About Blood Memory


We all belong to some sort of culture: a subgroup of Society as a whole, that adheres to certain traditions, belief systems, etc. We, as individuals adhere to certain traditional ways of thinking and explaining, as well as bits of behavior that can be tracked back to whatever aspect of a certain culture our ancestry ties us to, or with. The phrase it’s in the genes is directly related to just such an idea. No matter how far we might roam away from the boundaries of that base culture, there are those who believe that we never lose that bond. They call it Blood Memory.

I will use myself as an example. I grew up in a lower middle class environment that was based in Catholic religiosity. Somewhere in my teens, I became aware of Native American culture and was drawn and fascinated by certain aspects of it. As an adult, I was far freer to explore that attraction, and even lightly embraced some of that belief system, which can be seen here on this blog, especially when it comes to symbolism and meaning.

It was only after that exploration that I came to discover that I have Native American blood through my maternal grandmother. I had always been told that she was French, which she was, but mixed with Native American roots. Although I have not explored the French aspect as thoroughly, from the first time I heard her story, I was drawn to the character of Joan of Arc and the role she played in French History. That came out in bits of poetry and images associated with her that I found in dreams.

Both of these things would fall directly under what is defined as Blood Memory. Strongly held traditions of thought and behavior, supposedly carried in the genes within the human blood stream. There are those, myself among them, who believe those memories call to us, sometimes intrude and make their presence known in unconscious ways of knowing and acting. It can be strongly compared to Jung’s theory of the Collective Unconscious.

It can be expressed in a strong yearning, such as my deep attraction to Native American spiritual belief systems. And it might also be linked to our intuitive senses and faculties. Remember that I have already said that intuition and its knowing sometimes feels like “I know this, don’t know how I know this, but I know this is true, right,”  etc. That could easily be associated with those cultural memories that course through our blood, sometimes coloring our worldview in ways we might never stop to consider.

Although we have often referred to America as the ‘melting pot’, it really hasn’t become soup yet, it is still much more a stew. In all major cities across this land, one can find pockets of cultural tradition where the inhabiting individuals stay within a certain boundary of place and behavior. They can be seen to adhere to those cultural traditions, while sometimes giving only lip surface to the greater outer Society known as American standards.

I am not making judgments here. Far from it. My own family of origin, adheres to that Catholic religiosity I referred to earlier, occasionally even voicing some discontent with certain rules and doctrines within that dogma. But, the majority of them still attend Sunday mass weekly, without question, and events are scheduled around that reality when at all possible.

If we are actually interested in enhancing our intuitive skills and abilities, it might be wise to examine our own ancestral connections, no matter how removed we might feel from them. It might be a good idea to cull those ties, and to choose which ones are advantageous to our own person, and which of them might actually be stumbling blocks on our path and to our individual journey.

I mentioned the melting pot. Many cultural memories concern the issue of territory. They would have to do that. At one point in all histories, there was a drive to obtain and retain a specific area in which to exist. A drive to exclude what was different and strange in order to preserve identity as well as place. When we say that we have a hard time accepting change, could that reality be based in long ago ancestors who physically fought and died to prevent just such change?

How can we honor our own individual person, without honoring the ancestry from which it sprang? But, how do we change what might be sub-consciously blocking us from doing so, without some exploration and discovery that might simply be waiting inside that subconscious terrain, hoping to be found and used for further development? How can we know our own story if we never explore the greater story it is based within?

A word of caution here. The ability to make choices stems from the soil of what we know. Embracing our Blood Memories through the story of our culture must always be approached with the very real knowledge that our ancestors didn’t know as much as we do. Evolution is always taking place. We are only one link in that process. Personal choice is as important here, as any other aspect of that process.

Another personal slant on all of this. I have, for years, been deeply drawn and fascinated by the story and existence of The Wild Child and how it relates to the general development of the individual, especially psychologically. For a few centuries, Native Americans were seen and defined as savages, something that must either be destroyed or coerced into conformity with the larger dominating Society. Hopefully we have learned a great deal from our own history.

Perhaps enough to at least consider the reality of a Wild Thing inhabiting our own psyche. A creature that was cut off and exiled into the wilderness of the subconscious mind. And one who might hold the secrets of a better way of knowing, a healing essence that is sorely needed, one that can gently guide, while being just as gently guided to emerge at last and offer its own message about a better way of living, and of possibilities toward wholeness.

All of that is being discussed in another blog, but certainly applies to this one as well. Blood Memory seems to have a way of seeping to the surface, even flooding awareness at times with deeply rooted connections and lessons only waiting to be learned.


About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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4 Responses to About Blood Memory

  1. You bring up an interesting aspect of the collective unconscious. Today I was reading something in an old Alan Vaughn book where he talks about the archetype of assassination. Great post!

  2. 1sojournal says:

    Thanks for visiting Trish,

    and you bring up a good point about that part of self that is bent toward destruction and self-defeat. And also remind me that Blood Memory may have a lot to do with synchronicity as well. Gonna have to let that one ruminate for a while, but I can feel it back there, leaning in to listen, maybe even speak, lol.


  3. Have you read Rupert Sheldrake’s Presence of the Past? About the morphic field? Even though sheldrake doesn’t believe in reincarnation, his book and theories about morphic fields are fascinating and bear some resemblance to what you’ve written about here.
    – Trish

  4. 1sojournal says:

    No, I haven’t read Sheldrake, but will definitely put him on my list. Problem is that it’s summer and summer means getting as much done as possible before winter sets in. My life seems to have exploded while I was quietly coloring, lol. Am way behind here, but am making plans to ‘fix’ that.

    That title however, sounds like a poem in the making. Thanks for dropping by, and I’ll keep my eyes open for the book. It may take some time, but eventually…


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