Thursday, 5 February 2015

Ancestral Healing and the Sins of the Fathers

My journey on the path of healing started with mental illness. In my teenage years, I believed myself to be depressed because I was not as happy as I thought I was supposed to be. My energy levels were low when I tried to reduce my natural rhythms to fit into a container  something I felt I had to do in order to survive. I was told that I was genetically predisposed to mental illness and I believed it. Yet something in me could not accept that I had to live as someone with a broken brain. Whereas coping seemed to be the goal of therapy, I wanted to actually heal. At the time I thought healing meant feeling alright as a normal person, but true healing turned out to be something entirely different: owning the right to take charge of my life. In this article I will look at how ancestral patterns can be changed through energy healing as an alternative to believing in mental illness.

In my late teens and early twenties, I saw spiritualists who more or less consistently told me that I was a healer. I did not understand it, because I thought that one had to be sorted out before one could help others, and I wasn’t. Only when I learned about shamanism did I come across the concept of the initiatory crisis, which is the start of a healer’s path. Across many cultures, the healer is called through an experience of physical or mental illness. When they accept their destiny, the symptoms subside and the healer starts working with the spiritual realms to bring healing to others. My path started making sense, but still it took time to undo the ingrained notion of broken genes as an unfortunate aspect of one’s physical package. The wise teachers I had knew better than to accept a scientific framework that the average person cannot verify.

In my honours year in psychology at university, my lecturer of ecopsychology seemed to lean towards spirituality, which was surprising in the academic environment. Our prescribed text book was Ecological Intelligence by Ian McCallum. The book also touches on how closely our genes are shared with animals such as lions and primates. During one of the lectures, our lecturer did a guided meditation into the subconscious, symbolised by the ocean. The assignment was for each student to identify and change a belief that no longer served them. The principle was that beliefs are projected on the world around us, which creates our experience. Someone asked about the influence of genes, and he said that once a belief is changed in the subconscious, it is not transferred genetically. At the time I did not find the meditation effective, but from my current perspective I can see that in a way he was right. I also understand why it was not helpful at the time: the healing power of the subconscious is strongest when it is listened to rather than commandeered.

A few years later I saw another healer who works in a shamanic way. She also told me that once healing is done, the issue does not return because a change has been made in the akashic records, which can be understood as an astral plane where information about everything that has ever happened is held. I was sceptical because I found my own problems to be recurrent and consequently was wary of quick fixes. Again, I see that she was right in a way. I think the subconscious works slowly, like the ocean.  A deep-seated issue may take some time to come to the surface. When there is a lot of water, it’s best dealt with a little bit at a time, and only when a person is truly ready will conscious action be taken.. The surrounding water then has to adapt to the flow; a person cannot change one issue and expect all other aspects of their life to remain intact. But when a problem is changed, it does not need to recur unless by choice. The process of healing is, however, continuous and often disruptive.

When I learned more about practical shamanism in 2010, we did a journeying exercise to change an ancestral issue. The principle was that energy is passed on through generations. An ancestral problem may still affect us, but when it is changed on an energetic level, the trouble can leave our lives. The journey was different from the guided meditation I did in the psychology class because we looked to find the cause of the issue rather than impose our will on the subconscious. It also involved talking to the ancestors to find out what it was that had troubled them and how it could be healed. In this way we showed love to the ancestors, which was also a way of loving the broken aspect of ourselves. Where the ancestor asked for a follow up ritual as part of the healing, the action taken showed commitment to change in the present physical world. The issue I wanted to address had to do with violence, because two of my family members had died violent deaths and at the time I thought that there was a karmic connection with another family member’s service to an arms company. What I found in the journey surprised me. About three or four generations before me there was an issue with rejected love. It seemed to be far removed from the problem I had wanted to address, but nevertheless I gave love to the woman I did not know and completed the letting go ritual. Almost five years later I can see the difference it made, mostly in terms of improved relationships. The healing happened in ripples, affecting areas of my life that I did not at the time see as connected to the problem. Change also required conscious action and the more one changes something, the more there is to deal with. It may sound overwhelming, but in truth it is empowering, because unconscious influences are easier recognised and less likely to rule one’s decisions.

In 2013-2014 I did a master’s degree in classics, which basically means ancient Greek and Latin. The main focus was ancient civilisations, slavery and mythology. I did it for different reasons, most of which I thought had little to do with my healing path. But looking at the myths and history of the Mediterranean 2000 to 4000 years ago, I found many elements that I could connect with the present world reality, largely in terms of the abuse of power enabled by false semblances of authority. Strangely, the mythology that I dealt with also had direct connections with the start of my healer’s path and the ancestral issue I looked at. My dissertation focused on the myth of the Golden Age, which originated as a variant of the concept of the fall from paradise but acquired a political significance in Augustan Rome. The most meaningful concept I learned from the myth is that of legal regulation being absent in a just society. The phenomenon of a just father-figure that regulates the order to prevent societal decay produces injustice and warfare. The control of the female sexuality, which to me symbolises our connection with nature and the will to emotional freedom, goes hand in hand with exploitation of others in the construction of a hierarchical society that best serves a few patriarchs.

It is not an uncommon notion that globally we are undergoing a shift in consciousness. Many people find that the old way of doing things are no longer working. Many others feel traumatised as they need to deal with old baggage. Looking at the issues I had to deal with in my family and the problems humanity have faced for millennia, I now understand that we carry many generations of ancestral baggage in our genes, but it can be changed if we deal with it consciously and with love. It is not a natural programming out of our control that should determine who we are, but the result of conditioned fear that has become a pattern. Scientific experiments have also confirmed that acquired responses can be transferred genetically (see for instance this article). When a person in present day and age starts to experience psychological discomfort, it is an indication that they are waking up to the idea that a better reality is possible. If it feels difficult, we can know that we are not alone, because globally more healers are owning their natural capacity to restore balance and harmony. If we feel that the ocean is too much water to handle, we can change those drops around us knowing that there are others who are doing the same. If the small currents change, the large ones will follow. I could go with a new interpretation of the Biblical notion that the sins of the fathers are transferred through to the third and fourth generation, but for those who love (God), the blessings will have effect for a thousand generations.