Ancestral trauma burdens many without them even realizing it. It is the emotional pain and trauma passed down from our ancestors, spanning generations. Its effects can manifest in physical or mental struggles, such as anxiety or addiction. However, recognizing ancestral trauma is key to unlocking healing potential. Acknowledging the past is a crucial first step in understanding present struggles, breaking generational patterns, and creating a brighter future.
Healing ancestral trauma goes beyond acknowledging the inheritance of wounds. It involves exploring the teachings, messages, and dimensions of the trauma itself. By unlocking suppressed emotions and understanding their origins, we can reintegrate our spiritual, mental, and physical health. The transformative process can lead to greater clarity, purpose, strength, and a deeper sense of connection to our power and purpose.
The beauty of this healing process lies not only in addressing the past but also in rediscovering lost ways and gifts of our ancestors. Through a combination of vibration, psychology, spirituality, somatics, and physical practices, we can tap into the wisdom and strength of our ancestors - unlocking our full potential, creating a more fulfilling life for ourselves and generations to come.
What is Ancestral Trauma ?
When our ancestors survived war, poverty, natural disasters, displacement, institutional racism, repeated abuse, alcoholism and addiction, chronic disease and other traumatic experiences, their survival mechanisms kicked in. They developed behavioural patterns, belief systems and ways of living and interacting that at the time, felt safe. For many of our ancestors these patterns kept them alive, functioning, in a harsh world where they had no support and very little opportunity. What happens when those very coping mechanisms are passed down generation after generation through the unconscious parenting style and culture? Before we know it, we are living with those very root core beliefs and this is often where the struggle is felt. The truth is, most of these belief systems were built on extreme levels of fear and dysfunction and spiritual disconnection. Survival mechanisms don't equip us well to actually thrive. We may want to take aligned action, to dare to dream, to feel supported and abundant but for some reason we feel stuck - we are scraping the barrel in survival mode. The truth is, transgenerational trauma patterns are emotional and energetic imprints that drive human behaviour. Research shows that trauma experienced by our ancestors can be passed down up to three generations or more. This means genetically, our gene patterns can actually reflect those of our traumatised ancestors despite the fact we haven't been through what they went through. This can be incredibly confusing until we start healing and unravel this mystery.
To thrive, ancestral healing is so important. We are the living embodiment of our ancestors' stories and survival mechanisms but also their gifts and courage.
By exploring our ancestral history and working through the trauma that has been passed down to us, we can begin to release the burden that we carry. We can create new patterns of behavior that promote healing and well-being, not just for ourselves but for future generations as well. Ancestral healing is about acknowledging the past while creating a better future, one in which we are free from the weight of our ancestors' trauma.
How Ancestral Trauma Gets Passed Down
It's complicated, but it helps to think about a person who has been through a disturbing trauma that has affected their lives and put them in survival mode, fight or flight. Think about how that person views the world, probably as inherently unsafe. All their behaviours, thoughts and therefore physiological experiences are now based on the danger they feel they are in. When the body is in fight or flight the immune system is compromised. You can read more about how immunity and mental health are related in my post here.
Trauma is not only big known events, it can also be subtle programmes of mental conditioning that we all have experienced, that shape our sense of self and our view of the world. It can be through the system of parenting that we've experienced, perhaps through religious and cultural teachings or through our family constellation. Studies have found that survivors of war were more likely to have a harsh, hostile and inconsistent parenting approach including physical abuse and manipulative disciplinary behaviours. (Eltanamly et al, 2019, Zuilkowski et al, 2019). So many adults that I see in practice arrive because they are healing from their childhood trauma, both explicit and subtle forms of trauma. (Take my inner child healing course here or work with me 1-1).
Factors beyond the family include external oppression and discrimination taking place at a systemic level in our society and community. This could be through the workplace or education systems. Trauma can also be amplified through through socio-economic factors and even our lifestyle and nutrition. All these factors compound with existing stressors and actually activate epigenetic mechanisms within the body that trigger illness and chronic disease within us.
Ancestral trauma that is unresolved really leaves us with a deep fear, grief and disconnection at all levels, within us as individuals and between us. It is not uncommon for there to be an unbroken chain of sexual trauma and physical abuse that has managed to ripple it's way through the generations, perhaps the repeated enactment an attempt to call forth the end of the cycle and give rise to the new ancestor - often the black sheep of the family that is called to heal the line.
