When it comes to the world of alternative healing and complementary medicine, two therapies typically come to mind: aromatherapy (aka: essential oils) and healing crystals.
If you’ve never dabbled in this particular world of woo before, let’s breakdown the basics: Essential oils—like lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, or frankincense—are the distilled “essence” of a plant, made from steaming or pressing parts of the plant like the stem, leaves, bark, peel, or petals. (And yeah, they smell really good.) Similarly, healing crystals are fossilized minerals extracted from the earth, each unique and beautiful in their own way. In alternative healing, both are credited with having the ability to shift your energy and raise your vibration, reducing feelings like depression and anxiety, while promoting feelings like balance and peace.
Both essential oils and healing crystals offer visually beautiful and stimulating sensory experiences. But the question is: do they REALLY work?
And, if so, how?
While scientifically the jury’s still out on whether there are measurable benefits to incorporating essential oils and crystals into a self-care or healing regimen, plenty of anecdotal evidence (and a millenniums-long history of shamanic healing practices) suggest that these alternative therapies can work to clear negative energy, ground your body, calm your mind, raise your vibration, and more!
It works like this: Natural elements like essential oils and crystals each carry a particular vibration and frequency informed by exactly what they are composed of, where they came from, how they were formed and extracted, and the energies they have been exposed to. Some can be used to clear or neutralize negative energy, others to introduce positive energy, and still more to protect your energy.
For example, lavender—one of the most popular and easy-to-use essential oils—is diffused aromatically to promote relaxation and calm. Another common oil, clary sage, is often used to reduce stress and clear negative energy. Myrrh, diluted with a neutral oil like coconut, can be applied topically to the soles of the feet to promote a sense of grounding and connection to Mother Earth. Crystals like black onyx, black tourmaline, hematite, jet, and smoky quartz can be used to protect your energy from negative vibrations, while others like rose quartz, pink topaz, and ruby are implemented to inspire feelings of love and open heartedness. Selenite, a crystal that is considered “self-cleansing”, can also be used to cleanse items, people, or spaces of negative energy.
And that’s just the beginning.
There are literally hundreds of essential oils and oil blends, and nearly as many crystals and gemstones, each with their own properties, powers, and benefits: A whole world of alternative healing at your fingertips.
But here is the bottom line: While aromatherapy and crystals are amazing resources to incorporate into any self-care or healing practice, your real superpower comes from knowing that you are your most effective, transformative, magical asset for clearing yourself of negative vibes, raising your vibration, and protecting your energy. Essential oils and crystals can offer their own unique benefits to your wellness routine, but the greatest energy healing and vibration raising is going to come from the essence of YOU.
Recognizing that everything you need to raise your vibration and promote positive energy is already within you can be the most empowering aspect of any healing practice. Rather than relying solely on external resources or particular items, once you recognize that you are the most powerful healing tool you have in your toolbox, you’ll discover that managing and maintaining positive vibes is something you can do anytime, anywhere, with your own innate energy. That’s the most magical healing of all.
Have you ever heard the phrase “intuitive writing” and wanted to know more? Maybe you are deep in the throes of writers’ block and have tried everything to free your mind. Or you might just be a highly sensitive, intuitive person interested in nourishing your spiritual gifts.
Maybe, you just want to write a really good story.
If any of the above speaks to you, then you will fall in love with the magic of intuitive writing. Here I share three of my favorite intuitive writing practices—easy, DIY ways to help you unlock your creativity, nurture your intuition, and support your spiritual journey. (Plus, they’re great for writers’ block!)
I use these ALL THE TIME and after you give them a try, I think you’ll love ‘em as much as I do.
Before you begin any intuitive writing practice, take a moment to set the tone of your space and ground your energy as much as possible, to support your connection to creativity beyond your conscious mind. Try to choose a place to write that feels uncluttered, inspiring, or even sacred to you—one that will allow for as few interruptions to your practice as possible. Once you’re settled, consider practicing a short grounding meditation or breathing exercise to center yourself and steady your energy.
