If nothing else, we may tell stories of our ancestors. Tales of their lives, adventures, exploits or misdeeds keep them alive for ourselves and future generations. Within those stories may lie truths about ourselves and our families that we take for granted.
Part of bringing awareness to our relationships with ancestors is understanding that those truths and assumptions may not serve us well today. We must give ourselves permission to allow our relationship with our ancestors to grow and change, even as we ourselves grow and change.
Many of our ancestors were decidedly imperfect in their humaning. Still others may best be described in plain language as bad people. They did bad things, often to others. Yet, we still have something to learn from them.
My priestess sister and dear friend Cherie Lyon distinguishes between three types of ancestral medicine. These are:
Familial ancestors (like those above)
Cultural ancestors (where our people are from)
Spiritual ancestors (where we get our inspiration)
When you allow spirit to work with you, alongside you, in the ancestral realm, it’s possible to receive the gifts the insights of each of these groups of ancestors have to offer.
One way to do this in a more formal, planned way is to set up ceremonial altars or “stations” for each type of ancestral group. As you allow each altar to help you form a connection to the ancestral realm, allow yourself to feel it, sense it, hear it. Create original writings or artworks that help you integrate what you learn. As both a participant and facilitator, I have found the results of working with our ancestor lineages to be quite amazing.
The energetic focal points do not have to be indoors or in a formal setting. For me, there is a place on the Coosawattee River near Ellijay that connects me to my familial, cultural, and spiritual lineages. Originally, the land was occupied by Native Americans, to whom I always pay respect. This respect is part of my spiritual ancestry.
Also, my familial ancestors bought land in both north and south Georgia. Though the food they grew on their family farms sustained them, there remained trees and land which were never developed. Their sustainable practices included homesteading and building communities. This places connect me to my cultural ancestors, as well.
Finally, when I listen to the wind whisper through the pines, and inhale the deep scent of evergreen, I find that the land and water speak to me.
In these ways, ancestral awareness offers me a deep personal and spiritual connection to the divine expressed through nature. As spring approaches, how are you redefining your essence through healing your relationship with the ancestors?