After many years of working with the ancestors personally and getting to facilitate this work with many others, I have come to see this work in three pathways or channels that both build upon each other and also cross-pollinate as well. These channels are:
Ancestors as Resource
Developing a reciprocal relationship with an ancestor or ancestors as resource is the place I generally begin with folks. My guiding principle in ancestor work is that you didn’t create it on your own and you, therefore, can’t heal or resolve it on your own. When folks try to head directly into either of the other channels of ancestor work without developing this relationship first, the intensity and depth of the grief, shame, rage, etc. tends to be so great that it wipes them out. Proceeding with the support of a generative, aligned, loving ancestor helps with pacing and allows us to do the bigger work in smaller bits that are metabolizable and able to be integrated with less distress in these physical bodies we all currently inhabit.
Daniel Foor, the author of “Ancestral Medicine,” calls this ancestor a “last well ancestor” and many with whom I’ve gotten to work have found this term and frame helpful as a starting point. As this work has evolved in me, I now tend to work with folks to look for a “well-enough ancestor” in the line instead as a beginning resource. Because there are often difficult feelings, dynamics and trauma that may impede communication and connection with the current and most recently embodied generations, this “well-enough ancestor” may be ten or more generations back and may not be anyone whom you’ve ever known or even heard about in this lifetime.
I am happy to help you begin to forge that connection over time with support through individual sessions together. Once a resourceful connection is established, additional ongoing support is also available through the “Walking with the Ancestors” groups.
Ancestors as Collaborators in Unbinding Intergenerational Trauma
This channel is often the one that brings folks to ancestor work in the first place as it is the one that often feels the most painful and gets the most attention in our day-to-day lives, relationships and bodies. As our physical tissues and DNA carry the record of all that has happened to us and to whichever ancestral threads we may also carry, we can use the felt sense of the body, the support of well enough ancestors and external supports in the physical plane to begin listening to the stories that have been bound and frozen and need to be witnessed and felt in order to be metabolized and released. It is through this process and in these eventual releases that we free both ourselves in the present as well as those backward and forward through the line who also may have gotten caught and bound in the same pattern.
Support for this channel of work can be accessed through individual sessions or through the “Walking with the Ancestors” groups.
Ancestors as Collaborators in Reconciliation Work on the Land
For those of us with white skin/European lineages, this last channel is about witnessing on a larger scale as part of systemic reconciliation work regarding the genocide, enslavement and land theft committed by those of white skin against Black and Indigenous People and the Land of this Continent. It is about connecting with the ancestral energies and guardians of the land, owning the lineages we come from and how they participated in and/or benefitted from this violence and then bearing witness to the harm caused in the stories that the Land and it’s Ancestral Guardians bring forth. The last element of this process is an authentic commitment to do things differently moving forward, to use our power and our gifts towards the healing and rebalancing of the Land and its native beings (people, animals & plants) and to set about tending this commitment through acts of service.
Support for this channel of work can currently be accessed through individual sessions or in a group context through the “Walking with the Ancestors” groups.