My journey with ancestral healing actually started through plants. I was introduced to the idea that lineage was important by my shamanic aromatherapy teachers, Cathy Skipper and Florian Birkmayer. An insight they offered is that people who are called to ancestral work are often brought to this work by plants who hold the energy of lineage strongly in their beings. After their class I went on a mad ancestry.com research binge and tracked nine of my direct lines (mother's mothers, father's mothers, etc) back to being in the US before the revolutionary war. What I found was a pattern of Puritanism, colonization and enslavement... the founding wounds of the country where I reside. My ancestral work comes with this lens of tending the wounds that these lineages hold as well as inflicted. My ancestors were also burned at the stake and fled homelands for religious freedom. They were some of the original hunter gatherers in Europe and saw the change of their land and lives through farming, imperialism and capitalism. I hold the complexity of these histories with great compassion. I also believe that white people need to do some deep level reckoning, grieving, figuring out what their contribution to reconciliation is.
In 2020 I was gifted with the opportunity to participate in writing an essay for the book "Whiteness is Not An Ancestor: Essays on Life and Lineage by white Women". The final draft of this book was released to the 13 co-authors the day that Mr. George Floyd was murdered. This enraging event underlined the work that is needed to be done not only individually for white folks, but on the systems of oppression that we often unconsciously uphold.
To learn more about the book and get an idea of the kind of conversations that are needed in the white community, you can view a talk I participated in on the book: Youtube video can be found here.
My thoughts on the path of deep animist relationship