Ancestors + Elders

Mythology of Ancestors + Elders

“Oats and corn, oats and corn, all that dies shall be reborn.
Vine and grain, vine and grain, all that falls shall rise again.”

We are each and all standing on the shoulders of our Ancestors. As in our Vinotok anthem and ancient Harvest chant above, we will ourselves someday become ancestors for those who follow us.


To begin, we must offer the traditional Land Acknowledgement ritual to the First People and the First Nation to see and exalt this river-rich valley as both their Summer Home and earthly paradise. We give thanks to the Ute Nation, whose name is said to mean, “Dwellers in the Turquoise Sky”, which certainly they and we are privileged to be. We ask permission to dwell with and honor the Place Spirit of the “Pahvant”, the Ute name for the valley’s confluence of many waters. This is said to be a sacred place of peace, healing and ceremonies of great meaning. We note our deep gratitude for being allowed to live in this sacred Land.

We offer thanks, blessings and honor to those whose bones have fed the Earth, also remembering and carrying forth the legacy of the Old Timers, Elders, Homesteaders, Ranchers, Miners and founders of our community.

We pause to name our personal Ancestors. First, those whose names we remember. You can simply say, “I thank, honor and bless (speak the names_________)”. When you come to the place where you do not know the names you can say, “Even though I do not know your names, I thank, honor and bless you.”

We are their fruit and heritage. We are the harvest for which Our Ancestors lived and died. Let us rise! By these actions let us become better Ancestors for our future generations.

It is so!

By Marcie Telander, Vinotok Godmother and Founder

Activity: Straw Grump Effigy

In the old countries, including Slovenia and Croatia, folks created wild, sacrificial effigies, a send-up of a local bigwig, filled with grievances, often about the ruling class. The effigy was tried and sentenced, banished, hanged, and then for extra good measure – burned.

Vinotok’s Great Grump effigy is based on this practice. Each year a local artist builds the Grump, who eventually becomes the scapegoat. Community members write their “grumps”–things they want to get rid of, grievances, gripes and complaints–on little pieces of paper and put them in Grump Boxes about town. When the Grump is burned, we as a community cleanse ourselves and our town of all these feelings of negativity, transforming them into a more positive future as we enter the winter season together. It is a cathartic experience to watch your grumps go up with those of your family, friends and neighbors.

For 2021, there is one Grump Box at the Fire Circle at the Crossroads of the 4-Way Stop. Folks are invited to put their grumps there. Vinotok will transform them, thereby offering the experience of our grumps burning collectively.

However, folks may also wish to burn their grumps in their own personal fire–in a backyard fire cauldron, for example, or other fire in accordance with fire restrictions that might be in place. Either way, we thought you might want to create your own Straw Grump Mini-Effigy to burn along with all those grievances, or keep it, whatever feels appropriate to you.


This offering is based on the European harvest tradition of making a Corn Dolly. The Guide of Straw Craftsmen in the UK explain that in countries around the world that grew grains such as wheat, it was thought the Corn Spirit retreated before the oncoming reapers at harvest time, taking refuge in the last of the standing corn. These last few stalks would be fashioned into a Corn Dolly, a receptable in which the Spirit could rest during the winter. In the spring, the Corn Dolly, together with its incumbent Corn Spirit, would be returned to the fields with the new planting. By giving the Corn Spirit a home during the dark and cold winter months, it was hoped to ensure that the forthcoming crop would be a bounteous one.

We don’t grow wheat in Crested Butte, but we do have lots of native grasses to use in making your own Straw Grump. We recommend collecting these for your Straw Grump.

1. Begin by soaking grass to make it pliable.
2. Use a piece of tough thread to tie four straws together with a clove hitch just under the heads. If you’re not familiar with the clove hitch knot, watch this:
3. Plait the straws until you have about 8 cm of straw left. To braid with four straws, watch this.
4. Bring the four straws up to meet each other and tie firmly at the end of the plaited section with another clove hitch.
5. Bring this tie down to meet the other tie just under the heads, to form a loop of plaited straw, and tie the two together.
6. Spread the straw ears out between the straw stalks and allow to dry flat, preferably under a weight.
7. When dry, you can clip the stalk ends decoratively and add a ribbon bow or a small sprig of dried flower.

Every Man is Green

By Marcie Telander
for Dan Escalante April 2020
As well as Art Thilquist, Andy Bamberg & Jamie Madsen who have Walked On

Ours is a place that celebrates the Green.

Ours is a place that celebrates sacred feminine and the Green Man.

All women are the sacred land.
All men are green.
We are all the harvest.

We are a valley of souls who venture into the inner wilderness,
as well
as the outer wilds.

Sometimes we enter with others, sometimes we leave

We know that we do not own this Place Spirit, this Earth Home,
we do not own time.
Time owns us, and the Earth receives us

The mountains enfold us, the rivers carry us home.

We are the seeds, and we will all become the Harvest.

We are meant to be tilled into
the furrows of
mountains, turned by the winds, water and weather.

Some men are elders when they are planted,
others are still youths.

All men are Green.

Some men are too swift to be caught,
others are caught by the swift splendor of each heartbeat.

All men are Green.

Some men are exuberantly Green, some are quietly Green,
others are gently, tenderly Green, others are valiantly, powerfully Green and a very few are
exquisitely, quintessentially Green.

All men are necessary. All men are Green.

We are all the Harvest.
We will feed the soil–
human becoming humus,
humus becoming human.
It will be some time before
the new World Communion will be ready–before the seed sprouts, grows perfectly tall,
comes to a head

is sickled and bundled by many hands which become one hand,
one hand which becomes

Then, at Lamastide we harvest first offerings together.

The threshing floor is alive and filled with chaff.
We gather at the circle and bake
the bread.

The ovens are lit,
we are surrounded by warm sweet smells of yeast and grain, growing the loaves of life–
and communion to come.

We are the harvest.
We sing “Oats and corn, oats and corn all that dies shall be reborn.”
We must be satisfied that our labors will be enough.
We are ancestors of the future and this communion
must come.

This year we will share a feast of bitter herbs, salted wafers,
the hosts of our tears.

All men are precious, all men are Green.

We will share in the Equinox rites, We are the Ancestors, the food, the Feast and the nourishment
of tomorrow.

All men are Green.
Walking along beside the cart toward the Autumn Equinox Fires bearing the sacrificed Green.
We will sing “Vine and grain, vine and grain,
all that falls shall rise again.”