This is a beautifully written article by Tanja Meyburgh of African Constellations. Tanja is a very experienced constellations facilitator and psychologist. There are some powerful healing sentences at the end of the article that I encourage you to use. One possible method is to visualise each ancestor starting with your mother, then father, then grandmother and so on and repeat the healing sentences to each ancestor. I will say no more as Tanja says it better…
Our ancestors are real people that lived and breathed and existed here on earth. They loved, they worked, they lost, they had their own dreams and longings. In many cases they did what they thought was best for themselves and their families. To many of them, the way we live now is inconceivable and completely foreign. It was a different time and place with different rules, and yet they are still very much a part of us.
The memory of all they lived and experienced is coded in our DNA. It is a part of our epi-genes, and it is part of our collective unconscious. Knowing where we come from can help us to better know ourselves, and also to give us an indication of what strengths, gifts and qualities we choose to take forward in us from them. The modern world has forgotten the rituals and customs we kept for connecting to our ancestors and acknowledging their impact on us and our lives. These days, unless we have an ancestral tradition, if we want to connect we need to create our own rituals for communion, remembering and acknowledging those that came before. When we do, there is often peace, resource and beauty to be found there, amongst the trauma and the stories we may have been told.
In Southern Africa cosmologies the family ancestors are acknowledged as the ancestors associated with the element of air. One can also acknowledge and speak to the ancestors of the soil, the water, and the fire for resource and support. These include those that lived and were buried in the soil where we live, from which our food grows and we eat; ancestors of distant countries and places that pass through us in the water that we drink as it cycles around the globe and brings us interest in foreign philosophies and practices; and the ancestors who are bonded to our families through perpetration, murders or battles – the hot ancestors.
They are given a place so that they do not come and “steal sheep in the night”. The inclusion of this wider conception of ancestors brings us into relationship with the greater connections we have to nature, the earth, burial places and water that require reverence and respect for our well-being as human beings. It is not our place to judge what our ancestors did, or how they lived their lives, but rather to use what we have been given to do the best we can.
The invitation is to connect in some way to your ancestral lineage, and those of the place where you live. Whether you knew them or not, you can create a dedicated place in your home or garden where you can visit them and spend time in reflection. Traditionally by the hearth, photographs, mementos, stones, candles or special representative objects can be placed in honor of the place of each one, each lineage, or the whole. An ancestor tree can be planted in the garden where you sit and spend time in communion with your ancestry. You may like to thank them for what you received from them, or ask them for support and guidance in what lies ahead. You may like to create a small picture book for your children and spend time in the evenings introducing them to their ancestors and the gifts or qualities you see in them that are of resource for future generations.
Possible healing sentences:
You are my ancestors, and I am your child, your grand-child, your great-grandchild.
All that it is that happened in your lives, I honor it and leave it with you.
You will always be a part of me.
Please give me your blessing to take from you what resources me and future generations.
Thank you for giving me life.