Call on your helpers, guides and allies to accompany you on your journey to the ancestral realm.
Do you have a guide, advocate, or angel on your shoulder? I am guessing you probably do. She or he may come to you in dreams, or in the form of a character from a movie or book that you remember clearly. “Glenda”, the good witch from The Wizard of Oz comes to mind for me. You may find an image in a magazine or book that reminds you of a trusted friend. If so, cut it out and paste this image in your journal, or create a collage of her or him. It is important to have an image in your mind of a guide and advocate, someone who has your back, because you never know what you will encounter. Family can be a very frightening place to go, so be prepared and take your allies along.
I also have a childhood memory of a woman named “Mrs. Roberts”. I don’t know how my parents knew her, but I remember her coming to visit us expressly to see me. She seemed to be interested in only me, not in my younger sister or brother, because she had known me as a baby. She gave me my favorite picture book (Blueberries for Sal), carried a shiny purse, and wore a hat and pearls. I felt, even as a very young child, that she really saw who I was and wanted me to know this. She saw the light that shone within me, and because I knew she saw it, I could believe that this light was real.
When I read about the concept of the “enlightened witness” in the work of author, Alice Miller, (Drama of the Gifted Child) many years later, Mrs Roberts immediately came to mind. Every child, writes Alice Miller, needs an enlightened witness. This is someone who clearly sees that one is a living light with something special to bring to the world. It is most important that every child feels seen as an authentic being with worth and value by at least one other person.
I recognized this quality, of the enlightened witness, when I first watched Mr. Rogers on the Public Television channel. My son was just a toddler at the time, and I remember crying when I saw Mr. Rogers look at the TV and say: “You are the only one like you and people can like you just the way you are”. Do you have any memories of a person who was your enlightened witness for you? Create an image of this person by creating a collage card or simply cutting out an image of someone who reminds you of this enlightened witness. Place it in your journal. Have them with you as you do this ancestral work.
I had an imaginary friend as a child. Her name was “Carleton”. She was tall and thin, had short black hair, and always told me that I was great. She loved me, she was with me even when the bad stuff happened to me, and she refuted any derogatory remarks that were directed at me by others. I talked to her, and she talked to me when I was alone. My alone times occurred when I had to take a nap in the afternoon. That is what I remember, anyway. Carleton was my ever present best friend, who would play whatever pretend game that I decided on and who assured me that I was a wonderful person, no matter what. I think she saved my life during some very difficult times.
My memories of Carleton faded when I went to school. I don’t remember even thinking of her after first grade. It wasn’t until I started seeing a therapist, when I was in my twenties that Carleton’s name popped into my head one night while driving. I cried when I realized that this guide and advocate, has been with me all of my life and I have ignored her. I think of her now as an angel on my shoulder. She has whispered in my ear during moments of deep despair, giving me hope and the desire to stay alive. What a wonderful resource and supporter she is! I want her with me at all times now, but especially when I am accessing the realm of the ancestors. I know that I could encounter things or voices that do not feel friendly or loving, and so it is always could to bring my trusted companion.