Please check out Christina Platt’s podcasts “Why Shamanism Now” for the background on this post.

Christina’s latest podcast was about ancestor work and this entire year I’ve been drawn to that topic.

I really believe our ancestor offer a great and unique opportunity as guides and reference points. For one thing, as I’ve already written, they have a vested interest in your success. After all, you’re their legacy, just as you will one day be an ancestor to your descendants.

They are also “real” people who lived – as opposed to angels, spirit guides and beings of those realms we read about, but may not feel connected to.

But the ancestors can cast a long shadow over us in a negative way. Not everyone who lived, actually lived well. Nor did they die well. And by that I mean, they had unresolved issues that were passed down.

Let me stop here and say, not every family problem is an ancestor problem. Sometimes people are assholes period.

But, maybe you do see a family pattern and wonder if there’s a way to clear that up. Alcoholism and abandonment issues run in my family. I hesitant to bring up health patterns although Christina’s podcast touches on that in a much better way than I ever can. I am Miss Skeptic about a lot of things, so I’m going to use examples from my personal experience.

There are many, many books out there on ancestor healing, Daniel Foor, Christina Pratt and Gretchen Crilly McKay also offer training. Anywhere you start is a good place.

For myself, I set the intention to find an ancestor who lived well and died well to come forward and help me with those two issues.  To be fair, I can certainly live my life pretty well, even around this fear of abandonment, and while I am a social drinker, I’ve seen some serious alcoholism/addictions in the family.

But I feel like the fear of abandonment, even though I recognize it, may be stopping me from living my life fully. (I have no idea what that means – except there’s this little haunting thought as I make decisions “who’s going to get mad, maybe I don’t really need to do this fun thing for me. I should go do dishes.”)

Now, for the record, I don’t have kids, so I’m doing this for me and allegedly this will carry forward to decedents of my siblings (families are already experiencing what I saw with my grandparents/parents/self).

We’ll see how this goes. I will keep us all posted.


12 thoughts on “More Ancestor Work

  1. I’m still trying to work with my ancestors through all the changes that have hit recently. I’m not having any more success than I was before, though. I didn’t go in expecting overnight response, but after months of reaching out to them, and asking no more to begin than that they reach back…nothing. I have no feeling of returned contact, but a growing sense that I may not be managing to reach them at all. Maybe I’m not ready to deal with what they’ll bring; I really don’t know. I’m not going to give up entirely; that won’t help. But I think I may pull back to making offerings for their benefit and merit and not trying to make contact for a while. I’m a little disappointed, but that’s on me, not them.


  2. hmmmm. you have a great level of contact with your other guides and deities and maybe they are taking a backseat while you work more diligently with who you are in contact with. As always, I am impressed with the work you do and share. Right now for me, I think the ancestor work is/maybe resolving some of my own issues with my mom and my family. Other than that, it’s been a resurgence of the nature spirits and oddly, a back-to-basics with the tarot through journaling. I may be leaving my core shamanism study group. I have learned a lot about journeying, etc. but I’m not hanging out a shingle or anything. I’m still working on getting my sh*t together.


    1. It feels strange to me to be so out of contact with any spirits, but today I think I got hold of why. You got the meat of it: I have other things going on. They’re around; they’re just watching rather than participating.

      I don’t think taking breaks from shamanic work is unusual; speaking for myself, I’ve taken several over the years, mostly to do other work that needed doing. I may be taking one now, actually (another reason the ancestors aren’t reaching back, I suspect). Alec and I had our first suspension session in our new home, and it became much more an invoking of spirits than a journey to them. That isn’t work I’ve done before, but the spirit I specifically contacted is definitely encouraging it, and Alec can take a much more active role in it, which he wants to do.

      It strikes me that you might be due for a kind of consolidating and integrating period; tarot and journaling are naturals to support that, and it’s not unusual in spiritual work, either. I liken it to writing your graduate thesis before you move on to PhD work, except there’s likely to be more than one thesis along the way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I visited the lone pagan shop here and came away with a Robin Wood deck. Super basic, but after talking to the woman that runs the place, I felt it was a good decision. Also the black candle. Tomorrow I will do a dark moon ritual for clarity and protection. I guess it’s not super different from the shamanic rituals, but it’s more driven from my specific desire and need than usual. IDK,maybe right now the practices are blending a bit… I get more out of being in nature and the nature messages than from journeying. This ritual did come from at least a meditation, if not actual journey. Glad the new living arrangements are working out!


  3. I always liked the Wood tarot as a middle ground between traditional tarot symbolism and the RWS deck not having much of anything to do with with my personal symbolism.

    If you’re feeling that specific a need to do other work, I’d say definitely do it. The spirits will let you know if/when it’s time to resume working with them, and it could as easily be in other ways. I’m trying to write up now what happened in suspension; I’m struggling a bit with defining the line between what did and what didn’t happen. I know what that line is, but describing it clearly is a challenge. The other work I had to do, I think Alec may all-unknowingly have done for me…literally in his sleep.

    Things are good here. This was all really sudden, and I miss Scotland (though I can’t imagine as much as Alec does, even if he doesn’t talk about it), but people are really nice here, and the house is amazing. I’d have chosen it myself if I’d been the one looking alone. I’m still getting my head around what he did — came here, got everything situated, then went back for me, all not knowing if I’d even go. I’m also getting my head around the fact that because immigration here commits the radical act of assuming that people get married because they actually want to, my status is going to be a lot more secure a lot sooner. Secure is good — one of the things I’m newly learning about my scary-looking husband is that he can’t walk by an animal without bringing it home. We’re up to two cats (which were mine, in his defense), two fish, a hamster, and a dog. We’ve been here less than a month. *laugh*

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    1. Hey, it sounds like it’s working out and I am happy for you both!
      Trusting is super hard. I worry about being mislead by Archos or just mischievous spirits.


      1. That’s one thing rope suspension creates — huge doses of trust. The kind of work we do requires even a little more than normal, too. I think that made it easier for me to look at him standing there saying “Throw everything over your shoulder and come run off with me” and say yes. I already knew I could put myself in his hands, and the fact that he took some risk in coming back for me…well, being valued is pretty good stuff, too. 🙂

        Trusting the spirits is always a balancing act, because at least some of the questions, for me at least, are about if I can trust my understanding of what they say and do. I’ve gone badly awry on that more than once, so now if something isn’t absolutely clear and literal (and how often does that happen!), I try to be very careful about basing anything I do on what is in the end my interpretation, not necessarily what they said.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I get that, in the past I’ve gone whole hog and was really off base. I think I tried to fit what I heard, into what I wanted, not into what the spirits really meant. So yeah, I am super cautious, probably too much so, but you know how that goes.

        Maybe coming out of the massive caregiving which really stripped away a lot of preconceptions I had about myself, has made me ready to accept their information.

        Girl, you have the most exciting love life….


      3. As I look back, my biggest issue has been assuming that they’re talking about who and what is in my life at that time, when they haven’t actually said that. That’s caused me to do all kinds of not very smart things. *laugh*

        My love life is just plain weird. I can handle that; I just need it to be reliably weird now. That’s not a terrible description of Alec, so I have hope. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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