For a child, adhering to the family culture, however toxic or dangerous, is usually the safest way to stay alive. Rebellions risk being outcasted, deeply misunderstood and can lead to disconnection which especially for children and teenagers, can be deeply painful.
Signs that your Body is holding Ancestral Trauma
It seems like despite all the personal healing work you've done, you're not experiencing the major breakthroughs or transformations you yearn for. It's possible that this is due to focusing only on individual issues, neglecting the broader ancestral patterns that might be influencing your experience.
You appear to carry a significant burden of grief within you, which remains unfelt and unintegrated. This grief can feel so overwhelming and immense that it feels almost impossible to begin processing it.
During your healing journey, fear often arises. It's an intense fear that feels as though it could completely consume you, and strangely, it feels as if this fear doesn't even originate from your own experiences.
There is a profound feeling of trauma or a substantial burden that you sense has been with you since birth. It's elusive and hard to define, yet it casts a shadow over your life, feeling almost like an ancestral curse.
You harbor a belief that you absorbed your mother's trauma and pain while you were in the womb. The uncertainty about what to do with this feeling can be confusing and stressful.
You have close family members, such as parents or siblings, who are or have been severely mentally challenged, for example with schizophrenia. This is not uncommon in families where there are high levels of unresolved trauma.
You sometimes feel older than your years, especially when you are around your parents, as if you are an old soul. This feeling can be hard to reconcile with the trauma that seems to hold you back.
You may have experienced stress and trauma even before birth, possibly due to your mother's susceptibility to stress during her pregnancy. Research has shown that maternal stress during pregnancy can lead to epigenetic changes in the infant's DNA, which are associated with behavioral issues later in life.
You frequently experience existential despair and find yourself questioning the meaning of your life without understanding why these feelings are so persistent.
You carry feelings of guilt and shame that seem out of place, as they don't seem related to anything you've experienced in your own life.
When you attempt to ground yourself, it seems challenging to get beyond the immediate influence of your parental field and into the deeper layers of ancestral influence. Feelings of intense disgust, guilt, or shame arise, or you may experience an immediate reflex to pull away and avoid confronting these deeper layers.
Physical Signs of Unhealed Ancestral Trauma
Chronic neck pain
Spinal issues and spinal misalignment not caused solely by physical injury
Sacrum is misaligned
Fascia is inflamed or stiff and restricted esp around lower back
Overactivity in sacral nerves
Hips are misaligned, one hip higher than the other
Bones feel fragile, aching, osteoarthritis at a young age
Deep tension in shoulders that doesn't resolve with bodywork
Shoulders are constantly raised or hunched up
Constant stiffness in neck
Atlas at base of neck feels stuck or solid
Tension and tightness in jaw
Bruxism / teeth grinding
Undiagnosed and mysterious degenerative conditions
Toxicity in the body despite fasts, detoxes and diet changes
Kidney stones / kidney inflammation
Kidney disease / Liver disease
Chronic digestive issues
Insomnia and disrupted sleep
Dissociation and depersonalisation
Nervous system dysregulation and hormonal imbalance
Emotional Signs of Ancestral Trauma
You feel like you are carrying the weight of your ancestors' traumas
Your family history is full of unresolved emotional wounds that are affecting your present life
Your family has a history of mental illness, addiction, or other patterns that you feel are affecting your own life.
Your relationships with family members are strained and you suspect there may be unresolved ancestral issues at play.
Deep unspeakable grief that cannot be accessed or felt
Complex grief that feels tangled up in many other emotions and events
Rage that is too dangerous to admit
A sense of shame or guilt
A feeling of disempowerment or inferiority by virtue of existing
You struggle to break free from harmful ancestral patterns despite your best efforts to do so.
