SageWoman #43 (reprint)


SageWoman #43 - Ancestors

Although not a major part of contemporary Goddess worship, honoring one's ancestors is one of the oldest ritual practices in existence, and is still quite integral in traditions as diverse as Shintoism, modern Heathen/Northern reconstructionism and Afro-Caribbean paths such as Voudou. But our relationships with our ancestors — represented in this issue almost exclusively by stores of our grandmothers — are not all just sweetness and light.

These stories — based on real life, are filled with bittersweet realities and ambiguous conclusions. As we delve deeper into the lives of our elder Sisters — women who struggled as we do to live lives of strength, grace, and beauty — we find a world of wisdom and compassion.

A trio of Samhain-tinged tales — of graveyards, coming to terms with recent deaths (what do you do when your best friend suddenly becomes an "ancestor?") — sets a tone of mystery and coming to terms with loss to start off this issue in "Ancestor of the Heart," “Among the Bones,” and "The Wind Rises." But another theme — that of discovering our female ancestors — balances the bitter tang of death with the sweetness of discovering our connection to the wisdom of the past.

In "Calling the Grandmothers: Healing the Earth and Ourselves" Meg Beeler takes a drumming, winding, weaving journey though the tules of the San Francisco Bay to discover the legacy of her grandmother's people, while "Dreaming the Web" encourages us to seek out our ancestors through dreaming, journeying, and the tools of geneology. Diana Paxson grounds our personal search for roots in the her lore-rich essay on the Germanic traditions of the Matronae (the Mothers), the protectors of lineage both literal and adopted, and shares ways in which we can welcome our female ancestors into our homes and lives through ritual and magic.

Lunaea Weatherstone shares tips for making magical doorways, Carol Christ writes on the matriarchy, Joanna Powell Colbert writes on creating an oracle cloth, and Waverly Fitzgerald shares practices of creating ancestral feasts in the Harvest season. Plus a double-handful of Samhain/ancestral rituals, book and product reviews, and rip-roaring discussions of breastfeeding, charging money for spiritual services and the need for female-only ritual space. 96 pages, published in Autumn of 1998.

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