Tips: consciously inviting ancestors in our circles

Kerry Barnett’s story of using The Circle Way at Ridge and Valley Charter School reminds us of the importance of consciously relying on ancestors and mentors to support our ongoing work. She encourages us to start an upcoming circle with a call to our ancestors (as appropriate with your beliefs and practices).

  • Choose a start point that evokes lineage and inheritance, maybe the poem “Of Love” by Mary Oliver, or “It Takes a Universe” by Thomas Berry.

  • Invite everyone to think silently of all the mentors and ancestors whose presence, inspiration, and power contribute to our current lives and work.

  • Invite them to imagine all the people, animals, plants, waterfalls, sunsets that have graced their lives present in the room behind them, just at the rim of the circle, holding, supporting.

  • Invite them to envision how full the room has become, with all these presences – in our context at Ridge and Valley Charter School we consider Maria Montessori, Thich Nacht Han, the Lenape elders whose communities flourished on this riverbank long before ours, Rudolf Steiner, Thomas Berry, our Circle Way teachers Ann and Sarah… Autumn Olive Land, the Four Directions, my parents and grandparents, the ripening strawberries, stones rounded by the river...

  • For check in, invite people to share an experience of an ancestor or mentor whose energy continues to inspire them.

  • When you close the circle, invite people to imagine themselves eventually joining the ancestors at the rim, supporting those who will take our places as leaders in every chair as the circle rolls along.