You feel cursed regardless of what you do and your abilities
Inferiority and shame around your own existence
Terror that doesn't feel like it's yours but moves through you
Hatred and disgust towards own ancestors
Lack of trust of in the world / hopelessness
Low self esteem regardless of your achievements
Frequent unconscious self sabotage
Always expecting things to be taken away
You feel like you can't trust your own heart
You struggle to feel gratitude at a deep level
You never feel safe to open up or be vulnerable
You feel displaced or disconnected like you don't belong
You feel impending doom or threat could emerge at any moment
You have a strange sense of a shortened future
You have developed narcissistic traits to hide the emptiness within you
You feel disconnected from your own soul and very lost
Carrying a constant feeling of injustice with you but not sure how to soothe it
Somatic signs of ancestral trauma
You have recurring dreams or nightmares that seem to be related to ancestral memories. Read more about PTSD & Nightmares and night terrors
Dissociation and depersonalisation
You feel disconnected from your legs
Womb is dissociated, feels heavy and dense or blocked
Inability to ground yourself
Inability to feel own emotions long enough to heal
Feeling emotions triggers huge fatigue or shame
You feel held back by forces that are bigger than you
You feel like you are cursed or have been stuck because of ancestral or family black magic curses
You struggle to make meaning from your own body sensations or from your life events
Blocked solar plexus and throat (sense of self and sense of self expression)
Your inner child is frozen in time and feels trapped in a frame of horror (usually has a wide eyed, ghost like appearance and feels stone cold)
Your inner child won't let you get near them
When you try to open your heart to your inner child you feel rejected immediately and then ashamed
Fascia feels stuck and tight - ancestral memories are held in the web of fascia in our body
Bones play a significant role in carrying and releasing these ancestral memories, as they secrete osteocalcin and constantly undergo a death-rebirth process to maintain balance between cells that build up and break down bone.
If the charge held in the bones is not released, it can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis and internal breakdown.
Ancestral trauma wounds can make us feel like we are reliving ancient torment or pain that doesn't even belong to us. These wounds collapse time in the body, leaving us feeling drained and stuck. The grief and fear that we experience can feel older than us and seem impossible to touch or heal. It's a feeling that's beyond words, and it can leave us feeling hopeless.
Spiritual Signs of Ancestral Trauma
You feel there is corruption or darkness in your roots
You feel an energetic enmeshment with a parent that leads you to absorb all their pain
You feel a strong connection to a certain period of history or culture, but also a sense of pain or sadness related to it
You notice patterns of behavior or thought in your family that seem to be passed down through generations
You feel a sense of duty or responsibility to heal your family line
You feel older than your parents, as if you have come to save or guide them
Your legs feel light and you feel chains around your ankles
You feel disconnected from your true purpose or why you are here
You feel stuck in a career or job that doesn't reflect your true purpose or gifts but don't know how to move through this
You keep drawing in the same cycles and you're not sure why
You don't feel your connection to your higher self or hear their voice of guidance and wisdom within you
You find yourself in scarcity mode and financial lack, often not able to earn what you would like or feeling held back but unsure why
You feel a lack of connection or belonging to your cultural or ethnic heritage, and want to explore and heal this disconnect
You often discover dark ancestors in your field that are calling for healing
You feel threatened by the vibrational forces in your ancestral field
Your root space feels corrupted and your roots feel very shallow
Your roots connect into your parents field where there is intense turmoil
You feel disgusted by your own roots
Your crown chakra and third eye is blocked and you're unable to access higher levels of inspiration
Your energy field feels black and dense
Your channel has long black streaks in it
Your womb feels heavy and you're unable to create anything new
You struggle with feeling suppressed in your feminine energy despite all the womb healing, womens circles and other healing approaches you're doing
You have a desire to connect with your ancestors and ancestral traditions but aren't sure where to start.
You have a strong sense of disconnection from your ancestral lineage and struggle to find your place in the world.
How to Heal Ancestral Trauma - The Truth
Ancestral trauma is often unconscious and our mind only has access to some murky second hand stories, for example, what your mother told you about the time she was pregnant or how her childhood was. You will have to piece alot together from your somatic experience. This requires a depth of interoception that often comes later on in your somatic healing journey. Interoceptive depth allows you to make sense of the information that every impulse and sensation is carrying through your body. This is how you make the unconscious conscious, by feeling your body and womb and the stories and messages they hold.
Once you are feeling deeply enough into your body there needs to be both structural work on the spine and also organ healing work that facilitates the release and reintegration of somatic charge and heavy emotion. The nervous system layers that have build up survival patterns and responses need to be unravelled and released from the system, creating more space and deeper grounding. The roots need to be healed and recalibrated to go deeper into the field of the ancestry and also the earth.
This healing process requires us to have developed a foundation of self-compassion. This is why we often do ancestral healing work after having already been on a long personal healing journey. If the foundation of self love is not there, if you are not convinced about your healing work and your purpose and why it matters, you will either not go deep enough or you will get triggered by deep healing work and will begin to resist your own release process. We must learn to release patterns of identity structures that have been passed down through generations and replace them with love instead. By doing this, we can begin to transform ourselves for the better and create a healthier future for those who come after us.
