Updated: Jan 8, 2021
You’ve likely been hearing more about ancestral connection, healing your ancestry and tapping into ancestral wisdom lately. That’s because we, as a society, have been disconnected from our lineages for so long and our Ancestors are waiting for us to make connections with them again, especially if you live in America. If you live in The U.S., especially if you identify as "white" you may feel like you don’t know much about your culture/ancestors-or maybe you do but have no idea how to connect with them because a lot of it wasn’t talked about growing up. Of course, there are still many cultures that are rich in Ancestral healing/connection traditions, to this day. I have noticed that many of my clients are not connected to these traditions and are seeking more, even when they do come from a culture that is rich in said traditions.
Well, whether you know much about your ancestral history or not, you can start connecting with your healthy ancestors in some pretty simple ways! If you’re like me, when I first heard about ancestral healing I felt super intrigued but had no idea where to start. I definitely was overthinking it all and wish I had a simple guide to connect me to my Ancestral Guides. Here are a few effective, simple ways to get the ball rolling on your ancestral work.
A couple side notes, before you get started: I recognize not everyone has the privilege of having even a little bit of knowledge on where they come from. My true belief is even if you don’t feel like you know who your ancestors are and where they come from, we have that wisdom available to us. It’s just a matter of tapping in. So for some of these practices, if you’re not sure, trying closing your eyes, taking a deep breath and seeing what the first ideas, phrases, feelings, places, images are that come forward. Your Ancestors will be trying to tell you. This is a practice of trusting yourself which takes time and surrender! I am happy to be a guide to you or refer you to resources to help you gain more understanding about your lineage. That’s what my work is all about.
Side note #2: Ancestral work can bring up some pretty deep historical traumas + shadow work for people. If you are needing extra support while diving in, I suggest working with an Ancestral healing guide like myself or some kind of therapist/energy healer along the way. We all have Well and Unwell ancestors. In the following practices, I generally call on my healthy Ancestors versus the unwell ones. I save the connection with my unwell ancestors for when I am doing specific healing work. If you want to learn more about what I mean with that, head to my website + check out the ancestral healing section. This podcast interview I did gives details on the basics of Ancestral Healing too!
Pictured above is one of my Ancestral altars filled with fresh flowers, dried flowers, apricots, crystals, water with flower essences, nuts and cinnamon(my ancestors love cinnamon!)
Anyway, let’s dive into these practices and have some fun our Well Ones!
Create an Ancestral Altar
An altar is simply a place you dedicate to intentional connections with Ancestors, Spirit, yourself etc. This can be as simple as a shelf, small table or corner of your room. You don’t need a ton of space for an altar. Make sure the space is clean and intuitively feels comfortable for you to sit, dance, and pray or meditate at.
The altar can be dedicated to any specific intention but in the case of the Ancestral altars, it’s of course dedicated to your Healthy Ancestors. So it should symbolize and honor them.
Questions to ask yourself when creating the altar:
What colors are pleasing to my Ancestors?
Which elements remind me of my Ancestors? For example my Ancestors love the water element so I always have a bowl of water on the altar.
What offerings would my Ancestors like on the altar? Overall your intuition is your best guide in creating the altar! What are you called to place on it for your Ancestors?
Ancestors love beauty so flowers, candles, incense, crystals can all be great for your altar! Once you create your altar, if you feel called, send me a picture or tag @itsapriljay so I can see the art of your Ancestral Altar!
2. Cook Foods From Your Ancestry
What foods did your Ancestors eat? If you’re not sure and can ask your family members, ask away! If that’s not an option, which foods have you always been drawn to? If you know places your Ancestors were from, cook a dish from there! For example my Ancestors are from Poland and I grew up eating Polish food but never connected to it as a kid because I just wanted to eat mac and cheese and not perogies---obviously--I was a midwestern kid and cheese is life. But now I value the culture so much more and found some great recipes! Let me know what you end up cooking! You may even want to share some of the dish with your Ancestors by putting some on the Altar for them.
3. Talk + Write to Them
This one is really simple. Just talk to them-literally. This can be out loud, in your head, through singing. What do you want to know about them? Ask. Then listen. What do you want to tell them? Tell them. It’s ok if you don’t feel or hear anything right away. This is a practice and takes lots of reworking unhealed parts of our ego. And depending on your culture, you may connect with them in ways that don’t involve visuals or having auditory experiences. There is no right or wrong way to connect with them!
One of my favorite ways to connect to my Ancestors is through writing. I write them little thank you notes and love letters then keep them in my journal or put them on my Altar. They love it!
4.Listen To Music + Dance With Them
What kind of music do your Ancestors like? Do they have traditional dances? I love looking up traditional dances of my Ancestors and calling them into my space while I watch + dance along to the videos. I even make spotify playlists dedicated to them. You may be able to take virtual classes of your ancestral dances too! Look it up and see what magic is out there! Ancestors love when we dance with them, especially at the Altar to honor them.
5. Visit The Lands of Your Ancestors
If you aren’t sure where your Ancestors come from- set up a session with me so we can explore it or truly, start asking family those questions, if you have the privilege of having family members with that knowledge. I understand not everyone has access to that info but there are other ways we can figure it out!
I get that planning to travel during these times is not ideal but how fun is it to plan a trip to visit the lands of your people! The lands of your people also may mean visiting that place your grandmother grew up which could be right down the street from you. Or it could be traveling across the globe. Wherever you are called, go there with intentions of connecting deeper to your roots and know that you are soaking up such deep wisdom.
You also may ask yourself, have you visited places that just felt like home even if you had not been there before? It is possible your Ancestors came from there or spent time in those lands? These questions are helpful in getting to know the deeper roots of your Ancestors’ homes.
(To the left is an Ancestral altar I made with Rose of Jericho in New Moon infused water with fresh flowers. If you're curious about this ritual, join me for a New Moon Ceremony over at Ceremony Space)
What’s on your Ancestral Altar? Send me a picture if you feel called or tag @itsapriljay on instagram!
I would love to hear how these practices go for you! These are tools I use daily in my rituals to continue to get to know my Well Ancestors. I know some of these practices may take time to adjust to because many of us are not raised to talk or dance with the dead but the more we get to know our Ancestors, the deeper we can heal our ancestral wounds and tap into our ancient wisdom. We will be diving into all of this in the upcoming course Ancestral Abundance Academy which can be found at The Ceremony Space Community!
Blessings to you and your Well Ones as you make deeper connections!
In love + Ancestral Abundance,
April + The Ancestors