One more tip: When it comes to choosing your writing materials, make your selection as simple as possible. While some people love to geek out over a new clothbound journal and fancy pens, others prefer plain old notebook paper and ballpoints. No matter what you choose, intuitive writing is best done by hand, whenever possible. Tons of research studies show that there are neurological and psychological benefits to writing by hand—including tapping into regions of the brain that manage emotions and are associated with receiving and interpreting information. So, ditch the keyboard if you can! (Remember, there are NO rules for spelling, grammar, or punctuation during intuitive writing.)
Now, let’s get writing!
Intuitive Writing Practice #1: Automatic Writing
Automatic writing is amazingly simple and probably the most common intuitive writing practice. All you have to do is grab your pen, open your journal, put pen to paper, close your eyes or soften your gaze (that’s right—no looking directly at your paper!) and write.
The key to automatic writing is to be as unaware of the writing as much as possible during the writing process: You want to let your pen fly until it almost seems to stop on its own. Intuitive writing is designed to channel creativity beyond the conscious mind, so allow the unconscious out to play here! (If the unconscious needs a little help getting started, I have included some great automatic writing prompts below.)
Once you’re finished writing, take some time to return to your body before reading what you wrote. Then, note any words, sentences, or themes that recur, seem significant, or simply spark your curiosity. The words that may have appeared to make no sense while you were writing them may, upon reading, offer you clarity, insight, or information from your higher self.
But don’t get too attached to the outcome, either. All intuitive writing requires practice. Just like meditation, sometimes a session will be filled with inspiration and wisdom, and just as often you will uncover little or nothing. There’s nothing wrong with that—just keep at it and over time, the benefits will become increasingly clear!
Consider these writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing:
What do I need in this moment?
What do I know in this moment?
What do I need to know?
What lesson am I being taught, right now?
What am I being called to let go of, right now?
What am I ready for?
What would I do if I knew I could not fail?
You can even use a previous automatic writing as a prompt for you next exercise, over time growing a practice that builds upon itself.
Intuitive Writing Practice #2: Tarot or Oracle Card-Inspired Story Writing
For this automatic writing practice, you’ll want to start by grabbing your favorite tarot or oracle card deck. Begin by pulling three cards from your deck, as you would for any other intuitive practice involving cards. Once you have flipped each card, arrange them in whatever order you like—keeping in mind that the first card will serve as the “beginning” of your story, the second card the “middle”, and the final card the “end”.
Pulling inspiration from the cards: The words, the images, and the arrangement you were inspired to choose, write a fairytale-like story. Follow your intuition but try to keep the story as simple as possible—something that even a child might understand.
If you need help getting started, begin with the words: “Once upon a time…” (All great fairytales begin that way, after all.)
As you write, think of your story as already being fully formed in your creative unconscious, just waiting for you to intuitively receive it—rather than focusing on writing a story, focus on receiving it. Remember: This practice is designed to help you connect with your intuition, so trust that whatever comes of it is what is meant to be.
Intuitive Writing Practice #3: Channeled Writing (for Someone Else)
Channeled writing, or writing while tuning into someone else’ energy, is one of the most interesting intuitive writing practices—great for working with clients, connecting more deeply with friends and family, or even starting to heal a relationship.
You can start this practice by asking the person to pull a tarot or oracle card for inspiration or, if they are not present or not participating in the channeled writing, you can try a simple meditation to connect yourself to their energy. (A note: While it’s always best to ask for permission for tuning into someone else’s energy, sometimes this just isn’t possible. Notice what comes up for you, and if your intuition gives you the sense that it is not a safe or appropriate time for you to connect, try the practice another time.)
Set the intention to energetically tune into the other person and, like the practice above, rather than thinking about writing a message, think about receiving a message.
As you begin to receive information, write what comes up for you. Sometimes, in the case of channeled writing, this may only be a few words or a couple of simple sentences. Do not judge what comes up. Stay open and trust that what is meant to flow through you will.
When you are done, consider closing the session by thanking the person or their energy for allowing you the connection.
Each of these practices is an invitation to be fluid and receptive, but don’t forget to play and have a little fun too! Being intuitive means that you’re empathetic and have strong natural instincts—but you may not always trust them or know how to nourish them to their fullest potential. Intuitive writing is a great practice for not only boosting your creativity, but nurturing trust in your intuition as well.
