“Behind us, we have all of our ancestors. In front of us, we have our descendants yet to come. Off our left and right sides we have our living kin, who are with us now. Above us, we have the Holy Powers. Below us, we have the Earth and the World of Nature. In each direction we have connections and responsibilities and receive blessings.”
– Stephen A. McNallen: prominent religious leader of the native European spiritual path “Asatru”
Once again, Samhain, or “Halloween” as it is known in modern society, approaches. The ancient pagan Europeans understood this to be a time when “the Veil” was particularly thin, and the spirits of the Otherworld were easier to communicate with. This was also a time when the dead were honored. People would pay tribute to their ancestors and commune with them. This was a time of feasting and celebration in honor of those who came before us- those who made it possible for us to be here now. It is a time when we meditate on how it is that our ancestors never really leave us.
Since the “discovery” of DNA by Sir Francis Crick (with the aid of entheogens) and the subsequent breakthroughs in the field of genetics, we have learned much about what makes us the way we are. Skin color, hair color, eye color, height, bone structure, musculature, even susceptibility to certain diseases (both mental and physical) can be gleaned from genetics. However, from a spiritual perspective, DNA may seem like little more than just a linear blueprint for this incarnation, to be discarded once the body dies, and we go to wherever or whatever it is that we understand the afterlife to entail. But what if it is more than that? What if there is a spiritual component to our DNA?
In the ancient world, the understanding of reincarnation was common not only in India and the Orient, but also among Europeans and the people of the Middle East as well. The great Greek philosopher, mathematician, initiate, and teacher Pythagoras stated:
“Souls never die, but always on quitting one abode pass to another. All things change, nothing perishes. The soul passes hither and thither, occupying now this body, now that… As a wax is stamped with certain figures, then melted, then stamped anew with others, yet it is always the same wax. So, the Soul being always the same, yet wears at different times different forms.”
The knowledge of reincarnation was also prevalent among the Celtic and Teutonic peoples of Northern Europe as well. In his writings on the Gallic Celts of what is now France, Roman leader Julius Caesar wrote:
“The principal point of their doctrine is that the soul does not die and that after death it passes from one body into another….. a firm belief in the indestructibility of the human soul, which, merely passes at death from one tenement to another; for by such doctrine alone, they say, which robs death of all its terrors, can the highest form of human courage be developed.”
In Native American tribal culture, there is the understanding of what is referred to as “Blood Memory”. This is essentially the understanding that traditional knowledge and memory is stored in the genetic memory of one’s own body. It is essentially the embodiment of reincarnation within experiences of spirituality, and is representative of the linkage between ancestral life, spirit and tribal/genetic memory transmission. According to the Saginaw Chippewa:
“Blood memory is described as our ancestral (genetic) connection to our language, songs, spirituality, and teachings. It is the good feeling that we experience when we are near these things.”
African shaman Chief Amachi Apetor Buaru speaks of what is referred to as the “Chain of Ancestral Connection”:
“Your ancestors exist in many in different realities. First, they exist physically inside your family lineage (blood and genes). Your bloodline and genetics connect you to your ancestors, to those who have gone before regardless of your ethnicity. Secondly, your ancestors exist in the spiritual world in and around you. Thirdly, they exist within the hidden subdivisions of nature and in between moments that connect to the fabric of our realities. This is why our ancestors can so easily influence our affairs.
One way to visualize your ancestral connection is to observe nature. Let’s take the tree for example. If you are a branch or a leaf on the tree, your ancestors are the roots. As the root of your tree, your ancestors provide a link back to your original source – the earth. It is the land, the spirit powers and the soul of the earth which is the home of your star or soul seed, or what is traditionally known to the Dagombas as your Noliwuni (your personal god or spiritual blueprint in nature). Your Noliwuni is rooted in the land and natural environment around the planet and beyond.
To understand your star and its connection to the earth, to you and your ancestry, imagine a wheel spinning very rapidly. As the wheel moves faster and faster, the spokes on the wheel begin to appear stationary. However, we know they are not. They are in fact moving so fast they are able to occupy more than one place at a time. Your ancestry , the Wunonam, your star, even natural landscapes and land forms such as rivers, mountains, forests, etc. are also said in traditional lore to be moving so fast that they too are able to occupy more than one place at a time including the space within your being, while at the same time existing and appearing to be stationary to the human eye.
