tonight when I most need it, I see it. The poem could have been on any subject, but it was on this one.
I’ve also been strongly pulled to explore under the earth in meditations these last few months. During one journey I felt my guide get very angry with me for not getting the importance of earth and my lack of connection with it.
I always imagined a protective person to be guns a-blazing, powerful warrior type. No, my Great-Grandmother was gentle. She wasn’t formally educated but she was wise. She despaired of her daughter’s behaviour, stepped in and raised my mum when my Grandmother couldn’t be bothered and was always there whenever my mum needed her, both during life and after. I’ve been unfair to her. I planted a herb garden last week and I'm working to connect more with the earth and my Great-Grandmother loved her herbs and the earth. I feel like I’ve made my peace.