The Importance of Ancestors


The Druid sat silently in her hut. As the Juniper smoke rose she could feel their presence…they were arriving from the Otherworld to assist her in her workings. The Druid knew that we are all descendants of the Gods, and the farther back we go in our ancestral line, the closer we are to that ultimate perfection. The honoring of those that came before us creates a link with the Spirit World through which we can break lineages of curses, help heal wounds, and much more.

Know who came before you…

As a Shaman in training I have been learning more and more about the importance of Ancestors, mine and those of all Creation. But, an experience I had last week sealed that in an astounding way. In past mystical experiences, I have spoken to my Grandpa–the most loving man I’ve ever had in my life. I have done ecstatic dance where my Great Aunt entered my body and spoke…but I had never had the opportunity to heal my lineage, until now.

From last Wednesday until last Sunday I was in the Mystical Judaism Module at the Chaplaincy Institute in Berkeley, CA. As part of our preparation for ministry we do an immense amount of work to become pure vessels–on both spiritual and emotional levels. As part of this purification process we created Genograms. If you have never encountered the idea of a Genogram, let me share with you a quick description:

“A genogram (also known as a McGoldrick-Gerson study,[1] a Lapidus Schematic[1] or a Family Diagram[2]) is a pictorial display of a person’s family relationships and medical history. It goes beyond a traditional family tree by allowing the user to visualize hereditary patterns and psychological factors that punctuate relationships.[1] It can be used to identify repetitive patterns of behavior and to recognize hereditary tendencies (”

In sacred space we then told the story of Us, using this pictorial diagram. Each individual got to share what made them, them. It was tough stuff, but also magically healing. That night, in ritual we worked to heal those curses that may have come down through the bloodlines and pooled in our beings. We also had the opportunity to learn from those who came before us. The following is the vision that I had in that sacred space:

I stood within a great clearing; off in the distance trees rose up from mossy earth–the edge of an ancient forest. Suddenly my Maternal Grandmother Daisy ran towards the tree line, but she appeared to me as a small child. I followed close behind my Grandma, amused to see her as a little girl. We entered the forest and came across a woman, resembling my Grandma in many ways, who was spinning and hopping and talking to plants. She collected some on her way. When we got close to her my Grandma’s little-kid voice squeaked, “Sister!” and then she disappeared. I was left along with the woman who I now understood was my Grandma’s cousin, whose name was actually Sister.

I decided to walk up to Sister. She greeted me and asked me who I was. I said I was her cousin Daisy’s Granddaughter–this didn’t seem to phase her, or even seem weird. She just said, “Ahw, that’s what I thought.” I asked her why she collected plants and she said, with her soft Southern drawl, “They fix things, our family has always used ’em…came from way way back when.” She proceeded to say that plant-medicine had been handed down to her from her Mammy.

I then told her that I needed healing, to which she said, “I know.”

“So, what do I need then?”

“Oh that’s easy–Sweet Pearl Onion, and Parsley.”

“Ok, what should I do with those?”

“Oh, you’ll find out all sorts of things when we teach ya…” and just as she said that, Goddess Brigid appeared, far off in the forest, appearing as if she had been following us the whole time, “but, for now, eat ’em. Eat lots of Parsley every day…and the lil’ onions too. And here, put this in your heart,” she said, and lifted a small pearl onion, cut in half. I took it from her and peered into it’s center–the shapes being reminiscent of the Goddess tattoo I have on my chest.

For some reason this didn’t seem odd to me and I lifted the onion, cut side now facing out, to my heart chakra and placed it inside…as I did so pearl light poured out of the space and then it was swallowed up by my skin.

Then everything faded away…

One of the things I have always felt in my bones is that I came from healers…this vision seems to have confirmed that. But, the medicine that this ancestor of mine offered is what is the most important. That night I went home and researched the spiritual and homeopathic importance of the plants in my vision. Very quickly I found out two breathtaking things:

1) The Egyptians believed that onions were one of the most sacred healing plants from the Gods. AND, Alexander the Great made all of his soldiers eat onions before battle, because they provide pure courage.
2) Parsley is a holistic cure for rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel.

Now, let me explain why I consider this knowledge to be astonishing. First of all, I am going into an internship in June for my first round of training to be a Hospital Chaplain. I’m terrified. Each day I think about how I need to bring my Joan of Arc icon with me to invoke Courage! And, the main physical ailment I’ve been dealing with as of late is carpal tunnel.

The vision that I had in this sacred space has affirmed me in so many ways. And as time progresses I will work more with my Ancestors to invoke healing and change. It has also given me the courage to start doing my Shamanic work in the World, and I will also be offering Ancestral Lineage Healing Sessions and Herbal Wisdom after the Summer months are over–keep an eye on my website for updates.

In Honor of ALL of Those Who Have Come Before,
The Sacred Circle Shaman, Pamela Dawn

(Photos: TOP – Altar at Chaplaincy Institute, Robe by Dr. Rev. Megan Wagner of MIDDLE – My Grandma and Grandpa shortly after they met.)


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