This autumn marks seven years since I entered into a conscious relationship with my ancestors.
It wasn’t a pretty beginning.
In fact, if I had known what was going to happen before I started, I likely wouldn’t have had the courage to enter into a relationship with them at all.
Here’s what happened.
When I first connected with my ancestors, I tapped into a vast well of grief and fear.
It took 10 days for this well to be emptied, for all the tears that needed to be cried to be released.
I didn’t know at the time that this could be a normal, if challenging, experience.
All I knew was that my entire internal world was falling apart. Over and over. Every little thing would trigger me into new depths of grief, insecurity, fear.
The only solace I experienced during these 10 days was when I went to my altar and poured out the grief and terror to my ancestors. I would leave feeling calm, centered, restored. And then, some new depth of grief would surface and it would all begin again.
Eventually, the grief and fear did abate. Eventually I settled into a new place – a much more grounded, centered and connected state than ever before.
And, I began to notice surprising things.
Now, when I went to my ancestor altar, I could feel them. And hear them! I would light my candle, call them in, and they would show up! I would have this sense of being wrapped in comfort and love. It was amazing.
And then, something even stranger happened.
I’ll tell you about that next week.
For now, some reflection over my experience.
As I’ve looked back on this time over the years, I’ve come to differing understandings about why I experienced so much intensity initially.
For one, I see this time as a period of initiation.
I opened the door to something new (through lighting a red candle for my ancestors). Then, I went through a period where my nervous system and body were re-calibrated.
On the other side, I had access to healing, new gifts, and a new way of being in the world.
In order for this re-calibration to happen, everything that was stuck in my nervous system (fear, grief, etc) that I had not yet processed in my daily life, had to be released.
Basically, there was too much gunk in my emotional and energetic bodies for me to be able to sense (feel/hear) my ancestors.
A period of cleansing was necessary. It was difficult. And messy. And painful.
It was also necessary and life-changing.
Note to self (and to you): having human support when first making contact is strongly recommended.
I didn’t reach out for support. In truth, I didn’t know who to reach out to at the time. In retrospect, having a wise-in-these-ways human guiding and supporting me would have been incredibly helpful.
A second (equally true) perspective:
When I opened the door to ancestral contact, I was flooded with the unresolved grief and trauma held in my various lineages.
The grief was completely overwhelming and out of my control.
I didn’t know how to set appropriate boundaries.
I didn’t know how to ask for things to happen at a pace that was safe (vs completely overwhelming) for my nervous system.
Note to self (and to you): Having more of a framework for what was happening and, again, human support to guide me through this time could have made it much easier for me.
A third perspective is that I ‘needed’ to have a strong initial experience.
Why? Because I wasn’t able to overlook the ‘realness’ of this encounter.
My experience absolutely convinced me that the ancestors are real, that they have tangible impact on the living, and that that impact can be beneficial or detrimental depending on the depth of health or pain held in the lineage.
Perhaps most importantly, it is thanks to the intensity of my initial experience that healing ancestral trauma has become a primary focus for my work.
As I’ve continued to work with my ancestors to heal the remaining pain and trauma held in my various lineages, my life (both internally and externally) continues to shift and transform.
I feel settled in myself in ways that were unimaginable before. I know why I am here and am able to use my gifts in a way that benefits my family and my community.
Plus, I have a deep sense of belonging, here, in this world, at this time.
Further, this experience provided me with a framework for what can happen when initiating ancestral contact.
I now know both what NOT to do and what TO do.
Thanks to this, I can now help others make contact with their ancestors in a healthy, safe way. There is no need for anyone else to go through the pain/drama that I initially experienced!
So… what about you?
How can you ensure that your experience is gentler than mine? What else do I wish I’d known then that I know now? And, what three things do people commonly experience when first initiating contact with their ancestors?
I’ll get to all of that next week. 🙂
Plus, I’ll share something else that shifted in a huge way following the initial ten days of misery.