Dances with Ancestors

Dances with Ancestors

The Shaman’s Guide to Engaging the Old Ones

David Kowalewski PhD


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Ancestry is big business these days, but mere biological genealogy fails to tap into our spiritual roots. The shamans of indigenous cultures have known for millennia how to do this. In this comprehensive cross-cultural survey, Dr. David Kowalewski, scholar and practicing shaman, offers several techniques for engaging the Old Ones the old-fashioned way. Although modern people have largely lost this tradition, the ancestors are coming back strong, along with the shamans—a welcome happening that may reverse our ancestor-deficit disorder.
Drawing on a global survey of ethnographic reports, direct teachings from shamans of many continents, and experiences from his own shamanic practice, the author presents a wealth of useful ways that shamans have developed, around the world and across the ages, to connect with ancestors in both our realm and theirs. These include spirit-plates; effigies; pilgrimages; walkabouts; and trips with plant-spirits.
Using these ancient techniques, indigenous peoples receive a variety of gifts from their Old Ones, including destiny guidance, healing, protection, and wisdom teachings. Yet some ancestors may behave like hooligans, causing psychological distress and physical woes, and even curses against a whole lineage. But these maladies are both prevented and countered by shamanic methods such as home cleansing, disposal of the deceased’s property, severance ceremonies, and the like.
The author ends with practical takeaways—lessons from the lineages so to speak—showing how you and your ancestors, through concerted spiritual action, can co-evolve to higher spiritual planes. As a team.