Our grandfather and grandmothers (the NYABA) teach that we are all children of the land, that we are all children of nature. Your ancestors therefore, connect you to the world soul and spiritual powers of the earth and the spiritual components of yourself that exist in nature. Moreover, the ancestral teachings of Timm and Bukata ( Timm = roots herbs, traditional medicine, magic; Bukata = the world soul and spirit powers of the Earth) and Nature Identity teaches that the secrets to many of our abilities, powers and characteristics, psychic powers and personality traits originate from nature.
This is the reason why calling on your ancestors is the first step to developing a connection to nature and the spiritual abilities/powers of your family star and the characteristics and personality traits of nature. When you call on your ancestors you begin to tap into the roots of your family tree – the gifts, traits, spiritual powers and abilities which your ancestors developed from their connection to nature.
As the roots of the tree, your Ancestors draw the spiritual nutrients from the land and from nature, providing what we call IN-formation, which is knowledge extending into the realms of the spiritual, and OUT-formation or knowledge outside of the commonly known and into the unknown of nature.”
This understanding of a sort of ‘Ancestral Blood Memory” was also prevalent among the Norse and Germanic tribes of ancient Europe as well. In the modern revival of Norse Paganism, or “Asatru” this idea has resurfaced. In his article entitled “Metagenetics”, Asatru leader, Stephen McNallen wrote about what he referred to as “metagenetics” which he referred to as “the hypothesis that there are spiritual or metaphysical implications to physical relatedness among humans which correlate with, but go beyond, the known limits of genetics.”
McNallen went on to characterize five different aspects of metagenetics:
Relatedness – It describes a connection, independent of time and space, which links human beings. (The general principles governing metagenetics also apply to the animals, plants, other organic kingdoms, and indeed all self-organizing systems to include crystals and molecules. Metagenetics, though, is a subset of this grander scheme and applies specifically to humans and their spirituality.)
Similarity – We are used to things being related in time and space, but this is not essential to the operation of metagenetics. Instead, metagenetics says that people who are genetically related to each other share a non-physical bond that is not dependent on location or time, and that the closeness of that bond is determined by the degree of similarity. Our language unconsciously expresses that idea, as we talk about being “close” or “distant” relatives.
Hierarchy – This is implied by the idea of similarity, described above. All humans are related, and for that matter it is true that we are “kin to all life,” as some folks are fond of saying. However, we are not equally related to all. Within the broad circle that is the human family there is a collection of concentric circles representing the many Folksouls – and even this is no neat and tidy arrangement. Individual families, clans and tribes have their own subdivisions or “mini-Folksouls,” and the whole is dynamic and shifting.
Holism – The components that make up the individual human being are best seen as comprising a whole. This is typically represented as body, mind, and spirit, though the psychosomatic (mind-body) complex in traditional Germanic lore is considerably more complicated than this. People commonly acknowledge that the body and mind affect each other, but fewer of them understand that the body (to include the brain, the nervous system, and the apparatus of heredity) is also connected to the spiritual or religious.
Spirituality – Relatedness and similarity influence the temperament, values, psychic connection, probable reincarnation, and the general tone of spirituality or religion. Some of these things – temperament and values, in particular – may have their origin in the actual coding of DNA, but the mechanism for the other connections may not be within the realm of the physical sciences as they are presently understood.
The idea presented is that our “past lives” would have been born through our family tree; our “Tree of Life” or DNA. In an article entitled “Genetic Memory: The Scientific Basis for Past Life Regression” put out by the Quest Institute highlights the work of neurologist Sandra Pena de Ortiz and her work on genetic instinctual memory in animals:
“Pena believes that permanent memories are stored in altered genes. She and her colleagues believe that our DNA creates ‘memory molecules,’ new novel proteins, from a unique blueprint that could be formed by neurons rearranging their DNA in response to each new experience.”
