In my journey as a Shaman these past 30 years, I’ve witnessed and facilitated many miracles and they always fill me with awe. Today’s miracle is personal for me and I’ve been giggling with delight all day!
I grew up in a family that is many generations Christian. I’ve known for most of my life that there’s a strong line of intuitive and psychic awareness in my family, but it’s usually spoken about in whispers or jokes. To my knowledge, I’m the only one alive in my family today who walks this life as a Shaman. In my spirituality, I’m very different from my family and that’s been lonely sometimes. I’m sure this is a familiar experience for many Shamans, Wiccans, Druids, and Pagans today.
I also grew up with my Grandpa’s longing to know where in France his dad had been born and to visit there someday. Grandpa and some of his siblings searched their whole lives for our French relatives. At almost 80 years old, Grandpa finally found some distant cousins in France and he got his trip to our family’s ancestral village. But he never found out where his dad was born.
A few years ago, many years after Grandpa died, I began researching the family, hoping to find the answers he wanted so badly and give them to my mom, her siblings, and their cousins before they too left this world with those unanswered questions. In the process I’ve interviewed more relatives than I knew I had and visited France a couple of times with my mom. And I began to understand why I’m really on this “genealogy journey”.
My family, like most in the USA, doesn’t stay put in one geographic area for more than two or three generations. We have a strong sense of home and deep connection to each other and our homes, but no generations-long connection to the Earth of any one place.
Six years ago when I first visited my ancestral village in France, I cried, I laughed, and I wanted to dance on that piece of Earth all day and all night. In this place, my direct ancestors had been born, lived, loved, and were lovingly laid to rest for many hundreds of years before my Great-great-grandpa left in 1865. I could hear their voices and feel their footprints under my feet as I walked the land. I could feel their tears as their children died and their joy as more children were born. I could feel their hope and their fear as the local economy ebbed and flowed, as wars, famines, and disease moved in and out of the area. I could feel them welcome me; one they knew was their own. I knew I was loved by my ancestors and I belonged even though I could only stay for a few days.
Three years ago when I visited my ancestral village the second time, some folks who live in the area began sharing stories with me and I discovered that this line of my family has a long heritage of being Healers. Some of my distant cousins living in those mountains today are Healers who perform miraculous physical cures simply by laying their hands on those in need. Even though their techniques are different than mine, I began to get how truly ordinary I am in my family. With that came the deep release of a life-long loneliness based on the idea that I was out of sync with my people.
Still having no answers to my Grandpa’s questions, I’ve continued to research this line of the family. The internet is an incredible tool for this, as are my own persistence and patience. And yet, the daunting task before me has been to search the records of every town, village, and city in France looking for two births and one marriage.
Shaman that I am, I started talking to my Great-great-grandparents. I told them how we’re related, that I wanted to remember their lives, and that I needed their help to be able to do that. I reminded them that they know where they came from and where the records were when they were alive and all of their descendants would really like to have that information.
As is sometimes so between humans and spirits, the answers have come in bits and pieces. There have been sudden desires to look at this town or that. Boredom with looking at the records in one town so I’d move on to another. Oops, those records weren’t online yet, so I’d move on to yet another. Dreaming about the name of a town and then finding it on a map…
And from time to time a little reminder from me to my helpers…. “My mom’s in her late 70’s now, could we hurry this along?” “Several of her cousins, your Great-grandchildren, have died in the last few months, could we hurry this along?”
Then being inspired to research an area of France where I was sure I’d find the records, only to discover that the online viewer got overloaded so quickly I could only see three or four records, out of thousands, before I’d get bumped off. After several days of trying, frustration took me back to researching an area that I was sure wouldn’t have the records, but at least I could look through it quickly and eliminate it from the list of possibilities.
And this morning, there they were; my Great-great-grandparent’s marriage act, my Great-grandpa’s birth act and that of his brother. Just responding to frustration with what I thought was a futile act and all of a sudden I’ve answered the 140 year old family question.
And I knew then that the overloading of the viewer for that other area, which was very unusual in my experience of French online records, just may have been encouraged by some ancestral hands.
So I say to my Great-great-grandparents, François Prulhière and Amélie-Marie Royer, thank you with all my heart and soul for leaving this trail of mystery for me to follow. It has led me home to another layer of my soul and a deep sense of place within this family and this life. Thank you for your part in making sure I could be.
And Beloved Reader, I say to you; talk to your blood ancestors and go to one of your ancestral homes. These souls put their own life energy into making sure there’s a place for you. They will support you. At least once in this lifetime, go home to a place where the very Earth you walk upon is literally made from the bones of your ancestors. It will deepen your humanity and delight your soul.