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Tree of Life & Family Tree

Kerry Jehanne-Guadalupe

DNA and Divine Aspects


As humans, we are multidimensional beings with many aspects, including our physical bodies and divine essence. Simultaneously, we are physical and non-physical. All levels of our beingness are connected and in relationship with one another. There is an intersectionality between our humanness and our non-ordinary existence, both integrating and operating as a continuum. Our souls incarnate into a particular physical form with a specific genealogy, which gives birth to an interplay between our family tree (metaphor for genealogy) and the Tree of Life (symbolic of our spiritual nature).


Identities generated by genealogy and nationality are ways for us to identify ourselves within the flesh. Yet, I believe our souls and spirits are much more of a true representation of who we ultimately are: our inherent, intrinsic identity. The dance of our biological and spiritual essence (our DNA and our divine aspects) can provide rich ground for our soul's learning while incarnated in form. Through incarnating into countless lineages over many lifetimes, I believe that our souls learn from and adapt to a multitude of experiences.


Similar to many citizens of the United States, my genealogy is a mixture of many known ethnicities. I love this for many reasons, including the sense of inclusiveness it brings. Yet, as a child, inclusiveness was not the feeling evoked in me in any discussion about genealogy/lineage. Inadvertently, while helping me understand where I am from, it delineated where I am not from. The use of genealogy in this way influenced my soul’s journey, while in form, to experience a way of identifying myself within the consciousness of separation.


Later on in life, when I had my DNA tested, I realized that the consciousness of separation had the potential to be within me - if I defined it to be so. I was baptized and raised Catholic, yet I am predominately Jewish by blood. Along with being Jewish by blood, I am also German. Along with being English, I also carry the DNA from countries England has been in conflict with, as I am also Irish, Scottish, Norwegian, Danish, and Russian. Yet, I don’t feel any conflict within me. This is not a rejection of my DNA or my ancestry; it is simply an expression of a strange feeling of being connected to ethnicities through my DNA and, at the same time, none of them through culture (e.g., beliefs, traditions, customs). No matter how many ethnicities my DNA contains, I don’t feel connected to ethnic backgrounds within the context of culture or countries. Growing up eating foods commonly served in Germany did not make me feel German. Learning an Irish gig did not make me feel Irish. I am, by blood, multi-DNA’d while at the same time not multicultural.


Growing up, I always felt intrigued by friends who were born here in the USA and felt connected to one or several ethnicities. My friend, Dina, grew up in the same New York town as me and felt so connected to Italy, its culture, and being Italian by blood that it was part of who she was. At the same time, during my formative years, the tension between Russia and the USA caused some family members to deny any Russian genes within our family lineage, even though denial does not remove genes from one’s DNA. Family members wanted to separate from any reality of us being partly Russian - a denial of truth to 'prove' through falsity that we were not like the enemy. This only enhanced the feeling of not being connected to ethnicities and lineage.


Though I don’t feel the connection to the cultures linked to my lineage, I do, however, feel connected to the human race and the experience of being human. I relate to existing in the 3rd dimension with the corresponding illusion of separation, as well as the experience of unity within our multidimensional reality. Regardless of genealogy, our souls enter form and forgetfulness. Through form, we have the opportunity to journey into the remembrance of our essence beyond our lineage.



Culturally Constructed Meaning


It seems that much of our orientation to our life experiences is through the perspective of ascribed meaning. Culturally constructed meaning can have a significant impact on the way we perceive ourselves and others. For better or worse, the stories we have been told about our ancestors, ethnicity, and nationality have the potential to influence us and shape how we perceive ourselves, others, and the world we live in. The meaning attributed to one’s genealogy/lineage may be confining or liberating, influencing the journey of the soul while in form. 


It is well known that the meanings ascribed to ourselves and others are often socially constructed. I have even heard people referring to “race” as a social construct, along with attributed meanings such as inferior and superior races. It is mindboggling that people can believe that certain ethnicities and social groups are inherently superior to others. Perhaps this is part of our 3rd-dimensional restricted reality that we are here to experience and overcome.


Biologically, we are one human race. Ethnicities are not different enough to have separate human races. In certain animal species, variations in appearance permit the distinction of different races. Yet, our human species does not have enough genetic variation to be split into groups. We are too alike to be divided.


