It’s time to once again come together to celebrate our ancestors for all that they’ve given us, all the hard work they put in to create the incredible world we live in today. And by today I mean Inheritance Day December 12th, 2171.
During Inheritance Day, celebrated annually on December 12th, we envision that we are 150 years in the future, and humans have figured out how to live in harmony with each other and the planet. War is a thing of the past. The global community has committed to ensuring that every person has food, shelter, and healthcare, and poverty has been for all intents and purposes eliminated as all our energies are focused on thriving and abundance for all. We have learned how to live lightly and sustainably on the planet, there is plentiful renewable energy for all, and the climate has been restored to a healthy balance. Women, LGBTQIA, and people of all cultures, colors, and religious beliefs have equal rights worldwide. So we sit down to dinner with our families, both birth and chosen, and celebrate these incredible achievements that our ancestors worked so hard for!
December 12th, 2015 was the actual date of the first Inheritance Day celebration in San Francisco. It was also the day that the Paris Agreement was signed and the global community came together for the first time to really address climate change.
The meal has a special set of courses, similar to Passover (with a dash of Thanksgiving), and each one honors the important historical milestones that we achieved. We ring a special bell at the start of each course, so we name them Bell 1, Bell 2, etc. and each bell has associated activities/rituals. We also use this dinner to reflect on our own ancestral lineage and cultural heritage that lead to us being alive today on this incredible mother earth.
We’re pretending to be 150 years in the future because we believe that in this challenging and uncertain time it’s more important than ever to have hopeful visions of the future. How can we get there if we can’t imagine it? Furthermore, putting yourself in this beautiful future environment can give some perspective on how you may want to live your life right now in order to help us reach this more beautiful world that we know is possible — to be an honored ancestor for future generations.
We would love for you to adopt this holiday as your own. Below you will find our suggested plan for the ritual, including a sample menu, but feel free to adapt as desired!
How to participate Inheritance Day
- Organize an Inheritance Day dinner on December 12th. Leave about 2 hours of time for the ceremonial meal.
- Invite as many or as few people as you want. Try to fit everyone around a big table or two.
- Perhaps ask guests to bring drinks and/or desserts, or you could all cook together, or each make one of the dishes for the ritual (see below.)
- We believe that the ceremony should primarily be led by women or non-binary folx, who will ring the bells and weave the tales of what we remember, as well as facilitate other activities/conversations. This is because we have been living in patriarchy for too long, and we believe that women and genderfluid or non-binary people will be the most important and powerful leaders to guide us into a more harmonious future.
The Inheritance Day ritual
Remember that this entire ritual is just a suggestion and please feel free to adapt and make it your own, as long as you stick to the intention and meaning behind Inheritance Day.
Begin by telling a bit of the history of Inheritance Day for those that have never experienced it.
For example: The first Inheritance Day was celebrated 156 years ago, December 12, 2015, in San Francisco. A group of friends came together to create a ritual dinner for their community, to honor their ancestors, and those working for a better world. At the time the world was in a dark place. Climate change threatened the entire planetary ecosystem. Inequality was at an all-time high, and poverty and homelessness were rampant. Violence and oppression against women, people of color, native peoples, LGBTQ, and all historically oppressed groups were still common. It was a moment in history that required active hope and powerful communal support to overcome depression, anxiety, and their roots: disconnection (from self, community, and the earth) and greed, which were built into the value systems of society, in particular, encoded into Neoliberal Capitalism.
However, that day 12/12/2015 was the day that the Paris Agreements were signed, and for the first time, the entire global community came together to commit to a global action plan which would limit global warming and work to bring the climate back into balance. There were also already widespread and growing environmental and social justice movements, so while there was much to be afraid of, there was also much to be hopeful about. Now that we have been through the worst and know that humanity was able to evolve and come together to take care of one another and the earth, we always remember to honor those that took a risk, that chose to live a new and different story despite all of society telling them they were crazy, that worked to heal generations of trauma, despite being deeply wounded themselves, that chose hope and love over cynicism and fear. Imagine if you were one of those ancestors? What would you have chosen to do? Today we step back into the past, and we choose again each year to live from compassion, truth, honesty, service, and love.
When each course begins ring a singing bowl or other bell to indicate shifting into the next part of the Inheritance Day ritual. After the tale of each course is told and the ritual part done we suggest leaving at least 10 minutes for folks to eat and talk about that course before starting the next.
- Bell 1 – Gender Diversity / The Balanced Feminine: Honoring the rise of the feminine, masculine and feminine coming into balance, women’s suffrage, respect for parental leave, #metoo… We especially remember when the council of women was put in charge of global conflict resolution. We also honor our own mother and the feminine wisdom of the lineage of mothers that birthed us all.
- Activity: Name your matrilineal line: We go around the table and each person voices the name of your (biological or adoptive) mother, grandmother, great grandmother (as far back as possible) to honor their gift of life.
- Optional: Everyone has a chance to share something about their mother, or a mother figure in their life, and her strengths
- Optional: Do something special for the women/non-binary in the group. Perhaps an honoring of the womb? And/or something to honor the feminine and the masculine that lives in each of us.
