I’m not *that* bad! Are you?

Albrecht Dürer woodcut, The Penitent

Dig this: I’m not a bad enough person to feel as bad as I once did. While I’m not perfect, I’ve never caused enough harm to deserve the levels of guilt and anxiety I’ve dealt with most of my life. In order to feel this much guilt and fear of punishment, I would have had to commit a heinous crime. Guess what … not guilty.

So where do these unwanted feelings of unwarranted unworthiness come from? Societal conditioning? Brain washing by Madison Avenue and/or the Illuminati? Past life karma?

Or, it could come from ancestral trauma. The science of epigenetics has proven that traumatic events, which cause a fight-or-flight reaction, can change the way our genes express themselves. This physical manifestation of PTSD gets passed down through the generations. Here’s just one article explaining how it works, if you want more information. As the host of three annual Ancestral Healing Summits for The Shift Network, I’ve interviewed a ton of experts who agree on this so, for me, this is not in question.

My session airs Thursday, February 25, 1pm Pacific, and will stream free for 48 hours after.

Ancestral trauma can kink your hose in ways you don’t even realize. In fact, in my own session of this year’s Ancestral Healing Summit, the awesome Nick Mattos and I talk about how to rediscover and reawaken your magical heritage by looking into your ancestral past, to discover where/how your connection to your gifts might have been broken.

For clarity, when I used the words magical heritage, I’m talking about natural gifts and abilities that we all have, things like a green thumb or a knack for cooking, crafting, or even healing and intuitive abilities. Sharing these gifts in communities are how humankind survived for as long as we have before technology made life so much … ahem … easier. These skills were often the causes of accusations of witchcraft which, as we know, resulted in some pretty heinous behavior.

But because many of our gifts have been oppressed, we may not even know we have them. Or, we may be aware of them, but are afraid to demonstrate them for fear of reprisals or rejections.

You should check out the Summit. I had some amazing conversations with some amazing people, who had amazing information to share. It airs free during the week of February 22-26. My session airs at Thursday, February 25 at 1pm Pacific time, and will stream free for 48 hours after that.

And, at the risk of sounding like a crummy commercial, I also talk at the end of my interview with Nick about a new project I’ve been working on with the lovely and talented Carrie Paris. Since discovering her Relative Tarot and Oracle, I’ve become a big fan of her work. (Check out the interview I did with Carrie for Mind Yourself on the topic of communicating with ancestors.)

As Carrie and I got to know one another, she suggested that we combine our areas of expertise to create an oracle designed around ancestral healing, I jumped at the chance. Check out the Generations Oracle!

This divination kit (featuring Carrie’s gorgeous artistry), includes a reading cloth, casting charms, a pendulum, informational coins (based on the Lenormand oracle symbols) and an instruction booklet. Bring your own ancestors. We’ll be teaching classes in its use further down the road, so let me know if you’re interested in getting on the waiting list by subscribing to my blog. That will be the best way to stay in the loop.

Anyway, back to ancestral healing … I’ve talked about this elsewhere, but it bears repeating. By doing this work, I feel so much less existential guilt and anxiety. I understand my mom — the unintentional source of some of my pain — so much better. I grok how her family history dented her in ways that were beyond her ability to cope, or even repair without a lot of inner work. And people in previous generations didn’t know about the kinds of inner work we’re used to these day.

I see, now, how she felt as bad about herself — worse actually — than I did before embarking on my own inner work. She was, by all accounts, a good person who loved her family. She was a good mom. But she was screwed up by her family story, and passed it on to me … which I passed on to my kids, and they passed on to their kids …

What happened in my mom’s lineage to break her in just this way? I’m still scratching the surface (in fact, I’m writing a novel based on the fascinating story I discovered in my mom’s ancestral history about witch trials and mine explosions), but I can say, without a doubt, that her father experienced numerous mind-bending traumas in a very short time frame, at a fairly young age. He didn’t stand a chance to be a healthy individual, much less a healthy parent. The pain he was in could have easily caused my mom to feel the way she did, and for me to feel how I felt, and my kids, and their kids …

I’ve been working with my mom’s father’s ancestors because, in triage order, this branch needs attention more than the others — it’s the most wounded. Since beginning this exploration, my physical and mental health have improved tremendously. I used to keep my bottle of Xanax with me at all times, just in case. Now, I only rarely feel anxiety intense enough to medicate myself. That, in itself, is a tremendous shift.

What about you? Do you see anything in yourself, like this, that just doesn’t make sense until you look at your ancestral history? I’d love to read your stories in the Comments.

Lisa Bonnice is an award-winning, best-selling author. Her current passion-project is a series of metaphysical comedy novels. The first is entitled The Poppet Master (previously published as Be Careful What You Witch For!, now revamped and with a new ending). The Poppet Master is a modern-day fairy tale about Lola Garnett, a bored housewife and office drone who wakes up with unexpected psychic abilities, and no instruction manual, and Twink, the reluctant, sarcastic faery assigned to assist and educate her. The Poppet Master is available wherever books are sold. Its sequel is in the works.

Lisa is also writing The Maxwell Curse, a fictionalized version of a story she found in her own ancestral lineage about a witch trial, a generational curse, and massive mine explosion, all of which left ripples of destruction in their wake, devastating one family’s tree.


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