ancestor pilgrimage

Spiritual travel is a big business now. Lots of people go to the pyramids, Stonehenge, and Machu Picchu, but have you gone on an ancestor pilgrimage? What’s that, you say?

An ancestor pilgrimage is a journey to the land of your people to reconnect with them and to see yourself. It’s a way to reclaim your family stories, remember, pay respect, and deepen your relationship to the land.

When I went to Cornwall for the first time, I knew that I had a past life connection to the place, but I didn’t know that I had a hereditary history too. When my feet touched the ground, I felt more at home than anywhere I had ever been. I felt a deep link. There was a sense of exhaling, like I had come home to a place I’d never been to. Upon leaving, I felt unbelievable grief.

What I came to realize is that the story of the people who lived and died in a place is in the land and air. That energy calls to humans to heal unresolved pain, love the way you once did, and sink your roots into your foundation once again. Ancestral pilgrimage changes you in ways you can’t predict. It’s an amazing spiritual growth tool.

Even if you aren’t aware of your ancestral connections and don’t feel a particular affinity for a place, it can stir you. While on a tour to Scotland, I felt deep rumblings for a culture that is so foreign from my own. It was as if my bones recognized the struggles, laughter, and even faith of the people who trod the hills before me. I could feel it in a way that language could not penetrate. The land downloaded things into me that took time to integrate. It make me more whole.

If you want to give it a try, find out who your people are and where they were. Go there. Linger. Don’t do a drive by of the tourist places. Imagine life as it was when they lived. Do what they did. Go where they went. Live at their pace. The ghosts of generations past may give you dreams, and blessings you can’t anticipate.

As with all spiritual journeys, this may take a lot out of you. It can also give you more than you imagine. For me, it has made me more compassionate towards all people, prompted me to question my prejudices, and helped me to feel more grounded in my humanity. Since my family tree spreads around the world, I look forward to more journeys within.

I’d love to hear about yours. Please post your experiences in the comments below.