How The Ancestors Help Us Heal

My Great-Great Grandparents. She survived rape. He killed the attacker.
They Get My Sexual Assault Trauma.

My ancestors have been speaking to me for a while now.

Two years ago author John Beckett wrote a blog about the then-current situation here in America. Mr. Beckett had been saying for a while that his Gods (especially The Morrigan, whom we both have a relationship with) were saying a storm was coming, and more recently that the storm is here.

I live in hurricane country. When a big one is on the way, you get days of warnings. You watch that “cone of uncertainty” like a hawk to see how likely you are to be hit. If it does come your way, you have a limited amount of time to prepare – the last direct hit here left me with no power or water for 3 days. I was prepared and made it through fine.

Even if you don’t have Gods like John Beckett’s, or even if you do and they’ve not been speaking to you, the signs of trouble have been building for a few years. Brexit. The rise of the far Right in Europe. Then of course we have Trump’s America, where we’ve had children ripped away from parents at the border and stuffed in cages, more unarmed black men senselessly killed by police.

An Overworked, Exhausted Nurse Tries To Keep Treating Coronavirus Patients

And now a global pandemic that our leadership was woefully unprepared for. As I write today, there are at least 514,415  cases of coronavirus in the US and at least 20,071 people have died from the disease. Millions are out of work, and those who do still have jobs are literally risking their lives to keep them.

If this were a hurricane, it would be a strong Cat 5 – a huge monster like 2017’s Harvey – and right now we’re feeling the outer bands. The wind is starting to gust and the rain is just getting going.

It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. And it’s going to be traumatic for the country, for the world – and for a whole lot of individual people. The peak of the Pandemic hasn’t even hit the US yet.

We All Have A Role To Play

Some of us will march and protest when it’s again safe to do so. We need fundamental change to our health care system so that coverage is never again tied to employment. We need to reinstate the pandemic response protocols the Obama administration handed to Trump, which he promptly ripped apart. We need a fully funded CDC, WHO, and up-to-date stockpiles of PPE and ventilators. Hopefully all of us are calling our representatives regularly. And we damn well better ALL vote in November. Meanwhile, we do what we can from home.

I once shared a beautiful Facebook post by Lillian Mardöllsdottir, which said in part:

Protect those who you can protect. Whoever you are you can do something. Every little bit of effort contributes to the greater whole.

We can turn this around. No matter how dark it gets, no matter how lost we feel, we can turn this around.

The Dead care. The Gods care. May they stand by us in all ways as we work to overcome this darkness.

As for me, The Morrigan has made clear that a good part of my role is here, on this blog. This blog is a place to discuss trauma – what it is, what it does and ways to heal from it. And hopefully by sharing my stories and those of others, it will also be a discussion of how to survive when you’re in the middle of trauma. Not just the one we’re facing now, but the ones you and I faced in our past, and the ones we’ll face again in the future.

Many of you reading this have also been through trauma, and you, too, can help with this. I’d like to start a podcast talking to people who’ve experienced Trauma, especially those who found healing on a pagan path. Beyond that, in your own life, no matter where you are in your healing process you’re ahead of someone who could use a hand getting as far as you have. Call them, text them, facebook them… whatever means you have of communicating with them. Be there. Be the lifeline for someone who is drowning right now.

And if you’re the one who’s drowning right now, please reach out. I KNOW how hard it is to do so, I KNOW you feel like a burden. I know. But reach out to someone you can trust. Don’t let “social distancing” become self isolation. We need you to come out on the other end of this, ok?

For Now, Strengthen Your Spiritual Connections. Especially Your Ancestors.

Part of this battle is taking place in the Otherworld. Many experienced Pagans have been noting an upsurge in Otherworldly activity for the last several years. When author Morgan Daimler shared Beckett’s post above on her personal Facebook page, she said, “People have been getting warnings for years about trouble coming to this world – not just America – in the form of social upheaval.
I’ve been getting warnings for years, at least since 2012, of upheaval and trouble in the Otherworld that would and is spilling over into this world.”

Keep or Start Making Offerings

We need our Otherworld allies, especially our Ancestors. Because I guarantee some of them have survived things as bad or worse than what we’re about to go through.

Now is a really good time to open up communication with your Ancestors, if you haven’t already. Light some candles. Say their names (I usually call the family names of my 4 grandparents – 8 surnames total – “and every name that flowed into those.”) Make regular offerings of food and water.

Nearly every man in my line who was of fighting age fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. Which means I have a lot of grandmothers who suffered through those years trying to keep small subsistence farmsteads going in the backwoods of Western North Carolina.

My many-great grandparents and I don’t agree on their cause, but they have a lot to teach me about surviving when the shit really truly has passed it’s encounter with the fan. When the shit has covered you and your life from head to toe. When everywhere your foot falls, you’re knee deep in excrement.

Hair Conrad’s cabin in Tennessee, which he was forced to abandon when the Cherokee were removed to Oklahoma

My 6th great grandmother, Onai Ani’-Tsi’skwa was born in northeast Tennessee in 1760. Her ancestors had survived waves of plague that swept the Native population from the moment Spanish explorers began exploring Florida. Waves of disease that spread so fast, populations were decimated by white man’s germs long before anyone in their tribe would lay eyes on one. She saw most of her tribe removed on the Trail of Tears, which she somehow escaped. Her son, Hair Conrad, (my 5th great grandfather) was the Cherokee leader of the first detachment on that trail. He survived, but died from illness shortly after arriving in Oklahoma. Onai understands plague and fear and grief. She understands the situation today at our border better than I ever will.

Just before her, the ancestors who left Ulster in the early-to-mid 1700’s had lived under the boot of an oppressor for hundreds of years. On another side, some ancestors were that boot.

Think they can tell me a thing or two about survival? I’m sure you have ancestors that have been through some horrors as well. Let them help you now. Make your offerings, call their names. And then spend some time listening for what they have to say.

Because one thing I’ve learned about Trauma is this: owning it, sharing it, facing it, expressing it – all of that not only helps you heal, it helps others heal as well.

And we’re all going to need healing, now and in the coming times. Let’s get ready. Let’s become the healing we want to see in the world!

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