The most recent Journeying workshop I went to focused on the Summer Solstice – solar energy and the masculine principle that rules over the earth in mid-Summer, the time of the longest days and the shortest nights. The workshops include shamanic journeying and are based in the Celtic tradition. At the Summer Solstice, a battle takes place between the Holly King and the Oak King. The Oak King is slain, giving way to the Holly King who will rule the year and seasons until the Winter Solstice. In the Muscogee tradition, we have an important ceremonial game called afvcketv, or stickball. On my journey I met two warriors engaged in battle.
In the Journeying workshops, I always meet my Muscogee ancestors and I travel with my Muscogee animal guides, usually fuswv (bird) and locv (turtle). We end the day with an artmaking session. I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired and went out into the churchyard of the Quaker Meeting House where we were based for the day. I found myself wandering amongst gravestones and thought about the burial places of people’s ancestors. I recently traced my ancestral line back to theplacecalled Alabama, where my Upper Creek Muscogee ancestors come from.
I found a pile of branches and twigs and chose one shaped like a figure and like a river with tributaries. I attached an ‘arm’ wrapping it with red thread and strengthened it with glue. I found two little figures and placed them in his hands. My Great Great Grandfather, Tecumseh Philips was born in 1836, during the final year of the removal when my ancestors walked to theplacecalled Oklahoma. He carried our bloodline forward from his parents Pahos and Wiccie Philips; through his daughter, my Great Grandmother Melindy; her daughter and my father’s mother, my Grandmother Mattie; his Great Grandson, my father Frank and his Great Granddaughter, me. He brought us all forward through such a time of unimaginable loss.