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  • Writer's pictureElyn Selu

Walking with the Ancestors

How bringing presence to your ancestors bring lasting healing to you and your family.

"Native Mary" by Jezli Pacheko at or reach her here,

Just before starting my studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute, I attended an ayahausca ceremony with a large group of people in Los Angeles. My father was dying and I had the intention of working through my grief for him. I imagined traveling in my active imagination to Appalachia and beyond to Ireland so I could honor the ancestors I'd been feeling so strongly all around him.

Instead, I spent a 4-hour journey with a woman of Afro-Caribbean descent whom I'd never met before. She was struggling with personal and familial trauma from racism.

I shifted my focus away from my personal grief because I felt called to be present for this stranger. We found a space in the cottage where we could go undisturbed by others. She began in a whisper, telling me of her family's journey from Jamaica to the Bay area and how much cruelty and racism they encountered along the way.

As we moved through the story of her parents love and struggles, to her grandparents' heart-breaking decision to come to the States, their time in Jamaica, and then to finally to West Africa, we traveled together, closely, in synch with the wishes of her ancestors.

At each stop with each ancestor, I stepped in as the oppressor and performed Ho'ponopono with her parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and beyond. The Mother had taken us on a sacred mission.

A message from your ancestors

"We see you. We see the journey you’ve taken and we are with you. We see where things went wrong and how it brought you suffering that sometimes lives in your bodies and in your minds. We want to bring you the medicine that was once part of our peoples. Thank you for making the decision to heal the family line in you.

My fellow Ancestor Walker and I felt the weight of generations of trauma fall away from our bodies and hearts with each encounter. I had never felt so close to another human being. The experience was powerfully transformative for both of us. I continue to feel humbled and grateful for that shared journey.


Beyond the realm of the mystical and collective unconscious, I became fascinated with epigenetics. I am party Ashkenazi, so the Holocaust is something that lives in my body and soul. When I read Kellerman's 2011 study, "Epigenetic transmission of Holocaust Trauma: Can nightmares be inherited?" I felt hopeful seeing evidence building for the connection between generational trauma and health issues. It encouraged me to find ways to help others work through these issues in their own family lines. Biology is such a beautiful validation of all the ways our bodies work.

Walking with the Ancestors is a Sacred calling

Indigenous, Afro-Caribbean, and Chinese Medicine - Offerings to my Teachers

I am in deep gratitude to all of my teachers. To each teacher, 老师, Master, Grandmother, Manbo, Houngan, and shaman who've allowed me time in their clinics, classrooms, peristyles, mesas, and firesides, I honor you and all that you have taught me. I am in deepest gratitude to Mechi Garza, Eastern Band Cherokee Medicine Woman for putting me onto the path of healing.

These teachers connected me to my own lost medicine. When I was in Great Britain and Israel, I was able to connect with the Earth medicine that still lives there. Medicine Walkers all over the world have similar practices, beliefs, structures of how they work with energy, psyche, and body. In Europe especially, our medicine had been so thoroughly beaten out of us that we became amnesiacs, completely unconscious to our heritage. We only had fairy tales to remind us.

"Elen Lights the Way" by Elyn Selu, 2019

I've amalgamated all that I've been taught, researched, and written about. I bring years of personal experience with the medicine. I am honored and excited to bring ancestral healing to others. Ancestor Walking combines Somatic Experiencing®, Jungian archetypal work, Earth-based healing practices, and your own lineage to return ease and love to your family line. When trauma is healed with your ancestors, love and bounty flow more easily to you.

Allow yourself to imagine what that kind of healing could feel like. Where does ancestral wounding live in you and in your story? Where do the ancestors shine the light of pride and love upon you? Are you called to walk with your ancestors?

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