Embarking on the path of ancestral healing can seem daunting, especially if you’re new to holistic healing. The idea of connecting with healthy and healed ancestors might be intriguing, yet the “how” often remains a mystery. This journey, while ancient, can feel entirely new to you if you’re used to conventional therapy paths. Furthermore, you may find the practices of ancestor healing unfamiliar or intimidating.

My personal journey of contacting three healthy and healed ancestors has not only been proof of the power of this practice, but also shines a light for those seeking to heal generational trauma.

So if you can relate, this blog post is for you—the woman ready to explore her heritage, heal deep-seated wounds, and live her best life. Connecting with a healthy and healed ancestors can serve as a bridge to the past, and also offer healing and wisdom in the present.

Are you ready? Let’s begin. I’m here to demystify this process with an example of making contact with your ancestors through An Open Letter:

Dear Healthy and Healed Ancestors,

I’m writing you this letter to feel closer to you and to say thank you. Thank you for all you’ve done, for the hard times you went through, and for the dreams you had. Because of you, I am here today, and I feel very grateful for that.

I’ve been thinking a lot about our family and how some of the tough times and feelings you might have had could still be affecting us today. I know you had to deal with a lot, and some of those hard feelings might not have gone away completely. I want to work on healing those feelings, not just for me, but for our whole family, past, present, and future. I extend those blessings to  you too.

I know you were strong and brave, and I hope you can share some of that strength and courage with me. I want to heal the hurt that’s been carried in our family, and I need your help. Please guide me and show me how to make things better. I want to learn from you and use your wisdom to help heal our family’s collective heart.

Let’s work together to fill our family’s story with love, healing, and happiness. I’m listening for your advice and wisdom, ready to make things better for all of us, now and in the future.

With a lot of love and gratitude,

Me

Starting Your Research

How much do you know about your ancestors already? Was there any information that your parents shared? Usually families carry at least two or three story lines that have been repeated to current generations. For example, my father used to say, “They told me our last name, ‘Channell’ came from us crossing the English Channel.”

author's genealogy ancestry report to support connection to text

As a child, I didn’t have enough understanding of geography or my ancestry to contradict this information. Now that I do, it doesn’t seem like a logical explanation to the origins of our name, given the placement of this body of water in regard to the regions in my genealogy report. However, hungry for knowledge of who I was and where I came from, I believed whatever my parent told me.

Reach Out To Family

If someone in your family already began the research process, ask them to share their findings with you. Members are typically happy to share. If not, you can easily begin your own. Don’t be deterred by having only a few details to start. You’d be surprised how easy it is to glean a ton of names in your family tree with just a small amount of demographics.

research using technology of phone and laptop as well as family members to complete research

Next, see if you can trace a major immigration event from the last few generations. This may include a migration from separate countries or even within the same country. Then keep digging to see if you can find out what caused their decision to relocate.

The more you research, the more your mind may absorb and embrace new narratives about your identity. You may find that who you’ve been told you are, or what you believed about who you are, is drastically changing. This is because you’re so much bigger than what you experienced from the traumatic childhood. 

Regardless of how much you know, there’s so much more to learn. It could very well blow your mind and change the course of your life

Facing Fears

You may wonder if this is opening Pandora’s Box? Or if it’s “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”.  I understand because I’ve been there. However, if you are truly determined to heal yourself and go beyond what this life has offered so far, I’m willing to bet you’re ready. 

researching the past can be scary but also rewarding, metaphor of looking at old book

Is it scary? Yes, a little. Is it exciting? Yes, a lot. As a person dedicated to your self-healing journey, believe in yourself that if you only keep seeking, you will find and receive your birthright of wholeness.

Wrap up your research with questions to ask and reflect:

  • What is your family’s settlement story?
  • What caused them to move from one part of the world to another?
  • Was it forced immigration?

Purchase a special journal to record your findings, including facts, names, places, and feelings that arise.

Uncovering Cultures And Traditions

You may wonder, ‘What does ancestry research to heal generational trauma have to do with your culture and traditions? Isn’t that just about holidays, foods, and religion?’

Yes, while it’s true those things are under the typical umbrella of your culture and traditions, it’s so much more than that. Frankly, the primary purpose of culture and traditions was to address the very topic of generational trauma. However, that’s not what it was called.

