What Is Ancestral Karma?

When we think about ancestral healing, we often associate it with “ancestral karma” and how that karma might be affecting us in some way. It might seem a bit ominous to think that we could be affected by the negative or harmful actions of our ancestors, or that we are being punished in some way for simply being born into a lineage. This perspective is a common one, yet it comes from a great misinterpretation of karma and its role.

Before we can fully understand ancestral karma, we must understand what karma is in general and what its role is. Karma is not about punishment, collecting points, or judgment. Karma is a fundamental law of the universe and can be thought of as the law of cause and effect. Karma exists outside of polarity, meaning that there is no good and bad, right and wrong, black and white, etc. Karma simply means that for every action or “cause” there are effects of that cause that are meant to bring balance to the original action. This means that karma isn’t something to be feared, it is really just a function of the universe that is meant to keep things in balance. It is no different than the laws of physics that we might be familiar with, such as the law of universal gravitation. If we fall out of a tree, we don’t think that gravity is punishing us by making us go down and eventually hit the ground, because we know that gravity is simply a law of physics and exists regardless of our relationship with it. Karma is the same way. It is simply the way things work, regardless of our relationship with it.

Understanding Ancestral Karma

Ancestral karma, then, is any energy created by the actions or experiences of our ancestors that has not yet been balanced and as a result has an effect on our lineage and our personal experiences. Let’s say, for example, that your ancestors immigrated from their homeland to a foreign country where a different language was spoken. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this action, however there are consequences of this choice. Perhaps your ancestors felt very challenged and even traumatized by the fact that no one could understand them, and they struggled with learning to communicate effectively. If the trauma and emotion from that challenge were never reconciled and healed in the lifetimes of those ancestors, it is possible that the effects of those traumas still exist within the lineage and within you, and may manifest in many different ways. You may have difficulty communicating when in an unfamiliar place or around unfamiliar people, you may speak louder than you need to in certain circumstances, you or people in your family may even have a physical condition related to the mouth or speech. All of these circumstances might be things that we accept as a “normal” part of our life experience, but in reality, they may be ancestral karma playing itself out in your life until it is healed.

While “negative” actions such as murder, abuse, or theft certainly create karma that must eventually be balanced, most of the ancestral karma that affects us is not of this nature and is more likely related to the traumas and challenging experiences of our ancestors that have never been reconciled and healed. In some cases, the karma can be seen in a very physical way as toxic patterns and limiting belief systems that are directly taught by parents to their children generation after generation. Karma is primarily energetic, though, so regardless of how teachings and patterns are passed down physically, ancestral karma will manifest in some way energetically somewhere in the lineage. This is why ancestral healing is so important in terms of correcting dysfunctional family dynamics and ending toxic familial patterns.

Healing Ancestral Karma

Healing ancestral karma seems like a daunting task, especially when we first begin to look at our ancestral karma and its influences. Luckily, it takes far less time to balance karma in many cases than it does to create it in the first place, and it certainly takes less time than acting through that karma in toxic or limiting ways for generations. This healing begins by consciously acknowledging the presence of certain patterns, challenges, beliefs, or limitations that we might have that are not beneficial to us. This step is usually the most difficult, as we become so accustomed to certain patterns that they can be difficult to see. Once the karma is recognized, there are many ways to heal that karma and balance it within. Coming from a place of forgiveness is essential, as forgiving ourselves for not recognizing and healing limiting patterns sooner, and forgiving our ancestors for their experiences and actions, is one of the most powerful ways to clear karma. Forgiveness can balance karma in an instant and can be the most profound action we take to heal our lineage. If you are interested in this work and learning to heal your own ancestral karma, you might consider my ancestral healing course which addresses ancestral healing in great depth.

Thinking that karma is a punishment that we have to live with until it wears itself out is exactly what prevents us from healing it in the first place. If we cling to the ideas of suffering and punishment, this is exactly what our experience will be. When we break free from this polarized thinking surrounding karma, we actually free ourselves to begin balancing it, as it is polarity that creates karma in the first place.

When we look at ancestral karma from a conscious perspective, and utilize our own life and experiences as an avenue for healing generational patterning, we can make extremely profound shifts for ourselves and our entire lineage. Understanding ancestral karma is a great gift in many ways, as this understanding is exactly what leads us to the healing that we need.