The Mother of All Ancestor Questions

If I were pushed to engage for some reason by my other ancestors, I would only do so under their direct supervision and protection. It is possible to heal and restore a line, and it's not impossible for such an ancestor to come to a point of wanting to make reparation but it would take some convincing for me from other, reputable members of my line before I'd go there. Says Laura,  "If trusted ancestors give you the push or your Gods do, I'd listen. The ancestor in question may be trying to clean up the family wyrd and make amends. If so, I believe we should help. If they are willing to work to fix it."

Question C
This too, sadly, is not so uncommon, especially in the U.S. Some of you may wonder what exactly I mean in the way I phrased this question. Well, perhaps you have a lot of Native American blood, and also the blood of one of the military men who committed their careers to exterminating them. Perhaps you have the blood of Nazi officers and the blood of Jewish victims. Maybe you share Hutu and Tutsi ancestors. Perhaps you have Native American blood from two different tribes: one that fought the European invaders and one that collaborated. Perhaps you have the blood of African slaves and the blood of slave you see where I'm going with this? Those conflicts don't just miraculously evaporate once everyone directly involved is dead.

You may be called as part of your ancestor work, to engage with both sides of this ancestral equation and it very likely won't be easy. Here's Laura:

Most people who have ancestors from the African Diaspora also carry some European blood, specifically the blood of slave-owners and rapists. I have this in my own family tree. I also have Native American blood and European blood, which carries with it its own history of genocide. How I deal with it is like this: I do not have an issue with the Europeans in my tree who did not commit genocide and who did not buy, own and rape my great-great grandmothers. I do not and will not honor or acknowledge those Spaniards who owned my foremothers. They get nothing from me. I call them out and say if you ever want me to give you a thing then you know the debt you owe, and the price is working to make things right, work to heal the damage that was done. Some ancestors are unrepentant and they are too toxic to touch and you may have to pick a side if there are branches that cannot be reconciled.

You may find the same dynamic occurring if one of your ancestors was an abused spouse and the other the abuser, or an abused child and the abusive parent. In fact, you may find that in order to begin untangling these threads and bringing some measure of healing to your lines, you may be forced to go back very, very far, to some of your oldest ancestors and get them involved. It's ok to call upon other ancestors for help with this. They have a vested interest in getting things right. If the oppressor, abuser, attacker sincerely wants to make reparation, you'll have an easier time of it, but note that does not mean "easy."

Beyond that, just understand you're in for some hard work, work that won't go away just because you might decide to refuse to deal with it.

So that is all for now. You've had the opinion of two ancestor workers on these questions. If any ancestor workers reading this have any experiences with these issues or any further suggestions, we'd love to hear them. should anyone have any further questions about aspects of ancestor work, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Thanks to S. for asking this question in the first place, and a huge thank you to Laura Patsouris for engaging in an after-hours consult!

7/19/2011 4:00:00 AM
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    About Alonzo L. Gaskill
    Alonzo L. Gaskill is an author, editor, theologian, lecturer, and professor of World Religions. He holds degrees in philosophy, theology, and biblical studies. He has authored more than two-dozen books and numerous articles on various aspects of religion; with topics ranging from world religions and interfaith dialogue, to scriptural commentaries, texts on symbolism, sacred space, and ritual, and even devotional literature.