Since many immigration stories caused people to break their culture and lose traditions, including rituals for healing ancestral lines, recovering this work is pivotal to mental and emotional health for today. For example, many ancient cultures held healing ceremonies to cure abuse, abandonment, and other dysfunctions attributed to generational trauma. Just because they didn’t use those terms doesn’t mean those damaging behaviors didn’t exist. In addition, members of the community (usually elders) in their wisdom took responsibility to teach, mend, and cure these maladies.

Furthermore, as a product of generational trauma, many families hold systemic trauma due to the loss of their cultural practices. As a result, traditions customs and beliefs shape generational trauma in many ways, both positive and negative.

Questions to reflect upon your findings:

  • Did your family lose their culture?
  • In what specific ways?
  • What personal rituals or cultural practices resonate with you?
  • How can you rebuild traditions and cultures when the links seem broken or lost?

You may need to fill in the missing gaps, as many people have no ways to confirm these facts. Ask living relatives who may have bits of your history tucked away, and go with your gut on the rest. Journaling helps.

woman planning her course of action to begin connecting with healthy and healed ancestors using maps and writings

For example, I was raised in an organized religion, Catholicism. This came from my dad’s line. My mother’s line held no religious beliefs. By learning about Ireland’s practice of the religion, and matching it to the words and actions of the ways my father raised us, it was easy to see where many of my childhood teachings came from.

Besides many strategies to heal, including doing therapy and taking a trip to Ireland, I also read books and watched movies. The book / movie Angela’s Ashes was a dead ringer for my childhood. It made so much sense and gave me valuable insight to my culture and my people in tangible ways. This brought understanding, acceptance and healing.

With this foundation, it’s time to begin making contact. There are a few ways to navigate. I’ll highlight two.

Choose A Recent Ancestor

Start with either your mother’s parents or father’s parents, you will seek out a healed and healthy ancestor who is willing and able to help repair your lineage and heal generational trauma. Take time to sit with what thoughts and feelings stir up as you consider these choices. Lean into what comes up. Be patient.

Next you can integrate what you learned with the holistic practice of meditation. Setting an intention to heal, find a guided meditation or use your own methods to greet a healthy and healed recent ancestor. There are many teachers on this topic, and the decision is personal. However, I used Earth Tenders to provide a foundation for my work.

At this point you’ve moved forward with making contact and it’s going well. Now what? Revisit the thoughts and feelings that came up during your preparation phase. What themes and patterns are you seeking to heal?

Questions for reflection:

  • Are there physical dysfunctions in the family, such as claiming proudly that “I have heart disease just like my father and grandfather“? Notice these idiosyncrasies as a sign that dysfunction is being passed through generations as unhealthy over-identification.
  • Is mental illness running rampant in your family line? Codependency is the hallmark of generational trauma and can bleed into every area of a person’s life.

My Recent Ancestor

When I first began this journey, I connected with an ancestor named ‘Rosalind’. She revealed herself to me as an Irish woman who knew and practiced Celtic healing using herbalism, sacred wells and springs, incantations, seasonal festivals, tree lore, and rituals.

author used living history museum in Northern Ireland to help understand ancestral healing
When I saw this clachan in a living history museum in Ireland, I had instinctual reaction I belonged here.

I saw her in my mind’s eye as kind and loving, and with red hair. There was a deep knowing that I’ve somehow known this woman my entire life. She didn’t feel like a grandmother at all. More of an aunt, mentor, relative. However, what is certain is that she had distinct knowledge of healing and wellness, much unlike the family members I was surrounded with in my childhood. 

Choosing An Ancient Ancestor

If making contact with a recent ancestor doesn’t appeal to you, you also have the option of reaching out to a healed and healthy ancient ancestor from your further up your family line. The rationale is, even though you may never have known healthy loving relatives, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You must rely on faith that, just as you have a determination to be healed, there are others who came before you with the same desire. Then accept that despite the abuse and neglect from your immediate childhood, there still exists healed and healthy ancestors in your family line nonetheless.

