This is a sentence I am often heard sharing within the circles of women I work with, and startling as it sounds, it is the truth, a part of my personal ancestral truth and pathway.
My ancestors were also warriors and farmers, herbalists, midwives, beekeepers and so on, but to date some of the deepest most painful ancestral healing that I have been tasked with in this lifetime has been healing the wounds in my mother-line from prostitution, rape and the destruction of sex as a holy act.
Imagine it like a long line of matryoshka dolls running down through an ancestral line, each one fitting into the next, each ancestor affecting the one after, all the way down the line-like ripples on water....
However, contrary to the kindly concept of matryoshka dolls, when a former ancestor does not cross over into the land of the dead taking their rightful place with the rest of our ancestors, they stay here trying to reconcile their lives through us--thus in a way encapsulating us much like a matryoshka doll.
Well in the most simple terms, this can happen when someone dies a sudden, tragic or otherwise unreconciled, and the ways this can happen are too numerous to list here.
In ancient times this was understood at a basic level, and there were people in each village or area to deal with these kinds of deaths, a sin eater or healer who was known to work with the spirit world, a shaman or curandera who would work to reconcile the person and support them in their crossing over process should it become a problem.
Over time, as these people died out, the ways were lost, or in many cases they had to go into hiding for fear of their lives. The memory of how to work with the living and the dead became something to be feared, something that was avoided because of it being too painful or because those who were called to do the work were unsure of how to do it anymore.....
What happens when our ancestors do not cross over can become a problem for us the living, and in many cases we just simply assume it is a part of who we are, part of our familial make up.
For some of us, our family stories may sound as bit like this: All the men leave us, or drink too much all the women in our line are infertile, or suffer menstrual problems, or have gallbladder issues, they yell too much/ or are verbally abusive, physically abusive, they can never keep a job etc....
The unresolved life of our ancestors and the pattern that their death caused it in the first place basically gets passed down as baggage for us, the future generation to lug around, and this can affect our lives, deeply.
In some ways, what it feels like is similar to the matryoshka doll, we feel as though we are covered in something we can't explain, something we can't break free from, like we are inside an invisible force, stuck.
For all the therapy and work we do on ourselves we just can't break free of the pattern, and over time this can cause sickness and disharmony in our lives.
These patterns are a tricky bunch though because they can feel as normal as breathing, they often feel like such a part of us, we no longer can even sense them, we assume this IS who we are.
This is because when it is an ancestral issue, we are literally born with it, so when it comes to sensing into the pattern we often can't see it, because we literally know no other way!
When I first started out in my shamanic work, I was surprised by this, but now I see it as a natural part of the flow between the living and the dead, and a part of what my personal gifts are in the shamanic realm.
My understanding of how important it is to find reconciliation and clearing for the living and dead has become a big part of what I do.
Of course this could never have happened if I were not who I was, coming from a long line of farmers, beekeepers, herbalists and yes prostitutes and having worked hard to see that my own ancestral loved ones were cared for so that they could become helping ancestors, not ones that hold me or my children back.
My work as both a birth and death midwife has also shown me the beauty, and pain, that both life and death has to offer us, and it is because of having seen both doorways opening and closing that I feel so close to this work as a pat of my ancestral pathway.....
I played the powerless
in too many dark scenes,
I was blessed with
a birth and a death,
and I guess I just want some say in between...
Locally for those who come to see me in my shamanic practise ancestral healing is something that often comes through.
If you are interested in what shamanic healing looks like THIS LINK is a good starting place.
May all your ancestors be helping ones.
In spirit and love