One of the things I have been working a fair amount with professionally and personally is with cultural energies.
I do quite a bit of ancestral healing– it is one of my focuses and passions. Ancestral healing can result in huge changes and release of long-standing patterns, especially powerful emotions and belief patterns.
I do find that people are “catching on” so to speak, with ancestral healing, and I am thankful for that. I do find it humorous that spiritual workers have been working with ancestral energies, and ancestral healing, for thousands of years, and recent techniques and psychotherapeutic oriented modalities act like they were the first ones to discover it or even think about it.
I also recognize more and more these days that removing things from their spiritual roots and re-creating them to be mental techniques and more palatable and recognizable to the “masses” causes them to lose their essence and much of their power… but I have also learned that people will, in general, find the healing that they are ready for.
I do find that with more mainstream acceptance or discussion that people will sometimes realize that they can accept that these energies are having an effect on them (because “society” has told them so), and so they are open to considering it, and of eventually working with it… which I am thankful for as well.
In doing all of this ancestral work I have noticed with some individuals that some of the healing work extends beyond that. In those cases, the healing of culture, and of cultural constructs becomes incredibly relevant as well as healing.
In “new-age” (I hate that word/construct, but it is the best way to describe mainstream spirituality) thought I come across the idea quite a bit that “we are all one” which typically means someone telling everyone else that they don’t see culture, race, gender, and so forth, and that those constructs are meaningless. (side note, in actual oneness states you are able to sense the oneness as well as the individuality of everyone and everything– something that people who have not actually experienced this state do not understand)
In spiritual healing, this is a complete falsehood. Our individual makeup, who we are, what society, race, gender, and culture we have emerged from is incredibly important. It is important because those energies, those essences, have created our beliefs, understandings, abilities, power, and pain in this world. It has created our wounds as well as our beauty.
The culture that we come from can have certain beliefs and understandings similar to the way trauma is carried in our ancestral line. But cultural energies typically are a bit bigger. They have to do with loss of power, generally. Or even more generally, they have to do with the mis-use of power.
What I mean by this is that if we have come from a culture that experienced a lot of war and sacrifice, in that culture there may be a current of pain or despair due to another culture “taking” from them. Taking their power, basically.
Or in another culture they may have a legacy of being an oppressor– of taking from another culture. This energy may be a current of fear, greed, or shame.
How is this Different From Ancestral Energies?
So in this same situation a client may come to me whose ancestors were slaves. Those individuals (the people who experienced slavery) may have had individual traumas, as well as individual realizations– beliefs and understandings about themselves and the world– which were then passed down to my client through the ancestral line.
These energies are now held by the client until they can reconcile them, until they can heal them, and until they can come to a space of recognizing how those energies have impacted them.
Once these energies have healed– the individual stories, beliefs, and the actual ancestors have been healed (a big difference between mental work and spiritual work, by the way, is the understanding that the ancestors are still with us, and still can be communicated with and worked with as conscious beings), the strength and beauty of the ancestry can come through. It is truly a beautiful process.
Cultural energies are more like webs– webs we are connected to if we are a part of that culture (we are a strand of that web, basically). Or another way of looking at it is that cultural energies are like currents (like an ocean). If we are part of a specific culture, that current flows through us and informs us. (As another side note, this is why I will tell people to connect to their own ancestral practices and cultural practices, because they can easily tap into this current).
In the above situation (the client whose ancestors experienced slavery) there is also the cultural energy there. Basically, this means that this current is one not of the individual ancestor needing to be healed, or even the beauty of the individual ancestral line being carried through, but the cultural energy of many people from that culture being enslaved and the energies of pain, fear/terror, grief, rage/anger, and more that emerged from that culture as a result of this culture as a whole experiencing slavery… and that energy becoming a part of the current that informs my individual client.
But more importantly, the above cultural energy has to do with being “taken” from. A loss of power. A taking of power.
So obviously working with one individual and their cultural energies is not going to erase this pain, this legacy. It would be silly to suggest that, and quite frankly, disrespectful to the culture and to the experiences they had.
In fact, I would not suggest erasing that history (another “new-age” popular thing to do it seems). Our history has created that current. Out of pain emerges beauty, wisdom, and spiritual practices (as a side note, I do think that a lot of people do not understand this, and will gravitate towards the “trendy” spiritual culture and their practices, not understanding that if they do not know the history, or why the spiritual practices emerged… if they cannot place themselves in that current I describe here… Many powerful spiritual practices emerged out of necessity, out of a direct and specific history.. and without understanding the “why” the practices will simply be a form of play-acting and essentially powerless).
But through that one individual this loss of power, and the emotions that have arisen because of it, can be healed.
Or through an individual, the ill-gotten power and “taking” that have happened, and how that cultural energy has manifested… how that current of energy flows through that individual, can be healed.
This means that working with cultural energies has to do with balancing of power.
But it also means that working with cultural energies– healing that current that comes through that one individual– can allow for them to realign with the beauty, strength, and magnificence of the individual culture that they are from (or if they are from many cultures, to embrace that individual culture that we have worked on, as well as eventually perhaps their other cultures in time).
The current (or grid) that creates such a strong legacy (often an incredibly understandable one) of pain, chaos, trauma, and strong emotions… can then be recognized as a source of power.
When we recognize the culture we emerge from as a source of power we are more willing to look interior, to trust our own strength, to recognize the beauty of our own culture. Each culture that is on this planet is beautiful– with its own current that has unique energies that compose it. If we are able to recognize the beauty and strength, and fully step into the current of our culture, we can feel more aligned, powerful, and our spiritual path can often be revealed to us in really powerful ways.
I will say that this work is for everyone… but it is not for everyone. That means that typically there needs to be ancestral healing done before larger forces, such as ancestral energies, can be worked with. Such work can reveal and release the ways in which we have culturally lost or inappropriately gained power, and how to set that dynamic right within the context of our individual bodies and lives, however.