Ancient Ancestors: Our Ancient Bloodlines & Ways to Connect
When we think of our ancestors, most think of our recently deceased. But ancestor work doesn’t mean just working with your grandmother or great uncle. It also means reaching out to those in the distant past – to the ancients. There are literally trillions to connect with, and many are just waiting for YOU to reach out. Working with our ancient ancestors in our spiritual practice is not only protective, it’s healing for you and your entire bloodline. But sometimes we don’t know where to start. Here’s how to connect with your OUR ancient ancestors.
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Who Are OUR Ancient Ancestors?
When we get into ancestor work, many people say, “but I don’t know who my ancestors are. How can I work with them?” You don’t have to know who any of your ancestors are to start working with them on the other side. In fact, I don’t know many people who know exactly who their ancient ancestors were unless they were able to trace their bloodlines back that far. Which is rare.
So I tell people to think like this – if you have European blood, you probably have DNA from the Celts, Germanic tribes, Greek or Roman, Slavic or Baltic, etc. Begin your journey by studying the ancient cultures of Europe. The same goes if you know your people are from Africa – begin looking into the various cultures and empires in Africa in ancient times. And Asia, the Americas, the Middle East, etc.
We Have One Ancient Mother
Scientists have traced every human alive today back to one woman who lived in Africa some one hundred fifty thousand years ago. So, the point here is, if you go back far enough, we are all from the same mother. From the same place. If you have no idea where your ancient ancestors come from, you at least know you had a mother in Africa over a hundred thousand years ago. Could you reach out and connect to the “mitochondrial eve”? Of course!
You Have MILLIONS of Ancestors!
Also, keep this in mind – the further back you go on your family tree, the MORE ancestors you have. Think about how many grandparents you have, then think about adding their parents onto your tree. Your tree goes from 4 ancestors to 16. Then add your great grandparents’ parents. Now sixteen becomes 32! Go back three hundred years in your ancestral line and your direct ancestors increase to over four thousand. What if we go back one thousand years (to Medieval times) – your family tree expands even further. If we look at our ancestors collectively over time, there are truly so many.
6 Ways to Connect to Your Ancient Ancestors
1. Study Ancient History
As mentioned previously, one of the first ways to connect with your ancient ancestors is to study ancient history. Read and research about ancient civilizations, for example Ancient Egypt, the Celtic Empire, the Mayans, the Romans, Greeks, Nubians, Aborigines, Hebrew, etc. The more you learn about ancient times, the more connected you’ll feel to the ancient ancestors.
2. Set Up Sacred Space
Just like with your recent ancestors, your ancient ancestors would appreciate sacred space in your home too. In this case, you can have your ancient and recent ancestors share an altar space. Often I recommend to keep ancestors and gods separate, but ancestors whether ancient or recent are still in your bloodline. If you don’t have an ancestor altar already, time to set one up: a tabletop, counter-space, shelf, etc. with at least one white candle, a representation of your ancestors, and a cup of water to start.
3. Guided Meditation to Meet Your Ancient Ancestral Guide
I HIGHLY recommend reading Daniel Foor’s book Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing. There are some amazing practices to connect with your ancient ancestors, including a guided meditation to meet one of your ancestral guides. Even if you can’t get the book, look online for ancestral guide meditations AND pray before the meditation that you want to connect with an ancient ancestral guide. If you don’t want to do a guided meditation, try listening to shamanic drumming and putting your intention out there. Try our pathworking meditation to meet your ancestral guide here.
4. Ask for Signs and Messages
At your ancient ancestor altar, make an offering to our ancient ancestors and while doing so ask them for a sign or message. They will send you a sign via an animal, passing conversation, TV/media recurrences, or an ancient ancestor may come to you in a dream. Record your dreams and experiences.
5. DNA Kits
This recommendation is controversial. Some people enjoy having their DNA analyzed while others warn against it for ethical reasons (medical insurance companies using your data, etc.) I’ve done my DNA through ancestry and 23andMe. I’ll be honest and tell you it’s revealed things about my family that we NEVER wanted to find out. Deep, dark secrets. That being said, it’s also guided me to a spiritual place in which I’ve traced my matrilineal line back to one woman who lived in Ireland some ten thousand years ago. If you get your DNA done through 23andMe, and you’re female, you can also find your “clan mother” via your mitrochondrial DNA. Learn more about the concept of clan mothers here.
If you ever wanted to know your ethnicity, modern technology has provided a simple way – DNA kits. Order a kit from Ancestry, 23andMe, etc. They send you a tube to spit in. You seal it and ship it back. Then in a few weeks’ time, a full ethnicity report is ready for you to review. It’s simple and fairly affordable to do. Interestingly, modern witches, pagans and spiritual individuals have found this process enlightening and helpful when working spiritually with ancestors. Here’s the downlow on DNA kits, ancestor work, your ethnicity and how it might influence your spiritual practice.