Remember: Everyone’s experience with intuitive writing will be different. We are all unique, with unique stories to tell. Intuitive writing is just one magical way to get those stories out of your unconscious and onto the page!
When it comes to nurturing yourself or recharging your energy—whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually—it’s common to struggle with finding the time space to do it. (Not to mention, the extraordinary task of feeling worthy of recharging your energy in the first place.) If you’re anything like I used to be, no matter how much you might be aware that you’re feeling tired, overwhelmed, depleted, or drained from spending too much energetic bandwidth on a particular task or around a particular group of people, allowing yourself to hit the pause button and discover what recharges your energy can feel downright impossible. (Think: That nightly glass of wine that started as a wind-down, only to become a Band-Aid approach to energy depletion rather than something that genuinely recharges you and resets you.)
Sound familiar? We live in a burnt-out, stressed-out world for a reason, after all.
But here’s the thing: Not only are you deserving of recharged and replenished energy, but you also NEED it. And believe it or not, the world needs you to recharge too. If you’re going to show up to your life in a way that is aligned, authentic, and in service to yourself and those around you, you want fresh energy supporting you.
Next time everything starts to feel just a little “too much,” try one of the practices below to reset, recharge, and replenish.
1. Get quiet.
Meditating is a millennia-old practice for quieting the mind, settling your body, and recharging your energy. Experiencing “monkey mind” (aka: Constant, intrusive thoughts) is a major clue that your energy needs replenishing; so, when you notice it, take the cue. Getting quiet—whether for five minutes or fifty, it all counts!—supports clarity, inspiration, manifestation, and reenergizing.
2. Create space.
Declutter your calendar, winnow down your to-do list, clean out your phone, simplify your digital life, organize your closet, and even pare down some of your relationships. If your life is constantly cluttered with physical stuff—packed with lists, obligations, commitments, and material items—chances are it might be overflowing with too much energetic stuff too. Over-focusing on other people’s feelings, worries, challenges, and experiences is a clear sign that there’s something in your own life (like your depleted energy) that you’re just not dealing with. If creating energetic space feels too difficult to tackle, start with physical (and calendar) space. Beginning with small decluttering practices will start to open the energetic and spiritual space you need for self-care as well.
3. Find a mantra that reenergizes you.
One reason reciting a mantra is so effective is because by speaking affirming, healing, or reenergizing language allows you to enter the energetic vibration of those words. The key to a powerful mantra is really feeling the emotions of each word in your physical body. The energy of a mantra enters not only the conscious mind, but the unconscious mind as well—getting to the roots of your depletion and vibrating you back to wellness. The right mantra will raise your vibration, move and replenish your energy, and shift you from a space of depletion into one of vitality.
4. Ground yourself.
Grounding or centering yourself is something you can do daily—or multiple times, daily—to help you to stay rooted in who you are, safe and stable in your boundaries, focused on your intentions, and protective of your energy. Up your grounding game by actually grounding to the earth itself: Removing your shoes, heading into some outdoor green space, and literally connecting skin-to-ground. Earth energy is vital, healing energy and you can access it almost anywhere.
When was the last time you had fun, just for fun’s sake? If you’ve been energy-depleted long enough, chances are you’ve forgotten exactly how to just let go and have fun, no outcome or higher (read: explicitly productive) purpose necessary. Take a moment to think about the kind of fun you had as a child: No timeline, no agenda, no obligations, life as a long weekend. If it’s been a while since you’ve exercised your play muscles, be intentional about exploring what fun means to you. Think back to what you used to love doing as a kid and consider how that might translate into your adult life.
6. Treat yourself to a sensory experience.
A sensory experience can be anything that gets you out of your mind and settled back into your body. Try massage; reiki; burning sage or incense; cleansing your energy with salt, essential oils, or crystals; even taking a walk in nature (see grounding, above!)
7. Savor a nutrient-packed meal.
Sometimes, replenishing your energy is as simple as drinking a large glass of water, munching on a protein-packed snack, or mindfully enjoying a nutritious meal.
