What pain do we carry for our ancestors? What unresolved pain do we carry within us for which we either blame or pity them? That we in turn might pass on to our children, for which they will later blame or pity us?
What ancestral patterns can find their completion in US, can finally be resolved and healed through these present incarnations in which we find ourselves? This is what I see: part of he mysterious design of a human lineage is this sacred opportunity to pass a medicine torch of healing backward and forward though time.
For some of us, our ancestors met absolute brutality: the profound horror and shame of the Holocaust, the immense tragedy and guilt of African American slavery, sickening rape and genocide of countless Indigenous cultures, the scars of terror and scarcity following every war and economic depression; generations of unfathomable human cruelty, racism, religious atrocity, sexism, addiction and abuse. If we go back far enough, into anyone’s ancestry, we find tragedy and horror. We are the descendants of the murderers and the murdered.
For some of us perhaps our immediate ancestry holds less dramatic, yet still substantial human wounding~ the fist of a father, the whip of a mother, the deep grief of an orphan, the unshed tears of a grandmother who lost her own mother at birth; the suppressed guilt and rage of a grandfather who fought in a war against his choosing; a great-grandmother who buried her infant, a great-uncle priest who molested his nieces and nephews, a great-aunt who was beaten inside the womb; the daughter of suicide, the son of Cancer.
What wounding of our ancestors now lives inside our cells, in the very fibers of our beating hearts; subtly or blatantly lives in the way we relate to our lover, in the way we speak to our children, in the way we feel about money, about the work we do in the world, the way we live inside our own bodies, the way we breathe, relate to food, to sex, to our dearly troubled Mother Earth? What unhealed wounds, grief, terror, shame, and despair, did our ancestors take to the grave with them? What was passed down to us, energetically~ what gifts, yes~ and also what physical, emotional, mental and spiritual dis-ease was passed down? That is here within us for us to live with now, to work with, and when we are finally called, to heal, within ourselves and within them~ in service of freedom for us all?
Energy Medicine is truly profound: is neither bound by space nor time, not limited by life or death; can penetrate, illuminate and liberate the past, the present, and the future.
And so in honor of Mother’s Day this year, held in the darkest womb of night, I set out to clear my direct Matriarchal lineage~ that spanning from my dear great grandmother Mabo, whom I was deeply attached to and died when I was 9, through my maternal grandmother who is presently 92, still deeply beautiful and lucid, to my own beloved amazing mother, to myself, and to my precious daughter Arayla Grace who is now 9.
Through neutral eyes of respect and gratitude, I could see a torch of beauty that has been passed down through the generations: it is a torch of true, deep elegance, of radiant self-respect, a torch of reverence for art and gardens and the winged ones, an appreciation for real intelligence and authentic creativity, a genetic blessing of physical regality, of clear blue eyes, straight spines and long fingers, embodying power, strength and grace.
And alongside this torch of beauty, there runs a deep, raging river of grief. An immense river of grief and unhealed sorrow has run through the hearts of the women of my lineage. A torch of deep pain in relation to the masculine has been passed through the generations, an immense sense of emotional wounding in being recipients of verbal abuse; a pattern of being somehow trapped in heart-wrenching disappointment, depression and self-betrayal. And there has been a pattern of taking this grief, and turning it inwards, as a silent war against the body, in body-image disorders and unhealthy obsession with thinness. In more recent generations this grief has taken on an additional flavor of anxiety and primal fear of loss, born of early-life trauma.
And so I sat there in the dark of night at the heart of the flame, and slowly, painfully, with many tears, with breath, and sacred smoke, prayed deeply to cleanse us all. My beautiful great-grandmother Mabo, who has been gone from this world for 31 years, my exquisite grandmother who waits now, having outlived her husband and all of her closest friends, at the gateway for her time, my mother who walks through life with truly generous beauty as a living force of creative inspiration, my own self who wishes only to live surrendered as love in service, and my beloved radiant daughter, who is the culmination of all that is most wise, clear and true within us all.
I remember when I was newly pregnant for the first time with my daughter and knew in my heart she was a girl, I was suddenly consumed with the horrified realization that she could receive limbic imprints of anything unresolved within me! How this inspired me to purify myself of anything I could perceive within myself that might cause her pain, or fear, or self-hatred. I worked hard to clear any last tendrils of body-image weirdness from my cells, any embodied pain of separation from Source, estrangement from the Mother Earth, any way in which I could feel myself not entirely relaxed in my own being and life. So frightened I was of infecting her with anything less than the fullest knowing of herself as Grace itself, Truth Itself, Love Itself.
And yet, humbly I see, these last 10 years since her conception I have still been living out the karma of my own manifestation of this torch of grief, unconsciously committed to playing out its place in my own heart and story. And so now, finally available to attend to this healing, I could begin to truly presence this piece of the work I am alive for, bringing the medicine of liberation to the long line of women I come from, and, grace willing, to the long line of women who will follow me, as well.
And so as I opened to heal this matriarchal ancestral torch of grief within my own being, I was finally clear enough to reach my feathers back through time and clear~ with my prayers, my tears, my breath and my light~ the grief that lived inside my dear great-grandmother, and her mother, and her mother before that. Then clearing down the line, my beautiful grandmother, and then my mother, and myself. Then I glanced into the present blossoming heart of my daughter, and was heartbroken to notice small places where she had already been touched by this torch of sorrow. Tears fell from my eyes as I energetically noticed the places where she had already dutifully picked up the torch, where in spite of my best intentions, due to my own limitations and blind spots I had already unconsciously passed this torch of pain, of illusion, of self-betrayal to her. And so I reached my feathers into her heart as well, cleansing her soul, cleansing her emotional body, her mental body, cleansing the holy ovum she carries in her ovaries, cleansing her sweet maiden womb.
When the light of dawn began to fill the room, and I had done all I could see to do, cleared all I could see to clear, I sat, quiet and blessed, humbled by the grace of such a chance to love like this. I saw that in truth we can work to heal the ancestry of ALL people, of the entire human race, all men and all women, inside the simple willingness to meet and rise to the occasion of healing these wounds within our own bodies, minds, hearts and souls.
And a medicine vision came to me, a gorgeous, blessed possibility, a vision of someday, after my earthwalk has passed:
I could see my beloved future great-granddaughter-to-be, Arayla’s daughter’s daughter, a luminous youmg woman of elegance, power and love, sitting at the altar of her own making, lit by the light of her own flame, with my bright red blood pumping in her beautiful heart, as she works with her feathers and tears, reaching back through time, healing me, her great-grandmother, clearing me of what I cannot clear myself, clearing her own sweet self, and then stretching her feathers forward in time: healing and clearing the future generations, the ones that have yet to come.
This is the way. We simply show up and do what we can while we can. We reach backward and we stretch forward, passing the medicine torch of healing to all we can touch, all we can see, all we can imagine.
Like this, so simply, we offer our lives: as love in all directions.