By Darla Antoine.
Why Should I Heal My Ancestral Line?
From ancestral foods, to ancestral medicines, ancestral movement and even ancestral yoga— “ancestral” seems to be well on its way to being the top spiritual buzzword of 2018.
I, myself, have just completed a six-month intensive training in ancestral lineage healing and am now working towards certification. One of the top questions I get about lineage healing is “Why should I heal my ancestral lines?”
Well, I’m glad you asked.
When we die, we don’t automatically shed all of our pain, fear, trauma, addictions and other earthly concerns— this is especially true of the Western world in the last few centuries. Our fear of death and our desire to prolong life by all medical means possible has created an atmosphere of “Death is bad and life is good,” and also, frankly, made it difficult to die a good a death. Aspects of souls who aren’t lead through ritual rites at, or just after, death, can hold on to pain, fear, etc., and can also be stuck in a limbo of confusion, meaning they may not quiet understand that they are dead. This is where, I believe, ghostly and other paranormal phenomena originates.
Again, speaking from a Western perspective, most of us no longer have culturally-appropriate ways of honoring and remembering our dead. If you go back far enough along any of your ancestral lineages, I can guarantee that at some point, even if it was 8,000 years ago, your ancestors engaged in some sort of ancestral reverence and remembrance practice. This probably looked like tending some sort of ancestral altar, remembering and celebrating the ancestors at some point in the year, and frequently taking concerns and situations to the ancestors for their help and input. Whatever these practices and beliefs looked like, it was a two-way street. The living ritually fed the dead, keeping their spirits healthy and alive in memory and the dead were able to bless their descendants and pull a few strings here and there behind the veil on behalf of their living family members. (I’m over simplifying for the sake of brevity but I think you’re following the string I’m laying out here).
So Why Does This Matter?
This matters because it means that some of your ancestors are well in death and some are not. Each ancestor that is not well in death, meaning they are still traumatized by their life (whether from what they experienced or what they inflicted on others) and/or are ghosts. This unresolved energy is still hanging out in the collective subconscious and is contributing to painful loops of trauma, violence, social injustice and even the pollution and desecration of the Earth.
AND, when you call upon your ancestors during that one cool trance dance thing you went to, you’re inviting all of that unresolved nasty stuff into your nervous system. Your ancestors don’t want to hold onto it anymore and they know that the only way to resolve it is on the physical plane and since you’re on the physical plane and you’re the first descendant to reach out to them in hundreds, if not thousands, of years . . . well you’re looking at a dangerous situation in which you may experience sudden mental, emotional and spiritual distress not to mention unexplained addictive urges and physical illnesses.
Calling On The Well Ancestors
There are two ways to remedy this: First, make sure that anytime you call on your ancestors for something that you specify your well ancestors. Those who are healthy, resolved and in good relationship with the ancestors before them.
The second way to avoid taking on anymore ancestral trauma than you may already be dealing with is to heal your ancestors.
There are many people out there now offering ancestral healing (including me!) but here are some things I would look for when seeking out a practitioner:
- Does the practitioner encourage you to connect with and work with your ancestors yourself or do they do all the work for you? You don’t need, or frankly want, an intermediary between you and your ancestors. You’ll get 1,000 times more out of the experience if it teaches and enables you to connect with and heal your ancestors yourself.
- Does the practitioner acknowledge the difference between well and unwell ancestors and have ritual steps in place to protect the both of you from hungry ghost energy?
- Does the practitioner have a working and healthy relationship with their own ancestors? Are they walking their talk? This isn’t a make or break detail but it’s important to consider.
- Is the practitioner (and their methodology) knowingly or unknowingly engaging in cultural appropriation or is their method culturally-neutral/ pliable to be adapted to the client? If, for example, you’re German and the methodology is an obscure practice from South America, it won’t be as gratifying for you or your ancestors. Avoiding cultural/spiritual appropriation and colonialism is important and it’s also important to ensure that your ancestors will have a voice/be able to lead the process in their own cultural ways.
- Can the practitioner aid you in cultivating your own culturally-appropriate ancestral reverence and remembrance practice? This is only important if cultivating a practice is important to you but also worth considering.
The Best Part About Healing Your Ancestral Lineage
When you heal your lines it relieves your lineage of pain, illness, trauma and repeating reactive loops of behavior (including your other living family members!). However, that’s not the only benefit: healing your lineage also opens up a beautiful portal and pathway for you to engage with your ancestors to receive guidance, help, advice and spiritual oomph! . . . including powerful spiritual blessings.
Every lineage has it’s burdens and blessings. When you heal, or greatly relieve, the burden, the blessing is now able to come down to you, through your ancestors, unimpeded. In my experience these blessings can be profound, causing much welcome shifts in a person’s life. It’s also the greatest (in my opinion) source of spiritual nourishment. You will get so much more out of the blessing and connections with your lineage (and remember you can easily have access to EIGHT different lineages if you work with all of your great-grandparents! You can also go further out than that but I find the further removed in time and space, the less impactful the lineage both positively and negatively) than you would by going to a lineage or a spiritual practice that exists outside of your own DNA.
Finally, if you are engaged in any sort of spiritual/shamanic work, having a close working relationship with your ancestors can be some of the best spiritual protection you can ask for— and the healthier your ancestors are the more aid and protection they can offer.
Do you have a relationship with your ancestors? Have you ever felt them near you? Have they ever reached out to you in dreams or meditations? I’d love to hear about your ancestral connections and experiences, or answer your ancestral-related questions in the comments!
Darla Antoine is a mixed-race First Nations tribal member (Okanagan), an ancestral activist and healer, practitioner of the sacred domestic arts, mother and accidental homesteader in the high mountains of Costa Rica. Darla helps mixed-race and mixed-culture seekers discover the medicine, blessings and power in their ancestral/spiritual lineages. She does this by combining her spiritual work with her experiences as a mixed-race woman and expat with her master’s degree in Intercultural Communication.