Making contact with an ancient ancestor is no different than for a recent ancestor. Find a guided meditation or craft your own. Call in your protectors (I use archangel Michael) and then say thank you when you finished.

statue of Archangel Michael in Portugal to represent the need for protection while conducting energy healing work
Archangel Michael is my Protector for any and all energy healing work.

My Ancient Ancestors

In addition to making contact with Rosalind, I’ve also connected with two other women, both of which seem to be not of my immediate lineage. One comes from Africa, and one from Native American descent. I reconciled the contradiction to my genealogy reports through my acceptance of living other lifetimes. My hunch is that I’m connected to them in that way. The important thing for me is to remember pragmatism…simply using what works and not overthinking it. When I reach out for support and feel love and strength reach back, then I know it’s working. 

How do you know if you’ve established contact? Like with many practices of self-healing, you follow your intuition and go with trusting yourself that what you feel is true for you. 

Questions for reflection:

  • How can I apply help from a healthy and healed ancestor?
  • Do I want to create a list with specifics and write it out daily, or use less structure and rely on my subconscious mind to guide me?
  • How can I tell if it’s working?

In the beginning stage of contact, when I still lacked confidence in the process, I asked for a sign. It came in the form of my attention being brought to a framed picture of Ireland. Instantly, that sparked a huge smile on my face. Ever since then, I’ve used meditation and journaling to check in and say thank you. I trust that she’s there if I need anything, but mostly she’s just working behind the scenes just as she’s done for my entire life.

Has there been drastic changes in my life since implementing this process? Yes and no. While there have been significant internal shifts in me, it’s not as a result of asking for an ancestor to come in and change my life. That’s not how it works.

Rather, the subtle changes of my perception of my identity and my lineage have been drastic with the fact that who and how I defined myself changed substantially. Contacting an ancestor gave me evidence of my search for a reason to be proud of my heritage.

Healing For The Future

As a result of learning from this process, I can see that, chances are, one of my great, great grandchildren, nieces, or nephews may decide they too want to live a life of wellness, peace, and healing. They may decide to seek an ancient ancestor for support in their journey, and I will be there to help them.

picture of children in meadow in soft light of day to symbolize future healing of people to come

How Does Ancestral Healing Help Generational Trauma?

Contacting healthy and healed ancestors helped me heal my generational trauma by confirming that the people I come from, “my people” are worthy, beautiful, and filled with light. This is significant because to a certain extent, my thoughts about my family are reflected and expressed through my identity. I’ve already lived an entire lifetime with the perception that I came from dysfunctional, violent, addicted, hopeless, helpless, sick, abusive people. My identity embodied those beliefs.

Of course, my parents were themselves products of generational trauma and didn’t seek or receive healing from that damage. Therefore it was impossible for them to pass along any healing or wholeness onto me. But it was clear Rosalind had this gift, and she had been waiting all my life to share it with me. Contact with her reversed many of the dark images of my identity and replaced them with healing light.

For example, my decision to do the work to heal myself makes me an enigma in my family of origin. However, I intuit that Rosalind had to make that choice too, because she most likely endured abuse, violence, etc as well. I believe my lineage was damaged by definition of generational trauma.

Making contact with a healthy and healed ancestor mirrors not only my desire and willingness to heal myself, but also my inherent wholeness. 

Applying The Connections

If you make contact and feel inspired, you can next create a simple ceremony to honor and thank your ancestors for their guidance and help. It’s up to you how often you want to connect with your ancestor helpers. I typically greet them each morning and say thank you for their help in everything I expect to encounter that day.

No matter how often you choose to reach out, you’re going forward from this place with an intention to self-heal. Consequently, you’ll have another tool in your spiritual toolkit to accomplish that goal. Remember, anything is better than the anger, pain and toxic shame that results from generational trauma. Even if it feels a little woo woo or out there, it’s still better than holding onto the darkness of trauma.

Final Thoughts On Ancestral Healing For Generational Trauma

Using ancient holistic practices drawn from your history, your people, and your culture reminds you that self-healing is ever at your fingertips. There is no limit to where your search and acceptance of healing from trauma, whether it’s from your childhood or your larger family line. Researching your lineage and making space for your newly defined heritage, one that involves light, love, and healing, can shift paradigms for your highest good.

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