Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing

Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing

by Daniel Foor
Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing

Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing

by Daniel Foor


    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Wednesday, June 14

    Sorry! Store Pickup is currently unavailable.


A practical guide to connecting with your ancestors for personal, family, and cultural healing

• Provides exercises and rituals to help you initiate contact with your ancestors, find ancestral guides, and assist the dead who are not yet at peace

• Explains how to safely engage in lineage repair work by connecting with your more ancient ancestors before relating with the recently deceased

• Explores how your ancestors can help you transform intergenerational legacies of pain and abuse and reclaim the positive spirit of the family

Everyone has loving and wise ancestors they can learn to invoke for support and healing. Coming into relationship with your ancestors empowers you to transform negative family patterns into blessings and encourages good health, self-esteem, clarity of purpose, and better relationships with your living relatives.

Offering a practical guide to understanding and navigating relationships with the spirits of those who have passed, Daniel Foor, Ph.D., details how to relate safely and effectively with your ancestors for personal, family, and cultural healing. He provides exercises and rituals, grounded in ancient wisdom traditions, to help you initiate contact with your ancestors, find supportive ancestral guides, cultivate forgiveness and gratitude, harmonize your bloodlines, and assist the dead who are not yet at peace. He explains how to safely engage in lineage repair work by connecting with your more ancient ancestors before relating with the recently deceased. He shows how, by working with spiritually vibrant ancestors, individuals and families can understand and transform intergenerational patterns of pain and abuse and reclaim the full blessings and gifts of their bloodlines. Ancestral repair work can also catalyze healing breakthroughs among living family members and help children and future generations to live free from ancestral burdens. The author provides detailed instructions for ways to honor the ancestors of a place, address dream visits from the dead, and work with ancestor shrines and altars. The author offers guidance on preparing for death, funeral rites, handling the body after death, and joining the ancestors. He also explains how ancestor work can help us to transform problems such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and religious persecution.

By learning the fundamentals of ancestor reverence and ritual, you will discover how to draw on the wisdom of supportive ancestral guides, heal family troubles, maintain connections with beloved family after their death, and better understand the complex and interconnected relationship between the living and the dead.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591432692
Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
Publication date: 07/11/2017
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 420,760
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Daniel Foor, Ph.D., is a licensed psychotherapist and a doctor of psychology. He has led ancestral and family healing intensives throughout the United States since 2005. He is an initiate in the Ifa/Orisha tradition of Yoruba-speaking West Africa and has trained with teachers of Mahayana Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and different indigenous paths, including the older ways of his European ancestors. He lives in Spain.

Read an Excerpt


My Personal Journey with the Ancestors

Nothing about my early life explains my affinity for ancestors. Born in suburban Ohio to a loving middle-class family, I was not raised with a strong awareness of my ancestors or any framework for relating with the dead. Unlike some naturally gifted psychics or ancestor mediums, I did not talk with dead people or see spirits as a young person, nor did I experience profound trauma that cracked me open to other realities. I have also never been struck by lightning, never had a neardeath experience, and never endured a truly life-threatening illness. I do know that long hours playing in the nearby woods and creeks as a boy helped me to feel at home in the natural world and that reading fantasy novels as a young person established a foundation from which to explore ritual, shamanism, and other ways of seeing the world.

My first conscious contact with the unseen happened when, as a teenager, I put into practice basic ritual instructions from an introductory book on shamanism. Through my early experiments I made contact with nonphysical beings or spirits that I experienced as quite real. My immersion in popular pagan culture and academic study of world religions, combined with the guidance of my first spiritual teachers, provided a critical context and grounding for my early experiences with ritual and spirit work.

One pivotal day of training in 1999 introduced me to relating directly with family ancestors. By this point I had been practicing shamanic journeywork, ritual magic, and other types of trance work for about four years. During the training I made contact with a spiritually vibrant and historically distant European ancestor from my paternal grandfather’s lineage. I was invited to ask this supportive ancestor if there were any among the recently deceased that could use healing. Immediately I knew I would visit with my grandfather. When I was seven years old, my father’s father died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His death rippled through the family, particularly affecting my grandmother and his sons. As a child I was shielded from much of this impact, and before this moment I had never sought contact with my grandfather as an ancestor nor considered in any real way the possible effects of his death on the family. Fifteen years after his passing, the ancestral guides and I contacted my Grandpa Foor in spirit and determined that he was still in a state of relative confusion. He appeared to me as fragmented. The guides repaired this damage and helped him to understand who we were and what had happened. He then shared a kind message for my grandmother, which I later conveyed to her while standing together at his grave. The ritual repair ended as the guides and I helped my grandfather start to assume his place among our loving and supportive ancestors.

Ancestor Work

I have led more than one hundred trainings for over a thousand people and have spoken with hundreds of others through talks, monthly circles, and personal sessions. By holding a supportive space for others to directly contact their loving ancestors, I have witnessed profound transformations that also convey benefit to relationships with living family of all ages. Three key lessons from guiding others through the work year after year are that

1. the work is about relationship,

2. everyone has loving ancestors, and

3. relating with our ancestors is entirely normal.

