Ancestral Healing, the Shamanic Way

Daniel Foor, Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing. Bear & Company, 2017

Many cultures acknowledge the role of ancestors and recently-deceased relatives in shaping the experience of the living in ways that often escape ordinary perceptions. According to author Daniel Foor, several of the issues that run through families may be caused by dead relatives who have not been able to achieve spiritual healing, thus continuing to haunt their descendants. He also argues that, in order to alleviate or even solve these problems, we can harness the help of our most evolved and benevolent ancestors.

Aside from his academic background as a PhD psychologist, Foor draws on a largely neoshamanic approach to navigate the spirit world. He trained with spiritual specialists in West Africa as well as a Mongolian shaman; he also explored his own family’s Celtic roots and the associated belief system. However, what is particularly refreshing about Foor’s book is that, in addressing a Western audience, it identifies cross-cultural patterns that can be used by anyone to gain access to spiritual dimensions.

The message of Ancestral Medicine is clear: If you want to get in touch with your ancestors, you do not need to conjure the spirits of the Amazonian rainforest or the Siberian tundra; instead, you have to take the plunge into your own inner worlds. The methodology of this approach is mainly intuitive visualization, though drumming may be appropriate, too. Be aware that, depending on your shamanic savvy and the spiritual health of your family lineage, the process may not be entirely safe. If you have never had any contact with your inner worlds, you may want to limit yourself to praying for your deceased–which, according to Foor, is also quite effective in helping restore spiritual balance. If you are a more seasoned shaman or medium, instead, you can proceed as follows:

Conduct genealogical research on your own family, choosing the lineage you will address first. If you are a woman, you may want to start with your mother’s maternal bloodline. If you are a man, instead, you should approach your father’s paternal lineage. Once you have a clearer picture of your family tree, conduct an exploratory trance session during which you identify potentially troubled souls–though without taking any action (adoptees should follow the same process with both their adoptive and their biological lineages). The next step will be to request the help of your ancestral guides. From then on, you will take the back seat as these ancestors work on healing your family tree. Your job will be to identify lineage burdens and blessings and assist your guides as needed; you will also help the recently deceased find their way through the inner worlds and will extend the healing to your relationship with living relatives. Once you follow these procedures, the results of pacifying one’s bloodlines should be felt as physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being at the personal as well as the family level.

In conclusion: There is much healing to be had through spirit work, and Ancestral Medicine provides clear guidance on how to achieve it. If you have been feeling the pain of a family karma that keeps repeating itself across generations, this book is definitely for you. As is always the case with spiritual matters, however, proceed with the due caution.

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