Reconnecting With Our Ancestors
The word ‘ancestors’ was never mentioned in my family growing up.
It was not a part of our vocabulary. I knew of my grandparents, and sometimes heard about my great grandparents, but this was the extent of my limited knowledge about my family lineage.
I became interested in ancestry when I went to college and became a member of a spiritual learning circle. This beautiful community, which upheld the traditions of the ancient Celts, awakened a deep part of my soul. I had spent my entire childhood straddling two countries, England and America, and yet had never truly experienced ‘home’ until I learned about the Celts, my distant relatives.
A few days before moving to the States in 2012, I went on a pilgrimage to a number of ancient sites in England. My experience at Stonehenge was so profound that it altered me in ways I cannot fully describe. Standing among the stones, I felt the presence of the Ancient Ones all around me. I cried intensely, humbled by their presence, feeling their blood coursing through my veins. This simple truth gave me an overwhelming appreciation for my very existence.
Since then I have felt their presence all around me, but recently I have felt called to uncover more knowledge about my family line. I think that there is much healing to do in these epidemic times of severe disconnection, and much of the healing starts within our own lineage. How would exploring your family lineage impact you and your family?
Indigenous tribes around the world consider their ancestral stories to be sacred. They are revered and remembered by elders of the tribes (men and women alike) so they can be passed down from generation to generation. This is a foreign concept to many of us, but imagine living in a culture where we still told these stories. Perhaps we would better understand where we have come from, who we are, and why we are here. Perhaps we would take more responsibility in the creation of our own life stories, knowing that our story and the world we shape will be passed down from generation to generation.
I have always believed in the power of story, and the power we hold as storytellers. Reconnecting with our ancestors helps us to reclaim our power as the storytellers of our family – our modern day ‘tribe’. I recently started researching members of my family with the intention of writing a collection of ancestral stories to pass down to future generations. During this process I’ve come to realize how little I’m able to find about the women from my lineage. I’m easily able to find their husbands and children, but finding their family of origin has proven extremely difficult. I believe that bringing this information to light helps liberate these women from the single stories that have been imposed upon them. How much do you know about the women of your family lineage? Honoring them helps us honor ourselves. You could even spend some time trying to visualize them. If they could say something to you, what do you think they would say?
We stand upon the shoulders of our ancestors.
They are able to provide us with great support if we open our hearts to them. We must remember, too, that we continue a line of women. Understanding how we have been defined as women in the past can help us decide how we want to move forwards. I want my children to continue my name and carry the strength, love and wisdom of their ancestors. I want them to know how beautiful because they carry the genes of their ancestors. I want my daughters to know that they are worthy of their own stories, just like the Celtic women of ancient times. I want them to continue telling these stories into the future, so that I am the last of my lineage to grow up never knowing my ancestors.
Learning about our ancestors gives us a deeper appreciation and understanding about ourselves. Bringing our ancestral stories to light helps us reconnect with our family lineage, and gives us the power to reclaim our power as the storytellers of our family, passing these stories on to future generations.
Finding out about your ancestry can begin by talking with the elder members of your family or searching online using websites such as myheritage.com. Going through this process can be a great source of discussion amongst your living family members, creating an even deeper connection with your family lineage.
Photo Credit: Fergus O’Connor