(This is a reprint from my Solstice newsletter).
In my last post, I described a simple meditation or shamanic journey to connect with your ancestors. There is an important distinction that, once understood, makes these relationships with the ancestors healthier. Many people might not realize the difference between ancestors and ancestral helping spirits.
Ancestors may include both ancestral helping spirits and the dead, who have unresolved issues they take with them into the afterlife. In shamanic cultures, death does not magically resolve the inner conflicts created during life. However, it can make healing more difficult for the ancestors. Some ancestors may try to create resolution for themselves by influencing their living descendants. Often they don’t mean any harm, but their influence can be toxic. This toxic influence is called ghost energy and can help to create dysfunctional family systems. There are excellent in-depth discussions about ghost energy here and here.
Ghost energy can be resolved in different ways. Sometimes a shamanic healing is required. Nicolas Pauccar Calcina describes the use of colors during a Q’ero ancestral healing ceremony. Another practice taught by Daniel Foor involves connecting with healed ancestral helping spirits. These helping spirits are often ancient and possess knowledge that Western people have lost.
A healed ancestral helping spirit feels whole and complete. They want to communicate with you, they may even challenge your assumptions, but they don’t encourage emotional drama. This is because these spirits lived and died in a good way. They have successfully merged with the oneness and now wish to guide their descendants. In some cultures, this is the true meaning of the ancestors. In fact, the distant or deep ancestors are sometimes thought of as the most integrated.
Connecting with a healed ancestral helping spirit can be one of the most important spiritual influences in a person’s life. In my life, the ancestral helping spirits help to ground me. My awareness of them has nurtured a sense of belonging to all of life. This is a great antidote to the feeling of separation that Western culture imposes on many of us. Connecting with a healed ancestral helping spirit can also help to protect us from distracting ghost energy.
- Ancestral helping spirits can encourage you. They understand your earthly concerns and want you to share your gifts. They have passed down some of these gifts to you.
- They can help release unhealthy patterns that have been passed down through your family.
- The reciprocity involved in tending an ancestral shrine reinforces the connection with loved ones who have crossed over. These shrines contain objects that connect to the ancestral helping spirits.
- Meeting these spirits is a first step in healing ghost energy, if this is an issue in your life.
The following journey is one I have used with other people and myself to meet one of these helping spirits. The intent is to meet an indigenous healed ancestral spirit. This helping spirit will specialize in ancestral healing and be a type of teacher for you. Every person on Earth has this ancestry.
- Open sacred space.
- Journey to the axis mundi. You may see a great tree with deep roots and many branches. Your intent is to meet one of your indigenous healed ancestral helping spirits.
- Go through the tunnel to the lower world. In many cultures, this is the location of the ancestors. (Not all ancestral helping spirits will be here.)
- Greet your guardian animal spirit or shamanic guide.
- The guardian animal spirit or shamanic guide will guide you to some kind of open space like a clearing.
- An energy being with a high vibration is coming towards you. As it moves closer, it will take the form of a man or a woman. This is an ancestral helping spirit.
- Spend time with this being as long as you wish.
- Return through the tunnel or tree roots to the middle world.
- Close sacred space.
I hope this practice encourages greater contact with these helping spirits in your life. Please feel free to leave comments or any questions you might have.