Grandparenting Across the Generations

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When I was invited to write my contribution to Calling the Sacred Masculine, I immediately felt I wanted to write about my journey to be and become a Grandfather. I am blessed with three granddaughters and one grandson. Their arrival in my life coincided with the maturing of my own understanding of the Sacred Feminine and Sacred Masculine. I have had the time, space, and the commitment to bring the learning I gained from my training with the Origin Teachings of the Delicate Lodge to the territory of grandparenting. Over the last seven years, being a Grandfather has brought immense joy to my life.

My Experience of Being a Grandson
I feel lucky in that I knew both sets of my grandparents. I was close to my maternal grandparents because of geography and the relationship of my mother to her parents. I did have contact with my father’s parents, but it was less frequent.

My Nana and Granddad had a market garden farm at Throston near West Hartlepool, and I spent many happy days, and most of my holidays, there. I realise now that I was considered special because I was the first child of a daughter. This specialness meant that I felt very loved and welcomed into the family.

I was given the freedom to roam on the farm, and I loved being with the animals. I have vivid memories of going out to the fields with my Granddad to gather the produce; he would speak to me about caring for the land and respecting the seasons. He taught me the old fashioned ways of planting and harvesting, a long, often slow, and weather dependent process. I appreciate how he brought an alertness to what was happening around me, and I recognise that my love of nature stems from my relationship with him.

He was very caring towards me, and that memory of a loving masculine energy around me is something I can touch back into in my own grandparenting. He made it clear to me that he wanted me alongside him. He would often sing as we travelled around the farm together. One particular song was ‘ Climb upon my knee, Sonny Boy.’ Here is that song with lyrics below, if you would like to listen to it.

Climb upon my knee, Sonny Boy,
Though you’re only three, Sonny Boy,
You’ve no way of knowing,
There’s no way of showing,
What you mean to me, Sonny Boy.
When there are grey skies,
I don’t mind the grey skies,
You make them blue, Sonny Boy.
Friends may forsake me,
Let them all forsake me,
I still have you, Sonny Boy.

What was very special to me was being with my grandfather as he farmed with the horses, to be behind the gentle undulation of the horses as they walked is a treasured memory. There was tranquillity to being with him and a pace to life that was unhurried. We would take the farm produce to town using horse and cart; the horse knew the way and travelled at a speed that enabled Granddad to talk to people as we passed them by. He was a well-known and well-loved character in the town. I have an on-going love of horses to this day.

Within the family, there was a balance of the masculine and the feminine, and I so appreciate the strength of my grandmother. She birthed twelve children, of which eight survived to adulthood. The farm had no electricity or gas; so all the cooking was done on the coal fire or on paraffin stove.

Granddad was the one who went out to work, and Nana supported him and looked after the family. There was an incredible routine around food, a big breakfast early in the morning to set us up for the day, and then at 11am, she would come out into the fields with steamy milky coffee and scones with butter and jam. After a glorious homemade evening meal, my grandfather would get himself ready to go to his son’s pub for a pint of beer. He would polish his boots, put on his waistcoat with a pocket watch and chain, and then walk down to the farm gate where the bus would stop for him.

I feel that my relationship with my grandparents gave me a solid grounding in, and understanding of family values that I hold to this day. To be in an environment where I was loved has given me role models that I regularly touch back into as I explore how I wish to be as a grandfather to my own grandchildren.

Learning From Conditional Love Within My Birth Family
My parents met each other when they were teenagers in the 1930s, but were apart for many years during World War II. ‘Dad’ was a pilot in the RAF, and ‘Mam’ was in the Army. They married in 1943, I was born in 1946, and my brother was born in 1951. My father joined the Police after the war, his career was mostly as a detective, and so he was not at home very much due to his dedication to his work. Consequently, I spent most of my time with my mother.

My perception of being parented by my mother was that she was very controlling and that her love was conditional on my success or performing in particular ways. As a policeman’s wife, my mother was not allowed to work, this was very challenging for her and so she was living her life through my achievements. This ‘controlling’ behaviour was very much a patterning of me in my early years: I learned to be controlling and even more strongly to hate being controlled by others.

I don’t have many memories of my father being with me, playing with me, or taking me out. I look back, and I feel that I missed out on my father playing an active role in my development as a child. There was not a balanced feminine and masculine within my immediate family, I can now see the impact of the way that my Dad and Mam were as role models and how it affected my own development.

My apparent success in education and later at work came from a deeply ingrained pattern of controlling all aspects of my life. As a father, like my father, I adopted the role of breadwinner and was very focussed on career. I was not around very much for my daughters. I learned my lessons well from my parenting and took this into my parenting.

