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 Post subject: Honoring White Ancestors
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:45 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:25 am
Posts: 8
Hi all. I'm new here and this is my first post.

I recently heard an elder speak about ancestralization and would like to begin doing work to honor my ancestors. I have done a little of this work in the past, with a shamanic studies group, but have not yet gone in-depth. I seem to have run into a mental block.

I am a white American, and my ancestors arrived from England and Scotland many generations ago. Our family historian believes that at least one ancestor was either Cherokee or Melungeon, but this may or many not be true.

I have been taught by my culture to be ashamed of my white heritage. I developed the feeling that my family and ancestors lacked a connection to the earth and to spirit, and the feeling that I would need to search outside of my own heritage to find meaning. This is what I have done. But the search outside of myself has brought me full circle back to ancestralization.

How can I overcome what I have internalized about my culture? How can I embrace and honor my ancestors when I have been taught that I come from a lineage devoid of wisdom?

I am embarrassed to ask this, because I know it's my own mind standing in my way, but this concern is real and this is the place to ask it.


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 Post subject: Re: Honoring White Ancestors
 Post Posted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 3:17 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:42 am
Posts: 210
Location: Alexandria, Virginia USA
Alterdego wrote:
...I have been taught by my culture to be ashamed of my white heritage. I developed the feeling that my family and ancestors lacked a connection to the earth and to spirit, and the feeling that I would need to search outside of my own heritage to find meaning...But the search outside of myself has brought me full circle back to ancestralization.

Here is the main crux of your problem. Shame is a cruel judgement that someone placed on you, and now you feel you must bear this. And that is why your search returns to your own heritage.

Your spirit and guides will show you your true nature, not one of shame, but of how you should live your life now. The past - good or bad - was how your ancestors survived. It is up to you to find the truth and live a life now that brings honor to you and others.


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 Post subject: Re: Honoring White Ancestors
 Post Posted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:41 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:25 am
Posts: 8
Thank you for your insight. I will ask my guides for help with this issue, and if I simply begin to honor my ancestors, I might find that the blocks fall by themselves.


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 Post subject: Re: Honoring White Ancestors
 Post Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 10:51 am
Posts: 2
Thank for you about your information, I hope will read much more here.


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 Post subject: Re: Honoring White Ancestors
 Post Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:42 am
Posts: 210
Location: Alexandria, Virginia USA
You are both welcome.

Somewhere back in sometime, we were all indigenous people. But we moved about and color really didn't matter. I don't think either do now, either. Respect does matter and always will.


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 Post subject: Re: Honoring White Ancestors
 Post Posted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 7:07 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:50 am
Posts: 44
Location: Pennsylavania
One of the interesting parts about life is to learn how to observe and then adjust.

If you find something out of order you have an invitation to grow past it. Take a look at your life. What is out of balance? A lot of times everyone wants to know the whys and who's and forget to work on the fix.

I didn't get upset at the tree who provided the splinter for my hand nor why did the tree do this. I looked at myself and saw. Hmm I allowed this splinter to get into my hand by not being careful and thus allowing it to get into my hand.

We allow so many things to pull us off balance into our lives.

Alterd you have a few tools now to help you to clear what you have allowed into your life. Now allow it to no longer be a part of you.

In the end you will be helping lots of other people and one day be writing here guilt free and clear.

All of us have been wounded in some way and sought our own healing. In the process of doing so we find that we want to share our gifts with others and in doing so end up making this world a better place.


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 Post subject: Re: Honoring White Ancestors
 Post Posted: Mon May 02, 2011 11:45 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 12:36 am
Posts: 9
Location: Arizona
We are moving into a new paradigm where there is no separation. We are all indigenous to the planet. No one of us is not an indigenous person. And as we contemplate our own cultural heritages, we - all of us - discover that cultural change has always been at work moving us forward. No culture remains the same. To do so mean the demise of that culture.

I am also of Celtic heritage and to explore those roots has been an amazing walk. Enjoy the exploration, and don't get too hung up on what to call it. We are all in this together!

And also remember... guilt and anger cannot sit at the same table. So it is time to move on...:)


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 Post subject: Re: Honoring White Ancestors
 Post Posted: Mon May 02, 2011 12:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:29 am
Posts: 3
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Hello,
Greetings from Europe.

I read with interest and dismay that you had been told to discount your English and Scottish ancestors as they were not connected with the earth or spirit.. that is a kind of interesting perspective, especially if you read anything about Celtic Shamanism and it's connection with earth mysteries and healing. Both in England and Scotland there is a rich heritage of earth based spirituality, so there's quite a lot to connect with, be proud of and celebrate.

