Prayers of the Ancestors
“About the Power of Ritual and Prayer”
by Roel Crabbé
“The ancestors are here, in every moment. Their prayers are often centuries old and some of them address us. They invite us to open our hearts and join them, for the blessing of all.” – Roel Crabbé
It was a cold fall night. I found myself in a place of power in nature, where I experienced a strong connection with my ancestors. It was a quiet night and I had made a fire.
It was a moment in life that everything seemed to come together in this one point: a ritual for the healing of myself and my ancestors, for all yet to come.
I did this ritual in the middle of a period in my life that I was healing a deep wound in myself. A wound that has been passed on in my ancestor line for many generations. A wound that I had accepted with all my love, but which I had decided would stop with me. That’s why I was there, alone at night.
This realization brought me into a kind of timeless space: Only my ancestors and I, eye to eye. I felt the importance of honoring my connection with the ancestors, as many teachers of shamanism had told me. My heart was open.
I spoke, my trembling voice carried by the crackling of the fire. I thanked them for their presence and told me about my life, my family, and our shining daughter. I told about the pain and sadness I had found in myself a few years ago. A wound whose existence I had forgotten. A stream of compassion filled me while I felt how this pain was known to many of them.
I told them that I had chosen not to pass on this pain in our ancestor line. That I had chosen to heal this wound in myself: for myself, for them – my ancestors – and for all who are yet to come. It was as if nothing else existed, as if that choice burned in me like an unmoved candle flame, clear, straight, bright, warm. From this sea of figures, a deep sense of understanding flowed to me, of peaceful connectedness. It was as if their blessing flowed through me and a gentle force burned strongly within me. I thanked for their silent blessing and stayed by the fire, in peaceful rest.
Since then my life has changed. Standing face to face with my ancestors touched me deeply. It brought me peace and deepened my connection with them enormously. Even as a child I spoke to those who had preceded me. Whenever I had a hard time I asked for help, and there was always the deep peace that enveloped me, like a soft cloak.
The ritual that I did opened a new portal in myself and since then the ancestors often speak to me in dreams and moments of inner silence and prayer.
They come with their prayers and blessings.
About a month ago I had a dream in which I was once again face to face with this sea of ancestral beings. In this dream, it seemed as if everything was liquid. I began to float over the sea of figures, further and further. In the distance, I saw a figure standing up and beckoning me. He said he had searched for me.
He reminded me of my ritual. His words of thanks touched me deeply. He wanted to teach me something and told me about the solidarity we all have with the ancestor line: When I heal my wounds, the ancestors heal with me. When there is healing in the ancestor field, this affects me and all those who will come. His words were crystal clear.
He looked straight into my eyes and called me “Ancestor.” He smiled.
In his hand, he held an object. He raised it and it was as if a joyful peace filled him and grew bigger. He spoke a prayer to the light in all hearts in the ancestral line. He blessed everyone. The object in his hands changed and took the form of some personal instruments and power objects that I pray and work with.
It was as if his prayer shone through these objects, like the rays of a beacon of light on a foggy night.
His prayer was very strong and continued to grow in strength. It was as if this power kindled a fire within me. I started to float backward again, in the direction where I had originally stood before the ancestors. While I was floating I saw points of light appear everywhere in the immense sea of souls. I saw the prayers spoken by many ancestors over time. Prayers for those who preceded, prayers for those who would come, prayers for all.
The light in these figures grew, and just like my teacher, they all rose. Their prayers joined together as one powerful prayer. Their eyes, hearts, and voice sparkled like a clear, joyful light. The light that initially began as different points in a large field now began to spread and connect with the other light sources in the ancestor line.
I was again at the place where I left, only now I was no longer facing the ancestors, but along with them. With this gigantic sea of souls behind me. My hand turned high towards the sky and sparkled. Just like my teacher, I saw the objects change shape in my hand. I felt grateful that they were with me, or better, that they were with us. A great joy took over while a beautiful prayer flowed through my whole being. A prayer that honored all beauty. A prayer that cherished all wounds. A prayer in which my eyes opened and saw that deep peace found us all. One by one, step by step.
A lot has happened since that dream and many dreams followed. My teacher still comes to me often and smiles his warm smile.
His smile fills me again and again with that peace, as a deep relief. He teaches me to rest in the choice for peace, for wholeness. He teaches me to embrace everything in the sea of history and stories in this peace. And often it is as if his prayer flows through me.
And every time I see this sea of ancestors, the light gets bigger. More and more stand up and prayer fills us all with that oh so precious peace.
This is perhaps one of the greatest lessons that life has taught me: that among all the things that flow through us and our lives, we can rest in prayer. A prayer that fills us with wonderful humility and deep gratitude for the one beautiful power. A prayer for peace that lifts us and embraces everything as it is.
© Roel Crabbé – 2008