It was in my late 40’s that I started to be aware of different ways of parenting. It was also at this time that I became involved in personal and team development at work, and this helped me to realise that my controlling behaviour while successful had significant limitations. I met a range of people who raised my understanding of how our upbringing can affect our adult behaviour. What was probably most impactful was realising that it is possible to change this behaviour through the restructuring these patterns.

Encountering the Teachers from the Ehama Institute

It was at this time that I first met RainbowHawk and WindEagle and the Delicate Lodge Teachings. My first ceremony was very emotional; I experienced, once again, that feeling of unconditional love. It was like coming home. As we sat around the fire together, hearing the Earth Wisdom stories, this touched back into how I felt with my own grandparents. I was happy that I had found people that I wanted to journey with to deepen my understanding of consciousness and continues to heal my early life patterning.

The second Balquidder ceremony in 1996 was a celebration of the marriage of the Sacred Feminine and Sacred Masculine through the blessing of Ann StarSong and my impending wedding. It was a beautiful and timeless experience for all of us who attended. To deeply touch into the dance of these two primordial energies, to see, and experience, the equal but different roles grounded in love was transformational for me.

As I became more conscious, I had the growing ability in the moment to recognise out of balance energy, to see that it is not a state of love, and to shift out of it in the moment. Over the years, as I deepened with these practices, and supported others in training, I felt more and more able to hold my centre. As a father, I have become more loving. I went back to my daughters who had been deeply affected by my controlling behaviour to share what I was learning about myself and to ask for their forgiveness. I sought to explain to them the insight and learning I had gained, and that I now wanted to be different with them.

Myself as a Grandfather Now

What the Teachings gave me was a balanced way to approach being a Grandfather and with the understanding of the being and becoming energies to have a strategy to approach these new relationships. Eight Medicine woman have previously written about the Sacred Feminine in BeaconFires, and their wisdom reflects much of my understanding, for example

• The silence from which sound rises
• The stillness from which movement dances.
• The qualities of the Sacred Masculine flowing from the void of the Sacred Feminine out into life.

I am 72 years old, and my first grandchild arrived when I was 65, it was relatively late in life when I became a Grandfather. I was well into my learning journey with the Earth Wisdom Teaching, and I felt prepared for this adventure. It was an exciting but anxious time in some respects with my daughters going through the pregnancy and birthing the new life. There was the awe and wonder of seeing this new being arrive safely, and of knowing that my lineage and genes were continuing. I reconnected with the joy of being present when my two daughters came into this world and, in that moment, I was connecting with pure love once again.

I have an awareness and clarity that I need to be aligned to the parents’ way of doing things and to respect this. Being older and retired, I have had the time to be supportive and unconditionally loving. Through a series of Vision Quests, the healing and balancing brought me into a greater understanding of what love truly is and that I am able ‘to love and be love’ in a more profound way than before.

Some primary themes in thinking about myself as a grandfather are firstly the constancy of being there for them and supporting them in a way that I was not always there for my daughters as they grew up. I am deliberately manifesting love with them and being alert to any of my old patterns of control trying to highjack my centre. I am very aware now of catching the triggers that might take me out of balance and preventing the Judge and others taking over.

It can sometimes be a bit of a rollercoaster, watching how the parents deal with things. I have developed an interest in personal wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle, and I love to share this, but sometimes the parents have a different approach. I do not go against them, and I just try to influence gently. I do find it a little challenging sometimes when I have a different viewpoint, but I respect that they are the parents, and my role is to love unconditionally.

As a male role model in their lives, I am conscious of the Teachings I have received on the role of the Feminine and the Masculine, where the women hold the centre of the circle and the men hold the perimeter. I see myself as a protector of the generations coming after me as a loving LawDog Chief. I am holding the Two Sacred Laws where ‘All things are Born of Woman’ and ‘No Law shall be Passed that Will Harm the Children’

I don’t wish to get in the way of the youngsters’ life experiences. If I accept the teaching that we are all spirit beings who have come into this lifetime on purpose to learn and to grow, then I do not want to deprive them of their full experience. I only want to be with them as a significant supporter in their lives as I just love watching the way they are developing.

I want to just be with these little ones, listening, rather than letting any of my old controlling aspirations take over. I have great joy in experiencing their love of me. I often smile at their desire to control me, even at such an early age. This is when just being with them is such a great gift in my life.

I have spoken.

David Kell (PrairieDancer)
My journey parallels Ann StarSong who is my wife and soul-mate. 1996 was also my first introduction to the Teachings at Balquidder, Scotland. The following two years I was part of a circle of people who supported the Ehama ‘tribe’ returning to the UK. I was gifted to be part of the first CGT 
programme and then took time to further deepen with the Teachings by living and travelling with RainbowHawk and WindEagle. I was a guide on CGT programmes and ceremonies in USA, UK, Germany and Denmark.