There are TONS of ways to journal: Gratitude journaling, bullet journaling (or “list-making”), vision and dream journaling, writing letters to and from yourself, affirmation journaling, automatic or intuitive writing, and more. Whether you set aside just a few minutes or find yourself scribbling for an hour, you’ll be amazed at how inspiring, enlightening, healing, and re-energizing journaling can be. (Pro-tip: One of my favorite writing exercises is called “100 Ways I’m Awesome” and it’s exactly what it sounds like: A list of one hundred ways you’re awesome. Anytime you’re feeling down, writing out one hundred different ways you’re awesome is great for cheering your spirits, raising your vibration, and replenishing your energy.)
9. Practice an abundance mindset.
Living from a space of lack with drain you of energy quicker than anything. Believe the universe has enough for you and everyone else as well: Enough time, enough resources, enough space, enough energy. Enjoy what’s yours and leave the rest.
10. Set boundaries and stick to them.
Setting healthy boundaries is one of the most significant way you can recharge your energy, by making sure it’s protected in the first place! Often, people assume boundaries are all about saying no—to favors, requests, jobs, social events, and just generally showing up for other people—but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Having clear and strong boundaries is also about saying yes to yourself, putting your needs and energy first.
11. Be mindful of what is and isn’t your responsibility.
It’s time to realize that not every fight is your fight, not every job is yours to do, not every problem is yours to fix. If you’re a leader, a passionate or strong personality, or an empath, the people in your life are probably used to you leading them, fighting their battles, problem solving for them, or feeling their feelings for them. But nothing will drain your energy faster than taking on what isn’t yours.
12. Connect with your community in real-time.
Some people need solitude to recharge, while others recharge in community. If you fall into the latter category, schedule some genuine, in-person connection (in other words, off the ‘Gram) with a close friend or colleague. Set aside your devices, make eye contact, and be fully present with one another.
13. Try a gratitude practice.
If you’re feeling totally spent, sometimes a little gratitude can offer a quick and easy pick-me-up. Whether you’re writing what you’re thankful for down in a journal or simply starting or ending your day by voicing your gratitude aloud, take time to draw your awareness to everything you’re grateful for each day and then observe how your energy shifts.
14. Tune into your instincts… and then trust them.
Your intuition is your superpower. The deepest and most divine messages the universe will ever send you will come through your intuition—so let them! If something is signaling to you that your energy is running low, listen. Allow your intuition to direct you towards a practice that will be truly healing, replenishing, and reenergizing.
Remember, anything that fills you up with high vibrations is a great energy-replenishing practice. Take time to consider what yours might be and then make a go-to list of your favorite energetic self-care practices so you’ll have ideas and resources on hand the next time you know need to refresh and rest. Don’t forget: You’re entitled to rest and replenishment anytime your body and mind signal to you that you’re running low. Take care of yourself so, when you’re ready and reenergized, you’ll be able to show back up in the world in a way that will be of best service to yourself and those around you.
In modern Korea, clients seek out shamans for any number of reasons: for spiritual guidance, help connecting with ancestors, assistance in a relationship or making a big decision, as a companion healing practice to allopathic medicine — and so much more. But what do each of these shamanic services have in common?
They all involve energy work.
We are all energetic beings, which means that everything in our lives—from our physical and emotional beings to the spaces we occupy and the things we do every day—can be distilled down to the energy within us and around us. This means that protecting our energy is really important.
Setting energetic boundaries can be a crucial self-care practice, particularly for anyone who is especially energy-sensitive or empathic. If you are someone who finds yourself sharply attuned to the energy around you, protecting and healing energetic practices can be tools to navigating the world without becoming overwhelmed, burnt-out, or impacted by energies that are not authentically yours.
When you encounter difficult energies in any given day—say, due to a challenging situation at work, an emotional crisis or a difficult relationship, or simply some wounded person throwing their energetic shade all over you— you can release them, so they don’t take up space in your body, heart, and mind.
Learning how to protect your own energy is an effective and powerful skill, and these tips below are some that I not only share with clients but use in my own life as well.
1. Take care of yourself and your energy. Energies are attracted to other energies that are on similar frequencies. This means when your own energy is vibrating at positive frequency (as in authentic, joyful, healthy state), more energies like that will be attracted to you. By focusing on healing our own wounds and nurturing ourselves to be the most authentic and joyful versions of ourselves, we are naturally protecting ourselves against other energies that do not serve us. Whether you engage in combinations of meditation, working with other healers, art and creativity, rest and play, etc. commit to take care of yourself and therefore your energy.
