Our Ancestors: Your Inner Fish


This blog is based on a program that aired April 9, 2014 on PBS, titled Your Inner Fish. Back in 1999, Fish Paleontologist Neil Shubin and some associates started a search that would last ten years. They wanted to find a fossil of an amphibian that would show there was a link between modern fish and Ichthyostega, a type of salamander with a skeletal structure that was ultimately related to the human skeleton. They expected the link would demonstrate how primates, including humans, were physically evolved from fish.

Since fish existed 400 million years ago, and the missing link would have evolved 40 million years after that, they would have to find rock formations that were around 360 million years old. Surprisingly, they knew of such a rock outcropping here in the U.S. The location was called Red Hill, located along a major highway in Pennsylvania. Although their search produced fossils from that timeframe, they did not find what they were looking for. They also looked in places like Ethiopia, and Nova Scotia but without success.

Finally, in July of 2000, they found what they were searching for. Unfortunately the area was located in northern Canada where there were no roads, no people, and no sources of food; plus there were polar bears. The worst news was that the area lay under a thick covering of snow in frigid temperatures most of the year. The only time they could search the area was July. So that’s what they did for four years before finding a river bed filled with the type of fossils they were looking for in 2004. That was when they uncovered a complete, intact fossil of a flat-headed fish nine feet long.

The fossil was the first fish-like amphibian that had a common bone structure with every reptile, bird, and mammal that has ever existed; including humans. And in every one of the life forms just mentioned the similarity begins at the main body, growing into a single bone, followed by two bones, followed by many bones, and finger-like or toe-like bones. The cause of this similarity is found within a single gene in our DNA. This skeletal structure is common to the feet of mice, the hands of humans and the arm and leg structures of all four-legged animals. So this 360 million year old fossil was the first of its kind to make the transition from fish to amphibian. It set the stage for a transition to a whole new set of physical characteristics that would ultimately result in mankind; you and me.

Our Ancestors: Survival


This stretch of sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall are reminders of the fact that Nature is an unconquerable force. We think our snow plows and space heaters will get us through winter until one of these storms strikes. Then we hunker down for a few days in our warm houses and watch the forecasts on TV, hoping the power won’t go out and that we bought enough milk for the duration.

I went to Walmart to pick up a few groceries this morning. I was amazed at how barren some of the shelves were. At first I wondered if they were going out of business. Then I realized that other customers had ‘raided’ the store prior to the cold and snow and that normal shipments had probably been delayed. It made me think, ‘What did our ancestors do?’

I have seen the programs on the Discovery channel about modern families living in the remote locations of Alaska. In the fall they start planning and preparing for winter. They harvest all their crops, chop as much wood as experience teaches them they will need for heating, and find ingenious ways to store food so that it stays fresh. They also do as much hunting and fishing as they can before the snow comes. And they trade and share food items with neighboring families so they all have a variety. Theirs is a difficult life but for our ancestors it was even more of an issue of life or death.

Our ancestors may have had log cabins, or tents or lived in caves. They too had to plan for the winter just as the Discovery channel families. But our ancestors had fewer tools to use and none of our technology. I’m sure they knew tricks and shortcuts we never thought of and used every one of them to help their families survive. And they relied on the other families in their tribe or social group. Everyone helped everyone else. They had to. There was no other way to survive.

Our ancestors were hardy, brave, clever and determined. If they hadn’t been, we wouldn’t be here today. Here’s to our ancestors!

Our Ancestors: The Olmec Teaching

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Back on July 24th I wrote a post titled “Our Ancestors: LIfe on Earth”. In it I mentioned that the Hawaiian indigenous people believe that their descendants came from the stars, specifically the Pleiades. I then connected that idea with some speculation about the age of organic life from Professor Cockell. His estimate is that all organic life began about 10 billion years ago. And since the estimated life of our planet is somewhere around 4.5 billion years, it made the possibility of our life being from elsewhere in the universe even more intriguing.

This week a friend of mine loaned me a book titled Ecstatic Trance: New Ritual Body Postures, written by Felicitas D. Goodman and Nana Nauwald. The gist of the book is that ritualistic body postures, combined with rhythmic stimulation can produce changes in consciousness that enable us to experience different areas of alternate reality: healing, rebirth and divination are a few. Using the Olmec Baby posture in a workshop in 1997  helped people access the spirit world and get a picture of the philosophy of the Olmec people, a group that lived around the Gulf of Mexico about 3,800 years ago.