First, getting to know and love our ancestors requires a deep and sustained reckoning with our family, our culture of origin, and our selves. This process takes place over years, not months, and certainly not in one weekend training. The ancestors are not a “subject” we can master or complete; the point is building a relationship with the collective spirit of family in ways that help us grow into wise and loving human beings. Although there may be natural stages or cycles to the work, we are never done with the ancestors until we join them after our death, Ancestor work is both deeply personal and inherently relational.

Second, we all have family ancestors who lived, loved, and worshipped in intimate relationship with the Earth, and getting to know our ancestors can heal and empower people of any ethnic or cultural background, including adoptees. You don’t need to have some kind of spiritual calling from the ancestors themselves; it’s fine just to go knock on their door. We are all unique and blessed, and no one is more special, more human, or more deserving with respect to the topic of ancestors.

Finally, I’ve realized that contrary to fear and popular misconceptions about the unseen worlds, working with the ancestors may actually make you less—rather than more—strange. In my case, although supporting others in talking with dead people is one part of my day job, I am a down-to-earth, straightforward Midwesterner who loves and respects his family, his country (mostly), and his cultural roots. I pay taxes, read the news, and vote. I sometimes eat fast food, like going to the movies, and struggle to make it to the gym. I’m also a Westerneducated psychotherapist and doctor of psychology with a deep love and respect for the physical sciences. Sometimes people assume that having a relationship with the ancestors requires quitting your job, doing pilgrimages to Egypt or Peru, eating magic mushrooms, or adopting some kind of new, weird identity. To the contrary, ancestor work has functioned in my life as an antidote to spiritual snobbery by helping me to get grounded in this reality and to value my family and myself. I have witnessed the work have similar effects in the lives of those who take it to heart. There is nothing unusual or out of the ordinary about having a healthy, ongoing relationship with our ancestors; in fact, it’s one of the most inherently human things we could possibly do.

Table of Contents

List of Figures



Part One
Foundations of Ancestor Work

One My Personal Journey with the Ancestors
Making Initial Contact • Family Research and Personal Healing • Learning and Teaching Ancestor Work

Two Who Are the Ancestors? The Dead Are Not Dead • Family and Remembered Ancestors • Older Ancestors and the Collective Dead

Exercise One: How Do You Feel about Your Ancestors?

Three Spontaneous Ancestral Contact Dream Contact • Synchronicity • Waking Contact in Nonordinary States • Waking Encounters in Ordinary States

Exercise Two: What Are Your Experiences with Your Ancestors?

Four Ancestor Reverence and Ritual Common Intentions for Ancestor Rituals • Practices to Sustain Ancestral Connection

Exercise Three: Ritual to Initiate Contact with Your Ancestors

Part Two
Healing with Lineage and Family Ancestors

Five Family Research and Initiating Ancestral Healing Gathering What Is Remembered • Considerations before Working Directly with Your Ancestors • Choosing a Focus for Lineage Repair Work

Exercise Four: Attuning to Your Four Primary Bloodlines

Six Meeting with Ancestral Guides Ancestral Guides • Using Ritual to Contact Ancestral Guides • Ways to Deepen Relationships with Ancestral Guides

Exercise Five: Seeking an Ancestral Guide

Seven Lineage Ancestors and the Collective Dead Ancestral Lineage • Assessing the Lineage • Making Repairs with Older Lineage Ancestors

Exercise Six: Getting to Know the Lineage

Exercise Seven: Ritual to Assist Lineage Ancestors

Eight Assisting the Remembered Dead Emotional Healing, Forgiveness, and Unfinished Business • Psychopomp, Elevation of the Dead, and Ancestralization • Work with the Very Troubled Dead and Related Spirits

Exercise Eight: Ancestral Forgiveness Practice

Exercise Nine: Soul Guidance for the Remembered Dead

Nine Integration and Work with Living Family Prayer for Self, Family, and Descendants • Embodiment, Channeling, and Mediumship • Completing the Lineage Repair Cycle • Ancestor Work beyond the Lineage Repair Cycle

Exercise Ten: Embody the Lineage and Offer Prayer for the Living

Exercise Eleven: Harmonizing Your Four Primary Lineages

Exercise Twelve: Ritual to Feast Your Family Ancestors

Part Three
Honoring Other Types of Ancestors

Ten Ancestors and Place Home Is Where the Bones Are • Public Memorials and Monuments • Ancestors and the Natural World • Nine Suggestions for Honoring Ancestors of Place

Exercise Thirteen: Cemetery Practice with Family Ancestors

Exercise Fourteen: Ritual to Greet the Ancestors of a Place

Eleven Affinity Ancestors, Multiple Souls, and Reincarnation Ancestors of Affinity • Multiple Souls • Reincarnation and Past Lives • Integration Work with Family, Place, and Affinity Ancestors

Exercise Fifteen: Celebrating Ancestors of Vocation

Exercise Sixteen: Harmonizing Ancestors of Family, Place, and Affinity

Twelve Joining the Ancestors Preparing for Death • Funeral Rites and the Body after Death • Ritual Tending in the First Year after Death

Exercise Seventeen: Conscious Participation in a Burial

Exercise Eighteen: Ritual for the First Anniversary of a Death

Distinguishing Talking with Spirits from Psychosis




List of Figures

Figure 5.1. Family pedigree chart

Figure 5.2. Family pedigree mandala

Figure 7.1. Layers of lineage through time

Figure 9.1. Ancestral mandala

Customer Reviews

Explore More Items