The author went on to ask “If memories are stored in our DNA (and as 97% of it has no obvious function there is plenty of room), and we pass on our DNA to our children, who do the same thing with their children, could this be how the instincts of the chick and calf were passed on? If memory is stored in the genes is that how the flat worm’s tail can grow a new brain with an old memory? And finally, if they have access to instinctive memory (as we do – think of the grip response in a child when it thinks it’s being dropped), is it possible to access other ancestral memories located in our DNA? Could this be an explanation for past-life regression? When clients regress to memories from a previous life, is it actually them accessing something present in their genome blueprint, an ancestral experience?”
There have been scientists, researchers as well as clairvoyants who have postulated that the 97% of human DNA that appears to have no obvious function, i.e. “junk DNA”, is in fact a repository of past life memory. It has been said that DNA in fact acts as a receiver for the cosmic blueprint of which we are a microcosm. This would imply that DNA, and likewise genetics, are rooted in primarily the etheric, psychic and spirit realms. This would also mean that our past lives were more than likely the lives of one or more of our ancestors- people in our genetic line who proceeded us.
While this may mean that the likelihood of everyone being a reincarnated Cleopatra or Genghis Kahn is not great, it does not narrow the “past-life pool” as much as we may initially think. Remember, the gene pool of most modern-day people (especially Americans) is fairly broad, spanning over millennia. For example, if I was to apply the metagenetic theory of reincarnation, in my past life I could have been someone who lived in Scotland, England, France or any number of different people who live in the U.S. or elsewhere who shared some common ancestor with me at some point in time. This makes the potential “past me(s)” a seemingly endless pool of possibilities.
While I’m sure there are instances where reincarnations may deviate from this for whatever reason, but for the most part, this seems to be the most logical and probable vehicle for the process of human soul reincarnation to occur. Again, I don’t see this as taking a “materialist” approach because it would seem that DNA is potentially the bridge between objective and subjective realities- the level of matter and the level of consciousness.
Now there is a bit of controversy to this whole metagenetic/blood memory theory of reincarnation and that is the “politically incorrect” notion that we are not equally related to or interconnected with all, even on a spiritual level. If we follow the line of thinking that there is this genetic, familial component to reincarnation and then by extension, there is inevitably going to be a racial component to it as well, which tends to make people a little uncomfortable.
Renowned psychoanalyst and mystic, Carl Jung saw the archetypes he spoke of as being inherited and specific to certain peoples. Jung stated that these archetypes were not culturally transmitted but were in fact inherited – that is to say, genetic. Jung linked them with the physiological instincts and stated that, “Because the brain is the principal organ of the mind, the collective unconscious depends directly upon the evolution of the brain”.
A good example of this can be seen in the personification of the planet/god Mercury. Among the Greeks and Romans, Mercury had the role of messenger of the Gods. However, among the Nordic and Germanic peoples of Northern Europe, Mercury or “Woden” as he was known was the king of the gods. This was most likely due to the fact that the energies and influence of Mercury was different at the time and place the Northern Europeans occupied than it was in the Mediterranean. The closer the people in race and geographic locale, the less obvious the archetypal differences will be.
This idea of a sort of “racial collective unconscious” means that certain archetypes, or expressions of Divine Forces in a particular people and place, belong to certain groups of people and not others. Again, this notion really upsets politically correct notions that have been taped onto spirituality and religion in the past 50 years or so. Religions like Christianity and the New Age Movement are espoused “universal” religions and belief systems. I’m sure some people reading this may view themselves as “universalists”. I would say that I am a universalist who is grounded in “folk consciousness”. Now what does that mean?
First I should clarify that I’m not just talking about Unitarian Universalists; I’m meaning a much broader definition. Essentially a “universal” religion is one that does not require a specific pedigree (family, tribe, race, etc.) to become a member. Christianity is an example, Islam is an example, and Buddhism is an example, although it differs in structure and “recruitment” methods from the two “Abrahamic” religions.
I have found the core truth of universalism to lie in the fact that the celestial bodies (Sun, Moon, Planets, and Stars) affect every living being on the face of the planet on a physical and physiological level; a mental and psychological level; and on an etheric and spiritual level. The Sun shines on everyone, regardless of whom they are or where they are. These interactions between humanity and the Heavens are encoded into our DNA. This is why all humans understand the universal religions at a fundamental level and are attracted to them. At a fundamental level, all the spiritual paths and traditions have the same deep mystery of the cosmos lying at its center; however, this universal element is in turn shaped by the groups of people involved in expressing it as well as the lands they came from. This is where the folk and race element comes in.
