I was visiting my friend Sandy this week, talking about life, adventures, and magic. I don’t quite remember how it came up, but we began talking about the ocean. She mentioned how she appreciated the ocean, but it didn’t do anything for her that the mountains and rivers up here couldn’t do. This blew my mind. I love the ocean. I love the power that it emanates. I’ve even wrote about it. I always figured that most people in this work felt the same way.
I knew that some people had an adverse reaction to it. My husband is happy to live miles away from the ocean. All the reasons that I wax poetic about it are the reasons that he wants to keep distance between the ocean and him. When I visit the rocky New England coasts nearest to us, I feel the primordial power of the massive body of water that life crawled out of billions of years ago. This ancient nursery of life is this old power that is so much bigger than us, and a force of equal measures creation and destruction. It draws me to it, while Josh recognizes the power and stays the hell away from it.
He likes to say that he comes from river people. His family has deep roots in the area. My dad’s family comes from the shores of southern New England. I’ve recently been researching ancestry, following my dad’s family tree. I can follow my patrilineal line pretty far back to when we first came to America. After my 8th great grandfather bought land in Rhode Island, he returned to France, loaded his wife and son on a boat, and moved his family to America. While he died on the road over due to being on the losing side of a duel, his family took root in the coastal town that they considered their new home. Looking through the movements of my ancestors, we’ve always lived next the ocean. My brothers and I are the first in 9 generations (not counting my French ancestor that died en route) not to live on the coast.
While I stand by my belief that the ocean is a powerhouse that has a certain healing power, I wonder if part of this is genetic. Is there something that my ancestors passed to me that influence the way I think about and experience the ocean? I recently read a quick article about research in genetic memory, and a quick Google search reveals more research. It’s an interesting confirmation of certain branches of shamanic work, specifically breaking unhelpful generational patterns. While there can be unhelpful patterns that are passed genetically, can there also be connections to place (connections that can be formed in only a handful of generations)?
It’s been an interesting exploration for me, especially as one that hadn’t felt a strong call to ancestral work to begin with. It’s even more interesting to explore the idea that parts of my spiritual practice are colored by where my ancestors lived, even when I didn’t necessarily think of it as an ancestral connection until recently.
Just a few thoughts as I explore my roots and my past. A quick post on ancestors and the sea, the primordial womb of Mother Earth, seemed appropriate for Mother’s Day. So, I ask you: how has your family tree influenced your spiritual practice? How much does your family history shape your view of the world?
Until next week
-The Green Mountain Mage