Ancestral Medicine June Newsletter
Ancestral Medicine June Newsletter
Greetings all.

I hope you're finding ways to stay resourced with the land and your people through the pandemic and international uprising for racial justice. There are moments when the conditions for actual change seem more open, more possible, and without presuming to know the trajectory of things, may we lean into this moment accordingly. See below for a statement on Ancestral Medicine's ongoing commitment to anti-racism action.

Summer courses are open for registration with pandemic-friendly payment options to keep the work accessible. We'll continue the weekly teachings and ritual convergence of the Bring Out Your Dead series with an eleven-week summer course, Kindling the Need-Fire, featuring all new content. This will run concurrent with our two foundational courses: Ancestral Lineage Healing and Practical Animism (starts June 25th!) Each complements the Need-Fire series, and they can be taken together for a deep dive in ritual arts. See below for details on each course as well as a link for a talk I guided yesterday, Animism, Conflict, and Culture Change.

We're delighted to welcome Jason Lay to the Ancestral Medicine team! Thanks to everyone who brought your skills and heart to the application process; it was a tough call and we're grateful to be working with and in turn supporting such wonderful people.

This week I was happy to briefly shift focus from ghosts and adult/culture-sized trauma to a conversation about helping young ones to learn about ritual. The conversation will be part of the Homeschooling Global Summit starting June 29th. Praise to all the care-givers raising empathic, culturally aware children.

Keep being and bringing the love, for the rest of this lifetime and the next. May we embrace the interesting times. And may we perhaps draw inspiration from the scaly-foot snail (image above) who frequents fiercely hot deep-sea vents adorned with iron-plated scales, an aragonite reinforced shell, and an unusually large heart.



Animism is a way of life that emphasizes relationships. Animists see the world as full of persons, both human and other-than-human, and prioritize living in respectful ways with others. Animism is largely about ethics or core values that get expressed through more or less fancy practices, rituals, and everyday habits.

This course arises from guiding hundreds of days of ritual focused on relating with spirits of place over the past two decades, and this is the third annual iteration of this offering. Participants will learn to more firmly anchor their everyday lives and rituals in animist values, be they newly crafted or from intact traditions. The approach is non-dogmatic and inclusive to people of diverse ancestries. Daniel shares conceptual frameworks, and the heart of the work is experiential. This is a core values approach to loving the Earth.
If you have previously taken Practical Animism, you can enroll again for only $90 here.
Watch yesterday's public talk and Q&A on Animism, Conflict, and Cultural Change with Daniel
Ancestral lineage healing refers to a process of coming into direct relationship with one’s recent and more ancient blood ancestors for personal, family, and cultural healing. This course provides a thorough and effective step-by-step approach to working with your specific lineage ancestors for this healing intention. There’s no need for a spiritual calling, specific belief system, or prior experience with the ancestors to participate.

Material includes and expands upon the lineage healing method featured in the book Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing. The approach is kind, non-dogmatic, and explicitly rooted in a feminist, anti-racist, LGBTQ-friendly, decolonizing, class-aware, earth-honoring ethic without being overly politicized in ways that dampen the spirit of depth ritual work. Lessons emphasize psychological and energetic safety as well as participants’ ability to relate directly and beneficially with their own ancestors.
If you have previously taken Ancestral Lineage Healing, you can enroll again for only $90 here.
We are offering a 15% discount for those who would like to take these courses together. Options include 4-month and 6-month payment plans.
The need-fire is an ancient tradition of kindling a single communal flame to ritually ward off disease in times of great necessity. As we enter our second season of global pandemic, nearly everyone on Earth is navigating the impacts of social and economic upheaval, cultural uncertainty, and increased illness and death. The duration and intensity of this turbulence is impossible to know from this vantage.

We’ll gather weekly over the Northern summer (eleven weeks for 90min a week). Our meetings will be a blend of responsive teaching for the times and two experiential guided practices each gathering. Cost is flexible, from Pay-it-Forward to $250 for the 16+ hours of content to allow for folks of variable means to join.
This is a statement from me, Daniel, the founder of Ancestral Medicine, and it has been reviewed by our four staff members. I make no presumption to speak for all involved with the organization as ancestral healing practitioners and trainees or participants in public offerings.

We know that the legacy of harm from police and others to Black and Brown bodies in the United States is not new, and the murder of George Floyd on May 25th and subsequent calls for justice and systemic change warrants an even more explicit affirmation of solidarity and commitment to both anti-racist values and action. These are values we hold as part of an ethic of cultural healing that includes being feminist and LGBTQ-celebrating, class-aware, aligned with decolonization efforts, and critical of U.S. imperialism. Yet at this moment the focus is specifically on anti-Black racism.

Keeping our focus on tangible actions, these are the main ways in which the team and I are seeking to embody anti-racist values. These are shared to be clear where we stand, to encourage tangible action for others, and with the recognition that nothing I or Ancestral Medicine is doing or will do in the future can ever be 'enough'. Transforming legacies of racism on these lands is the work of generations. This is what we have been doing and will continue to do:

  • Public Teaching. As the primary teacher with Ancestral Medicine, I commit to continuing to foreground the imperative for racial healing and the role of ancestral healing in this process. Others who have taught and will teach through Ancestral Medicine are also expected to foreground the need for healing justice and to hold a supportive and inclusive ritual space for BIPOC participants and their ancestors.

  • Practitioner and Trainee Network. All practitioners of and trainees in ancestral healing (over 70 ritualists at present) are encouraged during the training to engage their own ancestors around race and racial healing. We also host outside teachers on cultural healing, regular internal events, and opportunities for practitioners to engage in ongoing education, including anti-racism resources.

  • Leadership Training. My colleague Seyta Selter and I have been working for over a year now with DEI consultants to ensure the work of Ancestral Medicine reflects our values. The learning is ongoing and will continue to be anchored by professional support. Praise to our trusted advisor Tovi Scruggs-Hussein and encouragement to check out her offering Racial Healing Allies.

  • Accessibility. We have a long-standing policy to keep our offerings, including the practitioner training, highly accessible to people with variable financial means, especially but not only BIPOC. This includes robust scholarship options for online courses, managing a referral program for low-income ancestral healing sessions, and sharing abundant free resources.

  • Giving. We don't tend to announce this publicly as it would be weirdly performative, but we do regularly make financial contributions to BIPOC organizations and others working on the front lines of cultural change.

We are also open if there are ways that you believe our current offerings in the world could be even more reflective of our values to work for an end to racism (systemic, interpersonal, internalized) and to proactively celebrate ancestral diversity. Gratitude to everyone working through all the many forms for long-overdue changes. We're also in it for the long haul and continue to learn and grow with the times.

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