Ancestral Healing Ritual with Malidoma Some
“Do not be the one who is waiting for others to find your light” Malidoma Some
This past weekend I attended a weekend retreat in Ojai with my teacher Malidoma Some. It has been some time since I have been in the presence of community creating ritual and with Malidoma’s brilliance. My life changed because of this work several years ago and looking back I realized that once I was introduced to the concept of ancestors as allies and support and that we are not separated from the elements, I literally picked up the ball and ran with it. I followed the calling to become a diviner one year into my training and again continue to work with the ancestors who use me as a channel to divine the next stages in a person’s life. I also teach five elemental retreats.
What an honor what a privelege and today that is what I am grateful for. When asked why I was here when the community sat in circle, I said with a deep sincerity. “I am in love with this work and with my ancestors!” I cannot disclose the details of the ritual to honor the potency of it, but wanted to share a visual and the power of ritual and community.
The weekend began with an introduction to the importance of our ancestors to navigate the modern world. The way Malidoma talked about them brought them alive for us by inviting us to recoonect with them daily, talk to them and ask for their help. He spoke fondly of his grandfather, who he says speaks through him with a sense of humor but it was clear the relationship was strong, respectful and obviously one that offered him guidance. In a divination I received I was told I would often feel alone but to know I never was, this I now understand to be true.
The morning of our ritual it rained hard, it was relentless as we sat in the sweat lodge and sang and cleansed. Earlier we had wondered if the rain would stop for us to do a fire a ritual. We need not have worried. The ancestors had our backs. By the time it came to begin preparations the rain had eased to a slight drizzle. As a community we spent the entire day creating the ritual space. Each element assigned the task of beautifying the large amount of land we were kindly offered for this purpose. We divided into our elements. The Fire clan to build fires, one on each side and a large pit leading to the larger fire. The water clan to create a cooling off a healing and a place of peace for those after they had experienced the heat of transformation. The earth to create a village from where we left and where we returned. The village sang and drummed for 4 hours ! It was where we were welcomed back. The mineral to create the paths of remembering that led us from the village to each element and back home, and the nature the element of change and transformation to accompany us on our journey of transformation. We all worked hard for hours to make our stations beautiful. A shrine was set up, with photos of the ancestors. all our ancestors together.
After dinner it was clear and dry and a full moon had come to greet us and light our way. We began the ritual, the land transformed from darkness into light. The candles lit up the paths, the ancestors waited to receive us at the alter where we were handed over by the supporting hands of our guides. Three fires burned bright to await our prayers.
The water shrine was held with such love and we danced to the music of those in the village who with gusto continued to keep the memento of song and dance and drumming to the grandmothers and the grandfathers until each person completed their work and was accompanied back home only to be greeted with a loud roar of our name. It felt GOOOOD!!!
I danced all the way with such joy and a sense that my people were pleased with me. No time for solomenity only time for celebration. That night when we were all in bed the rain began again, the old ones say it is a sign that when rain comes after such a radical ritual the ancestors are pleased, and so it was. The next morning a warm sun came to warm us. Now do you believe in magic?
My thanks to all those who accompanied me on this journey, but especially to Malidoma who continues to work relentlessly to bring the wisdom to us for healing. And especially to the Dagara people for their teachings and for allowing Malidoma to share these teachings with us, I am deeply grateful. ASHE