Samhain. All Hallows Eve. Hallowe’en. All Soul’s Day. At this time, both the Christian and the Celtic traditions honour the importance of our ancestors and recognize that this is a thin time when their Presence is especially near.
For the past few years in my artwork, I have been on the riverjourney. This is a journey that traces the story of my Muscogee (Creek) ancestors. Never a linear journey, but one that meanders back and forth; sometimes quickly rushing, sometimes slowing to a trickle, freezing solid, damming up at times, but always in motion. A journey with deep roots in the past that continues to branch into the future.
At certain times in my life, when I’ve come through a hard time, I’ve thanked my Muscogee ancestors. The ones who survived the Removal from their ancestral lands and the long walk along the Trail of Tears to make their life in a place not of their choosing. That wiry toughness and sheer stubborness has served and continues to serve me well at times.
This year, I honour my lost and forgotten ancestors. The ones who disappeared from the family tree. The ones who just didn’t make the journey. The ones who got lost in a maze of substance abuse, destructive behaviour and violence towards Self and others. If forgotten, or even worse, ignored and written out of the family tree, these lost souls can continue to wreak havoc in the lives and relationships of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I honour the ones from the dark side of my family tree and in doing so, hope to give them some shelter and to mend some of the broken places and disconnection within myself.