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Posted on:  Sep 12, 2015 @ 10:00 Posted in:  Path Basics, Pathwork
There are two inheritances passed down from our ancestors: our physical DNA that determines our genetic makeup; and an energetic DNA that can be best understood as story. I am not referring to our commonplace understanding of story as words that we write down and speak out loud to each other, but story in the deeper sense of the inner cognitive map which creates personal meaning and infuses all aspects of our living and dreaming.
This week we are going to begin to explore our ancestral stories. One excellent approach for getting at subconscious material is by open-ended, free-form storytelling. Set aside a time and place where you won’t be disturbed, and bring a pad and pen with you.
Settle yourself using a few, deep breaths focused on the sounds and movements of your breath with your body. Imagine that you are anchoring your awareness deep within the core of your being. Speak to your ancestors. Tell them you understand that it is time for them to rest and be at peace, and that you are willing to grow and learn from their stories. Ask for one of your personal ancestors to be your guide in this work. Set the intention that whoever comes to you is in alignment with your highest good, and ask them to be gentle with you, and to only take you as far as you are ready to go at the present moment.
Write at the top of the page, “Once upon a time there was a little person named (your name) and she/he lived in a house with (describe your family). Now this family had secret stories that everyone somehow knew and lived by, but no one ever really talked about. But (your name) had a special friend, a beloved ancestor, who remembers these stories, and saved them for the day when (your name) would want to remember them…..”
You can write this introduction in any way you like, but you may want to start with, “Once upon a time…,” because it is a very powerful storytelling trigger that can quickly take you into the imaginal realm where these lost stories reside.
Once you’ve set down this introductory paragraph, let your ancestor and your child self do the writing, with no interference from your adult mind and meaning making. Continue for as long as your energy is unblocked and flowing, and always maintain the intention of accessing information that you are ready to receive, and that is aligned with your highest good, and personal growth and healing. Intention is key in doing this kind of work, as is staying centered in the depth of your inner core.
When you are done, be sure to express your gratitude for your ancestor’s and child self’s assistance, and promise to check in with them again soon. Take a few more deep breaths and pat your body to return to your normal, waking consciousness.
Put the story to one side and let it brew. When you feel inspired, add to it. But don’t rush into analysis or meaning making. Remain open and curious, and let the process guide you.
As with all your Path of She pathwork, do not push yourself too far, too fast, and make sure you have the resources you need, personal and professional, before you delve too deeply into painful stories. Also remember that you do not need to take on the burden of the ancestors’ stories. Your job is to heal and grow your own life from these stories by seeing the lessons they hold for you. What heals your world, heals all worlds.
Family stories, those regularly repeated and those actively repressed, carry the energy of our female ancestors through the generations. Though most of the original tales have long been forgotten, still they leave trails in the litany of sanctioned and banned behaviors, values and attitudes that delimit the expression of your womanhood and feminine nature (for both men and women).
Spend some time this week in search of these female story trails — about colorful aunties, deprived grandmothers, long-suffering mothers, inspirational sisters — stories that hold strong emotions of pride, shame, fear and longing, and teach you what it means to be a woman, or a man, in relation to the feminine. What are your female ancestors whispering to you through the ages? How do these stories constrain or inspire your blossoming into a fuller expression of your feminine powers and nature?
Related Post: Ancestral Feminism
We live in a time of unprecedented access to the wisdom of the ages, including our feminine heritage and herstory. I remember so vividly the first time I gazed upon the impressive collection of Goddess theology and feminist history/herstory books at my favorite metaphysical bookstore, my whole body quivering from head to toe. The feminine ancestors I discovered between these pages rocked my world.
Whether you are a seasoned explorer of Goddess and feminist herstory writings or new to these adventures, head off to the library or your nearest spiritual bookstore or turn to your own shelves. Let your intuition and impulses guide you; see which feminine ancestors want to leap off the pages and share with you the wisdom of their herstories.
Related Post: Ancestral Feminism