Because we carry vibrational imprints from our ancestors in our personal field, it is essential to heal these imprints which can come in many forms including subtle and unconscious belief systems. Rather than just repair and restoration an integral somatic and energetic based healing journey can invoke resolution., purpose, deeper compassion, profound existential meaning and spiritual reconnection. A rebirthing into a higher frequency field is also required. In order to heal ancestral trauma and connect with the gifts of healing and deep holding and support that we get through ancestral connection, we all need to undergo a deep rebirthing process that raises our vibrational frequency. This process involves healing, releasing old patterns, beliefs, and wounds that we inherited from our ancestors that play through our nervous system and energy body, and accessing the higher consciousness and wisdom that is available to us. As we do this, we begin to unravel the gifts and power that have been passed down to us through our lineage, and can use them to support our own healing and growth. This process is a powerful tool for connecting with our ancestors and reclaiming our heritage, and can help us to create a brighter future for ourselves and for future generations.
To summarise: Ancestral trauma is often subconscious, and we may only have secondhand information about it. To understand it, we need to connect with our bodies and explore the stories and messages they hold. This requires developing interoceptive depth through somatic healing. Structural work on the spine and organ healing can help release and integrate heavy emotions and survival patterns. Ancestral healing requires a foundation of self-compassion and a willingness to release inherited identity structures and replace them with love. Healing ancestral imprints can lead to profound spiritual reconnection and a healthier future for ourselves and future generations.
You can discover more about this in my Ancestral Alchemy online course.
Benefits of Ancestral Healing Work
Improve your physical health and wellbeing: Ancestral healing has the potential to alleviate physical symptoms that have been passed down genetically or developed as a result of inherited emotional patterns. By addressing the root causes of these symptoms, individuals can experience relief and a greater sense of wellbeing. For example, chronic pain or illness may be linked to ancestral trauma or emotional patterns that have been passed down through generations. By engaging in ancestral healing, individuals can work to release these patterns and improve their physical health.
Release of inherited beliefs that sabotage you: Transforming ancient and unconscious belief systems from the inside out creates space for healthier and more positive meanings to emerge. This transformation not only affects individuals, but also future generations and communities. As we release old patterns and embrace new beliefs, we create a ripple effect of healing and positive change. By healing ourselves, we can help heal the world around us. A review of 19 studies on the intergenerational transmission of trauma found that trauma exposure in one generation was associated with increased risk of trauma in subsequent generations.
Understand your family history: Exploring ancestral trauma and patterns can help individuals develop a deeper understanding of their family history and strengthen their connection with their roots. By delving into the past, individuals can uncover hidden truths and stories that have been passed down through generations, and gain a greater appreciation for their cultural heritage. This understanding can provide a sense of grounding and belonging, and help individuals navigate their present and future with more confidence and purpose. A study conducted by Teresa Belton and Esther Priyadharshini found that young people who knew their family history had higher levels of resilience and a stronger sense of identity than those who didn't.
Increase your self compassion: Ancestral healing enables us to come to terms with the past, understand why our needs were not met, and how patterns of disconnection led to great injustice. It provides insight into the bigger picture, which can be particularly helpful when we are seeking answers for our pain. Through this process, we can find a sense of peace and closure, and begin to move forward with greater clarity and understanding.
Experience deep inner joy: Ancestral healing can help us to feel into higher frequencies such as joy, which may have been numbed by ancestral trauma. As we release the patterns of trauma that have been passed down through generations, we create space for more positive emotions and experiences. By addressing the root causes of our pain and suffering, we can unlock our full potential and experience a greater sense of wellbeing. Ancestral healing can also help us to connect with our true selves and embrace our innate gifts and talents. By tapping into these higher frequencies, we can experience greater joy, fulfilment, and purpose in our lives.
Know your self worth and purpose: Ancestral healing is a potent and transformative process that can reveal a deeper purpose, provide a sense of self-compassion and empowerment, and release individuals from generational conditions. Through this process, individuals can experience liberation, a new beginning, and a greater understanding of their own value and worth. By becoming the new ancestors and lifting the ancestral curse, individuals can embark on a deeper spiritual journey and connect with their soul and inherent purpose.
Develop true authenticity: Embracing deep ancestral healing requires individuals to engage in deep reconstruction of existential meaning, self-perception, and purpose. This transformative process leads to greater authenticity and resilience. Without repairing our roots and understanding our ancestral heritage, we can become self-centered and seek validation from external sources. In other words, our sense of self is incomplete until we connect with our ancestry and understand our roots.
