Connecting with Ancestors

Who are the Ancestral Guides?

Artwork depicting my maternal grandfather’s lineage gifts and affinities

In the post, Healing a Legacy of Trauma, I write about how many cultures believe that when we die, our spirits don’t immediately shed the concerns they had in the physical world.

In fact, quite often, the spirts of those who have died, remain in the physical world as “troubled spirits.” These troubled spirits often the same as what we think of as “troubled ghosts”

And the influence of troubled spirits can be experienced by the living in very tangible ways. For example, I wrote about how the troubled spirit of my maternal grandfather, Martin Fink, continued to worry about his children and grandchildren, particularly his granddaughters. My grandfather wanted to protect me, his granddaughter, from poverty and privation. He wanted me to get married so I would have a husband to provide for me.

Just like the living, spirits may have genuinely good intentions that come from a loving place. But when those intentions are also colored by unresolved trauma, the consequences can be hurtful. In my case, I spent much of my adult life feeling certain that I was a fraud and incapable of supporting myself. This flew in the face of all kinds of hard, evidence to the contrary. But I struggled to shake this sense of deep insecurity.

Fortunately, troubled spirits can be healed and the lineage burdens they carry: hatred, fear, depression, anger, disease, addictions, etc. are no longer passed on to the living.

This is not something we, the living can do alone. This is something done primarily by what are called “ancestral guides,” who are healthy, vibrant ancestors from our lineages. 

So who exactly are these ancestral guides? How do you meet them? And what’s it like to connect with a guide?

A few people have asked me to clarify “does working with a guide mean you’re communicating with a dead person?” The short answer is, “yes.” When I connect and communicate with a guide, I’m talking to the spirit of a human being who was once alive. In other words, a dead person.

Here is how I met the guide representing my maternal grandfather’s lineage.

I began by going into a meditative state. If you meditate or do similar practices designed to foster heightened awareness, you are already familiar with this state of being. 

I then set an intention to meet a guide from the lineage. In this case, a guide who was of my mother’s father’s lineage.

And quite often, within a few minutes, I’ll see an image of a person. In the case of my mother’s father’s lineage, the image was of a boy, who was perhaps 16 or 17. He was short and stocky with brown hair and eyes and dressed in what I would think of as the  clothes of a Russian peasant. He had a relaxed, friendly look on his face and seemed entirely at home in the wilderness surrounding him.

After asking him some questions to confirm that yes, he was a blood ancestor and would work with me, I asked him more questions about the lineage. I asked him about the gifts of this line and of the burdens. I also asked him what had happened to the men of this line so that they felt so much fear? 

My guide shared with me that the men of this lineage were gifted with a deep love of the natural world. They felt entirely at home in the wilderness especially and saw it as a place that provided sustenance. In fact these men often brought the bounty of the forest: the meat and fur of animals they caught, wild berries, mushrooms, and other items to sell in nearby villages. They were resourceful, happy, and entrepreneurial. The picture for this post depicts the gifts and affinities of this lineage.

Hearing about the gifts of this lineages reminded me not only of my grandfather’s business acumen but brought up happy memories of going to Michigan with my grandfather to pick blueberries. My grandfather took great joy in foraging for fruit. A love I have as well. One of my favorite activities in late Summer is finding ripe grapes, apples, and peaches which grow wild in my in my neighborhood. 

The trauma of pogroms and other activities organized to persecute Jews and force them into ghettos, pulled these ancestors away from the wilderness they loved. They could no longer count on the abundance of nature to sustain them. They grew fearful of privation and to deal with their fears grew obsessive around money and resources. Their greatest fear was that their family might experience hunger and poverty. 

The process of ancestral lineage healing aims to heal these burdens and bring all ancestors as well as living descendants back into a place of wellness. When wellness is attained, the gifts of this lineage can be fully received by living descendants and expressed in the world.

After going through the healing process with this guide, my fears about being incapable of supporting myself have lifted. This isn’t to say I am entirely without fear but I now feel a sense of confidence that I can get and keep a job that will enable me to support myself. I no longer feel the paralyzing fear that without my husband, I’ll become a bag lady.

Healing a lineage also means I can enjoy and embody the gifts of this lineage such as entrepreneurship, connecting with customers, and appreciating the abundance of the natural world.

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