The ancestors have answers to provide lost information that will provide healing. Your guide may be a dead relative, or someone from the same country. One major goal is to build a relationship with your ancestors. “Ancestors speak the language of intuition and symbols through the elements, memories, dreams, and metaphors… “ Gogo Gretchen Crilly McKay 2016. How the ancestors connect, depends on how unrestricted intuitive communication is recognized. Why make the ancestral connection, what the advantage, and how does this help in the shamanic practice? Besides the biological ancestors, who were the elders, their lineage, who counts as an ancestor, what is cellular or ancestral memory recall? What will the ancestors convey?
Who counts as an ancestor? If you have been close to a person, built a connection with them, there is no reason you cannot honor them among your beloved dead. These people generations ago, may have been an elder or ancestor of cellular memory. Later journeys will answer this question fully.
The elders can appear in dreams, old records, and memoirs from generations. Stories collected over time as poems, songs, petroglyphs, some never written down.
Ancestors, the elders, and the people connected through linage often have a biological connection, or cellular DNA relationship. The relationship connects individuals through a memory chain. According to Dr. Brian Dias, (2014) from the department of psychiatry at Emory University, “From a transitional perspective, our results allow us to appreciate how the experiences of a parent, before even conceiving offspring, markedly influence both structure and function in the nervous system of subsequent generations”. Cellular or ancestral memory recall, as science suggests, are memories common in DNA. Those times of deja’vu, feelings or phobia’s, are possible genetic memories.
The biological siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, great grandparents, etc. are the usual linage of ancestry. The tree becomes more complex the farther back the linage extends. It is possible for an individual research, and find their roots back hundreds of years through family and physical records.
Science has developed ways to access the ancestral memory, analeptic memory recall, using drugs or inducing memory recall, especially after an illness. The shaman accesses ancestral memories through ecstatic journey, in the ecstatic state of consciousness.
The Shaman Journeys to The Ancestors
Ground/center/shield… Feeling as though stepping off the side of a hill, in a glider, exhilaration of an adrenaline rush– like when an airplane takes off, and it feels as though it is dropping. The ecstatic state of consciousness… the shaman is traveling through the mists of the surreal, with the intent to meet with a guide, his helping spirit will be there to help make this journey to the ancestors.
Why Make the Ancestral Connection
In this life there may have been discontent with ancestors, there may have be no connection at all with elders. Many people do not even like their relatives, making ancestral connections goes beyond the present, beyond immediate history. Ancestral connections can cultivate connections and wisdom from the origin of time to connections with the Great Mother.
Cultivating a legacy and foundation of elders for a deeper understanding of history and the travel through time the forbearers might have lived. Through journey practice, intuitively learning cultural rituals, and practices that were common in their society. Such as farming, planting, harvesting, and storing. Benefiting the lessons of herb craft, and weather forecasting. These just a few benefits the ancestors can help the shaman’s practice.
Creating a successful relationship with an alley (previous post), the shaman will want to create an ancestors altar, or shrine. Here the ancestors will be represented, honored, and remembered. The shaman might journey with the ancestor alley, with the intention of discovering how to create the Ancestor Shrine, or at least begin creating the shrine. Once a connection forms with the elders finding how they want to be honored can come directly from them.
Every altar is different, for example, your altar might include candles, photos, flowers, stones, feathers, or other items that remind you of your elders. Gather these things together in a space where you will see them at least once a day, to value the memories of your ancestors. You may create rituals around a specific time to contact the ancestors. The rituals can be whatever you design.
- Make sure that whenever burning candles and incense that they are safely away from anything that is flammable.
- Never put salt in food that is offered to the ancestors. Salt has the tendency to repel spirits. Also, if cooked food is offered it should be removed the following day. Never allow food to decay on the altar.
- Never put photos of those who are living on an altar for the dead.
- Never allow your ancestors to become thirsty. Always refill the glasses with water when it evaporates out. Also, don’t give your ancestors too much alcohol, we don’t want them to become drunk.
- Never allow the altar to fall into disarray.
Every individual who does ancestral work has different experiences. The ancestor connection does not need to be made through a shaman or relatives. Although connection through family history makes finding lineage much easier, there are many resources available today, from genetic testing, to ancestry data banks, and more.
Our ancestors can connect us to the highest spiritual knowledge and higher consciousness. Through our ancestors, we can discover our spiritual traditions lost in years past. “The ancestors are here to help and guide us, to move obstacles out of our way, to protect us and watch over us, to teach us the ancient ways, once again!” M. Kohn (2015). What do you think? Do you connect with your ancestors? Have any of your ancestors visited you in dreams? Share your ancestor experience in the comments.
Dias, B. PhD. (2014) http://themindunleashed.org/2014/01/scientists-found-memories-may-passed-generations-dna.html
Molly Khan Ways to Honor Your Ancestors phathos October 13, 2015