2. Practice Grounding. A grounding practice—like meditation, yoga, walking in nature, or even just standing barefoot on your lawn—uses the earth’s natural energy to recharge and anchor you to yourself. Not only does grounding feel great, but studies on grounding practices have also shown grounding exhibits measurable improvements in the reduction of ailments like stress and inflammation, while decreasing heart rate and improving quality and duration of sleep. I also find that I perform with greater focus and intention with less distractions and I make better aligned decisions when I am grounded.
3. Utilize visualization practices. There are plenty of visualization practices specific to energy protection. You can think of visualizations like your “putting on your armor”—your armor just happens to be invisible and made of positive energy. A few of my favorite visualizations includes imagining myself surrounded by a glowing, holographic, impenetrable light bubble of positive energy, or zipping myself up in a protective powerful suit like that of superheroes. No matter what visualization technique works for you, the key is simply to hold the intention of keeping your energy yours and authentic and protecting against other outside energies that are not aligned.
4. Practice energetic cord cutting. Cord cutting is another intentional, energetic practice designed to preserve your energy and protect you from any external energy that has the potential to overwhelm, drain, or harm you. In this practice, your “cords” represent figurative attachments to anything that is energetically unhealthy or imbalanced in your life: people, places, things, situations, experiences. Cord cutting can be particularly beneficial in a relationship or situation in which you are giving far more than you’re receiving, in a way that has become burdensome to you (think: people-pleasing, codependency, or a lack of healthy boundaries.) But sometimes you can even form an unhealthy energetic cord with a thing as well, like a house or a job. No matter your circumstance, a cord cutting practice can help to create energetic detachment and freedom.
5. Incorporate herbs, crystals, or other naturally high-vibration items. Items like herbs (sage, mugwort, etc), crystals, or even oracle cards can be a great addition to any energy healing practice. Smoke of certain herbs or incense can be great for clearing the energy of a space to start fresh, while crystals like black onyx, black tourmaline, hematite, jet, and smoky quartz can be used to cleanse and protect energy. Tarot or oracle card that represents boundaries, protection, or letting go can also have healing powers. However, while items such as these can help, it is important to know that YOU are the most effective and powerful tool to use for yourself. While it can be healing—and fun!—to include tools and items in your practice, you should feel empowered in managing and maintaining your own energy.
If energy protection and healing is new to you, or if any of this sounds a little too “woo”, approach these practices with an open mind and try one or two anyway. As you ease into energy work, see if you start to notice any shift in how you feel or interact with the world; especially if you have been struggling with feeling drained, burdened, or overwhelmed. Consider keeping a small journal or making daily notes on your phone—anything that will help you track shifts in your energy and note which practices work for you and which ones don’t resonate as much.
Remember, protecting your energy does not necessarily mean you’re overhauling your entire life: ending a relationship, leaving a job, moving house, completely removing yourself from a particular experience, or ceasing to love and care for who or what you’re protecting your energy from. While these big decisions and shifts may feel aligned for you to make sometimes, it is not always. With small, consistent mindful practice, you can maintain connections to the people, places, and things in your life—just free of the impacts of their energies that are not aligned to serve you at the highest good and greatest joy.
It can be enormously empowering, healing, and transformative to make the conscious choice to take responsibility for your own energy, deciding to live your life from a place of grounding, authenticity, and positivity, free of the energetic burdens of others. Rather than taking a passive—feeling as though energies overtakes you and renders you powerless or living in fear of showing up for your life at the risk of becoming drained—these energetic practices remind you that your energy is YOURS. You own it, you are in charge of it, and you can protect it and elevate it as necessary or desired.
If you are someone who spends her days plugged in, thinking quick, and on the go, sitting down for a meditation practice might feel like a fantasy. (Or, in some cases, a nightmare.) In many ways, meditation—sitting still in silence, closing your eyes, slowing your thoughts—is the opposite of how most of us live our daily lives. It can even feel awkward or unnatural, at first.
“I’m totally doing this wrong,” you might think to yourself, as thoughts continue to race across your mind.
“I’m just not someone who can meditate.”
