The Milky Way was the original World Tree, and trail
of the dead. We are each the center of the Cosmic Drama, the peak of the pyramid of ancestral building blocks.
Genealogy is a sort of scaffolding or platform from which we conduct our genealogical project, a metaphorical catafalque or means of conveyance. The term, from the Italian catafalco, or scaffolding, refers to the raised (and often movable) platform that a casket rests on during a funeral or memorial service.
From its root as a 'siege tower', it is that position on the edge of the known from which we 'lay siege' and launch our incursion on the collective unconscious. Naturally, this is not a martial process or violent incursion, but one of loving attendance to detail and accuracy in hitting the mark that illuminates our targets. Certainly, it's not what we demand of it, but what it demands of us for release from unconscious bondage. Whether we conceive of it as human or archetypal impulse, the contents below consciousness demand to be freed.
We con be confronted 'barking up the wrong tree,' or stymied by a Brick Wall -- tough research problems, apparent dead-ends that after many hours of searching still yield no answers. The other side of the brick wall is the distant ancestor that pops up as if he or she was born out of thin air.
Sometimes we can't find that elusive ancestor, set of parents or proof of a link between generations. Then the seeming miracle occurs. The wall is breached. With a dead-end line, the moment of breakthrough can seem like a bomb going off that opens a whole new field of ancestors, from notable Colonials, to more noble and royal lines -- and, yes, more dead ends.
Sometimes it takes a moment of synchronicity to ignite the spark of discovery. The a single word, an oblique reference, matching names can open a whole new domain. As well as research, it takes logic, deduction, inference, and inspiration -- tracking from the known to the unknown, using clues to unlock the story. Those stories and how ancestors dealt with adversity can inspire us right back.
Ancestors are those people you directly descend from, not extended family members. An ancestor or forebearer is a parent or (recursively) the parent of an ancestor (i.e., a grandparent, great-grandparent, great-great-grandparent, etc). An ancestor is "any person from whom one is descended. In law the person from whom an estate has been inherited."
“The concept of the archetype, which is an indispensable correlate of the idea of the collective unconscious, indicates the existence of definite forms in the psyche which seem to be present always and everywhere; collective, universal, and impersonal." – C. G. Jung
That is to say, when we once grasp the meaning of the conscious and the unconscious together, we become aware of the ancestral lives that have gone into the making of our own lives. ~Carl Jung, 1925 Seminar, Pages 153-154