Healing Ancestral Trauma
By Chanda Parkinson
As a society, we are experiencing a major cultural disconnect. The symptoms are apparent in the widening of our divided nation, and the pain of isolation and loneliness we feel in our own communities and families. In our earnestness to achieve, capitalism has ingrained in us a hyper-individualism that frankly goes against our very nature. Whole villages were once built in cooperation and collaboration, each person clear about the role they played in maintaining the whole. We were once inter-dependent, care-filled beings intent on lifting one another up, knowing we were only as great as the weakest of us.
Dominant cultures would have us believe we are individuals. That is not the basis of a functioning organism. Organisms are inter-dependent, and need all of the parts to succeed and live. We are part of a lineage, we are part of a hive, a larger collective, even if we don’t feel a part of the larger pattern. This awareness has implications for how we approach healing and trauma. Almost none of it is personal. It’s systemic. There’s lineage pain, cultural pain, exploitative capitalistic pain, sexism, racism, and a lot of that on a body level will resonate on a personal level; it’s systemic, individual, part of the collective pain. If we only try to resolve it individually, it isn’t going to work as well, because we don’t resolve systemic issues in a vacuum. Our approach must be systemic, and that includes the legacies of our ancestors.
ANCESTRAL MEDICINE INTEGRATES A SYSTEMIC APPROACH TO HEALING
It is based on several assumptions:
1. We are left a legacy of trauma by those in our ancestral lineage.
2. That trauma lives and functions within us through wounds residing in our subconscious and cellular DNA.
3. That legacy of trauma causes us to repeat the same behaviors, patterns, even manifest the same health problems.
4. We suffer because of a lack of healthy inter-dependence between us and our ancestors.
5. It is possible to build a reciprocal relationship with ancestral energies for the healing of generational trauma.
Through ancestral healing practices such as the ones I’ve explored through Celtic Shamanism, I have begun to restore my own healthy co-dependency with nature and with spirit. I am helping others to do the same. Nature and spirit are speaking to us right now, trying to get our attention, begging for us to make different choices, and to restore this healthy co-dependent relationship. We just need to listen.
BEGIN YOUR OWN ANCESTRAL HEALING JOURNEY
There are things you can do now to begin your own Ancestral Healing Journey. First, discover where you are situated in the world. Honor those who have walked the land you live on before you. Acknowledging the often traumatic ways in which that land was stolen from Indigenous people in this country begins to restore peace. My ancestors come from Wales, Moldova (Germans from Russia), and Norway. I currently occupy land rightfully owned by the Dakota. This practice of awareness begins healing the cultural disconnect. Research and honor the cultural traditions indigenous to your own people. Make the food of your ancestors and share it with your family. Bring back the oral histories of your people. Put folktales from the countries your ancestors are from on your bookshelves. Go to the places where your people used to live, breathe, create, and die. Imagine walking the roadways and pathways they have walked.
If it feels safe, next, wonder about harmful patterns, behaviors and trauma you have experienced in your past. Begin excavating a timeline of things you wonder about not being within your control, that you have experienced. It is likely you have exhibited stuck patterns of thought and behavior that are part of this generational legacy. I do not recommend going down this road of excavation if it doesn’t feel safe to do so alone. If it feels too triggering, include a therapist or trusted friend to join you.
After that, consider developing a spiritual practice that brings you into a healthy inter-dependent relationship with your ancestors who are no longer living. Create an ancestors altar by placing objects from your family, sacred items, photos, soil from lands they walked, or anything that speaks to you. Go to it to offer your prayers of gratitude and love, invite their participation in your ancestral healing journey. This ongoing practice links you with them in an intentional dance of breaking old patterns and trauma for good.
Ultimately, the practice of honoring your own cultural and ancestral roots brings you full circle, and assists with the much needed disease of disconnect we face as a society. It is a way we can take personal responsibility to restoring our place within the macro-cosmic sphere.
When I discovered the stories of my own ancestors, I had to get comfortable learning really uncomfortable truths. There was deep pain, survival, loss, and deep sadness. There were joys as well as challenges. It was humbling to discover where my ancestors were harmed, and also may have harmed others through their own ingrained beliefs, ideals, worldview, and actions. I had to do a hard check-in regarding how those patterns wound up with me. It was a necessary step to seeing the truth of what I come from, so I could assert my own will to take action to help heal those things. My fact-finding mission was the first step.
You can invoke the healing of your ancestors by creating an Ancestral Healing Practice!
TIPS BEFORE BEGINNING YOUR OWN ANCESTRAL HEALING PRACTICE
1. Establish energetic boundaries with those in spirit who are not in a healthy place, and then only call forth the healed wise beings of your lineage.
2. Ask them to heal the lineage between you and with them. If you don’t feel comfortable connecting with your own ancestors, lean on the stars, the sun, the moon. Those are our ancestors too, and they will help you every time.
3. Become a clear channel for the blessings you are down lineage from. Celebrate the shifts and changes that you experience in the wake of embracing an ancestral healing practice.
4. When the ancient lineage of your ancestors is in a vibrant state, you too are in a vibrant state. It is never too late to begin.
5. If you need support, enlist a trusted friend to help, or reach out to a spiritual mentor.
We are all just walking one another home.
Chanda Parkinson utilizes tarot and astrology to support others through transitions in life with clarity and deep compassion. She is devoted to assisting others on their own Ancestral Healing path through astrology, education and ritual healing. As the author of “Meditations for Psychic Development: Practical Exercises to Awaken Your Sixth Sense,” Chanda is fiercely committed to mentoring others in the discovery of their own spiritual gifts. Find Chanda on Facebook, Instagram, and www.chandaparkinson.com.