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Pathwork: Storytelling Your Ancestral Tales

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.


The Passing of the Ancestors

Posted on:  Sep 9, 2015 @ 15:00 Posted in:  Path Basics

The world is changing. There are cataclysmic shifts, just below the reach of our everyday consciousness. The ancestors are leaving us. It is time for their rest. Their stories are ending, having served their purpose, and our stories are weaving themselves anew.

The ancestors are personal and archetypal; they are the ones that have gone before us, both as part of our personal family and ethnic/cultural heritage, and our collective humanity. Their lived experiences and stories have woven the fabric of our shared human reality and the particulars of our family mythology. We live in a world of their making, constructed from their strengths and weaknesses, and their joys and wounding. Their pain and their fear, more than anything else, chain us to their stories.

I have been dreaming about this moment of cataclysmic change for years. Then, at a recent community ritual, the ancestors spoke through me, “We have cut the cord. It is time for you to travel on your own. You are fully grown now, and we set you free in this world. Be big, be beautiful, be yourself. The world needs you. We believe in you. Shine bright. Make us proud.”

After the ritual a dear friend took me in her arms, and the ancestors cried through me and with me: for the pain of their stories; for the pain that they have passed on generation after generation; for the desperate need of this ending; for the sweet beauty of this world that they are leaving behind; and for their desperate love for us, their children, this world’s greatest hope.

I woke the next morning understanding in my core that it is we, the children, the waking ones, that must do the work of putting our ancestors to rest. We must unravel the stories and meaning making that trap us, told by our families, by our ancestors, and by our shared culture; stories on how to live and dream; stories that have passed on patterns of wounding and coping; stories that dim our light and hide our beauty; stories that hold the secrets and lessons that will ripen us into our true selves; stories that are the ancestors final gifts to us.

And when we have embraced these stories, both the ones full of beauty and the ones full of pain, and let them transform us into our mature, fullness of being, the stories and our ancestors will have fulfilled their sacred purpose. Endings will come, rest will come, and we, their grownup children, will dream and story the world afresh.