Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Honoring the Ancestors

Well, the holiday is over, and now it's back to the old grindstone.  It was really hard getting up this morning.  It's a long time before another holiday comes along.  Hoping all my Canadian friends had a had a wonderful Canada Day, and my American friends a joyous 4th of July.  Don't know what it was, but this was a very emotional 4th for me.  I was watching the Macy's fireworks on television, and when the song America came on, I found tears rolling down my cheeks.  I know I can attribute part of it to residual effects of the Cancer (home, family, ancestry) Moon (emotions) , Cancer being my rising sign as well,  and they sure to flow freely yesterday.

 I always make sure to do a little something special on July 4th to honor my ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War, and it was as I was surfing through Find a Grave and placing virtual bouquets on the graves, it hit me that I had read that my 5th great grandfather was buried in a small cemetery now overrun with weeds, his old headstone a shambles.  It reminded me of that last scene in The Gangs of New York where they are standing over the old gravestone,  and Leonardo DiCaprio turns to Cameron Diaz and says, "No matter what they did, for the rest of time, it would be like no one even knew that we was ever here."

And as they walk away, the city grows around them, covers the graves, and it is as if they really were never there.  By far the most powerful closing I have ever seen.

If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row,
Would you be proud of them?
Or don't you really know?

Strange discoveries are often made,
In climbing the family tree.
Sometimes one is found in line
Who shocks the progeny.

If you could see your ancestors
All standing in a row,
Perhaps there might be one or two
You wouldn't care to know.

Now turn the question right about
And take another view.
When you shall meet your ancestors
Will they be proud of you?

--Author Unknown--

Each of us inherits a legacy from our ancestors. It is part of our birthright. And we leave a legacy for our progeny. It is part of the inheritance we leave behind. Honoring our lineage honors ourselves. It deepens and strengthens our intuition.

Honoring our ancestors is, then, a form of healing. Hanging pictures on the wall or placing them in scrapbooks is one way to honor your ancestors. Visits to a cemetery are another. Wearing or carrying with you an object that has been passed down through the family and even making a recipe that has been handed down is a way of paying respects.  

Hoping you all have a wonderful day.  And for those of  you who have to work, Labor Day is only a little over two months away.


  1. I read somewhere that each family has a "word" associated with it. My family word (not my husband and I's family but my ancestors) is definitely "Survive".

  2. I don't know Mary but this post broke me open just now and I'm sitting hear crying...crying for my Ancestors and how I wish I could meet them in the here and now...Your post is tender and full of poignancy.

    Blessed Be Our Ancestors!!!
    Blessed Be You!

  3. i think about my ancestors often..i look at pictures of my great grandparents and they are strangers to me, but yet their DNA runs through me

  4. Good morning Mary.....you are so right when you said that our minds run along similar paths. I actually really like Dark Mother's comment and I do believe it could apply to me as well.

    Have a wonderful day,


  5. Oh, Mary, this is such a thought-provoking post. Thank you for giving us something to grab hold of and run with. Honoring the ancestors should be on the top of everyone's regular "to-do" list.

  6. Often, I wonder....what would they think of our world as we know it today.

  7. Only this morning I had a clear revelation of a very large circle of ancestors. In the past I always thought of this (them?) as a linear, spread out concept, much as they are placed on the family tree.
    I think they are more involved in our lives than we realize.
    My ancestors,by their actions I've discovered in research, are roughly divided between the selfish and the selfless. Wouldn't have to go far to say the same for those presently living!

  8. I was thinking about the way things use to be simple and the way that things are today with all of the new gadgets. What would my grandma think of not writing a thank you note by hand and baking pies and meals for new neighbors or sick folks. Most folks today don't even know their neighbors, grandma would not be happy with this. Television in her mind is a waste of time. I think they would be very confused at our world today. Love you!