I have searched my mind for the crystalline moment that became Ancestral Airs and I can not find it. My path had been dictated before I was ever born.
As a toddler I played in the coal, dug worms and searched for spiders. My father helped me plant my first seeds. When they germinated I fell hopelessly in love with the Earth. During those formative years my mother introduced me to sewing and needlework. Even then my sister aspired to go to college, while I, perhaps only three years old began having extraordinary dreams of other worlds and wanted only to grow up to be a bear. I was shown the Earth’s magnificence from airplanes and was introduced to the mystery of woods, streams and the absolute wow! of fossils. In no time at all I was collecting rocks, planting gardens, and stitching. And, oh yes, I was playing baseball as well.
Fifth and sixth grade opened my eyes to geography, geology, continental drift and mathematics. Earth science, history, art and music came with seventh. As much of a nerd as I was, eighth grade created the foundation for radical, rebellious thinking that I had the courage to act upon, much to the dismay of my family. After all, it was the sixties. The beauty of my generation was being annihilated in schools, in streets, and on the frontlines of Vietnam. Our Earth was being plundered and poisoned. Who wasn’t radical?
By eighteen or twenty I was enthralled by John Muir, Adolpho Leopold and Walt Whitman. I studied soil composition and plants, grew more gardens, had my babies, studied ecology and land management along side of shamanism and tribal cultures. And out of all that wonder came artwork. Over the years I worked steadily to perfect the art of quilling (paper filigree) and kept up with handwork.
At twenty-eight I moved to the Southwest and was drawn deeper and deeper into all the fields I had studied my entire life. The Southwest brought me to true tribal life where shamanism, rituals and prayers were everyday concepts. It went way beyond living history. I met people who knew that spirits were all around us all the time. These spirits guided, frightened and amazed. They inhabited every molecule of a living, breathing, conscious Mother. Spirits had volition, as did rocks, trees, fire, wind, soil, water and all else.
Three decades of compartmentalized thinking fell from me like a waterfall and I’d never perceive the universe in the same way again. But I never stopped researching, moving into what is referred to as archeology, ethnobotany, migration patterns and glaciers. The unlikely wedding of mathematics to shamanism led me easily into quantum physics, the field where all possibility exists happily together. All of this sloshed around in my mind until it integrated so sweetly I could no longer say where one ended and another began.
This seemingly unnatural clarity drew my focus of attention acutely to my own tribal beginnings and the beauty of that world. This was no epiphany, it was the logical outcome of an already decades long evolution, when all of those fields finally narrowed to the British Isles.
I didn’t know then that more decades of study would be required of me before I would make my first attempt at Ancestral Airs. I think that was 1992. It wasn’t a very good manuscript. So I hit the books again, learned to be a better writer and managed to have my quilling placed in the collection of Mingei International Folk Art Museum.
Between 2004 and 2007 Ancestral Airs emerged again into the volume it is today. I am decidedly happier with it. It had always been my life and remains so today.
I highly recommend more indepth studies of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic eras. Research could also include ethnobotany, ice ages and migration, archeology, ancient mysteries and sites including stone circles and standing stones. Ancestral Airs is overflowing in these areas. It is filled with Paganism and Shamanism, faeries, green men, mythology and legends. These ancient societies had deeply traditional beliefs that embraced an inherent knowledge of holy wells, ley lines and Earth mysteries. Searches should be narrowed to the British Isles for your greatest convenience, for example: Ethnobotany British Isles, Earth Lights British Isles and so forth. Please see how a knowledge of ancient hunter-gatherers could lead to refreshing both your soul and our beloved Earth.