Creative Wordshops Newsletter October 2021

Healing the Family Tree

My grand-niece is researching family history as part of her journey.
She asks me about my parents and grandparents. So the story involves
five generations, with me in the middle like the two-headed Roman god,
Janus, looking both ways. While able to share some of my parent’s
stories, most of my grandparents’ stories have slipped into the mist.
This is a double death – the demise of the person and their story –
unless shared.

Many million year ago. Bones amid stones. Ankle bone of a frog? Tooth of a shrew?. Recently I facilitated a Zen Pen retreat at the West Coast Fossil Park writing in the presence of ancient bones. Pippa Haarhoff, our host, can identify the frog or shrew from the cluster in her hand. As we age perhaps, we begin to place our story in a greater frame, linking us to those who have a gone before and those who are yet to
come. Going back back.

Then en route home visiting the !Khwa ttu San Culture and Education Centre near Yzerfontein where Margaret Courtney-Clarke’s (When Tears don’t matter ) photographic exhibition is current (advise you to visit). Here too are our ancestors, the First People of our African home. A San art work at the Centre.

I believe in the healing power of listening to these ancient tales of origins then telling our story and leaving it as a gift. I also believe that our relationship to our ancestors is bi-directional. They influence us as they are present in our genes, in our DNA. Yet might it be possible that when we heal, resolve a family curse, poor parenting, addictions, our ancestors who could be stuck in some limbo, begin to heal too?

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