On page 26 the authors cite information learned from the spirits. “In ancient times”, the spirits reported, “we had our home in the stars. One day we decided to fly out into the universe. For thousands of years we circled through the universe on energy lines, until suddenly something unexpected happened: we became stranded on solid ground. This place was hot; there were many trees.” They then decided, “Here was the location where further human development should take place.” These colonists from the stars decided this was where they could live to further their spiritual development.

I find it interesting that here we have another group of indigenous people claiming that their heritage is from the stars. If both groups lived near each other it would be easy to imagine that cultural exchanges had taken place and that a belief like this had some common ground. However the Olmec people lived thousands of miles from the Hawaiians separated by the Pacific Ocean. I’m going to continue looking for other beliefs that are similar. If you know of any please let tell me, or send me your info and I’ll put your blog on my site. Thanks.

Our Ancestors: Non-genealogical

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Recently my lovely daughter-in-law, Colleen, gave me a book, Younger Next Year. It has exercising advice for people over fifty. I’m really enjoying it and making changes in my exercise program. Much of what follows is taken directly from the book.

The focus of Younger Next Year is on how our bodies are oriented toward keeping us healthy. However, that focus is based on our evolution, which differs dramatically from our current lifestyle. The authors state that the human body is not some neat, integrated design. It is composite of parts that were taken from nature; parts that evolved from different species over millions and even billions of years. The only parts that are exclusively human are our opposable thumb and a few extra pounds of brain tissue. Everything else is from another species, no not chimps, but bacteria, dinosaurs, birds, worms, gazelles, lions … and the list goes on.

The messages that make these cells work are not the stuff of scientific or literary thought. They are electrical and chemical signals that predate the dawn of consciousness by eons of time. They are part of our physical brain, not our emotional brain nor our thinking brain. They were perfectly designed to help us live in the natural world, but were not designed for fast food, TV or retirement. Our bodies are gifts from trillions of these ancestor-cells, and the fact that we are alive today means every single one of them survived.

The problem is that they survived because they were perfectly suited to our past lifestyle, namely, hunting and foraging. While hunting, we spent a lot of energy in a shorter amount of time chasing and killing wild game. When foraging, we spent less energy over a longer amount of time gathering plants, berries and other edibles. The combination of these exercise lifestyles left us physically lean, powerful and efficient.

That was in the spring, summer and fall. Winter, however, was a different story; longer hours of darkness, colder temperatures, less food. It was a period of slow starvation and less activity. We survived because our bodies slowed down, we became somewhat depressed and didn’t expend as much energy on activity, and probably slept more hours each day. Our bodies were in the decaying mode in the winter months. But when the next springtime-summer-fall arrived, we flourished once again.

Flash forward to 2013. What is our mode of life like today? Is it more like spring-summer-fall? Or is it like winter? Winter is the correct answer. Low-grade depression combined with physical decay is our lifestyle mode, unfortunately. We are not getting enough physical activity.

You might ask, isn’t this just nature’s way? The answer is a resounding NO! This physical decay is not caused by aging, it is caused by our lifestyle choices. Our lifestyle choices cause our bodies to go into the ‘winter’ mode. Our bodies send out so many winter-mode signals that the sum of their traffic is greater than the total of all internet messages and telephone calls in the world each day.

Exercise, proper exercise, is the only way to change the messages being sent out by our bodies. The recommended exercises are walking, which is analogous to foraging, mixed in with weight training and strenuous exercise like running or swimming, which simulate hunting. Walking should be the largest part, three or four times a week. Strenuous exercise and weight training should make up the other two or three, depending on how often you decide to exercise. Each workout should last forty-five to sixty minutes, including warm up and cool down periods.

Now you know why you spent all those hours working out like crazy at the gym and never lost weight. Strenuous workouts tell your body to eat more food and build up muscle mass. They don’t reduce the fat cells around the waist. On the other hand, walking at a moderate pace works on the fat cells, but doesn’t build up much muscle. Combining both types of exercise is best.

