I am in the process of reading a very informative (and also visually captivating) book called The Religions Book by Ambalu et al. In the book’s discussion of “primal” religions, the authors mention that in the earliest religions and many indigenous religions it was considered possible to communicate with one’s ancestors in another realm. The idea that those before us have wisdom to instill upon the current generation is a belief held by many faiths, as is the idea that we should seek guidance from our past.
There is a common phrase which states that history repeats itself, though I believe it doesn’t have to. Whether you believe you can literally communicate with your ancestors or not, there is much to learn from our past. There have been great successes and great failures and there is wisdom to be found in both. Living in the American South I live in a land that has been shaped by fierce determination and perseverance, but also strong prejudices and violence. I must choose not only to grow from the strengths of my culture, but also from its moments of weakness, realizing that we are always closer to the unthinkable than we realize.
What lessons do your ancestors long to teach you? What would they say of success and failure? Of love and hate? Of courage and fear?
Listen closely. History is speaking.