But if the idea of meditating has you totally turned off and tuned out, the science-backed benefits of silent stillness might give you second thoughts. Studies show that meditation promotes emotional health by reducing stress and anxiety, improves physical health by decreasing blood pressure, supporting sleep, and even reducing sensitivity to pain, and can lengthen attention span, improve focus, and promote self-awareness.
From the magical and shamanic point of view, I often say that meditation is the gateway to all magic. Without a consistent, dedicated practice of meditation or stillness, you can’t expand your intuitive gifts or connection to the divine with the guidance, clarity, healing we seek. Whenever I get a client who is seeking mentorship through their psychic or shamanic expansion, the practice of meditation (or prayer as I call it) is always the first step.
Still, meditating can feel intimidating, frustrating, and even painful at times—both for newbies and seasoned practitioners. The good news is it doesn’t have to be! If you want to start or struggling to keep a regular practice to experience some of many benefits of meditation, here are some tips or hacks to help you.
1. Start small. (With even as little as three minutes.) If the thought of sitting in meditation for twenty minutes a day or more seems downright impossible, then DON’T. Some of the key benefits of meditation—like reduced stress and decreased blood pressure—start to kick in after just a few minutes of stillness. In fact, some early studies on meditation have shown that the benefits of a practice peak between minute 20 and minute 45, meaning more than that isn’t necessarily better or necessary.
2. Consistency is key. Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to building a meditation practice and reaping all the yummy benefits. In other words, it is far more beneficial to sit for five or ten minutes a day most days, versus sitting for an hour one day each week. Practicing meditation is like weight training—except in this case, the muscle you’re building is your brain!
3. Find a quiet place. While it’s best to find a quiet place to meditate—one where any interruptions will be minimized or eliminated—there is also no need to aim for perfection, here. It’s easy to get caught up in all the “stuff” you need to meditate: The perfect space, the right lighting, cute cushions, wall tapestries, crystals, candles, essential oils. All these things can be beautiful enhancements to a meditation practice, but at the end of the day you really can meditate anywhere. (Okay, maybe not while you’re driving or operating other heavy machinery—but most anywhere else.) If that’s your office in the middle of the day, with the door closed and phones ringing down the hall, that works. If you can grab three minutes in your car before your morning commute, take ‘em. If it’s ten minutes to sit in a public park with children’s laugher echoing from a nearby playground, that works too. After all, the purpose of meditation is to quiet your mind, not the space around you.
4. Get comfortable—whatever that looks like for you. The key in getting comfortable for meditation is that you want to be relaxed enough that there won’t be any physical discomfort to distract you from your practice, but not so relaxed that you lose your ability to stay alert and wind up sleeping through your meditation instead. While sleep has its own amazing health benefits, sleep is not meditation. You want to take a posture that is supported, promotes attention, and allows you to soften your body and relax.
5. Don’t substitute another activity for meditation. If you tell yourself activities like running, journaling, drawing, or knitting are your form of “meditation”, think again. While these hobbies can get you into a flow state and share similar benefits to meditation, they are not the same thing. Meditation is about turning inward—without anything to distract you from tuning into YOU. Keep up with the awesome activities that provide you enjoyment and present moment awareness but understand that meditation is a practice unto its own.
6. Keep your expectations realistic. Don’t expect magic the first time—or every time. It’s easy to find stories about the instant clarity, divine guidance, and healing that come from meditation, but even the most seasoned practitioner will tell you that magic is often elusive. Those moments of awakening and transformation can be rare, unexpected, or fleeting. If you expect magic the first time, and every time, you’re going to wind up disappointed, frustrated, and might even start to think you’re meditating “wrong”. Don’t go into your meditation practice expecting something to happen. Allow yourself to just be and embrace what does (or doesn’t) come.
7. Don’t make your practice harder than it needs to be. If you find yourself believing that the more structured, rigid, and challenging you make our meditation practice, the better results you’ll get, it’s time to pump the breaks. Meditation is not supposed to be just one more thing you succeed at. It’s not going on your resume, there isn’t a quiz at the end, and nobody is keeping score. Resist the temptation to “perform” your meditation or treat it like a chore, project, or sacrifice. Instead, focus on making it as simple, easy, and natural a practice as possible.
