knowing our ancestors

Why it’s important for people of European ancestry to learn and understand their own earth-based culture and tribal history::

In Australia, I notice many people on the path of spiritual and personal growth who turn to the wisdom of indigenous cultures here and in the Americas or Asia for inspiration and guidance. I know I have harvested many gifts through being able to read and listen to elders and teachers. I celebrate indigenous cosmologies and have a deep respect and curiousity. These traditions hold a lot of insight and comfort for the disconnected, industrialised modern mind- the sustainable, soulful and communitarian nature of these ways of life is an antidote to the toxic individualism and ecological destruction of our existing culture.

I’ve met many folk whose spiritual identity is very much an adoption of traditional cultures that they have learnt about and feel connected to- even if they have no ancestral link to them. My issue with this is that I see it as a form of colonisation; appropriating the domain of religious and spiritual beliefs of an indigenous group to fill a void. A void created by our own ancestors who spread the industrial, technocratic world view across contents, oppressing the very groups we now turn to for psychospiritual healing. Naturally, there is a line between celebration and appropriation and it’s not often very clear and it’s always contextual.

My intent is to highlight how we have a responsibility to understand our own deep histories and revive the wisdom traditions of our own ancestry before claiming anothers. Europeans have a rich pagan history that the Roman Catholic church largely erased. Pagans who lived in reciprocity with the earth, who had a comsology founded on the understanding that our earth is alive and who viewed our spirits as eternal. We have our own earth-based rituals and soulful celebrations. Our own stories, songs and ceremonies.

They are not superior to what our brothers and sisters across continents were practicing- but they are relevant to the lands we come from and our psyches in a profound way. I really feel from my own experience that such a genuine sense affinity arises with all other original cultures when you tap into your own. Be curious about your own indigenous ancestors and the lore they have to share with you at this time. Honour your roots so that you can honour all others without stepping into narratives you don’t really belong in. Narratives and traditions you’re only able to participate in because you benefit from belonging to the group that disempowered those the original narrative belongs to. Through this self enquiry, gifts of self-realization can flow and we’re able to harness the support of our own wise ancestors for the benefit of all.

 

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