I was inspired by the recent Guardian Gateway Ancestor Telesummit to work with my ancestors. Obviously, I would like to heal my ancestral line, as much as I can. But, I would also like to work with my ancestors in a positive way, and learn their wisdom.

My biggest obstacle to this is, that there is not a lot of Celtic shamanism in the area where I live. Right now, this is where I am drawn to investigate and hopefully embrace and work with. I have some German and some English ancestry but the majority is Irish, so for now, that’s where I’m concentrating my interest.

Jude Lally, (www.celticsoulcraft.com,) was one of the Telesummit speakers. She creates dolls from felted wool as part of her commitment to the divine feminine and in her talk, she spoke of creating a doll to honor the ancestors. So I took my cue from her and created one for myself.

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Clearly, I am not a crafty person because what I saw in my mind’s eye did not accurately translate into what I made. But, it captures the idea.

It was important to me to incorporate elements of nature, so the form is from my healing tree, and the head is a pine cone. In my vision, I saw a silver spiral coming up from, or down to, the head. My paint job didn’t show up too well, and I wrapped the spiral with silver thread, also very light and not showing up too well.

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The woman in the image had long white flowing hair, and a grey tunic. Her clothes where much more flowing than what I ended up with, but in a way, that’s ok because it sort of reminds me of nun’s habit and there were certainly nuns in my family. Plus, you know “back then” there wasn’t a big fashion craze.

There’s a Claddagh pin I’ve had forever, closing the tunic and a clear quartz crystal gifted to me by a tribe sister.

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This healing hand is from a tee shirt that never quite fit me. Nothing goes to waste! I debated this because it’s not really a Celtic (or English or German) symbol, at least that I know of. But I really liked it and liked the idea of both healing and protection.

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And around her throat is the bracelet that came from Peruvian woman, another gift. This may seem like another odd addition, but a way distant ancestor – a man from the African continent – also showed up for me, and this and the texture of the doll’s hair is to honor that spirit.

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With each element beyond the basic image I was given, I let the matter sit for few days. I never got a “no” on any of these additions, so I felt it was ok to use.

Now, what am I going to do with this beauty?

First, I feel I should honor the sacredness by involving the four elements, so I will carefully bury her (earth) overnight, smudge (air), bless (water) and I’m not sure how to involve fire. But I will figure it out.

My intention is to work and honor ALL the ancestors, those of my blood, those of my spirit and incarnations and those of the very first ancestors, who may not be in human form.

Where this takes me, I’m not sure. This has been a month-long project and one of the very few I will undertake during this Fallow Year. I will post updates.

11 thoughts on “Working with ancestors, part I

  1. I enjoyed this post because this entire concept is foreign to me. I am attracted to ideas I have never been exposed to whose intent is to enhance the soul’s experience. I look forward to your follow up postings to see where this project leads you.

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  2. She’s beautiful, and I wouldn’t worry a moment about the healing hand’s antecedents; the hand as a symbol of power, skill, and presence is probably the oldest in humanity, and turns up in cave art around the world, back into the places and times where all our ancestry leads.

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    1. That’s the best sign you truly are learning. 🙂 “I’ll open this door…Whoa, look at all those doors!”

      It looks to me like you were well guided in your process; she reminds me a good bit of the dolls that are made of the lwa in their honor. What a Voodoo doll really is, is quite different from the popular idea! The ones of Maman Brigitte are always among my favorites of course, as much because of who she is as because I like her colors. 🙂 And she, as the graveyard Mother, is guardian of the path to the ancestors….

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  3. She is lovely! Very interesting article. I don’t work with my ancestors as such but I do take notice of my deceased grandparents (who were like parents to me) and I consult them when in need to get a feel for what they think. I really like this idea of yours, might have a go myself. Thanks for the idea!

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    1. You are very welcome. And grandparents are ancestors, and since you knew them, that is very powerful indeed. Good on you for checking in with them. I think its important to keep our loved ones in our hearts and minds, and honor their wisdom. Who knows? You may come across more ancestors as you need them.

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    1. Thank you! We have to make our own tools in my shamanic study group, and I confess I don’t like it much.one person teased it was shamanic class then shamanic crafts. There are several really good artists with us, who create beautiful tools. Mine tend to look like Disney Princess Meets Duct Tape things.

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