If I think back to some of the very first property readings I ever did, the ancestors of the land in those readings often asked to do ceremonies while I held space.
And it has continued regularly since then.
I didn't think much about it initially.
I always ask in a reading if there are ancestors present that want to speak with me and I've always been honored to witness their ceremonies.
But I had a very unusual experience a few months ago that made me realize that I was doing much more than simply witnessing or holding space.
These particular ancestors informed me that my ancestors had brought me to this land as a kind of “totem” to represent all settlers or colonizers in their ceremony.
Unbeknownst to me, I have been standing in spiritual ceremony by proxy for a few years now.
After this incredibly emotional ceremony and reading took place, I went back to my ancestors to ask for more details about how this all works.
They explained that it is our job (as humans) to actually ground energies into the physical plane. Our dense, physical bodies can affect change on the physical earth plane differently than theirs.
So, we may think that they have so many more “abilities” being in spirit form, but there are some things they just cannot do. They can sing and dance and have ceremony on their spiritual plane, but for it to actually take effect on the earth plane, they need a human to participate.
The ceremonies I tend to witness, or stand proxy in, are very specific. They are usually for our collective healing and reconciliation to release residual pain and trauma trapped in the land.
Very often forgiveness needs to be offered and accepted.
And then grounded into the earth plane.
If there's nobody available “on the other side” to offer or receive the forgiveness, there is no point to the ceremony.
So, when I suddenly appear on their plane to do a property reading, the ancestors take the opportunity to do this work. Often they say….We've been waiting!
Sometimes, it's both the indigenous ancestors and the settlers who come forward to me together – they have already reconciled on the other side, but need the assistance to release the stuck energy on the land that they left behind.
Oh, and PS: This is why I've been teaching people how to do this work through the Earth Tenders Academy. Because I am but one person and I can't possibly get to everyone in my lifetime. I would love to have you join me!
When I asked my ancestors to tell me more about standing in spiritual ceremony by proxy, I was slightly suspicious about the whole idea.
I mean…don't we need the permission of the person who we're standing in proxy for to say, apologize, on their behalf?
They explained that because everything is energy, we can energetically represent another being or group of beings by bringing their energy forward in the ceremony.
We don't need their specific permission in this case because we're not actually doing the work for that person. If their actions during that lifetime created karma for themselves, then that will continue until they are ready to heal it. My standing in proxy won't resolve that issue.
My ancestors explained that when I offer an apology on behalf of a group of people, I'm representing an element or a piece of what's needed in the healing process.
They said that my willingness to participate in these ceremonies opens portals of healing, raises the vibration on the land, and helps propel the healing work forward.
It's simply the first step in the process.
The ceremonies trigger the healing work to begin.
Kind of amazing when you think about it, and I'm honored to assist.
That being said, I will offer one caution for this work.
Just like any other kind of spiritual work, there are both healed and unhealed ancestors. So you want to be sure of who you're interacting with before you decide to work with them in ceremony.
A few months ago, I was tuned into the energy of some ancestor spirits I had worked with before. They belonged to the same tribe as another, more “famous” person. One you would have read about in your U.S. History textbooks.
This more famous spirit was DEMANDING an apology from another spirit you've likely studied in school. His anger is what struck me as odd. Once a spirit has crossed over back to source energy and had their life review, they don't tend to be angry or hold grudges.
They may want to work on healing the situation, but it's usually from a place of love and compassion.
So I took a step back from the conversation and put myself inside a protective bubble and asked that only spirits who've transitioned be allowed inside the bubble. As soon as I did that, I could clearly see that I was inside the bubble with all of the ancestors, except for the angry one.
He was very aggressively pacing and grumbling outside the bubble about the apology he was owed.
I asked his friends and family who were inside the bubble with me what we should do about it.
And they were clear.
This was his personal journey.
He could cross over if he wanted to. But was choosing instead to let his anger keep him here in this way.
So we left him alone.
The apology he was looking for had nothing to do with collective healing.
Another common part of the ceremonies that you should be aware of is that you will often be offered blessings or have some portion of the ceremony directed towards you.
Keep in mind that you are not likely “you” in this ceremony.
You are standing in proxy and the ancestors are treating you as the collective people who have come to ask for forgiveness, offer apologies or just generally reconcile any differences they may have experiences while embodied.
This could feel a bit odd to you because when you set aside your ego to do this work (as you should, as much as you're able), you may feel uncomfortable that spirits are thanking or honoring you in this way.
And I find that our impulse is to pull away or decline the blessings, telling the ancestors that these gestures aren't necessary.
But they are an important part of the healing work in ceremony.
During a reading earlier this year, a group of native men wearing headdresses approached me, standing in a V-shape, and said they were responsible for much of the healing work happening in this particular area. They asked if they could do a ceremony of forgiveness to help clear the slate and start again.
I was asked to kneel before them for a blessing and then my ancestors joined them in song and dance for an extended period of time while I continued to kneel. They said that they were dancing for our collective pain.
The intent for their ceremony was to help remove the collective trauma for everyone who had lived in this area at some point in time and said that so long as we hold this collective pain, it will never end. The trauma will just continue in new ways (which I think we are clearly experiencing in our modern culture).
Throughout the ceremony, they were asking for the pain to be transmuted and when it was complete, they thanked me for coming as a representative of “my” people, some of whom very likely passed through this area generations ago and most certainly would have been at odds with the first people on the land.
I could feel the pain moving through me and out of me and cried through much of the ceremony.
The ceremony was clearly not just about our collective pain, but also part of healing my own ancestral lineage.
This is the opportunity we have when we work with our ancestors and the ancestors and spirits of the land. When we feel too small to have an impact on the world's problems, spirit shows us that we're larger and more powerful than we can imagine when we work together.
The final thing my ancestors shared with me about standing in spiritual ceremony by proxy, was that the ancestors we encounter also have contracts to do this healing work, just like we do, and that us finding each other in this way is part of our remembering process.
So we've already agreed to do this work.
We just have to show up with an open mind and a willing heart.