This practice can be magically transformative. It is also called Seven generations practice because two hundred years roughly corresponds to seven generations.
Setting the stage: We remind everyone of their children or nieces and nephews to create a genuine sense of continuity that we are part of. We divide the group into two subgroups. One group will be of ancestors from 2020s and the other will be of “future beings” who will be alive 200 years from now. The assumptions are that not only is there human life but that there are thriving happy human communities living in harmony with each other and more-than-human world in 2020s. For the first three questions, ancestors speak but the future beings can not respond back to the ancestors. They can only speak with their eyes. For the fourth question, ancestors can not speak/respond while the future beings explain their world to “ancestors”. It can feel like a genuinely magical thing to be able to hear the voices of our grandchildren’s great grand-child. Any kind of drumming music is considered a good way to help people mentally transition from 2020s to 2220s as the circle the room. We could make it special with candles and flowers. Afternoon times are not the best if direct harsh sunlight is coming into the room.
After a round of drumming and circling, future beings are asked to sit facing a chosen direction. And then ancestors take seats facing future beings, in pairs. Once everyone is seated, ancestors who are present day human beings can really meet a human being from 2220! We try to create a magic for them in anyway that feels genuine for us as facilitators. Evocative voice is just one way.
We ask people to keep looking into each other’s eyes as the facilitator starts speaking questions. We also ask the future beings to speak with their eyes as the facilitator is saying their words for them. We try to evoke connection, love and awe and magic without making it corny.
First question: The facilitator recites the first question on behalf of future beings. This question starts with setting up the stage for what is happening right now in the world in general. We mention extreme income inequality, wars, state of the world soils, air and oceans and then ask “Is this really true? Did we really reach a point that all water has to be filtered and most cities were ridden with pollution. And children were being maimed for oil and gas? How was it specifically for you and your families and friends?” We start with general statements and then make it specific for one ancestor, the ancestor sitting in front of the future being who is asking the questions. We give ancestors 5 minutes to respond.
Drumming starts again and ancestors thank their future being and get up to circle again. When drumming stops, they take seat in front of another future being.
Second question: The facilitator recites the second question on behalf of future beings. Second question is about the first steps the ancestors took to come out of the mainstream/dominant paradigm. We start with general statements “We are so proud of you ancestor and so grateful that you took action, you did not stay with status quo. Your generation was very wise — you put changes in place that ensured our well being. What were the first steps did you take in your life as a teacher and community member?”
Third question: Third question from future beings presses some more. It is same as the second question but digs deeper “I still can’t believe it. Your courage is so inspiring. Tell me more about what were you feeling. What opposition did you face? How did you support each other? How did you create communities that understood the challenges and potential solutions?
Last question: The last question is from ancestor to future being that asks future beings to describe their self-image, What is considered beautiful or sexy, their jobs, their families, their homes and the way they grow food, resolve conflicts and how they live in harmony with each other and other species.
We give ~5 minutes to each question. Please remember to ask everyone to write down what they heard or said. It is important to not let these insights gets lost. Some participants feel inspired to act more courageously and some find clarity emerge from deep within their subconscious. Some are unable to suspend the disbelief, tap into the imaginery realm and actively resist the role-play. It is all okay. The facilitators need to trust that everyone will receive the benefits they are ready to receive at this time in their lives. Feel free to modify the instructions so that future beings have more time to speak.
End with drumming and circles together as the whole group to end the magical encounters. We can end with a song or chant if appropriate.