Last week we spoke about why our ancestors are in the perfect position to guide us out of the fog of unresolved trauma and into the clarity of who we are and why we are here (including the work we are here to do).
And, it’s true. As witchy healers, we want our ancestors here, at our sides, guiding us through both the storms and clear skies of life.
However, there is a distinction to be made first. We want our well, capital A, Ancestors at our sides – those who are standing in their full power and strength and able to be loving, supportive, and wise guides for the living.
Unfortunately, these days our ancestors are often unwell, carrying their own unresolved trauma. When unwell, they are unable to function as guides and intermediaries between us and the unseen world; they can no longer guide us through the fog of trauma we are all still in.
Here are five reasons why some of your ancestors might not be good guides right now:
Reason #1: Inadequate or ineffective funeral rites/rituals.
Ideally, upon death, the living kin and community of the one who has died performs the needed rites and rituals to make certain the one who died joins the benevolent unseen realms of the collective well ancestors.
There, they receive whatever healing is needed so that they can be well in spirit even if they weren’t the most integrous and kind person while living. Malidoma Somé calls this ancestralization – when the dead transition to the realm of the ancestors; Daniel Foor talks about how the dead go to Ancestor School to transition from being baby ancestors to Ancestral Guides.
Both ancestralization and ancestor school are largely dependent upon 1) effective funeral-rituals; and 2) the community being in connection/relationship with the well ancestors so that there are well ancestors to receive the one who is newly departed.
Reason #2: No ancestral tending for generations (for many of us).
This lack of ancestral tending means there are no well ancestors waiting to receive their beloved grandchild when they die. Generations of inadequate or ineffective funerals/rituals combined with lack of being in ongoing relationships with our ancestral kin in general results in us being surrounded by unwell dead, or hungry, ghosts.
Reason #3: They can become hungry ghosts.
Any unresolved trauma that the person (who is now your ancestor) accumulated while living doesn’t just disappear when they die. Without wise, well ones to greet them and guide them into the benevolent ancestral realms upon death, these ones remain here, in this incarnate realm, stuck, hungry, feeding on the lives, bodies, and life energy of the living. Their presence increases the fog bank of trauma making it even more difficult for succeeding generations to transition fully.
Reason #4: Their unresolved trauma contributes to and increases the bank of fog.
Their unresolved trauma supports and adds to the fear and control based culture we live in today. Instead of being our guides through fog/trauma into healing, they further distort, confuse, and compound the suffering of the living.
Reason #5: They seek to protect us in ways that make us/our world very small.
I see this often in work with clients where ancestors who aren’t fully well are interfering in the life of the client in order to protect them in some way. They think they have their grandchild’s best interest in mind but they are actually stifling, over-protecting, or manipulating the living person or the events around them in ways that they believe will keep the living person ‘safe’. (i.e. small, invisible or contained).
Why would they do this?
What did they live through that makes this seem like a good idea?
It could be anything… the pattern is what is important… something happened in the life or line that led the ancestor/s to adopt a certain behavior or way of being in order to survive and then, to desire the same for their beloved grandchild (for them to survive/be safe/avoid harm).
For instance, in one of my lines, many generations ago, I was shown in a journey that a mother energetically inserted a mote into her own neck, through her throat, in order to stop herself from speaking up/out and endangering her life. She then inserted this same mote into the throat of her daughter, effectively silencing her for her protection, and this pattern continued through the line to me.
In short, when our ancestors are unwell, instead of being our guides through the fog, they add to it.
Instead of helping us dismantle the smoke stacks, they are walking next to us as we haul the next cart load of coal to it.
Instead of making the journey to the benevolent unseen ancestral realms (which are part of what is holding all/everything), the unwell ancestors themselves remain stuck in this dimension.
Instead of becoming part of the fabric/web that holds us, they become part of the fog of trauma that blocks us from having access to the love/support of the unseen realms and that makes it so difficult to be our witchy bad-ass selves. It is a negative spiral, a self reinforcing loop.
In order for out ancestors to be trustworthy guides, they first need to be well.
When well, they can again act as guides between us and nature, spirit, and the greater web of life and so that, together, we can begin to dissolve this towering bank of fog/unresolved trauma.
Healing from trauma was something our ancestors knew how to do but, these days, our ancestral ways of living in relationship with the earth, our other-than-human kin, and the unseen worlds of spirit – with all the help it could offer us – are obscured, lost, and forgotten.
With the help of our wise, well ones, the ancient ways of healing can be restored (and renewed according to what is needed today) and more lifting of the fog of trauma is possible.