It Started Before You:
How Ancestral Healing Can Help You Evolve
This interview is from Tuja Wellness, an award-winning online health & wellness magazine in Canada. The interview took place in January 2021 with article author Brianne Hogan. Tuja Wellness is now out of business. The full interview follows here.
April 29, 2021
Wherever you were born in the world, your ancestors’ decisions have affected the generations in your lineage, including any intergenerational trauma you might be carrying.
As more of us seek to understand and reconcile our inherited karmic load, many people turn to ancestral healing to cultivate more well-being. This is not a message channelled by Whoopi Goldberg’s psychic character in Ghost. Nor is it a time portal where you greet your ancestors and tell them how they went wrong.
“More and more people have been called to explore ancestral healing,” says professional healer and spiritual facilitator Angela Blueskies. “There are a lot of people who are struggling with figuring out who they are, so learning about what happened to their ancestors might explain what is going on with them today. Ancestral healing is to help bring healing both to the person and to the ancestor.”
According to Blueskies, ancestral healing is an umbrella term that encompasses all practices – from rituals to intentional healing work. The goal is to heal and repair relationships with our ancestors. This can mean healing relationships with living ancestors and healing unresolved residual issues that exist somewhere in the ancestral lineage.
“Ancestral healing is exploring where we are in relation to our lineages to create a deeper sense of personal understanding,” says Blueskies. “Who am I? Where do I come from?” It can also be a starting point to help heal family conflicts from both past and present.
If you’re curious about how ancestral healing can offer ease in your life right now, start with the basics.
What is ancestral healing all about?
Ancestral lineage healing is a spiritual process that empowers you to connect, repair and nurture relationships with your ancestors.
Blueskies empowers her clients and serves as a guide so “people can dive into their own intuitive space and find their boundaries.”
First, Blueskies looks at the primal ancestral lineages on both sides: the mother and father and their father and mother. “We guide clients through those lineages and what they may notice,” she says. “A lot of people are confused at first because
they are looking and not me. But many people notice that they can connect directly, and they realize the connection is already there intuitively. They see what’s going on.”
Questions are posed to the client, like how it feels to be connected with your ancestry? What are you interested in exploring more? What is needed in the lineage?
Calling on ancestral guidance.
When first connecting with ancestral spirit guides, a typical client reaction is pure disbelief. Blueskies isn’t “worried” about convincing them, though. “Because over time, the western mindset of needing proof and rational thinking starts to open up to what is intuitive. It’s not rational, but it’s present. So the process also heals people with their own intuition and inner guidance system.”
Clients approach one lineage at a time. “We connect to their ancestor guides, and that relationship is then established. Those guides are helping the client understand the lineage, wounds, and trauma but also the blessings and gifts and strengths – and how the client embodies those things.”
There’s no prescribed time to bring one’s lineage into alignment and well-being. “It takes as long as it takes. The quickest I’ve seen is a couple weeks to go through the process. Some have worked through a lineage for over a year, as they worked through rituals and processes to help that work.”
At some point along the way, those issues that first brought the client to Bluskies are resolved. “We don’t push the matter; we continue to engage until the ancestors are ready to celebrate and see the work as complete. Now it becomes a part of collaboration and how someone can preserve a strong relationship with their lineage.”
As a result of the ancestral healing process, Blueskies reveals that her clients can see how they can embody what they’ve learned into daily life.
So why even dredge up the past and reopen old unconscious wounds?
Well, people seek out ancestral healing for a variety of reasons.
“For some people in the western world, they come from many diverse places, so they want to know who they are,” she says. “Ancestral healing can help affirm the connection between ancestors for whom someone has lost connection and is struggling with self-identification. They come to know who they are more fully through exploring their connection with ancestral heritage.”
For those with complex mixed ancestry, Blueskies says ancestral healing can help them to explore the bigger question of “who am I” in a way that is different from the typical modern dialogue of the “self-made person.”
“For me, this was a huge relief, as I explored connections with my different lineages. I came to see myself as the living face of these lineages, with the support of all my ancestors with me.”
Similarly, Blueskies finds that many people have lost connection to the culture of their ancestors, including language, stories, songs, rituals, foods, way of life, and more, as a result of colonization, particularly in the western world.
“This healing work can be profound for people, as they explore a deeper relationship with all these things through the lens of ancestral relationship.”
Others might feel their ancestors calling them in dreams or even in waking life. “Our culture doesn’t provide the context for such an experience, and our contemporary psychological paradigms often pathologize such a thing. People seek out ancestral healing support when they don’t know what to do with this kind of experience. Ancestral healing work helps them to connect with their ancestors in a way that feels safe, has some structure, and also helps them to integrate and normalize the experienc
The remedy for family feuds.
Most of Blueskies’ clients are called to ancestral healing work because of family conflicts.
“They’ve tried everything to resolve issues, but those issues persist. Ancestral healing is sometimes a last hope – as they consider the idea that their issues may not be the result of the people who are struggling with each other, but possibly a bigger pattern of relationship happening within a bigger, ancestral context.”
Ancestors can support those navigating complex family situations; while supporting the living and inviting healing for any unwell ancestors in their lineages. “While there are still intact cultures around the world that maintain rituals and traditions of ancestral connection – Dia de los Muertos in Latin America comes to mind – in the western world, we have lost these practices. And in lineages where there is no tending or care over generations, relational issues, traumas, and unresolved pain may linger beyond one’s death.”
In tandem with ancestral healing, epigenetics is a growing field that indicates our potential to understand how our experience can be passed down to future generations.
Some recent studies have suggested wars, famines, and genocides leave an epigenetic mark on the descendants of those who suffered them, meaning we might inherit trauma from our ancestors that are not our own.
While Blueskies admits there is a lot of excitement about these findings, there is still much research to be done.
She also emphasizes that ancestral healing may or may not resolve issues among those who are living. “The living are sovereign in their choices, and healing and reconciliation require the equal participation of all parties involved in conflicts. If there is mutual interest in understanding and transforming problems, ancestral healing can provide immense insight and support.”
Start the ancestral healing process.
Blueskies recommends looking within your own cultural spheres to see what is happening and what support is available if you’re curious to start digging into your ancestral lineage. “Consider your family, the cultures of your lineages, etc. What are the ancestral reverence traditions of your own ancestors? Start exploring there. If you seek support, look for someone who resonates with you and the practices and traditions that are meaningful to you.”
If you don’t have any connection with the traditions of your ancestors but do have connections with another lineage – spiritual or cultural, for example – start there.
There is a growing online movement of people called to reconnect with their ancestral roots, traditions, and practices. You can also seek out a teacher like Blueskies, who is part of The Quickening Collaborative, a collective of women steeped in diverse spiritual and ritual traditions. They are also trained in supporting individuals and communities in the work of ancestral reconnection and healing.
Spiritual family baggage can weigh heavy. Healing what’s behind us could be the key to moving forward with levity and ease.