8. Tap into support as you build your own practice. Remember: There are SO MANY resources to guide you on your meditation journey. There are plenty of meditation apps you can install on your phone, guided meditation and audio recordings available for download, live-streamed classes from your favorite yoga or meditation studio, and so much more. Tap into any and all of these resources as you begin to build your own practice, or if your regular practice needs a little pick-me-up. As you start to learn and grow in your own meditation style, try to focus on establishing a personal, self-guided practice as well. Nurture your practice until you discover a quiet space between you, your higher self, and the divine universe.
Long story, short: Meditation doesn’t have to be difficult, uncomfortable, or painful. It’s a practice designed to support you and your own health and well-being, so don’t risk missing out on the benefits just because it’s unfamiliar or your practice isn’t exactly where you’d like it to be. The more you sit, the more benefits you will discover—and the more you’ll find yourself looking forward to that still silence, just between you and the universe.
Just invoking the word “ancestors” creates a sense of personal mythology, of belonging to something larger than yourself: “Ancestors” are those people from whom the magic of you sprung, who did things “the old way”, lived by a different set of rules, and carried throughout their lives the hope that the traditions passed on to them would continue to be passed on after them. They are the ones with the best recipes, the secret ingredients, the ancient rituals, the origin stories, the deepest intuition, and the greatest wisdom of how things “should be done”.
But somewhere, along the way, many of us lost ties with the traditions that were ours to inherit—particularly those of us from immigrant backgrounds, who relocated to or grew up in countries and cultures far from those of our origins.
In my shaman work, I often hear from women who feel a great sense of loss around their inability to access ancestral wisdom. Many times, for one reason or another, they never had close contact with their grandparents, great grandparents, or other relatives growing up. Those of us who are part of the Asian diaspora often grew up with extended family living on another continent or were adopted into a Western culture with little similarity to our own. Others experienced traumatic interactions with relatives in childhood, creating relationships that were stressful, limited, or nonexistent and left little space for the passing on of wisdom.
The common thread in each of these stories is the sense of disconnect—a profound absence and longing that is very real for many people. But it does not have to be.
In many ways, those of us who have been disconnected from our ancestral wisdom, by circumstance or by choice, have an opportunity and a gift to reclaim those wisdom traditions in ways that honor our heritage while celebrating our modern authenticity. I believe that our “ancestors” need not be limited to our direct family. The wisdom offered by ancestral traditions extends far beyond our direct lineage: Beyond what is scribbled into family trees, encoded into DNA, or recorded in legal documents. Instead, our ancestral ties include the land we come from and its collective history and culture, as well as the culture of where we were born or raised, and all the places and traditions we experience in our lifetime.
I believe this is also true for cultural and spiritual traditions, ancestral magic, and healing wisdom, as well. Regardless of your direct connection to your genetic ancestors, the traditions, magic, and healing practices they learned and lived by exist far beyond them—the energy of that ancestry was passed on to them, lived through them, and now belongs to you. Whether you’ve been able to access it as deeply as you would like, or not. The vibrational energy of geography, cultural history, art, music, literature, and traditional practices are constantly manifesting and re-manifesting, being created and re-created. By opening your mind to a broader understanding of ancestral energy, you can realize that you are not so limited in your ability to connect with your ancestors. The origins of your collective ancestral wisdom are already deep within you. All you have to do now is unlock their energy. Consider these five approaches to unlocking and connecting more deeply with the energy of your ancestral wisdom:
1. Nurture a personal, spiritual connection to your wisdom traditions. Researching and practicing the traditions of your ancestors is a helpful place to start, but the true power of connecting to your ancestral wisdom traditions is ignited by approaching that wisdom in an awakened, spiritual way. Nurturing a regular spiritual practice that quiets your mind and opens you to the divine is one of the best ways to receive downloads and messages from Source, Universe, God, your higher self, your guides, angels, or ancestors—no matter what you call it, the magic is the same. Establishing a daily or weekly meditation practice is a great starting point, even if each session is only 10 minutes. Beginning small will help build consistency. Once you’ve established that consistency, then you can grow towards longer meditation sessions. Before sitting for meditation, set an intention for your practice. A few examples I love include:
- I open myself to the wisdom of my ancestors and other divine beings.
