One of the big differences between our most ancient ancestors and modern industrial peoples is our attitude towards the earth and what we now call “resources”. Our ancient ancestors were able to discern the complex threads that weave all life together - and no matter what we may have gained with modern society, the cost has been too high in my opinion.
A beautiful example of this in the ancient cultures of the British Isles is that of sacrifice and offerings. Across the entire Isles, there is a vast quantity of items that are deemed to have been ritually sacrificed or offered - perhaps to the gods, or the land, or to the personification of place. Even though we will never know exactly why these offerings were given, we can still infer that this was a giving back to the land and the spirits. This giving back was so vitally necessary to these people, that they often discarded incredibly precious items, never to be used again - and sometimes ritually broken without ever having been used.
When I learn about these gifts, they touch me so deeply I could cry. What did my ancestors understand about the critical interconnections of people and place that we have lost? What did they know that was so vital to their cultural well-being that they kept doing this over thousands of years? At what cost have we forgotten how to do this?
Was it out of fear, gratitude, perceived debt, or recognition of reciprocity?
One way I like to reanimate my ancestral traditions is through offerings. This is a time-honoured tradition that has always been part of ancient human culture. It is an innately human thing to do, perhaps the most innate thing, to recognize the profundity with which we belong to our world, and not the other way around - and to honour this with gifts.
To learn more, join my most immersive program yet: Enter the Otherworld: Ancient British Animism for the Diaspora, where we will consider these ideas together and form our own earth, soul, and ancestor-tending practice in-keeping with the traditions of the British Isles.