Reconnecting to your ancestral roots and family heritage can be a wonderful way to honour, those who have gone before us and those that we are still in a relationship with. In 2011 I started training to be a facilitator of Family and Systemic Constellations. That journey started after my great-grandmother Margaret sent me a message from ‘Spirit‘ during a workshop.
In 2015 I left my mental health job and started on a personal journey researching my family heritage and reconnecting to my ancestral lineage. I applied for a Professional Doctorate in Systemic Practice in 2015 and 2016 and then stepped off after realising that I had more personal healing work to do before I could commit to the course.
Over the past few years, I have retraced my ancestral steps revisiting Guyana the land of my parents birth and spending time in the Caribbean. In 2016, I travelled to Burkina Faso on a study tour with Malidoma Some, Dagara Elder, author and gifted African Diviner. During that trip I learnt more about African healing practices then I could have anticipated and I started ‘Remembering‘. Everything felt familiar and comfortable, the traditions, the rituals, the people, I felt at HOME.
Obstacles in the Way
Along the way, I met obstacles, a cancer diagnosis, a struggle with depression and lack of motivation. Isolation much of it self-prescribed and family loss and bereavement. Finally, in January 2018 I arrived in Benin and stepped onto what I later learned was my family ancestral home, I had found ‘Roots’. And it had taken over 50 years to arrive!
This post has been updated in 2018 as I finally commence the Doctorate that had eluded me earlier. I have found that this personal journey is aligned to my professional path, I can’t separate them. My Systemic Constellations practice is evolving into an African Healing Ritual. I have found my professional creative voice in my writings and graphic drawings. And in Benin, I found the indigenous wisdom that I have long searched for, a spiritual practice that is a form of initiation and a Rite of Passage into my future life.
Reconnection to my Ancestral Line
My starting aim was to reconnect with family members across generations and find out more about my family heritage and ancestral line. But in the process, I realised that I was starting to ‘Remember’ lost history, forgotten ways of thinking about the world and I had found an indigenous world-view that I understood.
I started to look deeper into my ancestral family heritage, not only because I wanted to know more about my parent’s early lives, but also about how their choices had impacted my life. I wanted to start healing the difficult aspects of my childhood that remained unresolved. And I wanted to lay claim to a community life that had been left behind.
Starting to Remember
Have I managed to achieve all this? Not fully, is it ever even possible to go back? But I have begun a process of ‘Remembering’ that is impacting both my personal and professional life and it is these stories and reflection that I bring to this blog. I have begun to embrace my ancestors and ancestral line as it has given me a new perspective on life, identity, culture and sense of belonging in the world.
After many years of searching, I have found a more peaceful internal personal and professional space to reside in. And this blog ‘The Wisdom of the Ancestors’ is now the home of my personal voice and linked to my professional practice and academic path.
If you are reading this you too may be seeking a deeper connection to self, a place to belong in your family or community of choice. You may just want to reflect on your current life and what it says about who you are in the world. Or be building your professional practice, I hope these musings are useful on your journey!
Sonya’s first published articles appeared in the Training and Development Methods and Coaching at Work journals in 2006. She returned to writing in 2019 with articles for the Systemic Constellations Journal, The Knowing Field and Counselling and Therapy Journal, Therapy Today. Sonya is currently writing a commissioned book, that explores Transgenerational Therapy and Ancestral Remembering in the African Diaspora.