As you gather the bones of your ancestors, you open the Pandora’s box of your lineage. Some bones belong to the honorable skeletons and some bones belong to dreadful skeletons in the closet. The trick is to accept and honor your heritage no matter how dysfunctional or toxic. The other trick is to dig as deeply as you can into the collective pool of memory to recover what is lost.
There will be many unanswered questions and many unsolved mysteries. Sometimes you will find clear antecedents to the family dysfunctions and other times you will not have a clue. Recovering what is lost takes great courage and fortitude.
So much in your family history disappears. Then someone in the generational lines takes up the task of recovering what has been lost. Is that person you? If you are reading this, it is most probably YOU! Usually the most conscious person in the lineage ends up digging into the family roots to clear out and release what needs to be released and recover the treasures that have been buried.
When the collective memories of a lineage are lost, you lose connection to your ground of being, to the ancestors that have walked before you and to the tales and mentoring that the old stories bring. Then, when you do recover what has been lost, you may be left with feelings of deep grief and sorrow.
We all grieve the loss of ancestral wisdom in our lives and the loss of initiated elders. We weep for the pain and suffering our ancestors have endured. We grieve all the abandonments, betrayals, violations and lost loves. Gathering the bones can bring out a deep ocean of unexpressed grief and feelings that have remained unconscious for generations.
And yet, grieving has a purpose – it has a powerful, healing effect on those of us in the present and those who have gone before. It propels us on a search to recover what has fallen into the unconscious. Grieving releases something in the collective unconscious of the tribe, bringing relief and lifting dysfunctional emotional patterns. Grieving is a powerful healing tool and can, in some cases, release the most tenacious and treacherous negative patterns.
It is often up to us to gather and settle the lost remnants of our ancestors and put them in some kind of order and pattern that makes sense to us. We search for the bones of our family to rectify the losses and to recover memory. We do it to keep the stories alive. Remembering the ancestors means remembering the good and noble things that come from them, but it also means learning from the disasters and mistakes that were made
We recover the bones because this healing aids those in the past and those of us in the present, and lays down healthy soil for future generations. Attending to the ancestral inheritance also ensures the continuity of communal life and preserves our sense of belonging to the great circle of life. Gathering the bones helps us to weave our own story into the fabric of the ancestral tapestry. We need to set our will and intention on retrieving what has been lost in the unconscious, uncovering all we can and not giving up.