No matter what our culture or background we all have ancestors that need celebrating and recognising. Maybe it's just that tribal based cultures have never forgotten that whereas the "white" people have.

If you have ever watched "Who do you think you are" on NBC you will see and hear how much richer and fuller the person feels as they discover and in a way honour their ancestors. Football star Emmit Smith says it perfectly at the end of his search when he says "It's like my ancestors were crying out to be recognised and now I've heard them and recognised them their souls can finally find peace in heaven"

Having worked with ancestral healing for many years I can honestly say it is some of the most rewarding work that I have been involved in, and even just simply lighting a candle in honour of your ancestors is a great way to connect with them. Many people talk these days about Conscious Creation, well think of it like this, you are the conscious creation of one or many of your ancestors, because maybe back in their day they did not have the ability or the freedom to do what we can do today, and maybe they prayed that one day in the future generations someone would be born to be able to do what they were unable to. If we live our truest and fullest life as best we can, then we are the answers to their prayers.

With all good wishes to you and your ancestors
Mark


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 Post subject: Re: Honoring White Ancestors
 Post Posted: Mon May 02, 2011 12:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 12:26 pm
Posts: 1
Thank you so much for your sharing. After practising shamanism for many years, I too was faced the same challenge of seeking the ancestors as I could feel my shamanic DNA stirring. I am of Irish, Scottish, and Cornish ancestry, was born and lived the majority of my life in Australia, and have lived in Canada for the last 20 years, so there was a bit to sort out. I believe the best way to start is to journey to the Helping Ancestor who is calling you to heal this area of your spirit. My belief is that our ancestors dreamed us (the descendants) to do this work, to do this healing. And there is a lot to do... discovering our pre-Christian ancestral shamanic practises (that are indeed authentic and not a new-age version), healing our ancestors grief of possibly having to leave their homeland to survive, healing our ancestors and the indigenous people they possibly hurt upon their immigration, and more and more.

In the mundane world, I believe it's a powerful exercise to create a genogram, explore and uncover your family lineage, and most of all, go and visit the homeland. I recently returned to Ireland and visited many of the places that my ancestors were from. In doing this, I not only healed myself, but I bought them home and they experienced healing too.

Best of luck to you, Angela


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 Post subject: Re: Honoring White Ancestors
 Post Posted: Tue May 03, 2011 8:30 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:21 am
Posts: 4
Location: Sweden
Hi, in honoring our mother and father and those that where their mother and father and those that where their mother and father we honor ourselves.

The past is done, it is just that PAST irregardless of the perception and opinions of the consequences of that which is now and the blame felt now or where this blame and guilt comes from now. Honoring and giving thanks to those that walked this Mother Earth before us is the same as honoring our own life for without them that lived before you and I would not be.

Light a candle, pour some wine, beer, ale or mead on the Earth in gratitude and honor full pride to the Grandmothers and Grandfather in your line or heritage.

It can be a good idea to intellectually find out and do some research about the ancestors if one does not know. Per haps spend time and energy to go to visit the spirits of the place that ones ancestors lived and there give thanks in heart, words and small simple sacrifice, to honor them is to honor ourselves and not done in selfishness but in gratitude and Powerful in the now JOYOUS fact of life!


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 Post subject: Re: Honoring White Ancestors
 Post Posted: Tue May 03, 2011 12:02 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:42 pm
Posts: 26
Location: London
Hi,

One of your early replies gave good advice. You are who you are now, and it's what you are and what you do that's important.

The ancestors thing can be quite a romantic ego trip. If you pick out a few characters from your lineage you can project something on to yourself. But it may not really be much to do with you and what you are.

People are people, and my people are Scottish, some of them Pictish. And people throw up good and bad examples of humanity.

When I became an apprentice shaman in Siberia, I entered a lineage which was based on what individuals did and what they achieved. It goes back many thousands of years and the wisdom was passed down from teacher to apprentice.

But even then, individual shamans evolve their own individual way of doing things. They balance tradition and personal innovation.

So I say to you, live according to how you believe you should behave, and strive to do better every day.

And it would be an empty-headed person who would try to put you down for that.