Yet, through the social construct of race, we are divided, and meaning has been created. The meanings ascribed to race/ethnicities need not be backed by truth -  simply socially agreed upon. Regardless of validity, social constructs can have enormous consequences, and meanings ascribed to race/ethnicity can greatly impact a soul's journey while in form.


Meaning can hold enormous power. People have used constructed meaning to make claims about themselves and others, as well as wield constructed meaning as an instrument to serve those in power, such as providing privileges to some while excluding others. Constructed meaning has been used to justify violence, oppression, and many of the world’s atrocities. Genealogical purity, eugenics, genocide, 'the pure and the polluted,' slavery, white supremacists, recompense, and reparations for specific ethnic groups all point to the intense human history related to constructed meanings attributed to race/ethnicity. 


Culturally constructed meaning can be wielded for negative experiences, such as violence and separation, as well as positive experiences, such as harmony and unity. The beauty of being both German and Jewish through DNA yet not feeling connected to either one through culture allows me to easily ascribe unity as the meaning of being both. There is no inner conflict from being both German and Jewish. I am not denying one ounce of history between Jewish people and Germans; I am simply expressing how this DNA lives in me.


For me, a symbol associated with unity within the context of duality is the infinity symbol. The infinity symbol has sides as well as a middle point representing a unification of all that is. For me, the middle point of the infinity symbol is a reminder of human unification and oneness within the context of duality and 3rd-dimensional consciousness; we are separate, and we are one. For me, the middle point is a void of all human constructs; this void brings neutrality, spaciousness, and expansiveness. In the middle, there is no us versus them.


The meaning of unity that I ascribe can contradict cultural influence as it relates to being both German and Jewish by DNA. Meaning, along with identification, can often be a mixture of self-determined and imposed. Self-determined meaning and identity, as well as ascribed meaning and identity (from countries, states, and religious organizations), may not always be in alignment. Misalignment of self-determined and imposed identity might be indicative of someone choosing for themselves who they are.


I often wonder how I have been shaped by meanings ascribed to me versus how my true essence has influenced my life experiences. As a child, I was frequently told that my temper was because I was Irish and that my stubbornness was because I was German. Such links reduced these cultures in my young mind to stubborn Germans and hot-headed Irish folk; meaningless meanings attributed to ethnicity. This not only raises the question of nurture versus nature but also constructed meaning versus truth. I am less concerned about who is ascribing meaning and more focused on whether any of the meaning is even true and the impact the meaning may have through our earthly journeys.


It is understandable how we can over-identify with our physical form. I believe this is why the quote from Pierre Teilhard resonates with many people I know: “We are not physical beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a physical experience.” What a beautiful reminder phrased so succinctly. Our true identities are not our physical bodies, along with all the ascribed meanings. Yet, our physical bodies allow our souls to continue their evolving journey. Through ascribed meaning and corresponding experiences, the lessons that can be born from this journey in duality are endless.


It leads me to wonder what one's soul is learning via the attributed meaning while simultaneously wondering what it means to be White, Black, Asian, Indigenous, etc., outside of culturally constructed constructs.


One World


Metaphorically, I love to think of family trees worldwide as Aspen trees. From one root system of an Aspen tree, countless trees grow. Symbolically, Aspen trees represent a way to honor our uniqueness while acknowledging our connectedness, like a many-trunked tree system connected through one root system. We are individual and yet connected. We live separately and unified simultaneously.


Though I am far from claiming any understanding of the ultimate truth of our existence, I do believe that, on some level, we are not only connected to each other but part of all that is. The concept of unus mundus (Latin for 'one world') entails a unified reality, a consciousness from which all of creation emerges and to which all returns. Through this concept, I imagine human spirits arising from unity consciousness, individuating to have unique experiences while still, on some level, always connected to all that is.


From this place, I wonder what wisdom we can bring into form from unity consciousness. Through the diversity of countless identifications, how may we experience connectedness? How can we emerge from oneness, separate into ethnicities while experiencing connectedness as one human race? Ultimately, I believe as more and more of our true nature emerges, false constructs will weaken, opening new possibilities for how we see ourselves and others.







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