Walking with Ancestors —

February 14, 2021

It has been a cloudy, gray, calm, not too cold (25F), Valentine’s Sunday here in Central Vermont. The past few days and this morning I’ve spent a lot of time at my computer — working on my blog, facebook, and website, and creating an article and an ad for The Empty Vessel – a Tao magazine.

Then about 2pm I felt stuck and really BORED with this covid-limited world we live in now. Time for either a nap or a walk. Walking won out.

I plodded along the road by #10 Pond — glad to have a good walking place but still bored. Thinking of  what my friend Esther Thompson Turner said this morning on Facebook about wanting companionship and finding a bit of it with Miles, her small polar bear made of wire and LED lights — better than nothing.

As I walked along I met a neighbor and her dog. We visited a bit which was good.

Then  as I walked on, suddenly I felt the urge to invite ancestors to walk with me, and immediately there seemed to be with me two women I know who are now in the spirit world. On my right was Hansine Lyberth from Greenland, and on my left was my Mother. As they tucked their arms into mine I felt a smile and a little laugh emerge. 

with Hansine at her home in Maniitsoq, Greenland in 2011
with my Mother, Ruth James English, out in the woods in Tamworth, New Hampshire, about 1977

Both of these women are ones who’d enjoyed walking during their time in physical bodies. I sensed their delight at once again feeling what it is like to walk in nature — this time through me as I walked briskly along. And I delighted in their companionship.

We walked about a mile that way — from where I’d met my neighbor up to the end of the pond and back to about where the women had come to me, where I quite suddenly I found myself thanking them and letting them fly away back to wherever they’d come from.

I finished my walk home as myself, but no longer bored.

Was this “real?” Did I “imagine” all this?

Somehow the answer to those questions is irrelevant. What was real was a the shift in my mood — for whatever “reason.”

So try this yourself — invite ancestors to walk with you — maybe you find yourself smiling as I did.

Here is what I wrote about Ancestors in the book that accompanies
The Ceremony Cards:


In addition to our blood ancestors we also have many spiritual ancestors. We all need our ancestors, our roots, even if we have never met them. Even though the Ancestors do not live in the modern world, there is basic wisdom they have that does not change, wisdom that helps in any world. There is vast wisdom that had accumulated by those who have gone before us and who care about us.

In the Eskimo tradition our ancestors are the helpers of The Great One.  After the ancestors’ souls travel to the Creator they can return to help us when we call them. They dance in the Northern Lights. I think of how Angaangaq says that the Ancestors are no farther away than the reach of our hand, but we have not learned to touch them.

northern lights before moonrise — looking south in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland in 2010