“Where are you from?”
This is a question I get asked often.
The answer? I am from Pittsburgh, PA, born and bred in Steel Town, USA.
But, this is not often what inquiring minds mean when they ask that question. What they mean to ask is what my ethnic background is. The answer to that is a different one altogether!
We all have a place we came from. For some of us, there is more than one place. Unless we are Native American, Americans have ancestral roots from places near and far.
And, in many cultures, it is important to honor your ancestors. Why?
Because history, of our culture or family, is core to making up who we are, from our traditions to our belief systems, preferred cuisines, even to the way we may wear our hair.
Because we often inherit certain family traits and behaviors, for better or for worse. And it’s important to know what’s being passed down in your DNA.
Because, Root Chakra.
Family. Tribe. Belonging. Survival. Connection.
What does healing have to do with ancestry, anyways?
Because understanding where we come from can be very healing.
Because even trauma gets passed down through generations. And, despite any challenges we may have with our family, developing compassion and an understanding of what they’ve experienced gives us a great window into ourselves.
And, because sometimes we may be called to heal aspects of our families or lineages, without initially knowing why. I am seeing that a lot more these days, in my patients, and even in my own life. Many of us are being called to step up to the plate and heal family or ancestral pain. As with all things that need healing, in order to heal it, we must first recognize and understand its genesis.
So, what are some ways to honor those who have gone before you? Here are 3 ways to honor your ancestors:
- Create an altar. An altar is any sacred area of your room, apartment, or house, where you place objects that have deep meaning to you. Some people pray at their altars, others may simply maintain them. Having an altar can include any of the following: a statue of an important diety/figure, sacred objects, offerings of food and/or water, candles, photos of ancestors, etc. On my altar, I have a statue of Kwan Yin, a crystal ball, shells from treasured beaches, candles, white sage, palo santo, crystals, photos of loved ones who have passed, water offerings, mini totems of embodiments of the Goddess, and other sacred objects. I also have a mini wooden statue of St. Anthony given to me from my Lola/Grandmother Mamang Anunciacion (her friends called her “Nancy”), now passed. She used to pray with it every day.
- Live your life in alignment with your greatest good, purpose, and with love. This is often challenging, and a work in progress for most people. It certainly takes a lot of dedication, practice, and perseverance. By living your life in the most authentic way possible, with love, and using your gifts to their fullest potential, you fulfill your service in this world.
- Be open to their guidance, and thank them for it. Sometimes, our ancestors may literally “have our back”. We can ask them for help (although this can be different from asking the help of your Spirit Guides, who are here to guide us on our journey). We often get messages, and sometimes even closure, with our ancestors through dreams. Always make sure to thank them for their guidance, and for any assistance they may lend you!
What is your favorite way of honoring your ancestors? And, how has it been healing for you?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments, below!
In honor and healing,
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