Ancestral Healing, Reconnection & Reverence


No matter how gnarly the family tree, everyone has ancestors who can offer insight, guidance and healing. Relating with them can provide greater understanding of the intergenerational blessings and burdens we carry, illuminate a sense of purpose and cultivate connection with spirit. It can also profoundly shift stuck patterns too big for us to deal with on our own. Ancestral healing calls on the gifts hidden within our bloodlines to remedy the ills that have come downstream to trouble us. While we have ancestors of vocation and spirit traditions, working with our blood family ancestors is foundational and accessible.

Whether you "believe" in the ancestors as an active influence or not, ancestral healing techniques can support shifting troublesome and painful patterns and reclaiming forgotten gifts. Ancestral lineage healing offers techniques for:

  • strengthening intuition and tuning into the whispers of our ancestors

  • sensing the specific, present impact of our ancestors upon us

  • recognizing harmful ancestral influences and creating boundaries where needed

  • illuminating sources of tension and inner conflict

  • gaining insight into and freedom from destructive patterns

  • maximizing the blessings of the ancestors in our lives

  • supporting the transitions of any recently passed family members or preparing for one's own transition

  • maintaining relationship with ancestors through altars practice and offerings

  • strengthen our connection with the wider web of relations including plants, animal spirits and deities

For many, an idea of a spectrum of wellness for the dead is quite foreign. In the Western world, we’ve often grown up with a binary story of eternal heaven or hell for the dead. With decreased faith in these traditions, many have thrown out all related concepts of continued consciousness after death and thus their worldview doesn't contain a continuity of relationship that may have an active impact on the present. However, whether we believe in their potential impact or not, it is there. While we may not remember how to or trust ourselves to sense unseen energy, it is generally accepted that intergenerational patterns of trauma, addiction, disease or abuse can be passed along the bloodline. Whether you “believe” in the ancestors as an active influence or not, ancestral healing techniques can support shifting these troublesome and painful patterns and reclaiming forgotten gifts.

Many Indigenous cultures have established reverence practices and ways of tending the recent dead to help them become seated with the ancestors. Yet many, especially European-ancestored folks, have lost the ways of their ancient ancestors and connection with the land whose body is composed of their beloved dead. Stifled grief, unresolved trauma, changes in funerary practices have made it so that the dead and the living can often get stuck after a loved one transitions. In some cases, the dead may have unfinished business or concern for the living which keeps a part of them close. Alternatively, the living, with very few effective ways of tending their own loss and grief, sometimes cling to the deceased. Both of these can keep the deceased from resting in peace "crossing the river" to the land of the ancestors. With centuries or millennia of lost ritual, migration, war, trauma, there is the potential for an immense back-log of unresolved emotion in our ancestral field/matrix.

While this modality is oriented towards the healing of the ancestors, it also creates space for your own emotional process and healing. When tending the ways these patterns show up in your own life or body, this work offers ritual space for deepened understanding, emotional expression and sometimes bodily level healing. 

In such volatile, polarized times, engagement with this work also offers a non-judgmental space to reckon with both the harms enacted on and by our ancestors around issues such as race, colonialism, gender, religious expression, and sexuality. Through engaging with this complex, painful material, we have the  opportunity to transmute some of the pain that's lived deep within us and to listen for the guidance of our more vibrant ancestors as they help us to heal and transform. 

Heartward Sanctuary offers individual sessions (in person and remotely, via Zoom or regular phone) and group ritual for ancestral reconnection, healing and reverence. Reach out directly for sessions (and more info here) and see our upcoming offerings for group ritual.