As a person reading this site, there is 100% certainty that you have ancestors. Have you thought about what it might mean that you come from every single generation of human before you since the beginning of the human species?
Ancestral healing is tapping into the great current of human knowing from your own ancestors that is your legacy for healing and support.
You are already in relationship with your ancestors, whether consciously or unconsciously. In the same way that you don't have to be conscious of breathing for your cells to communicate with each other and sustain your life, you don't have to be conscious of your ancestral relationships for them to impact your life--positively or negatively. All indigenous cultures know that maintaining our relationships with our ancestors is vital to human life. Even in Western traditions, desecrating graves and speaking ill of the dead are taboo. Your choice to consciously cultivate healthy ancestral relationships will improve your life.
There are many ways of working with ancestors. I am a certified practitioner in Dr. Daniel Foor's method of Ancestral Lineage Healing. This is a pragmatic method based on the assumption that, since many of our cultural ways of maintaining healthy relationships with our ancestors may have been long untended, some healing or repair may be needed before safely engaging ancestral support as it should be.
For more on Dr. Foor's work, see his website ancestralmedicine.org. His book, Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing describes this healing method and it's background in great detail. Highly recommended!
+ Benefits of ancestral healing
- Greater sense of belonging and deep support for your life
- More understanding of intergeneration problems, understanding family relationships in a larger context
- Usually there is a softening and felt sense of healing family wounds
- Clarity in your personal life path and coming into your gifts and purposes
- Connection to a vast reservoir of healing and guidance
- Gaining authentic personal spiritual practice
- Often, greater health, abundance, and better family relationships
- Access to clarity and healing resources for pandemic cultural wounds that your guides know a lot about, like racism, colonization, etc.
+ Basic premises of ancestral lineage healing
While this method is culturally neutral and open to all, there are a few premises this work rests on that clients need to feel at least open to:
- Life in some form continues after physical death
- Present moment communication is possible with those who have passed
- Not all those who are dead are equally well
- This state or level of wellness can change
+ The ancestral lineage healing process
Here are the steps of the process we work through in Dr. Foor's method, in a nutshell.
- Assessing the wellness of your four primary ancestral lineages, creating boundaries around unwell ones, & choosing a lineage to focus on (usually the whole first session)
- Connecting with loving well ancestral guide(s) with the chosen lineage - often an ancient one
- Understanding & healing with old ones
- Understanding what has happened in this lineage around unwellness, gifts & challenges
- Healing with those whose names are not known
- Healing with the recent or remembered dead
- Grounding blessings & health in present
+ What a session looks like/ how it happens
Using a centered, intuitive approach, I guide clients through this process in what can be considered a guided meditation or active imagination. The practionitioner is the guide and the client/participant is the one doing the actual work.
Elements of a session
- Each session is a ritual, meaning that I consciously set up and hold the session in a sacred space that begins with a prayer, or, if you don't like that word, intention.
- We have a brief conversation about this work and your personal situation, questions, and concerns.
- I guide you through entering a light trance state using meditation and guided imagery.
- I lead you through the appropriate phase of the Ancestral Lineage Healing Process.
- I give you homework, based on the contents of the session, in support of your ancestral healing. This is often small ritual tending, research, and continuing relationship with guides.
+ How many sessions will I need?
There is no concrete answer I can give, since everyone's process is different. In fact, the length of process can vary wildly depending on the actual lineage you are working with. Sometimes completing healing with an entire lineage takes two sessions, other times, many more. I recommend starting with three sessions over a month or so, to really dive in.
As you get to know the method, there is a lot of work you can do on your own, and also in inexpensive monthly ancestral healing circles, if those are aviable when you live.
Frequently asked questions
+ I don't know how to go into trance/that's scary
Using your inner senses and creative imagination is a natural human capacity. In our culture, these approaches to knowledge aren't generally valued, so we don't usually get the practice we need. But everyone has the ability to tap into their own inner resources, and part of my practice with clients is to help people connect with and develop their inner senses. I use techniques in guided imagery and supportive meditations to gently help clients hone these natural skills.
Among the hundred + people I have had the honor of sitting with using this method--both as a trainee in group and individual sessions, and as a practitioner, it has only happend once in my experience that things "weren't happening" for someone. Working in a group can be very empowering, as you hear people sharing their own experiences and stories.
+ How do I know I'm not making it all up?
Well, you don't! However, as your process unfolds, you can look to a few things to help with doubt.
- Why is this particular thing happening in your "imagination" instead of something else?
- Through continued practice, you can always check back in on any and all things that arise, confirming them.
- How does this make you feel? Notice what shifts you FEEL in the process, afterwards, and also changes in your life that seem related to this process.
+ I am adopted/don't know any of my family history
Great! That doesn't inhibit this process at all. In fact, it may even be easier, since you have fewer stories to project onto what happens!