Ancestor Wall

 This site is for everyone interested in exploring their creativity and artistic abilities, including people who consider repairing an automobile as expression or those who like to build houses as a form of sculpture.  There are thousands of ways for us to allow our creative energy to manifes by taking raw materials and turning them into living things.  We’re not limited to paints or crayons on canvas or words on a page or a baby grand piano. Creativity is for everyone.

That said, today’s post may seem to be more specifically addressed to women who have been having trouble with blocks to their efforts simply because several have approached me on the subject lately. However, there is application to be gleaned for all of us, and many men may find this useful to them as well.

We live in an exciting time.  I believe we are coming into an era that will allow and foster creative effort for its own sake and give financial reward and social acceptance for those who pursue their talents.  Allie, a gifted fiber artist, calls this the New Renaissance.

However, I believe we carry the historical, ancestral, and social experience of all of our forefathers and mothers in our genetic makeup. While government has signed emancipation for women into law and we have achieved positions of perceived power in the culture, our genes are still trying to catch up.

For thousands of years, women existed under the protection of men and sought marriage for security.  That idea is deeply embedded in our makeup.  In the old days a woman could rarely succeed in any endeavor without the energetic and social approval of the males in her family. While our brain may fully accept the laws, codes and social progress of this past one hundred plus years, our bodies are reacting to stimulus in the same way our ancestors have for millennia.  This is confusing at the least.  We have goals and things we want to accomplish and in our head we are clear on it.  Then, from somewhere deep beyond our own thinking a phrase or dictation seems to come that inhibits our progress or stops it cold.  It’s as if we live as two people in the same body with two idea systems and two (or more) sets of responses. Our ancestral “code” has been activated and is rearing the protective head of our collective progenitors. 

To take a small but illustrative detour, I heard a sincere young mother state very emphatically that she did not allow her daughter to watch the “princess” cartoons. The mother’s concerns are valid for her and I support whatever young parents feel they need to do in their families. However, we have more to be concerned with in mentoring our daughters and sons than the influence of current films. We have thousands of years of genetic programming to turn around. 

 We are moving so fast in our culture we rarely pause long enough to understand the effect our ancestors have on our lives.  We are flinging ourselves headlong into an exciting future and often don’t take the time to show the living family members the regard they deserve for having walked on the earth longer than we have.  Respect for and appreciation of the gifts of those who helped to form us is lacking. We feel the backlash in many areas - “blocks” to our creative endeavors is the one we are addressing here.

 A powerful release from this kind of block is an ancestor wall. Make an ancestor wall, sit in a chair with your back to your ancestors and meditate with them. Feel the strength they offer you.  Absorb the support they are willing to extend. If one of them has been hurtful or neglectful, learn to see their strengths and what they have passed to you in positive ways. I’m not negating the effects of abuse.  I’m saying this may be one way to begin to facilitate healing for your personal issues and your creative endeavors.  I encourage you to concentrate on feeling the support of the “grandfathers” and the encouragement of the “grandmothers” of your family. Feel the pride they have in you. Feel their desire for you to succeed.

 If you have photographs of your ancestors, put them on a wall where you can sit comfortably in front of them.  If you do not have a photograph, write a statement of what you know and put it up on the wall in place of a picture. If you don’t know your ancestor, what do you wish that you would have from him or her?  Some of you might choose to draw or paint a portrait of your ancestor. As an artist, I’ve found painting a family member I’ve had a particularly difficult time with softens my outlook and engenders more compassion for them than I might normally evidence. You might choose to write a short biography of the person and frame it.

The point of this exercise is to begin to cultivate the strength and gifts that are your birthright.  By bringing our current thinking into harmony with our ancestral heritage we increase the energy we have for our present day artistic efforts.  We acknowledge the voice of our ancients and their contributions to our success and gain their support and approval. We come fully present to our creative efforts and enliven our creative focus.