Ceremony, Ancestors, and Aspen

Aspen at Willow Heights 2

In the last week I have been able to learn much with two important and good friends. I’ve learned about ceremony, ritual, ancestors, and aspen.

Chronologically, the first friend was with Kinde Nebeker, who hosted a day-long Medicine Walk up Big Cottonwood Canyon in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, seen above. The aspen are budding at this time of year at that elevation, about 8,500 feet. Just as Kinde’s work, that includes rites of passage, is budding into a more full presence. The medicine walk included a deliberateness of threshold crossing, setting an intention, going solo the bulk of the day, returning to share some of what I and the others learned, and to be witnessed. I love how she held space for a deeper letting go.

The second friend was Quanita Roberson, who came to Utah to host QT with me. QT very much connects to the letting go that I experienced with Kinde. There is one point in the process with Quanita when we created ceremony to let go of that which doesn’t serve us. It included fire, burning a symbol of that which we don’t need, and a grief canal, a passage to get to the work of releasing. I love the way that Quanita talked about ceremony and working with the ancestors. “The thing about ritual is that you don’t have to believe it or know how it works for it to work. The act of choosing to participate is enough.” She then added, from one of her teachers, the West African Dagara Elder, Malidoma Some, “The ancestors in the west are the most unemployed ancestors in the world.”

I don’t know how all of that invisible work works. But I have the feeling that we did indeed employ some of them in the last week.