Reconnecting with the rhythms of your tribe can help you feel held and rooted, rather than isolated and alone. Let’s talk about how you can gather your own family and tribal stories and discover your true ancestral inheritance, including that which is noble and exemplary and that which is hidden, unstable, wounding and perhaps treacherous. All family inheritance includes the good, the bad and the ugly.
If you are open and consciously seeking to know and understand, you can reconnect with your ancestral memories, uncovering hidden talents, gaining strength, and also releasing secrets that have bound up energy for many generations. When you gather the family stories, you give voice to all those who have gone before you.
If you reach back in your imagination to the beginning of your ancestral lineage, back to the land and culture of your foremothers and forefathers, you might be able to glimpse your ancestors. What do you think they looked like? What clothes did they wear? Were they happy, sad, angry, hard working?
Meeting your ancestors can fill you with powerful emotions: dread, sadness, joy, pride, confusion. When you do some research into your family legacy, you will find a mix of functional and dysfunctional patterns – some that are colorful, magical and spicy and others that are tragic, depressing and bland. The important thing about working with your family genealogy is to learn about your own tribal myths as deeply as you can.
As you place yourself within this vast lineage, you become a vessel, a container for the patterns that tumble down the generations, gaining speed and force with gravity. This can feel empowering with regard to positive patterns, overpowering and daunting with regard to dysfunctional ones.
One effective way to untangle the threads form your family inheritance is to sit in a sacred circle with others, sharing your family stories. The sacred circle forms a loving container where your “story” can be witnessed. I have found time and again that when I sit in a circle to witness the unfolding of people’s family stories, tremendous healing occurs. People spontaneously find new ways to tell their story of betrayal or of the loss of relationship. The larger dysfunctional patterns unfold before us and often can be traced back to a person or event.
It becomes obvious why our grandmother had a breakdown or why our own mother was unable to mirror us properly or unable to show affection. It becomes obvious why a family member suffers from alcohol addiction, when we can see that the only way family members have dealt with anger is by numbing their emotions with alcohol. It becomes easier to see our individual dysfunction within the larger cauldron of the family, which may have been bubbling away unchecked, unprocessed and unconscious for several generations.
Within a storytelling circle, other people notice patterns that we have never seen. Somehow it is comforting to know that what feels like our personal pathology is really a larger thread running through the entire ancestral tapestry, shared by many others in the group. When others witness our pathology and when the antecedents are seen in the context of family patterns, it lessens our shame. Being witnessed can also break the spell or the hold some of these patterns have on our lives. Hearing other stories can also help put our own story into perspective.