A call from the ancestors

May 17, 2016


The First Warm Day of Spring

I came out today on the first warm day of Spring to check on the trees. I am captivated at the moment with the change in the trees on what seems like a daily basis. The order in which the leaves come out – first hawthorn, then horse chestnut, beech and birch, followed by oak and ash. This fascination is coupled with my awe in the vibrancy of the different greens, and the delicacy of the leaves.

Maybe it’s because I spent so much time walking during the winter, or maybe it has been a longer winter than normal, I am not sure, but there is definitely something quite spectacular about this Spring.

Anyway, I am surprised to find myself up on the moors instead of the woodland below. It wasn’t my plan. It looks exactly as it did in winter up here; the same colours and the same vegetation. The sounds are very different though, with skylark heralding my arrival, and the lambs calling. It’s much warmer too!

Moors14Then again it is the perfect place for this blog, which is about connecting with the ancestral mind. I have found myself walking a new route past several of the clearance homesteads up on Anglezarke moors.

They were cleared a few hundred years ago by Liverpool Corporation to build reservoirs to water the thirsty workers fueling the Industrial Revolution.

How these edge dwellers minds must have been different up here in the wilds of the moors back then.

How my mind is changing right now. I am the first in at least seven generations where I am choosing my work. Tracing back my family tree I have found line upon line of oppression and hard labour in mills, factories, farms, service, mines and even workhouses. With one or two exceptions, well just one I have found, there is no monetary riches amongst my ancestors from the dawn of the Enclosure Act in the late 18th century.

Tumble Down Houses

I muse as I sit in the stone ruins of these tumbled down houses, surrounded by piles of rubble, rotted beams and stone lintels. My ancestors were cleared off the land just like these people. In fact your ancestors probably were too.

Britain has the second worst land ownership record in the world, starting with the Norman occupation but culminating in the Enclosure Act.


Centuries of conforming, working and conforming, with not a great deal of time for much else it seems. Yet I am fortunate enough to release myself from that system of imposed work, and have chosen to throw myself into a new kind of work where I can play, immerse myself in self-expression, be my own master and ultimately grow.

Turning to Our Ancestors

One of my searches at the moment is to rediscover that ancestral mind which we have had drummed out of us through fear and oppression. It’s there inside us to rediscover – we don’t have to go any further than our own minds, which really excites me. But what we do need is space, and guidance from others to achieve it.

Where better to turn than our ancestors themselves.

About the Author


Nicola Smalley is an edge-dweller, shamanic practitioner and writer living in Anglezarke on the edge of the West Pennine Moors in Lancashire, England.
Following a career in corporate sustainability, she now runs The Way of the Buzzard with her husband Jason. Her passion is anything connected to nature and the mysteries of the Earth.

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  1. We make footsteps on the Earth because of our ancestors, surviving, learning, experiencing and passing those abilities to us today through the bloodlines and adding to our survival, learning and experiences. My ancestors come from different parts of the world but I still feel connected to them if I go to a place they knew or become attracted to something they did. It adds dimensions to our “reality”

  2. It has taken almost a month for me to read this post, and yet now is the perfect time for it to resonate, thank you! My mind is full of confusion about the upcoming EU referendum, my place in the world, and my feelings about all of it. Thank you for reminding me of where we came from, and what we are here to do 🙂

    1. I am so pleased it landed with you Catherine so well, and at the perfect time. Thank you for sharing your comment – it was lovely to read 🙂

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