Curses are not just ill-wishes we receive from people who desire to harm us. They can also be inherited from our ancestors, who made contracts with Spirit in times of duress. These generational curses can manifest on all 4 levels of engagement: physically, on the serpent level, emotionally, on the jaguar level, sacred/mythically, on the hummingbird level, or energetically on the level of the eagle.
The shaman’s way of healing a generational curse is through the path of fire or tantra, i.e. the transformative path by conducting a fire ceremony and releasing everything about a particular theme that runs intergenerationally in your family into the flame.
The emotional wounds we cause to others can be so powerful that they can be felt not only over a lifetime, but for generations. In the Amazon, they refer to these as generational curses: The terror that a troubled mother inflicts on her daughters is felt by their daughters and their daughters’ daughters, and the harsh punishment a father exacts on his son is felt by many generations. This operates on a collective level as well. For example, the legacy of colonialism and slavery didn’t disappear when the original slaves died―their experiences affected the way they raised their children and the way those children raised their children. This is also true in families where there’s alcoholism, mental illness, or abuse. Even the grandkids of people who lost everything during the Great Depression still deal with issues of scarcity.
Generational curses are often invisible to us, since we’re born with them and consider them part of our “skin.” It’s important to be aware of such legacies so that we can heal them instead of damning our children to living in reaction to a wound that was inflicted on our grandmother 75 years ago. Living consequently means healing this wound rather than passing it on as an inheritance to our children.
To identify the generational curses that run in your family, find a quiet spot to sit and open sacred space. Sit quietly and identify themes that run intergenerationally in your family. Remember to look at themes running on both your mother’s and father’s side. For example, perhaps the men in your family, like mine, lost everything by the age of 49. Or perhaps loveless marriages and traumatic divorce is the theme in your family.
Speak these themes out loud and blow each one into a stick or death arrow. Then burn the stick in the fire with the intention of forming a new agreement with spirit, one that is positive and life affirming. Turn this agreement into an affirmation and speak it out loud. By taking generational curses to the fire, retiring them for good, and replacing them with new agreements with spirit, we heal ourselves and past and future generations.
When we break our generational curses, we realize that we are the author of our destiny, that we are on a hero’s journey, and that all the things that happened in the past, including the generational curses, are the source of great gifts and lessons if we choose to see them as such.
This is an act of power and courage that we, as shamans, make before Spirit. We choose to live heroically, no longer a victim of our past, or our upbringing.
What debilitating generational curses do you have the courage to release today?