Finding Magic and Healing Through Ancestor Work

It’s 2022. The Covid-19 pandemic. The OMG political what-the-FUCK-ness of this moment. Many of us are feeling uprooted, disconnected, and disenchanted far more often than you’d like to be. Understandably so! In response to all the WTF maybe you’re looking for some solace, an outlet for finding healing and hope. Maybe you’re reaching out for a practice to help you ground, to tap into more magic, to get you in contact with the enchanting and transcendent forces of spirituality.

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You’re definitely not alone. We are hungry for magic in the modern world. Would-be witches are reclaiming lost practices. “Witch” continues to trend on social media and in the capitalist marketplace. The magics we’ve lost are being sold back to us. And on Instagram and Twitter we are exposed to a root-less hodge-podge of spiritual techniques from across the world, unmoored from their cultural context. We’re hungry for magic, enchantment, and the connection to something that that magic and enchantment entail – whether it’s spirit guides, the universe, deity, etc. We’re all hungry for the connection and enchantment that making magic brings. But that so-called magic so easily takes on the characteristics of the same systems that disenchanted the world in the first place because the damage that created disconnection and disenchantment has not been healed. Without care and attention to the sources of disconnection and disenchantment, our spiritual practices can become just one more thing that perpetuates the rootlessness, the disconnection, the utilitarian materialism of late-state capitalism.

Reaching out for a magical practice alone will not heal those feelings of disconnection and disenchantment. Because a magical practice that does not question, address, and heal the root of those wounds of disconnection and disenchantment will simply continue to perpetuate them.

That’s because these wounds are a product of the society we’ve all grown up in. We live in a world that is structured by systems of capitalism, white supremacy, colonialism. These systems are projects that have abolished connection for the purpose of accumulating power. That connection to the earth and to each other that you’re so hungry for as a human, ripped up at the root by these systems.

When we reach out for magic without healing the roots of that separation, we risk perpetuating the systems that make us feel so disempowered and disconnected. Cultural appropriation. The theft of intellectual property from teachers to make a quick buck. The tarot reader impersonators that proliferate on Instagram. All of the bullshit that abounds about “manifesting” an illness or adverse experience. White supremacist ideas dressed up as transcendent spiritual experiences. And so much more. All of them are symptoms of the problem.

Sorting through all the bullshit is a herculean task. But, without doing the work of healing the problem at the root, instead of just addressing the symptoms, there will just be more bullshit. If you are searching for connection and magic, for a more enchanted world, then you need to tend to the root of disconnection and disenchantment.

To repair that connection you need to repair it where it was severed: at the root. Which is the trouble: This connection wasn’t severed during our lifetimes, or during our parent’s lifetimes despite all the handwringing that goes on in the media about the “good old days”. It was severed long ago.

If you seek connection and magic, if you seek to cast spells and re-enchant the world, but you don’t do the work to escape the mind-cage given to you by this society, but you don’t do the work to heal the problem at the root, if you seek to build on this same foundation (by only reaching outwards, by thinking connection to nature or to deities or other spirits can fix it without first tending to the roots of the problem) then you risk perpetuating the rot, you risk hamstringing your practice by leaving it rooted in this space of artificially limited imagination.

In order to create a practice of deep connection, right relationship, and magical enchantment we have to heal that root of that wound. That’s where ancestor work comes in. Ancestor work is the remedy.

If you are a witch who is sick of the bullshit, who wants to connect to your power and create a better world, who knows that magic is political and wants your magic to magic a statement in favor of connection and enchantment…if you yearn for those things in your practice, you should be working with the ancestors. The ancestors are the key to healing the roots of disconnection and disenchantment.

Some of your ancestors remember a time before capitalism. Some of them knew other systems of societal and community organization. Some of them remember magic and spells that have been forgotten. They remember how to be in sacred, interwoven relationship with the world. Your ancestors are spirits, beings with more-than-human personhood and agency with experiences of the mystical and the beyond. If you want to transcend the consensus reality of capitalist realism your ancestors are your most immediate connections to that beyond, to the world beyond this consensus reality. They can be your allies and accomplices in your radical work, in your work to create a better world. They can help you make magic that helps infuse connection and enchantment back into the world and helps you live in right relationship with the world.

Ancestor work is a foundational practice for the modern witch who is looking to heal the wounds of disconnection and disenchantment once and for all, both for themselves and for the world.

Curious about how to get started with ancestor work? Over the next few months I’ll be sharing weekly blog posts about the what, why, and how of ancestor work. Stay tuned by subscribing to the FREE Liminal Letters newsletter! Or if you can’t wait to get started download the FREE Journal Your Ancestor Journey journal prompts to help you get started establishing your practice! Or book an ancestor tarot reading with me and get one-on-one guidance for beginning your ancestor work journey!