The Italian philosopher and occultist, Julius Evola referred to this as the “race of the soul”. In the article, “Julius Evola’s Concept of Race”, author Michael Bell explains:
“Evola describes the ‘race of the soul’ as the collective mental and behavioral traits of a human stock, and the outward ‘style’ through which these are exhibited. Every race has essentially the same mental predispositions; all human peoples, for example, desire sexual satisfaction from a mate. However, each human stock manifests these inner instincts externally in a different way, and it is this ‘style,’ as Evola terms it, which is the key component of the ‘race of the soul.’”
Human beings are a product of their environment. Pretty much everyone agrees that this statement is true to one degree or other. However, I’m going to extend this past the familial/societal qualifiers typically used and point out that our natural environment shapes us as well. This shaping is recorded in the DNA and passed on from lifetime to lifetime. The spiritual component of this environmental shaping is reflected in the spiritual traditions of the folk. This folkish element is what honors a specific group’s unique elements- their understanding of their relationships with the lands they’re from and the lands their ancestors are from. The work or scientists like Anatole Klyosov and others show strong evidence that the “Out of Africa” theory may be seriously flawed and that there may be in fact multiple origin points for the different races of man, meaning that racial differences may indeed be more than “social constructs”.
It is my understanding that the Divine Human Blueprint- Adam Kadmon the cosmic man, existed in a non-physical state after being brought forth from the Mind of the Creator and the Creative Process that It initiated. Adam Kadmon began to multiply from itself and descend into denser and denser levels of existence until it finally manifested on the physical plane of Earth. As Adam Kadmon descends into the Earth plane, his essence and reflection is molded as well as somewhat distorted by the Angels and Archons that act as filters for the extension of consciousness and as a sort of management class to keep charge of the dissemination as well as enforcement of the Laws of Nature and Creation.
Each region of the Earth that Adam Kadmon incarnated on had overarching qualities unique to that area of the Earth and how the forces of Nature and the Cosmos interacted there. The common basic elements of a race (the largest and broadest definition of a biological family) would be shaped by those interactions in the place the human blueprint was first incarnated on Earth (again, there is evidence that the races did not all incarnate at the same place at the same time and there are some we may not even know about). Subsequently, as peoples migrate, they will pick up different elements of the lands they inhabit and bear children upon. This relationship is encoded in the DNA and the archetypes that reside in it with them.
Each person brings a unique perspective that the Creator uses to better understand the Creation. This perspective is molded by the individual, familial, tribal, cultural and yes, racial memories that are living through the physical as well as the spiritual component of their DNA- the carrier of the soul memory. Rudolf Steiner referred to this as a“Folk Spirit”:
“In every people there is a guiding Folk-Spirit. As I have said in my book, Theosophy, “Folk-Spirit” is not merely an abstract term. When one speaks today of the French people and the rest, what does this suggest to the materialistic thinking of today? It suggests an accumulation of some 42 millions of human beings in the West of Europe — a pure abstraction: the traits and qualities of the people in question are a very secondary consideration. But it really is not so! Just as the seed lives in the plant, so something seed-like exists, which lives in the spirit of a people and then unfolds. A Spirit, a real Being, lives and works in the whole people.”
This is why Europeans will often instinctively gravitate towards archetypes and symbols of a Celtic and Germanic nature. This is evident by the enormous popularity of things like the Renaissance Faire and TV shows like “Vikings” and “Game of Thrones”, particularly among those of White European lineage. Similarly things can be said of the effectiveness African symbolism and archetypes among those of African descent. We instinctively know this, but are told we should ignore and reject this because we are not supposed to look at race unless it is to show how someone is being oppressed or treated “unfairly”.
