If we embodied everything they manifested and that eventually lead to us…
You want to imagine yourself having a thousand strings attached to the back of your body. Then you make a prayer and ask your ancestors to pull those thousand strings. They pull on them, guiding you through your journey. To make sure you don’t get lost in anyone else’s vortex, but yours and what is yours to handle. Whenever you fall forward or get a little lost, your ancestors will pull on your strings. Bringing you back to you.
This was told to me by a curandera apprentice. You see, in my culture, there is a belief that mental and physical illness is rooted in spiritual breakages or misalignments.
Susto, for example, is believed to be due to the soul leaving the body or being present in the body but existing as fragmented. This emptiness or brokenness is an outcome of being exposed to a traumatic or highly stressful situation.
Curanderas are the faith healers who cure these wounds. Curndismo is the practice of this healing.
What she told me, however, was intriguing for me due to the reason that growing up, I really wasn’t exposed to the idea of being guided by my ancestors.
Sure, my parents would talk about the grandparents and great-grandparents I never got to meet, but most of the discussion would be about what they were like. Despite my mind creating a picture of my ancestors from hearing those stories; I didn’t feel connected to them.
At times I wonder if this disconnect has contributed to my feeling lonely and empty at times. Religion often states that if we do not open ourselves to God, we will feel lonely and empty. But even when I opened myself completely to God as a teen looking for life’s answers, there was still something missing.
It’s hard to say if feeling more connected to my ancestors would have alleviated these feelings. I don’t think most psychologists, counselors, or even priests often recommend praying to your ancestors as your first step to recovery or betterment. However, I also see the logical side to this.
In mindfulness and meditation practices, for example, we are often asked to focus on the present. If we pray or ask for guidance from a greater source, then it can be assumed that it is regarding the future. But how many spiritual practices encourage us to embrace our past?
I don’t mean the past we have lived. I meant the past before us. All that we embody in our existence but never actually were because it was our ancestors who lived in that past.
I wonder if we placed more focus on thinking about our ancestors. Such as the inconveniences they faced. The hardships they endured. The practices and strategies they needed to implement to survive and move forward. If we embodied everything they manifested and that eventually lead to us, how empowering this would be?
Would it feel that you have an army by your side? Sure, they wouldn’t function like a military army with armed weapons. But to believe that you have a whole workforce of past spirits supporting you. That even when nothing feels by your side, everything you come from is there with you.
At least for me personally, it’s still difficult to fully conceptualize what this would be like. Because there are multiple precursors that need to be met for this to work, such as believing that we become a spirit after our passing. And even after we pass and become spirited, we have some form of power or energy that can be used to guide living souls. And well, even the belief that that power or energy exists.
Interested in reading more? Sign up here for my bi-weekly newsletter!