If you want more information on how to work in unison with your physical ancestors to get fit, read Younger Next Year, by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M.D.

Next blog: Soul Retrievals

Our Ancestors: Past Life Regression


Sometime in the 1970’s I remembered a past life as a young woman living in Europe. I saw soldiers in fancy blue uniforms with red stripes and large hats with a red feather in them. They carried muskets with bayonets. I didn’t write down all the details and unfortunately that’s all I remember.

In June of 2010 Susan, a friend of mine, offered to conduct a past life regression session for a small group of friends. As I remember it, we sat upright in chairs in small room with the lights lowered. Susan relaxed us and gave us instructions that led us back to one of our past lives. Periodically she said things like, “look down at your feet and remember what you see”. But she also gave us a lot of freedom for our personal experience.

Regression: Moving back through birth, I felt the warmth of my mother’s skin, and then the secure feeling of the liquid in her womb; warm loving feelings. Next we were instructed to move back to a previous life of our choosing.

I was in a primeval forest with enormous trees; their roots were large and pushed up above the ground. The forest was beautiful. It was my home; secure, no worries, very comfortable.

My feet were bare, bony and brown. My brown legs were thin but muscular. At first I thought I was a woman but then realized I was wearing a tunic made of animal skin. The year was 762 (BCE?, AD?). My name was Maztec and I was an aboriginal Indian. I had jet black hair, thin arms, a long bony nose and high cheekbones. I was 36 and wore a headband that had a colored ornament on the front, an insignia of rank. I was a leader – a minor chief or priest. People around me were doing their chores; children were playing. When anyone needed anything – even information – they’d say, “Ask Maztec”. I believed we lived in what is now South America, perhaps Chile. I saw large pots of clay, some had a blue glaze.

At Susan’s instructions I pictured the end of this regressed life: I’m now in my 90’s with long white hair and a loincloth, laying on a flat stone bed. A young girl with dark hair stands next to me holding my hand. I kiss it just before I die. Then I rise up above my body and float upward. At this point the regression ended and we returned to present.

A few days after this experience I went online and searched the name Maztec. I didn’t remember ever hearing that name before. My search revealed that there is a group of Indians, named the Maztec Indians, who now live in southern Mexico. I was pleasantly surprised. According to information I found, they have lived in that area for centuries.

Next blog: Ancient Wisdom – Spiritual Guides

Our Ancestors


Last week I performed two journeys: one to find out where sadness was coming from in myself and family ancestors; the other to perform healing for my family and ancestors to reestablish lost connections that would provide love and support for all the McAllisters and Bergstroms past and present. Both families left Europe in the late 1800’s to find the American dream. When you emigrated in the late 1800’s, it meant you would never see your friends and family members again. It would be as though they had died. How sad.

Both of the journeys I made worked out well and the lost connections were re-established. I felt as though I had performed a good deed for my loved ones. That brings me to today, September 6th. It is the 15th anniversary of the loss of my wife, Marilyn. I decided to visit the cemetery where she,  the Gordon relatives and the McAllister relatives are buried. It is always a sad occasion so I decided to change my approach for this visit. Instead of saying prayers and telling them I missed them, I decided I would tell them how much I appreciated what they had done for me and my children. I named the occasion Ancestors Day.

On the way to the cemetery I bought a dozen roses. I left half of them at the McAllister graves and half at the Gordon headstone where Marilyn is buried. I shed some tears at both sites, but this time I gave them my thanks for all the things they had done, all the sacrifices they had made, even for things I didn’t know they did on my behalf. Finally I thanked them for the good health and heredity they have passed on to me and my family. By the time I finished I felt very good. I’m going to do that every year. From now on, September 6th is Ancestors Day.

I hoped my helpful spirit friends would approve of this approach. I got back in my car. As I started down the cemetery road a large bird flew out of a tree up ahead and landed on the left side of the road. I slowed as I passed it, not ten feet away. It was a young, red-tailed hawk. They grow to be 22 inches long with a wingspan of 50 inches. This one was almost fully grown. The red-tailed hawk is one of my power animals and represents Visionary Power and Guardianship. I was happy to encounter such a positive omen. As I passed, it flew back up into the trees; a wonderful ending for a wonderful visit.

Next blog: Communicating with Nature – the element of Water.

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