ancestral healing, as I understand it

Japanese culture is rich with ancestral worship. Shinto is the indigenous, animist tradition that no doubt arose spontaneously across the country in accordance with respective needs in respective communities. This form of worship is the thread and crux of *all* indigenous religion for a reason. It is borne of relationship to land and ancestry, which may equate to the same thing if we feel deep enough. Buddhism is a more modern addition to the religious landscape in Japan, but it was fused with an extant understanding of the pantheon of gods, and the position of us as humans within that. Certain Buddhist traditions, in particular funeral rites, were combined with an animist perspective and cemented the practice of connecting with our ancestors.


As with all ritualised traditions, the actual connections made with ancestral heritage today have weakened, typically performed with a sense of obligation rather than reverence, but I would say only in the past century or so. When held against a backdrop of what is likely millennia of solid ancestral worship, it means there is a powerful collective pool of wisdom that we can return to from our present deviation - if we choose. I was fortunate enough to experience the resonance of that wisdom in many ways during my time in Japan, as well as within my body. This is where my understanding of ancestral healing stems from.



photo by Masatoshi Naito 内藤正敏「婆バクハツ!」

That we are bound to the land is obvious if we spend any length of time living in that way. We are made up of the molecules in the air that we inhale and exhale, an unending