I think it is in error and is to the detriment of the spiritual development of people on Earth to not have grounding in Folk Consciousness. This is not to say that archetypes from other races can’t speak to us, but that as a general rule, we will resonate most with those spiritual traditions that have some sort of ancestral familiarity. We are naturally going to be better equipped to understand the symbols and archetypes that are of our own folk heritage. Myself, I am Scots-Gaelic, French, English as well as a little bit Native American. The folkish paths I have embraced are primarily of my Celtic side, but I have also resonated with Native American tradition as well with its well-articulated reverence for the Natural World, and am beginning to develop understanding of the Teutonic element as well.
Some may read that and attempt to counter by pointing out how the spirituality of the Yogis and Buddhists of India and the Orient have become so popular and seem to resonate so well among people of White European descent. The answer to this more than likely lies in the Aryans who migrated into India and established Hinduism (which was the progenitor of Buddhism) in India in the ancient past. These were for lack of a better word “white people” that established the spirituality that is practiced and guarded by “non-white” peoples of Asia. They too have a heritage with this faith due to the role the land takes in creating a spiritual transmission.
Our ultimate goal here is to find our way back to the Creator while taking in and being perfected by the experiences our soul has here on Earth. Now, if we were trying to go back somewhere, would it not make sense to retrace the steps of our soul so we remember who we truly are in the first place? This is the value I see in folk consciousness and folk spirituality. This is something I feel should be cherished and honored, as it is nothing less than the history of our soul. Why would we not wish to ground ourselves in that kind of legacy? Why would we not want to celebrate the story of how this version of the Adam Kadmon incarnated and thrived on Earth?
If we deny our folk spirit, we rob ourselves of our ability to utilize the clues hidden in our soul’s unique journey of incarnation, which can be used as signposts for our destiny- the unique contribution the soul makes toward the Great Work. This idea of “soul purpose” or destiny holds true on each level or grouping of soul incarnation: the familial, tribal, and racial levels in addition to the universal human level. All of these levels are important to recognize, understand, work with, and honor for us to get a full understanding of ourselves and the totality of our soul’s purpose here on Earth. There is a reason we are incarnated with the family, tribal and racial lineages we are. The spiritual connection and psychic bond between family, both positive and negative, is undeniable. Examples of psychic bonds and connections between family members are well documented and numerous.
This why so much importance was put on lineage and ancestry and heritage in traditional cultures, which is something we have lost in modern society. The world we live in and the ideals we are taught are what I can only describe as a sort of rootless hyper-individualistic collectivism. This philosophy is that each person is an individual just like everyone else, and that it is this individuality that creates a sort of collective “sameness”. This philosophy seeks to make all beings indifferentiable and rootless, much like the systems of international corporate materialism that created it. With no conscious link or loyalty to their ancestors or their ancestral lands, which is the journey of the soul, these individuals are rendered susceptible to others who may seek to create identities for them.
Now there are exceptions to every rule, and the paths of human DNA and lineage are many-varied and divergent from time to time. I am not saying that it is not possible to have spiritual bonds with others that are not of the same folk. But what I am trying to articulate is that Folk consciousness is an essential component of who we are as it provides us with power and allows us to tap into the energies of our ancestors and our brothers and sisters of blood and spirit. It allows us to consciously tap into the energies of the Earth that created us. It gives us understanding of where we’ve been, so we know where we’re going. I feel it is a grave mistake for us to discount or trivialize these things.
I would argue that one of the reasons Jews have been able to maintain the levels of success and influence in the world they have is due to a rootedness in their mutual “Jewishness” and the tribal and racial cohesion that this sort of awareness creates. Unlike the other two Abrahamic religions, Judaism is not a universalist religion and this is arguably to their advantage. On the seemingly opposite side, we have the idea of a European or Aryan “racial/tribal/cultural cohesion” which was also one of the secrets to the popularity and success of National Socialist philosophy throughout Europe prior to World War II, and is beginning to make a resurgence today.
While we are all extensions of the ONE who is ALL and in ALL things, we are at the same time individuated and unique perspectives of that Force. This unique individuation manifests on the level of not just the individual, but also the family, the tribe and the race. This unique individuation is essential for the alchemy of the Great Work. Understanding our role in the individuation process is pivotal, and Folk consciousness plays a vital role in that. It is important for all of us to recognize and honor the legacy of our ancestors and our folk because it is the legacy of our soul.
Namaste and God Bless.