- Food: Bowl of motherhood: perhaps a salad with eggs, seeds, flowers or fresh spring greens, honey, pomegranate syrup, dried fruit for the wrinkled elder crone wisdom keepers, and goddess dressing.
- Bell 2 – Justice, Healing & Reparations: We remember when the worldwide community recognized equal and universal human rights for all peoples, while still honoring the diversity and plurality of cultures: overcoming racism, homophobia, and xenophobia. In particular, we remember when reparations for all oppressed people finally occurred (the decades of reparations), Black lives matter, Standing rock, the Canadian Prime Minister’s apology to indigenous peoples, acknowledgments and apologies for slavery worldwide, updates to textbooks, and decades of grieving ceremonies, a piece of which we remember here.
- Activity: We start by meditating on our feelings about our own ancestral culture and traumas.
- Food: Eat something bitter. In our ritual, we chew bitter cacao pods to remember the pain of oppression
- Activity: While we taste the bitterness we do a group cry as our grief ritual. We turn our backs to the table and lay our heads down to create space to truly grieve.
- Then as one facilitator drums together we wail with the pain and suffering of all the injustices our ancestors faced. Give this ritual some time to allow people to really sink into the grief for a moment.
- After having a moment of quiet we turn back around and partner up to reconnect and find support from one another.
- Food: When you connect with a partner you eat something sweet to feel what it’s like for the pain of oppression to be lifted by human kindness. Our version is to have each person serve the other sweet, warm, spiced almond milk to wash away the bitterness and make delicious chocolate milk in the mouth.
- Activity: Then do a short partner exercise. You could have each partner share what they were grieving, or just spend a few moments eye gazing. Or our recommendation is to do the Hawaiian prayer of Hoʻoponopono where you say to each other. “I’m sorry, please forgive, thank you, I love you”
- Bell 3 – Equity & Abundance: We recognize the universal rights of all to live, have their basic needs met, and thrive. Since 2030, we have ended global poverty and achieved resource democracy through a fair distribution of prosperity worldwide, the dismantling of all systems that created major economic inequality, and entered the global era of abundance!
- We remember when the UN said in 2015 that we would end global poverty by 2030, and we did.
- We remember as automation began to take more and more jobs, and the marches to end poverty began to rise around the world chanting, “We have enough! We have enough!” (the group chants this together)
- We remember when the men who ran Wall Street finally got on board the train of interconnection, cooperation, and abundance and said “no more greed!” – all the men chant “No more greed!”
- And when a UBI was put in place first in northern Europe, then California, and the US, and rapidly spreading around the world.
- And finally, we were all ready to share in the abundance of this beautiful planet. So let’s stand up and do “a bun dance” = shake it loose to celebrate abundance. Chant: a bun dance, a bun dance! and/or play a song to get down to.
- Food: A food pyramid with all the food groups, representing all our needs being met. For example: Gluten-free bread (seed bread) with cheese on top, a slice of persimmon on top of that, and a crumble of sauteed tempeh on top of that, baked for a bit to melt the cheese, with arugula on top and a spritz of lemon and drizzle of honey for the sweet.
- Bell 4 – Harmonious Ecology: We remember coming into harmony with the planetary ecosystem through a global movement for the Rights of Nature, ecological regeneration, and carbon sequestration, resulting in reducing global warming by going below 350 ppm Co2 (in the year 2050), reaching a stable state of eco-systemic balance and arresting the collapse of biodiversity. Talk about the clean energy revolution and everything else that needed to happen.
- Activity: Breath together 10 times in sync to remember clean air, water, and healthy food for all. Say something about the natural cycle of breathing, being in a reciprocal relationship with nature. Breathing in what trees breathe out. Exhale longer than inhale.
- Food: Black sesame falafel (coal), black lentil hummus (oil). As we eat we recarbonize our bodies and the planet, remembering the clean energy revolution.
- Bell 5 – Peace & Unity: Global unity, peace, love, and harmony, with all people, plants, animals, and life of all kinds. End of all war. End of national borders.
- Activity: Om-ing together 3 times. Harmonizing “unity” chant together until the group naturally comes to an ending point.
- Activity: Popcorn style ask people to shout out things they remember from the last 150 years, major achievements for humanity moving towards unity. E.g. Remember when all the prisons closed and were replaced by restorative justice centers!”, “First queer president of the US!” ….
- Food: The stew of planetary oneness. Many vegetables of all colors. Lentils or beans, leeks, sweet potatoes, squash greens, purple cabbage, coconut milk, maybe avocado on top or fresh parsley?
- Optional: At the end of this bell if the group has the energy it can be sweet to do a recommitment ceremony where everyone recommits to service, connection, empathy, compassion, and love. Keeping the traditions alive.
- Put a hand on heart, popcorn style “I commit to…”
- Bell 6 – Integration: Potluck dessert, hang out, and play!
You can find out more information and get a sample Inheritance Day dinner invitation here.
If you do host an Inheritance Day dinner we would love to see pictures and hear stories of how it went! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Blessings on our planetary journey forward towards unity!