Heal your children and inspire the next generation: Ancestral healing has the potential to break the cycles of chronic illness and trauma that are passed down from generation to generation. By healing ancestral patterns, individuals can create a healthier legacy for future generations, consciously bringing new life into the world. The over-reliance on synthetic medication and a lack of addressing trauma and toxicity have resulted in over half of US children suffering from chronic illness. ADHD affects 1 in 10 children, depression affects 4 in 10, asthma affects 1 in 12, and 1 in 5 are obese. It is our responsibility to address these issues and create a better future for our children. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study, which looked at the impact of childhood trauma on health outcomes, found that individuals who had experienced ACEs were more likely to have chronic health conditions, mental health issues, and engage in risky behaviours.
Finding the Right Healer for Ancestral Lineage Repair
Ancestral healing is a deeply energetic process that requires a willingness to let internal structures collapse and be reborn at a soul level. The healer must have spiritual knowledge of the realms of death and birth and deep energetic sensitivity to feel the way energy components vibrate within a person's field, affecting fluid flow, brain function, and structural formation. During healing sessions, the healer may call upon a person's ancestors to support the release of certain structures in their energy field. Clients can feel and witness the support of their ancestors and the weight lifting out of their field, creating a deep sense of support and connection. This experience can be especially profound for those who have never experienced family love or belonging.
As a healer, the role is to be both the space and the bone - a solid, compassionate force of support, connection, structure, and protection. This requires a keen awareness of the client's carnal desires and distractions, while also being connected to the spirit of the ancients that calls their soul home. The healer must be highly attuned and aware energetically of what is being broken down and what is being rebuilt, finding a balance based on the client's level of consciousness. Through this process, the healer can guide the client towards safe and profound healing and transformation, allowing them to release the burdens of their ancestral trauma and find a deeper sense of connection and purpose.
10 FREE Ways to Deepen Your Ancestral Healing
If you're interested to deepen your ancestral healing, check out these free podcasts. These podcasts offer a wealth of information on the topic, including insights and personal stories of healing and transformation. Whether you're brand new to ancestral healing or have been on the path for some time, these podcasts can offer a valuable source of inspiration and guidance. From exploring the role of trauma in our ancestral lineage to learning practical tools for healing and transformation, these Kimiya Healing podcasts cover a range of topics that can help you deepen your understanding of the healing journey.
What does ancestral healing involve?
How to feel deeply enough to heal
Healing Session: Meet the Ancestors
Healing your crummy money mindset
What it means to be the new ancestor
20 min grounding practice
What My Clients Say
"I could feel when the work was being done at the root. such an acute pain in 2 symetrical spots at the lower back. When I released, it felt a band come out from under the two spots of pain and hugged my back upwards and the words ''I am here now'' came back to me. Again with the parental imagery. The bands felt like my inner mother and father. I felt inside my own bones, my cells were smiling in peace.I felt the bottom of my spine release a wave of energy up through me. I felt like I was fully able to release trauma in my root space.I can still feel the energy all around me." "For the first time, I admitted to myself that I have hated where I’ve come from. Realizing I’ve spent most of my life trying to be separate from my family, my ancestors. Desiring to carve a new path separate from them but I realized I am a part of them and they are a part of me. It brought up a lot of grief and I’m still in the process of forgiving myself. The practices, and content helped me to feel this and to have the courage to admit it. Opening myself to see the beauty, the gifts of where I’ve come from by accepting what I have chosen to hide from all my life is going to be a journey but I am so grateful to continue this work. I feel a strong desire to continue exploring my ancestral line, what it feels like to accept their love and support and also what it means to partner with them to bring healing to myself and my family line. This piece feels really big to me and being in this community has given me the courage to be honest and lean into more compassion. My Heart has found comfort in the commonalities that we share, to not feel isolated and separate has been really important to me" "We worked out the most darkest and deepest fears holding in my system. The maternal line broke up and learned the most important lesson: to love myself and to forgive! By weaving in my divine female and divine male side I have showed my own kingdom and loving myself so deep within my family. I trust myself so much, getting the deep roots and exploring without the mental processing what my heart and Womb Room telling me. To stay so still is the freedom, which I always searched for in my whole life. Safas’ work to help myself to process is so deep. I‘ve never met somebody so serious and specific with this huge open heart like her. Her belief in humanity and her power to transform is unique! Now I am talking the whole resources to create my daily life, my mindsets, my Cranio-sacral work and my love in relationships. What a life. Wow! I feel so gifted and everything make so sense!"