Fire up the #Fire Element in your Life: Have You Fed Your Ancestors Lately?


For this week’s #ItsElemental Medicine, we’re focusing in on the element of Fire. The passionate, hot, ecstatic and creative element serves as the mediator between worlds and is closest to the purest form of energy. It connects us to our purpose through our intuition- our internal guidance system.

As a culture, we use so many phrases that touch upon fire’s ability to stir our need for fulfillment and our hunger for our true calling. When someone is motivated and moving vigorously in alignment with their highest self, we might say they have a “fire in their belly.”

As I began reflecting on the idea of a fire, like one in our bellies, and all the ways that we can bring Fire energy into our lives, I considered fire’s inherent connection to our ancestor spirits. One of the most natural ways we can harness the power of fire is to let it remind us to remain connected to these guides.

And as I reflected, a question came to the surface: Have you fed your ancestors lately?

Let me explain. To “feed” their spirit is to acknowledge them.

Stick with me. I know this might sound odd to you. But, have you considered the generations and generations of lineage that carry wisdom and knowledge, all yearning to be tapped into?

If you haven’t given thought to the value of your ancestral heritage and their spirit’s presence in your life, maybe you’re uncomfortable. And, maybe what you know about your particular set of ancestors doesn’t sit well with you. Maybe they were even a part of your life, but left wounds behind them that have not been healed. 

A valuable piece of tapping into the element of fire is to heal these relationships to your ancestors. It’s important to understand, in your healing process, that there is room to forgive the pain they may have caused. Trust that in their process of crossing over into the spirit world, they gained clarity and an awareness that they couldn’t have possessed in their human form. A level of awareness and enlightenment was granted to them. They are aware of the failures and flaws that were a part of their human identity, but now, from the other side, they’ve shed the skin of that identity and long to be useful. They long to offer you this newfound sense of clarity.

And we must begin to allow ourselves to rely on this clear wisdom and to feed them so that they can feed us back.

When I moved to California from the East Coast, it was a huge change. I left a strong sense of my identity behind me. And I knew I needed to find connection to my ancestors, my guides, in order to navigate through my new and unfamiliar surroundings.

After what seemed like forever, I started to feel frustrated. Where were my guides? Why weren’t they making themselves known?

How would the guide I needed most at that time, my dad, appear to me now? He had always come to me, very clearly, in the form of a beautifully deep red cardinal. Of course there are no cardinals in Southern California! But I continued to look for signs of him and my other ancestors everywhere.

And, yes, I began to feel resentful.

Did they disapprove of my move west? Did they feel as abandoned as I felt by them? How could I let them know that I desperately needed them?

Deep down, I knew that I hadn’t been feeding them. I hadn’t been honoring them, inviting their presence into my new life.

The Dagara teaches that when you feel ready to connect to your ancestor’s wisdom and deep love for you, there are many ways to signal to them.

One way to offer them nourishment and acknowledgment, to reach out to them, is to make a shrine. A shrine is nothing more than a space you offer as a special way to connect. As you are making that space in your home fill it with meaningful objects of adoration, mindfully setting your intentions. Envision their presence and call their spirit to your shrine with the deep knowing that this sacred space will hold them. Claim what the shrine will guide you towards and spend time meditating at your shrine as a way to nourish your ancestors. 

You can also do something symbolic of the ways you would connect with them when they were with you here in their human form. Maybe that looks like attending a baseball game as you always did with your father, scouring flea markets again as a way to call in your mother’s spirit, or preparing and sharing a warm meal for your family, just as your beloved great aunt would have done.

Or, you can simply ask for a shift. Say a prayer to them with your heart’s calling. Maybe it’s peace within your family, opening your relationships to more love, or a greater sense of your worth and value that your heart is calling for. Direct your prayer to an ancestor whose spirit is most connected to the shift you’re craving.

And it’s important to know that once you begin the conversation with them, you never know how they will appear to you. It could be in the form of an animal, a slightly different inner voice, a message in a song, or your friend calling you at that exact right moment and mentioning something that lets you know that your guides are hearing what you have to say.

If you are not ready to take the step to connect with your ancestors, do as millions of people do each and everyday and call in a most high power. Whether that be Jesus, Ganesh, the Virgin Mary, Buddha, another deity or a combination of all positive guides who have come before us, we can request that they, too, hold space for us.

On the flip side, sometimes we may have a misunderstanding with our ancestors and guides. With any dynamic relationship, there will be ebb and flow. Sometimes we may feel frustrated, just as I did, and not feel like feeding our fire, feeding our ancestors.

That’s natural.

But, ultimately, all your ancestors and guides want is a job to do. When they do show you that they are present, truly feed them. Give thanks for their wisdom, for their willingness to offer you their knowledge. Bow before your shrine, offer new a fresh tokens of your appreciation for the space they hold for you and for the space that you hold for them.

Pay attention. Allow for yourself to think differently about your ancestors, guides and all they have to offer you.

These techniques may fit with your belief system or they may not. But remember, it is never going to hurt to begin this process of nurturing your relationship to your ancestry. Any chance that we give ourselves to more deeply connect to our heritage is a chance to connect with the Fire element that each and every one of us holds deep within. There is no right way to tap into the power of Fire in your life, but your ancestors and guides do offer one powerful way.

Finally, one day, the signal that I’d been asking for appeared to me as I was visiting friends on the beach. It came unexpectedly, in the form of a subtle hunk of driftwood, discreetly showing it’s small self beneath the sand.

Driftwood in the clear, distinct, unique shape of a cardinal. My dad. Perched upon another piece of driftwood in the shape of a wand. My mother, Wanda.

If you, too, are ready for a shift, if you feel fire bubbling inside your belly and recognize the hunger in yourself, know that you are the messenger who can reach to your guides in so many different ways in order to shift the patterns of disconnection and begin using their guidance, protection and their healing wisdom. 

Susan Hough is Co-Founder and Intuitive Activist Life Coach at Living Your Gifts. She performs the Milk & Honey ritual most Fridays in Laguna Beach and can be reached for this and other rituals and personal life coaching at To learn how Living Your Gifts incorporates indigenous wisdom into original coaching, groups and workshops visit: © 2015 Living Your Gifts | All Rights Reserved.