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Greeting the ancestors

This February we have had a lot of cloudy weather. Today it was all sunny, at last. But for me it was another long day of doing massage. When I finally got back at home, it was already 9 pm. The daylight was gone, but the sky was still clear with some stars and moon in waxing gibbous phase. I decided to go meet the ancestors. There is an ancient burial site in a small island in the nearby lake, and with the moonlight it should be easy enough to ski there.

I packed a small bottle of strong Finnish vodka (59%) and was ready to go at ten o'clock pm. For a second I paused to think if I should just be reasonable and go get proper sleep. But tomorrow I have work only in the evening, so I can sleep long in the morning. No more hesitation - and as soon as I was skiing in untouched snow accross the snowy fields, I felt that this was just the right decision. There were some animal tracks, mostly hare and fox. In fifteen minutes I was already at the lake. I could see only one distant spot of light, otherwise there were no signs of human presence anywhere. And there was some fog over the ice, making it impossible to tell where all the small islands are.

I roughly estimated the direction of my destination, thinking that it should be about half an hour of skiing to get there. After a while I was all surrounded by fog, and couldn't see any landmarks. Moon and stars were my only means of navigation, and they helped me to keep going straight. I really felt that I have left behind the modern society. I'm all alone in the middle of a lake, symbolically entering the otherworld. Or, at least, feeling my state of consciousness slightly altered, being more open to mythological and non-rational elements of human experience.

I kept on skiing, but without seeing any landmarks it was very difficult to estimate distances. For a moment I thought that if, for some reason, I hit a spot of too thin ice, I would find myself swimming in ice-cold water. In which case my chances of survival would be near zero. A momentary touch of fear of death? Sure, as I was anyway going to visit an ancient burial site. The place is nothing but a heap of stones, and I don't know if it is one or two thousands years old. But for me it is a mark that there have been people living around these waters and forests - surviving without any of the modern technology, and loving their dead ones so much that they buried them in a beatiful rocky point facing towards sunset. Maybe I do have a drop of common blood with those who are buried there. And sure do I respect the wisdom and experience they have had in their lives.

For a moment I was unsure if I got my direction wrong. And then I recognized a shape of an island. I went closer, and realized that it was not the island I was looking for. Well, but it gave me another possibility to tell my location and to pick a new direction. Once again I headed into fog, losing all the landmarks, and just following moon and stars. This time I was more precise, and made my way to the right island. After skiing for one and a half hours I reached the top of a rocky point where the burial place is. I poured some vodka in a cup, and offered it for the ancestors, then took a sip myself, and then another sip for the ancestors. And this way I had a conversation in my mind with the spirits, asking them a question I had in my mind. Well, tricky as they are, I didn't get a clear answer. Instead I felt like chanting an ancient tune, which I did.

After that I headed back home. It was already well past midnight when I got at home. Indoor temperature had fallen to +12°C - well, time to lit the fireplaces.

Finnish vodka
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