The DNA Kit Basics
There’s quite a few companies out there providing DNA kits including Ancestry, 23andMe, and MyHeritage. What exactly does a DNA kit do? A DNA kit is sent to you by one of these companies upon purchase, you’ll spit in a tube, then send it back for that company to analyze against their DNA database. Once they’ve analyzed your DNA sample, they send you a report or you log into their website to view your report on your ethnic matches. This means these companies will tell you if you share similar DNA to people in other countries and regions. For example, you might have DNA that’s 50% English, 30% Nigerian, 10% Native American and 10% Norwegian. 23andMe also offers a “health” DNA analysis which will tell you if you have DNA markers for particular diseases. You can opt in or out of this feature with 23andMe. I opted out, to be honest.
Which DNA Kit is Best?
I’ve purchased DNA kits from both Ancestry and 23andMe. I haven’t quite made up my mind which is better, and I’ll tell you why. Ancestry claims to have a larger database of DNA to compare yours to; however, 23andMe seems to be more accurate when comparing to my actual family tree. 23andMe also provides females with their mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) haplogroup and males with their Y-DNA haplogroup. If you’re female, your mtDNA links you to an ancient clan mother. Learn more about the 7 clan mothers of Europe here. Ancestry updates your DNA results frequently, each time they receive new DNA or update their process, etc. 23andMe also updates your DNA results as they acquire new information, though it doesn’t seem to be as often as Ancestry.
Now, DNA doesn’t work in the way most people think. Many people have this idea that if their mom was mostly Irish and English and their dad was Scottish, then their DNA will come back as just that: 50% Scottish, 25% Irish and 25% English. It almost never comes back like that. Instead, you might find your DNA shows you are mostly Irish with a sprinkling of Scottish and English and maybe a few other things you didn’t know about. Then the person is confused or even upset – how can my Dad be full-blooded Scottish but mine only shows 10%? Because DNA doesn’t work that way. There are many scientific factors that I won’t go into here. But if you don’t understand how DNA works, I recommend researching it before ordering a DNA kit.
Once You Receive Your DNA Kit Results
You sent in your kit, and waited for weeks. Now you finally have your results! But what do you do with this new information about yourself? Take time to allow yourself to absorb and fully understand your results. Was it what you expected? Completely unexpected? Does it match your family tree or what your family’s claims to ethnicity are?
Finding Your ANCIENT Ancestors Through MyTrueAncestry
At this point, you have another option that many modern pagans are finding extremely helpful in connecting with their pagan roots: MyTrueAncestry. MyTrueAncestry is another DNA service, but it’s not like the others mentioned above. MyTrueAncestry takes your raw DNA results and compares it to their database of ancient to Medieval archaeological DNA samples. Then they tell you your closest ancient and Medieval ancestors’ cultures including Romans, Germanic tribes of many kinds, Celts and specific Celtic tribes, indigenous North and South American tribes and peoples, ancient Mediterranean peoples and many more! This particular DNA service has taken my pagan practice and ancestor work to the next level.
Your DNA and Your Spiritual Practice
What you do with your DNA results spiritually is inevitably up to you. Maybe you’re wondering how a person’s DNA relates to his or her spirituality. Your DNA is what makes up your very being here on this planet. And you acquired your DNA from your ancestors. In fact, millions of people before you have contributed to the making of you. You are a culmination of hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of years of human
DNA on this planet. Your DNA is the essence of who you are, physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is your physical road-map and your link to your ancestral roots.
The DNA Helix, Kundalini and Othala
The symbol of the Hindu concept of Kundalini (a snake-like coil of energy that rests at the base of the spine) looks an awful lot like the DNA helix. This is because DNA is the source of life energy, as is the Kundalini. And where does your DNA come from? Your ancestors. As I write this article, I’ve made a realization the rune Othala looks eerily similar to Kundalini and the DNA helix. The rune Othala means home and hearth, and more importantly – ancestral inheritance. What do you inherit from your ancestors? DNA!
How does a person go about analyzing and applying their DNA results to their spirituality? You will have a mixture of DNA from various places. One way to implement your ancestry into your spiritual practice is to first study the history and culture of your ancestors. This means if you find out your DNA is mostly from Eastern Europe, study the different countries there, the cultures, the ancient and
modern history, the religious practices, etc. If you find out you have mostly Iberian DNA, study Spanish history, culture, ancient religions, etc. This is how you begin to connect with your elevated ancestors.
Start with your majority DNA, then make your way through the smaller amounts of DNA down into the “trace regions”. For me, that meant diving into the history of England and Scotland, then studying my Irish, German, French and Norwegian roots. In addition, MyTrueAncestry connected me with my Danish Viking ancestors of whom I NEVER would have known about if it wasn’t for ancient archaeogenetics!
6. Sacred Pagan Ancestral Pilgrimage
If you have an idea as to where some of your ancient ancestors come from, make it a point to travel there someday. Are your people from Scotland? Germany? Italy? Thailand? Peru? Even if you never physically make it there, the planning and research that goes into a pagan ancestral pilgrimage forges a connection between you, your ancient ancestors, and the land.
7. Work With Your Ancestors’ Gods
If you’re pagan, or follow an earth-based spiritual path, consider working with or learning about your ancient ancestors’ beliefs including animism and ancient gods and goddesses. Learn more about working with your ancestors’ gods here.
More on Ancestor Work:
- What is Ancestral Witchcraft? An Intro
- How to Connect With Your Ancestors
- Must-Have Crystals and Herbs to Connect With Your Ancestors
- Witch Ancestors: How to Find Witches in Your Family Tree