- I open myself to guidance towards my highest good and greatest joy.
You can also support your meditation practice by engaging with daily rituals like practicing gratitude, journaling, or drawing a card from your favorite tarot or oracle deck. If you are of Korean descent or have a karmic connection to Eastern culture and spirituality, be sure to check out my Morning Calm Oracle Deck.
2. Spend more time connecting to nature. The earth of your “motherland”, combined with the geography of where you grew up and currently live are all pieces of your ancestral equation. Personally, when I visit Korea—especially the beautiful natural geography—I find that I experience energetic connection and healing in such a profound way. But when I return to my chosen home to Richmond, Virginia, I also feel a similar connection and pull. Setting the intention to spend time in, connect with, and appreciate the natural world can heal and inspire you.
In these moments of connecting with nature, be mindful that you are not just going through the motions, but rather explore how you can tune into the land and its creatures on an energetic, vibrational level beyond your physical body. Relish presence and your own place in the vast expanse of all living things. As you do this, you will feel yourself open to a spiritual, unbreakable connection with nature.
3. Explore a variety of cultural connections. Once you’ve begun to open yourself up to what the spiritual, energetic world has to offer you in terms of connecting to your ancestral wisdom, it can be immensely powerful to learn more about what cultural traditions draw you to your origin identity. Consider things like your familial language, traditional food and music, historical and contemporary art, or literature. Discover what specifically your energy is drawn to and how those cultural traditions nourish your connection to your lineage. Do the same for cultural elements of your adopted homeland. Consider what figures you might choose for your ancestors if you could. Learning more about whatever gives you joy, healing, wisdom, clarity, and love furthers your connection with ancestral wisdom.
4. Explore your past lives. We are not confined to our biological lineage in our present life. Through reincarnation, our souls have lived multiple lifetimes and experienced a multitude of cultures and geographies. Take time to consider what other cultures you are drawn to and would love to learn more about. Perhaps you’ll discover you’re drawn to a country or culture that you don’t have any conceivable tie to, but for some reason your energy is guiding you there. If this is the case, follow that! In my own experience, I have a very distinct memory of a cottage in a field of wildflowers, located somewhere in Europe. It’s a vision I have often thought of, drawn, and painted since childhood. During other past life journeys and meditations, I’ve also seen visions of Mongolia.
Consider exploring past life regressions on your own, or work with a shaman or other spiritual practitioner if you are unfamiliar with the work. It’s important to remain open-minded and approach past life explorations with a relaxed, playful energy. Take your time and be gentle with yourself.
5. Last, but not least: Travel! There is something supremely magical about stepping foot onto your ancestral land. Connecting physically to the earth of your heritage is a powerful way to activate strong energetic connections between you and your biological ancestors. Experiencing the food, the music and art, the architecture and physical land, and the spiritual sites of your homeland are key to feeling closer to your collective ancestral energy. When I embarked on my own ancestral pilgrimage to South Korea in 2018 and 2019, I experienced some incredible synchronicities and connections. In 2018, I was unexpectedly connected to both of my teachers: One during a random day hike and another when I was purchasing a book on Korean shamanism. In 2019, I followed my spiritual pull and guidance and, by complete coincidence, ran into a cousin whom I hadn’t seen for 35 years! My intuition has ushered me to meaningful sites that honor my paternal ancestor, Choi Chiwon, who came to me as my shamanic deity. These are all experiences I may not have had if I did not make the commitment to step foot on the land of my ancestors.
If you have a willingness and the means to travel to your own ancestral land, I highly recommend you make the trip. There is nothing else like it. Experiencing the energy and connection of physical presence with the people, places, and traditions of your origins can unlock the ancestral wisdom deep inside you, healing any generation trauma that might be in your soul. If you identify with Korean ancestry and exploring Korean shamanism in any capacity, consider joining my Korean Ancestry Retreat. You can learn more about the value of this retreat and see a sample itinerary here.
Connecting with your ancestral wisdom can be an awakening, enlightening, and healing experience. In the fast-paced, globalized world we live in, it can be easy for those wisdom traditions to fade or get lost in all the noise. Nonetheless, their magic lives within you. All you have to do is access it.