Burning off Ancestral Karma

Burning off Ancestral Karma

Understanding and Transcending Generational Patterns Through Vedic Astrology - By Anahita Rao

Reading time: 3 minutes

It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves at some point in our lives:  Why did we take birth in our family?  Did we choose our parents, did they choose us?  And more importantly, can we transcend all this so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes, the same patterns in our next life?

There is a popular concept in Jyotish (“vedic astrology”) called Pitri Dosha, which is basically regarded as a blemish in your birthchart, attributed to your ancestors.  Perhaps the curse of an angry ancestor, the resentment of a disgruntled parent, or simply the residue of a strained familial relationship that we endured for lifetimes.

For all of us, our ancestors live within us – of course the question is how much of this enriches our lives and how much of it enslaves us.  We are only who we are because of our  forefathers – what they learnt, what they knew, their skills, their perception of life.  We have imbibed all of this knowingly or unknowingly within us.

But if you let them live too strong within you, then you will not have a life of your own. Because if they live through you too strongly, your life is wasted, you will not be a fresh life, but rather a carbon copy of an old life.

If your birth chart is strongly associated with ancestral karma, straight away the fixed stars (nakshatras), known as Bharani, denoting ancestral legacy, and Magha, denoting ancestral pride, will show up in your birth chart.

Diving deeper into our chart can help us to uncover our past karma, the stories that keep replaying in our life, as well as the ability to harness the auspicious times where we can make effective, lasting changes with ease.  A birth chart can reveal to us our inner strengths and guide us toward our true potential.  It can help us reconcile that which we cannot control and put toward efforts in those aspects that we have the ability to change in our lives.

Your birth chart is a map of your overall aura, for you can only be born at the moment when the aura created by your causal body resonates strongly with the auras created by the position of the nine planets in the sky. And this is connected to our ancestral karma, also known as generational karma, which will carry on for at least seven lifetimes, until we become aware of it and let it go once and for all, releasing the burdens of our ancestors from our shoulders.

Every culture has its own rituals and traditions when a loved one dies in order to distance themselves in different ways.  In the vedic tradition, every year there is a time to devote certain practices to our ancestors known as pitru paksha.  During these rituals, people will pay homage to generations of those gone before them so that they do not try to live through us.   In this way, you create more and more distance every year from your ancestors so that your life operates as a fresh life, as a new possibility.

With these rituals, we want to ensure our ancestors’ influence is limited in our life – we show appreciation for who they were, as well as their contributions but at the same time we want to create distance so that they don’t live through us.

Five Effective Ways to Detach from ancestral karma:

  1. Perform simple rituals with water and white sesame seeds – a short mantra chant to the ancestors on new moon (Amavasya) days
  2. Feed birds and dogs, especially during Pitru Paksha, happens annually in autumn months
  3. Increase self-love and self-care
  4. Practice letting go emotionally
  5. Perform shraadh rituals after death so that our ancestors don’t try to live through us too strongly

We can certainly transcend the emotional patterns that keep repeating over months, years, lifetimes, when we take time to reflect and understand them.  Show ourselves compassion and love, and acknowledge that it is our own volition that brought us to the family we were born into as it was the best vibrational match for us at that time.  But with working on ourselves, changing our habits, perceptions, ideas we end up at a different place.

By honing in on consistent practices, such as yoga, meditation, silence, we ultimately change our vibrations, and not only attract different set of people, but also leave behind the burdens of past karma, opening the path to be reborn into a more aligned destiny.