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Musings of an Awakening Spirit

Stories, poetry & general musings of Rebecca Haywood, a modern-day Shaman with a penchant for bringing the divine into the human experience.

Healing Our Wounded Inheritance

The blankets of the sweat lodge had begun to move with the cool breeze of the desert night, bringing my awareness back to my body.  I lay there in the darkness alone; the ground wet with the steam of sage and copal.  I was in the primordial mud; in the stillness of the beginning of it all.  

The Temazcal, once filled with song and prayer, had carried me to a deep place of healing.  I had traveled beyond my body, beyond the singular awareness of ‘Rebecca’ and through the channel of my lineage; specifically the lineage of women – my lineage of women.  It had started in my womb in what I thought was to be yet another rebirth of ‘Rebecca’; but instead of the energy pushing its way out, it pulled me in.  

In the prior weeks, I had been focused on healing the sexual trauma in my body.  Though I had transcended my personal story about these wounds, I recognized the presence of a lingering energy I could not yet name.  Like a ghost, it seemed to inhabit my body searching to rediscover an experience of flesh.  I refused to allow its possession, attempting to guard myself against the resurrection of ‘Rebecca the Victim’.  Yet it held its domain and continued to haunt me with a sorrow that could find neither her voice nor her tears.

I shared my experience with a fellow healer who invited me to explore the history of women in my family.  “Perhaps this sorrow isn’t even yours”, she prompted, “but something passed on to you in the womb.”  This resonated with every cell in my body; of course we share the experiences of our Mother while growing inside of her – her hopes and her fears; could it be that we also experience the energy of her unresolved history; could her memories, in some way, become our own?  And if so, how far back could this wounded inheritance go; could it be that this energy had been traveling from womb to womb for generations?

And so it was with these questions that I entered the Sweat Lodge that night, intent on exhuming this old energy from its resting place.  I envisioned a re-birth that would somehow bypass my lineage and be delivered directly from the purity of the Divine Mother.  What I found, however, was a call to go into my lineage and to carry it back to its own divine origin – for myself, my future children, my Mother and the Mothers that came before us.  

As I slipped into the trance of the ceremonial drums, my womb seemed to expand and contract with their rhythms.  I laid my body down against the cool earth, preparing for the birth, and felt that nameless sorrow begin to find its voice; it reverberated from my body in an emotional crescendo of tears.  I felt my hand fall against my heart in one last call to the earth and then… silence.  

The world around me had slowed to a stop and yet I found myself swirling quickly inward.  As if I had passed through some black hole, I was soaring through time – witnessing the lives of the Mothers before me and feeling their sorrow now as my own.  I allowed their memories to pass through me, mustering the healing force of my breath to clear each one until nothing was left.

I lingered there in that space of emptiness for what seemed an eternity – timeless, weightless, unformed.  I didn’t want to come back; to feel my fall to earth and to the finite matter of my body, for I felt such a fullness; a peace.  That haunting sorrow was gone and in its place brewed the warmth of connection.  Any discord of abandonment, rejection or hurt had been erased from the pages of my feminine ancestry; and as I reluctantly returned to my now shivering body, I felt that fullness of potential follow me there.  It was time for me to stand as Mother to this lineage and to carry it forward.  

Though I cannot say that I fully comprehend what transpired that night, I do believe that we all carry the energy of our ancestors with us; and if we seek to greet life at our full potential, we must forgive our wounded inheritance and lay its memories to rest.  Neurobiologists have proven that the effects of trauma are indeed intergenerational and the study of epigenetics further suggests that our inherited genetic expression is changeable.  

Even without this knowledge, I have no doubt that my experience changed me on a cellular level; and though there are a myriad of ways one can reach this depth of healing, my process required deep emotional awareness and a willingness to embrace the discomfort.  I had to forgive the trespasses against my ancestry and even to forgive my ancestors, for they knew not what they carried.  Ultimately, I had to empty out so completely that I returned to the primordial mud from which my lineage emerged and from there, with ghost torn from flesh and flesh born from light, arise anew.

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