In this journey, you will have the opportunity to heal your ancestral line from past to present. Just as individual souls carry experience from one lifetime into another, families do as well, and when we, the newest members of our family line enter life, we agree to bear and hopefully resolve at least some of those persistent issues. Notice how many problems are said to run in families: obesity, addiction, depression, cancer, arthritis, heart disease, and so on.
Do you find that you exhibit the same fears and inhibitions as your parents or grandparents? These can be examples of ancestral imbalance, and here we will address them with a classic shamanic journey know as the dismembermentjourney. Rest assured, it is a potent healing mechanism used by shamans across many continents for many centuries.
- You will need 30-40 minutes (or more) of journey time, the usual accoutrements of a drumming CD, quiet place, light blanket, bandana, and a family issue that you would like to heal. Keep your journal handy. Light a candle nearby to mark the sacredness of the process.
- Journey to the lower world in your usual way and meet up with your power animal. Ask this helping spirit to take you to meet your ancestral guide. The role of the ancestral guide is to direct and oversee the healing of the family line. Once you meet this spirit, you may want to take some time and ask who this guide is and why he or she has come forward as the chosen representative of your lineage.
- Present your guide with the family issue you wish to address through this process. Ask the guide to take you to meet with family members who have had direct experience with this matter. Determine if you canthe identity of these family members (eg., your mother’s father’s grandmother on his mother’s side).
- Interview each family member who appears to garner his or her particular viewpoint or involvement in the issue. Aim to uncover in particular any aspect of the issue that the family kept secret. Secrets have tremendous energy and lend endurance to the problem. Ask family members about their regrets and what legacies they would have preferred to leave behind.
- Return to your guide and ask that you be allowed to stand in as the representative of your family in the healing of the pattern. Your guide will direct you through a healing process that may be assisted if necessary by your power animal. This process may involve immersion in water, burning, burial or the disassembling and reassembling of your body parts (sort of like having your engine rebuilt).
- When the healing and restoration of your body has ended in the journey, thank your guides and family members for their help. Ask if there is anything else you need to understand before you go.
- Answer the callback of the drumbeat by returning to the room. Record the findings and experience of your journey.
Tip: Tell your family secrets. This might seem counterintuitive, but secrets perpetuate unhealthy and destructive patterns within families. Tell friends and family about your journey and what you learned. If you are handy with a pen, you may want to write this family saga out in story form for the benefit of your children, grandchildren, cousins, or siblings.
Suggestion: Educate yourself about the history of your particular lineage. Cultural tragedies such as war, atrocities, diasporas, ethnic cleansing, famine, natural disaster and other devastation have resounding impact on individual family lines, creating unique and painful memories, wounds, stigmas and debilitation. Ask your ancestral guide to explain how these events specifically impacted your family.
Creative exercise: It is always good to seal the work you do in non-ordinary reality with a real world ritual or ceremony. Make a bundle of things that represent people in your family who were affected by the pattern you are releasing (particularly those who appeared in the journey). Photocopies of old photographs, funeral cards, a letter, newspaper article or a trinket are typical examples. Add to the bundle things that represent what needs to be released. Copies of medical records or death certificates, a replica of a war medal or symbol of your ancestors’ life work, a label from a favored alcoholic beverage, a cigarette pack, etc. might signify the specific family issue. Sprinkle in items that represent what your ancestors wish they had left behind (eg., sweetness, love, hope). You might use for instance, sugar, dried rose petals or some religious talisman. When you have completed your bundle, tie it securely and find a place in nature that will willingly accept and transmute it. Likely places are a body of water, a crevice in the rocks, a hollowed out tree, a hole in the ground. Offer the bundle at the time of the full moon. Leave an offering of tobacco, lavender, corn, or another token of thanks to the elements and nature spirits that were willing to accept your bundle.