Ancestral Trauma: The Importance of Healing Your Ancestral Shadows

Daniel Hannah
11 min readDec 16, 2023

Healing can be a puzzling journey because there is so much ambiguity surrounding the topic. Trauma, wounds, energies, and even entities can play a role. But to add another layer of complication, did you know that trauma also runs through your bloodline?

Generally speaking, we really know nothing of our ancestry’s influence, or just how much of a role it plays in each individual. There’s a whole lot more than genes that pass through your family tree. From the common hereditary illnesses we acknowledge today, to the more discrete manifestations of trauma such as core shame or self-esteem issues.

But trauma aside, even seemingly unrelated phenomena are rooted in your ancestry. Although we can overturn the tide, your ancestry determines what characteristics you have, how easily you can make money, what spiritual gifts may come naturally to you, or how efficiently you can help other people.

That’s because a lineage is a channel of energy. Each channel is unique, and it picks up the experiences of its descendants while passing through. This is why you can have something like abandonment issues without any clear cause, because unknowingly your great grandad was left at the altar. You may have a general distrust of people because someone up the line was betrayed by their platoon.

Your ancestry has a huge influence over who you are, and what experiences you attract into your life. Maybe you’re aware of how ancestral energies make their way down the chain, maybe this is an entirely new concept to you. Regardless, we’re going to dig into this phenomena now.

Understanding ancestry: The energetic blueprint of a lineage

Ancestral trauma is something that has been a focus of my attention for a while now. While digging into the roots of how we’re all energetically connected, the topic of our ancestry keeps popping up to tie up all the loose pieces.

Now I’m no expert on the topic, but the more I learn about ancestral trauma, the more it starts to click. Whether we’re talking about the impact that ancestry has on each individual’s makeup or the challenges they’re likely to encounter in this lifetime. We are all born into particular pipelines of energy that have a significant influence on each person’s life experience.

This isn’t to say that we don’t have free will, because we do. Anyone can carve out whatever life they desire, but we’re born with a set of advantages and disadvantages depending on the lineages we incarnate into. All things are energetic, so it’s really not farfetched to believe we carry ancestral energies that attract resonating experiences.

Recently I wrote an article about the collective consciousness, and how we’re all energetically connected. For the topic of ancestral trauma to make sense, I suggest you read that article before moving on. You can find it below.

The influence of ancestry

As each individual has their own energetic ecosystem, each human collective experiences a shared energetic ecosystem too. Look at the collective of humanity as one energetic umbrella, and then different lineages as separate umbrellas within the universal umbrella.

Ancestries have their own karmic pools that are shared between the individuals of each collective. Being born into a particular ancestry means that you take on that ancestral karma, as you take on many of the experiences that are unique to that particular ancestry. Likewise, the ancestry that you incarnate into is dependent on the soul contract you made to incarnate into that ancestry.

Belonging to any ancestry has pros and cons as each lineage has certain characteristics, traits, and karmic footprints. Look at this as part of the homework your soul chose for this lifetime, being the lessons you’ll experience and the challenges you’ll be faced with.

Someone with a Saudi Arabian royal bloodline is going to have a very different experience from a descendant of an Amazonian medicine tribe. One might naturally gravitate towards influence and wealth, while the other may naturally gravitate towards shamanism, regardless of the time, culture, or demographic they are born into.

Each ancestry has a different collective energy which translates into things like their society, culture, and what sort of player that bloodline becomes on the world stage.

Why your ancestry matters

Today the world has vastly changed, and many people are a mixture of different lineages. In a way, each ancestral energy has become diluted with other ancestral energies. If you have a small percentage of ancestry from a particular aboriginal tribe in Australia, those energies still affect you, but they are likely overpowered by your more dominant bloodline.

Some bloodlines will be natural healers, and in the modern age, the souls born into that ancestry tend to gravitate towards careers where they help others. Some lineages will be more inventive, or more adventurous, or tend to become influential people who have a lot of social status. Some lineages will be natural mediums, or perhaps work with certain energies and spirits.

Even though we are all individuals, ancestries on the world stage act like single organisms. If you imagine the world as a schoolyard, lineages are like the students. By realizing what sort of student your collective is, you can utilize your strengths and better navigate this world.

Although external influences such as your immediate family and the culture you were raised in play a huge role in your life, we tend to underestimate how much of an influence our ancestry has over the experiences we manifest.

This is why it’s important to know your ancestry because many of the things that you experience in life are related to your ancestry.

Understanding ancestral trauma and collective wounds

As we are all connected on an energetic level, this means that the trauma experienced throughout humanity is also shared amongst humanity. If the collective is a body, events like genocides are the act of wounding this body that we collectively share.

On some level, all of humanity feels the major events. But when a major event is isolated to a particular lineage, everyone who is a part of that lineage will be deeply affected. These wounds will manifest in different ways amongst all the descendants of that lineage until the wound has been healed by the descendants.

This collective trauma manifests in different ways. We might not notice a direct cause and effect between what we experience and what happened to our ancestors, but it probably explains why humanity as a whole has so many issues. That’s because we have deeply wounded ourselves, and we have a lot of ancestral trauma to heal.

The manifestation of this trauma may emerge in depression rates, anxiety, domestic violence, murder, rape, and so forth. As I explain in the articles linked below, trauma leeks out in other forms via manifestations. This works on a collective scale too.

The ancestral shadow of the world’s indigenous

Let’s look at the world’s indigenous as an example of ancestral trauma.

In most cases, colonization crippled the indigenous beyond repair. Even though most of the world’s indigenous still have difficulties for obvious reasons, there is also a lot of ancestral trauma that adds insult to injury. This ancestral trauma runs extremely deep, especially in areas where the indigenous were mostly wiped out or enslaved.