My work in large 
organisations as a Production Director brought me to the Teachings. Responsible for implementing complex change strategies, I had identified the importance of delayered structures, team, and personal development. Exploring different personal development opportunities and through my interest in Quantum Physics, I was first introduced to indigenous teachings. When I found the Ehama Teachers, I knew they were the ones to deepen with, I have never regretted that choice.

As part of my give-back to Life, I decided to support organisations that are committed to supporting Diversity of Life, Nutrition & Healing and The Origin Teachings. To this end, I joined the Board of the Center for Timeless Earth Wisdom to support breathing the Teachings into the World. Having been part of many learning communities, I hold a dream of us all coming together as conscious community to support the Teachings.

I am involved in the Center’s new Active Wisdom Program called ‘An Inquiry into Elderhood’ which is another of my callings. More information can be found here.


  1. Hello David

    I really enjoyed reading your words and felt quite moved by the way you positioned yourself within the context of having been a grand child, being “very welcomed” into a family from birth and then experiencing how it is to be a grandfather with your grand children.

    I especially loved your descriptions of being with your grandparents and your experience as a child. I think you relate very well the connections that all of us have but which we may have lost awareness of – the treasurers of ourselves in the continuity of time and generational connection. What a whole picture it is; how it feeds our stores of knowledge, and how through the turning time we have the option to reflect and connect consciously and with awareness.

    It is very touching to hear your whole experience as it was and as it continues to be.

    Thank you. Love and light and much joy to you and yours.


  2. dear prairie dancer,
    thanks for sharing your stories and songs of your life. i spent the day with 3 of my grandsons yesterday and i can feel your joy and hope. i had just seen them three days before, but i had to look in their eyes again. i believe in reincarnation so i sometimes wonder who they were and who they are going to be this time around. they run around with no fear crashing into walls, and floors, and there is that desire to control them. i guess we are here to comfort them when they fall and give them that band-aid that makes everything all better. i guess we are here to love everyone else the same way.

    • Dear Spyrock Pondtender

      Thank you for your words.

      It is wonderful to watch the little ones grow and develop, spending time with them in a way that was not possible with their parents.

      Noticing the difference between the girls and the boy.

      Giving them our unconditional / true love has a wonderful payback from them as they love us.

      Blessings PD

  3. Sending you my love and appreciation for being a continuing source of love, guidance and support on my own journey. This is a wonderful reflection and a joy to read. Lots of love xx

    • Dear Rachie

      Wow what a wonderful surprise this morning when I read your message as I didn’t realise that you were receiving Beacon Fires.

      I am deeply touched by your sharing and it feels so special that you have reached out in this way as a member of my ‘Kell & Roberts Family Circle’

      Lots Love David

  4. Dear Brother,

    What a beautiful reflective piece that spans the briefest of lifetimes on this planet. I too am a Sacred Being that comes from a long lineage of living on the land. Such sweet and precious memories returned to me as I walked with you through this journey.

    Your words, ” ..I am able to love and be love”, are still reverberating in me.

    When I think of you as a grandparent my heart grows three sizes. I can hear the quiet, deep and profound stories you share with your precious grand babies.

    With love and gratitude for who you are,

    Stone Mother…

    • Dear Stone Mother,

      Great to hear from you, I too have lots of precious memories of the journey together.

      We have WindEagle in Scotland at the moment and will be attending a ceremony today called Journey of the Gift Seeds. We had a wonderful Pot Luck supper on Thursday which many of the Black Lodge Circle in Scotland and North England attended.

      Then what a surprise that FireHawk has joined us for a few days and so there is more great Remembering and Dreaming and Planning.

      Love PD

  5. Dear PrairieDancer,

    What a perfectly lovely story of Life Unfolding you have given us! Life unfolding within you and within the context of your generations of Family. Your story gives me the sense – and the confidence – that Balance is Universal and Omnipresent. It reminds that what may look or feel out of balance in any given moment are merely teachable moments for us, yet are always in balance within the larger and ever-perfectly evolving Whole.

    And a big YES to growing up on the Farm! Puts the Four Daughters in one’s Bones and lasts a Lifetime 🙂

    Deep Appreciation,

    • Dear RedHeart,

      Thank you for your words.

      I continue with my journey towards greater Balance. The life diminishing parts of me keep taking me off my path, but I continue to focus on my dream for healthy longevity. It has been more than ten years now since the gift of and teaching from a health issue changed my relationship with Balance in Spirit, Mind, Body and Emotions.

      Appreciating You



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