I continue my exploration down the Ancestor Lane.

A couple weeks ago I randomly thought of my grandfather’s two brothers. They both died pretty young, one before my mom was born, so that’s the early thirties. Other than names, I had no information on them. I sat with the “random thought” for a day or so to see where this might lead. Sometimes these things go away.

It didn’t. It didn’t become a full-blown mania, like the time I emailed my great-aunt’s picture to about 30 convents in the Ohio/ Pennsylvania area, in my quest to find out more about her.

But, the thought persisted.

When I stopped to visit my mom, I asked her about these men. She said John died quite young and Anthony and Jeff (my grandpa) were close. She remembered him being around when they lived in Dayton during her first grade. But, he died shortly after. She had no real memory of his looks or voice.

When in doubt, I ask for direction. In my experience, long-dead relatives don’t just pop in to say hello, they generally need something, or recognize YOU need something. Since these gentlemen had been gone awhile, that may be why my impressions from them were extremely subtle, but strong enough for their energy to be recognized.  I have a lot of beloved dead, as do we all, but there was enough of …something… for me to discern them.

monasteryAnyway, after a few days I had the thought to go to the local monastery and light a white candle for each of them. Why this action? I played 20 questions a couple times, mentally asking “how about this?” “what about if I do that?” The candle at the monastery brought a peaceful reaction. Again, nothing was really strong about this experience. The monastery worked, I think, because the family was Irish Catholic and a couple of the women were nuns.

Why do the dead contact us?

In my case, I am looking for help to release some patterns that may (or may not) be a family pattern. I like to keep an open mind, after all. And so far, I’m not getting relief from my “go-to” practices: exercise, breathing, reading, meditating, pretending nothing is wrong. So – I am asking the ancestors for guidance. It is not surprising to receive not-so-random thoughts. They inspire me to be aware of help. Shortly after this experience, I dreamed I was being chased, near the house I grew up in. The scene shifted to the inside, where two men, back-lit by golden light, were there to protect me.

What does honoring the Ancestors entail?

I have an Ancestor Altar on my sacred tools altar. Yes, I am doubling up, but it’s a space issue. Three altars are a lot for one room. Anyway, in the dedicated ancestor space are items that mean something to me, most of them came from journeying. Every morning, since early summer, I sit with the ancestors, those of my blood, of my spirit and of my soul. I smudge the area with Palo Santo smoke and thank them for living well, and dying well, and for the guidance they give me. I am the result of a thousand acts of love. As we all are. And it’s in both of our best interests for me to succeed in my life. Then I ask them to guide me in releasing these patterns. I have a particular Tarot Deck that I draw cards from when I am with them. It’s like a Cliff Notes version of a conversation.

A second experience

My second venture with the ancestors was with my Grandmother Anna. This is my dad’s mom. She died two months before I was born. This is kind of funny: she died in 1958 and I am going to be 58 on my next birthday, so it’s been 58 years since she walked this plane.  I had never been to her grave. One reason was, I thought she was buried in a different cemetery, and it wasn’t all that close. I used to visit the beloved dead on my birthday, to give thanks and honor them. Of course, that’s the day before Halloween, so a win for me that the veil is thin around that time of year.

Anyway, I used Gravefinder.com to find her correct cemetery and Google maps to get me there on my lunch hour. I took her white carnations. It was actually a lovely headstone, and talking to her brought some tears up, so there’s some healing there.

She actually came to me in a dream shortly after my dad died. She was quite radiant, so I know she crossed over well and I have confidence that she will give me proper guidance as I move forward.

What does this mean?

It means the dead are never removed from us. The ancestors have a vested interest in our well-being, and can be a valuable source of support and guidance. A caveat: not all ancestors lived or died well. Discernment is the key when you call on ancestors, just as with any entity from the spirit world.

14 thoughts on “More Ancestors

  1. I love this view! I grew up learning about ancestral curses. It’s based on a biblical verse in Exodus. Slowly I began to understand that it wasn’t a true curse, though some of them were really nasty bits of work, but learned behaviours. According to my childhood lessons my family is cursed with mental illness. While some has to do with brain chemistry there is also the factor that we didn’t learn healthy coping mechanisms and lots of them weren’t provided with support. Not surprisingly anger is another curse!

    As an adult I’ve begun to recognise that these near ancestors were more than one dimensional villians. I’m not sure I’m ready to open my heart to them, as I know some definitely didn’t live well, but I am ready to honour them.

    Thank you for helping me see that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes you have to go waaaaaay back to find the heslthy ancestor. I went centuries back to find a healthy one on my mom’s mom’s side. Just remember, you are totally worth honoring and celebrating, so do what you need to, to feel that way. Yeah, i get the unhealthy coping methods, too. A lot of alcohol abuse, anger issues with us, as well. Thank you for commenting!

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  2. I have an odd relationship to my ancestors and sometimes struggle to even know who to properly call by that term. I’m estranged from my birth father’s side of the family, have only a little more contact than that with my mother’s, and was adopted into a family that culturally couldn’t be more different from me. Ask me who my ancestors are, and I’d include poets who aren’t in any way related to me, a few relatives through marriage, and only a handful of generations back, because my family history gets convoluted not very far back. I can feel a little at-sea when it comes to ancestors. And now that Maman Brigitte has stepped back into my life, that’s going to matter a lot more; there’s simply no way for it not to. I hope she’ll also provide some guidance on where to begin!

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    1. Maman will guide you. Perhaps in this incarnation, it will be more about the ancestors of your spirit or soul, than of blood. Maybe so you will have a greater ability to connect with a broader spectrun of people and their spirit families.

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      1. I hope she will. I’ve been thinking a lot about ancestors since you posted this entry, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the blood ancestors I feel connection to are almost as odd a lot as the non-blood — a great-uncle I met once but who made enough of an impression on me for there to be a poem, a cousin twice removed I never met though she was the one I was said to be most like on that side of the family. The affinities seem to be more emotional and spiritual than by blood, even with the ones who are blood kin.

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  3. I have many beloved ancestors who are passed, but whom I know would do just about anything for me. I sense them around me, as I am in a period of transition and healing crisis. Recently I began doing some geneology work and afterwards I found their presence to be more palpable. I concluded that the ancestors that are there helping us enjoy being recognized. They enjoy attention and acknowledgement (the healthy ones). Thank you for this post.

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    1. I totally get this. It can be like untangling yarn. So far, my perspective is to find a thread of ancestry – blood or otherwise – that either inspires you, or you feel connect to, and go from there. Admittedly, I have run into some dead-ends as well.

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  4. Karen – I love this! I often have client’s ancestors show up and participate in healing sessions for my clients. I am usually overwhelmed by the unconditional love they bring to their family member…and occasionally they make me crack up because of the jokes that they tell! I also have an ancestor from a past life that I work with as well. She has been a wonderful teacher and guide for me, and I am so thankful for her help on my life path.

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