Stay strong,

Mac


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 Post subject: Re: Honoring White Ancestors
 Post Posted: Tue May 03, 2011 3:19 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:20 pm
Posts: 62
Location: Private
Working with the ancestors can help you connect to the spirit world, and yes that help extends beyond the obvious connection it would bring to your ancestral roots and ties. By blood and spirit connections that form unbroken chains, our ancestors are tied to us more strongly than any other spirits in the animism gheisterraum, and so represent (in many cases) the most trust worthy of allies as they are not only closest to humans in thoughts and perceptions, but in agendas with interests that will parallel or intersect your own by degrees. Acting as intermediaries on your behalf, they can function as emissary and ambassador, or even serve the unilaterally identified role of guardian protector (guardian angel to Western Cultural influences).

But... that's the prospectus version.

Animist spirits don't sleep and are terribly hard to get rid of once you develop that relationship and open that door to this world. And, for every cool Uncle Dave out there, there's at least as many Smelly Aunt Petunias or Grumpy Grandpa Todds. Death doesn't magically impart omnipotence on them, and the more you work with them, the more you will see they are just like us (limited understanding and imperfect reason behind lots of opinions and rotten biases), they just have different sources and channels for gaining information and lack the same limitations on gathering it we do here.

So, a busy body know it all who will love to run your life because s/he knows better than you in life, will be the same busy body know it all who will love to ruin your life day and night (they don't sleep remember) in death, pushing and pulling you to and from the things THEY don't like.

Why work with ancestor spirits at all then?

Well, as the prospectus suggests, they are the spirits most closely resembling humans in both thoughts and perceptions and in agendas, which makes them infinitely more easy to understand (especially their motives). And, while they can be invasive annoyances trying to live your life according to the morals and dictates of a hundred years ago, they do make excellent protectors and guardians of the home, family and your person, often going above and beyond the original contract (if you don't mind a lot of liberal free interpretations of intent).

Should anyone be looking to connect with the ancestors to gain a better connection with their Roots?

In my OPINION, this is the same thing as letting that hole in your chest lead you to the first person you feel strongly for and getting married. You're most likely (though admittedly not in every case) looking to answer a question inside that stems from insecurity. The ancestors, while capable of helping you with this, are also (in many cases) more than willing to take advantage of it too (for your own good, as dear old dad used to say as he wailed away with the belt). I don't see this as being healthy for the person seeking, though it certainly serves the interests of the ancestors.

Keep in mind too, animist/shamanism belief systems all share a common element of ancestor veneration because they all share a belief that humans have souls that live on after the physical body dies. The expressions of that veneration differ greatly, as the cosmology and spirits journey through the other world differ greatly including reincarnation in some with transmigration in others, to paradise villages and communities where the ancestors want for nothing and idyl away eternity.

In Japan, Amaterasu is an ancestor of the people (also a goddess figure). In Ancient Egypt, the family was expected to worship the deceased, remembering them so they would not perish and fade from existence, and so the funerary chapels dedicated to the deceased were included outside the tombs. And in Tibet today, the soul still journeys through the trials and challenges of the afterlife with the guidance of a psychopomp (specially trained monk in this case) who chants the words and spells the deceased might find useful in navigating a path to reincarnation.

All of which represent variations on the theme that is ancestor veneration, and all of which offer very different views and options for ancestors in your life. In Japan for instance, your ancestors are all the animist spirits, while in Tibet, because of the reincarnation/transmigration, you don't really tend to get the whole "teacher and guardian ancestor". In Egypt, venerating the dead was more about helping them than it was about them helping us.

Or, if you recall, the head of Bran that was buried by his brothers immediately after returning from a prison in the other world of Celtic Britain, now acts as guardian, insuring against invasion (so the legend goes). This is a tale where a particularly powerful ancestor, renowned for his battle skills and self sacrifice, is believed to be acting as a protective father and guardian to the whole island.

So how do we honor white ancestors?

That's an interesting question. For about the last fifteen hundred years, we bury them in cemeteries and think of them on special days or holidays. We see them as watching over us from some paradise. That's a very Christian perception, but its still animist, and its still valid. What did we do before that?

That's a good question. As our early European ancestors weren't much on writhing, they didn't leave us a lot of information on the matter. Aside from the ways bodies were treated after death and before burial, there just isn't a lot of information on why it was treated that way, or the significance of goods provided for the deceased. While some information may remain hidden in the folk tales and fairy tales, we don't have that information which tells us what our ancestors believed, or (more specifically) how they thought of ancestor veneration before Christianity imposed itself as the default medium.

So...

We can either accept that most of the ancestors we will have contact with, and who would bother to admit knowing us in the first place exist within a Christian Model Cosmology (that we can then modify and rename), or we delve into the stories and traditions we do know, and cobble a workable facsimile of what might have been together (ignoring the fact our immediate ancestors wouldn't recognize it), and 'drive on' through.


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