Slowly around the world, we are starting to see a resurgence of indigenous and their culture within the framework of Western civilization. More people are taking an interest in traditions such as ceremonies, their healing modalities, philosophies, and cultural values that were buried long ago.

This resurgence isn’t a coincidence. It’s another synchronicity to add to the spiritual revolution that is currently underway. It marks the start of the next Pachacuti that I talk about in the article below.

Many of the world’s indigenous are healing, so the projection of the collective consciousness is reflecting it. As healing continues to be done, indigenous culture will become more prominent, as will their values and traditions.

Modern manifestations of ancestral trauma

The African Slave trade was a big part of the world at one point. Many nations participated in this practice, and because of that, many lineages were deeply wounded. Since this ancestral trauma has never been fully healed, there are still wounds that anyone who shares this ancestry has.

Besides other social and historical influences that are still at play, poverty rates are high for African descendants in general, in most countries. Likewise, generally, there are more cases of substance abuse and violence compared to other ethnicities. This isn’t because of the culture or people themselves, or necessarily because they’re still discriminated against. It’s because there’s a gaping unhealed wound within the ancestral energy.

This phenomenon occurs because the historic events that targeted these ethnicities left deep wounds that still haven’t fully healed. So these wounds manifest in other forms throughout the collective ancestry. They will continue to be regardless of any interventions because the wound is still there. Slapping on a Band-Aid won’t do much good.

Of course, this is just one example. There is also deep ancestral trauma of the Jewish people from World War 2, and of Cambodians who suffered at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. The descendants carry this trauma, and it affects them one way or another.

Collective healing

When you heal yourself, you’re also healing the collective. Even though humanity has a lot of collective trauma, we have also done a lot of healing. So let’s give ourselves some credit.

Every person who has practiced shadow work is vicariously working on the collective too. Every ceremony is also healing the collective. Every form of spiritual healing, meditation, and breathwork is again… healing the collective.

Of course, there’s a lot of trauma that needs to be healed (and there’s always more trauma occurring), so it’s going to take humanity a while, but we are moving the needle in the right direction. As long as we continue healing ourselves and helping other people, we are making a dint in the collective, and the collective will reflect it.

With that said, the more people who make healing a priority, the better the world becomes. Healing yourself is a selfless act because you’re doing your part for the collective. As the collective heals, everyone within the collective vicariously benefits from that healing.

Addressing generational trauma

The unresolved issues that your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents faced were likely passed down the bloodline.

If someone up the line had heavy trauma that they never dealt with, guess what? That trauma will be passed on to their kids. If those kids never end up dealing with those issues, they too will pass that trauma down the chain to their kids (along with their own trauma).

Therefore, when it comes to generational trauma, there is an accumulation effect. What you experience as a result of these unhealed traumas might not be a direct effect, but there will be a related manifestation. This is a big reason why so many people seem to have so many issues without any clear cause. You’re probably no exception.

This doesn’t mean you should play the blame game because that doesn’t help. The older generations weren’t very aware of healing, or the importance of it. For the most part, there was a very different cultural mentality, which was to suck it up and get on with it. Maybe this coping mechanism worked, but it often left the wound unhealed, which means it passed on to the next generation.

So let’s look at how generational trauma might translate into the younger generations.

If someone died in labor, this might translate into fertility issues in her offspring. If your grandfather lived with severe PTSD, you might have an addictive personality (coping) or anxiety due to this unhealed trauma. If each consecutive generation seems to be more messed up than the previous, it’s because they’re carrying our burden.

Not to say that you shouldn’t take accountability for your own issues, because you absolutely should. But it’s also important to work on the trauma that was passed down to you. That doesn’t seem fair right? In some ways, it’s not. But then again, you chose this life due to your own karma, so you are experiencing it for a reason.

Problems never just go away. Not even through death. If you don’t deal with your wounds, then others will have to carry that burden.

Tracing your ancestral trauma

It’s important to learn about your ancestry, because issues that you experience may be connected to events that happened generations ago. For many of us, our ancestry is something that hides in the shadows. For the most part, we don’t really care about it because we think it carries no significance in our lives today.

We don’t know what our great-grandparents went through, or what difficulties they faced. Most of us don’t know our heritage, or what lineages we’re descendants of. Because we don’t know what happened to our ancestors, we can’t trace our issues back, or find the root cause of them.

Everyone carries some sort of ancestral trauma because we all have long lines of ancestry. The more healing that every member of your family has done before you, the less ancestral trauma you’ll take on yourself. Maybe you’ll even have a clean slate, but if you’re like most, you will need to do some healing.

This is why it’s so important for us to all heal, because together we all dip into the collective. If all of us focus on releasing the baggage we’re carrying, the future generations will benefit enormously.

If a family line has been healed, then there will no longer be illness within newer generations, full stop. There will be no genetic illness, no dementia, no disabilities of any kind. All these things are manifestations of unresolved trauma in the ancestry, so if the healing is done, the future generations will have a clean slate coming into this world.

Breaking the chain

You must break this chain. Whether it’s a long line of alcoholism, depression, insomnia, paranoia… You are the chain breaker. You are on this planet to turn a leaf, to make a difference, to heal the past.

Even though this trauma was never you’re to take, it is your responsibility to work on it. If you spend your life swallowing your trauma and merely coping with it, that trauma will be passed on. But if you decide to do the healing, not just for yourself but for future generations, then you are making a difference.

We all have a lot of work to do because, for the most part, our ancestors are still very much wounded. But this is where the tide turns, with every one of us who decides to be a warrior of humanity. If we all just do a little healing, it makes a huge difference.