Raven Kaldera and Elizabeth Vongvisith
The more scientists study our DNA and our genetic code, the more qualities we find that are inherited, passed down to us through our bloodlines. These qualities can include psychic gifts, "ordinary" knacks and talents, personality quirks, diseases, and dysfunctions. Untangling a client's wyrd may have a lot to do with figuring out their genetic karma, and certainly it's useful for a healer to be able to trace physical disorders and see if they are genetic, teratogenic, or environmental in nature.
Bloodwalking is a form of trance-journeying that takes you down the bloodlines of your own or someone else's ancestral chain. During this procedure, you follow the strands of your bloodline back through your ancestors, seeing pieces of their lives and souls and essence which have been passed on to you. This can be used to look for diseases, or for karmic debts, or general confusion of orlog or wyrd. Bloodwalking works even if the individual in question is adopted and has no idea what their genetic bloodline is like at all. It can't necessarily tell them much about that - the information gained through bloodwalking is often more intuitive and subjective than the average names-and-dates genealogy - but it can perhaps tell them something.
Positive genetic qualities sometimes come with a price tag attached; the ancestors who bequeathed them to us may want us to carry on some kind of work or take on some kind of taboo in exchange for use of the gift. (Some people, on the other hand, are entirely free of karmic debts to their ancestors, and it may even be part of their wyrd to break off entirely with the orlog of their genetic line.) The may also come with vague ancestral memories, especially with bloodlines where people incarnate down the family line.
As far as I can tell, there's no rule dictating why some families have reincarnations that closely hug their family line and some incarnate all over the world, seemingly at random. Then again, the mechanics of reincarnation don't necessarily follow our meat-brain ideas of linear time. One individual that I knew, with a genetic background that was completely Scottish-Irish, had many incarnation memories of being in medieval Ireland and Scotland, lives that he could clearly see as being various side branches of his family tree. He also had memories of random lifetimes in Africa as some sort of tribesman, and Mexico as well. At first he wondered whether there was some hidden black or Mexican blood in his family, but a thorough search of his genealogy proved otherwise.
Then his daughter married a man of African-American extraction, whose ancestors came from the area he remembered in his prior incarnations. (In fact, he said that he recognized the man immediately when his daughter brought him home; they had been related once long ago.) His daughter proceeded to get pregnant and have three children. At some point he realized that he had been sticking to his family tree after all, but not just the tree of the linear past - he had been incarnating as ancestors of his current life's descendants. He says that he wouldn't be surprised if one of his grandchildren comes home with a Mexican-descended spouse.
(Note: It has been asked as to whether you can bloodwalk forward and see your descendants. As of this writing, we consider the future to be still in flux, so anything in that vein would be vague and no better than a simple divinatory reading. Things are never certain when you're going in that direction.)
Direct Trance Method
You can do bloodwalking without any props, or with the string system I've used, both of which are described below. It's assumed that if you want to try this, you've already had a good deal of experience with journeying and trancework (none of these are beginner techniques). To do it straight up, start by getting yourself into whatever position you use for journeying. Instead of concentrating on going out, concentrate on going in. Listen to your heartbeat, feel the blood pumping through it, and try to create a connection with your blood. Visualize yourself surrounded by it, swimming in a sea of your own blood. Go smaller and smaller until you can see the chains of DNA that are spun in every cell of your body. See these strands spinning away, toward the strands of the two people who made your body, and from there out further. Follow down the line of the strands, noting each "node" and seeing what images come up for that person.
Usually when I journey or fare forth or whatever you want to call it, I come back with my body feeling tired, stiff and cold, but whenever I've done the bloodwalking, I feel as if I haven't been breathing enough and need more air, and I'm much more disoriented after doing this than after rambling around between worlds, oddly enough.
As you see each node, each image, try very hard to simply absorb it passively. Don't allow your mind to reform them into some kind of romantic vision. I find that it's useful to stay very detached, so if they are unpleasant in some way, it doesn't upset me in the moment. The first time that you bloodwalk yourself, don't look for anything specific. Just see what there is to see and come back, and write it down. Eventually you may go looking for something, but start out just by visiting. You can visit any time you want; this is not a Netherworld, it's your own ancestry, and you carry it with you all the time anyway.
Sooner or later, you will learn how to travel to specific points in your line to visit the lifetimes of various ancestors. You will also get a feel for how to move back and forth when you want, and possibly how to move from an "outside" perspective as well as moving directly through each person. For some people, moving around at will is easy from the start, while for others it takes more practice. However, because this isn't quite the same thing as journeying into another world, it's likely that you'll be able to move about fairly easily on your first attempt. Bloodwalking is essentially easier than going out of one's body because it's self-contained, and is not the same as faring forth into Otherworlds.
I've found it useful to actually use string as part of the tranceworking process. Ideally, this string should be handspun with intent. (Good reasons to learn to handspin, or at least to have some spinners around who can spin with intent!) The intent should be the carrying of bloodline information. I suggest that the spinner ought to do some sort of invocation or short ritual to the Norns, asking for their aid, and then spin the fiber while imagining people's family trees like many threads, crisscrossing and knotting together and growing new threads out of them.
For each bloodwalking - you will want a different one for each querent, unless they are siblings who share both parents in common - you will want a minimum of sixteen threads, about a yard long. You can have more, but it's difficult to keep track of more than sixteen ancestral lines at once anyway. I recommend spinning or having spun enough thread or yarn to be cut into about a hundred of these lengths, preferably in many different colors so that you can tell one from another by looking. Lay them all together in one fat skein. Place the skein in your lap, close your eyes, and pull sixteen threads out of the end of the skein. (You don't need to pull them all the way out until they're all chosen and your eyes are open.) If you do this work with a client, you will be blindfolding them and letting them choose the threads in the same way.
Put your threads together into a skein, and wipe a little of your own blood on it. It doesn't need to be any more than a drop, but it does seem necessary to charge the skein properly. When you do this for a client, you will need to explain that the blood is necessary. Have sterile stickers on hand, as well as antiseptic and bandaids. If they can't or do not wish to prick their own finger themselves, be prepared to don rubber gloves and do it for them over a piece of plastic. Practice on yourself or helpful friends first; as a professional, you don't want to be clumsy at any part of your job. Blood should always be treated as hazardous waste these days. (Alternatively, if the client is a woman between menarche and menopause, she can take the skein home to wait for her monthly bleed and dab a bit on it; if she's bleeding at the time of the visit, just send her to the bathroom with the skein. Menstrual blood seems to work just fine for this purpose.) Make sure that the blood goes on one area in the center of the skein, and loosely tie a bit of cloth around that so that you can avoid touching it; you'll be working with the ends of the thread. If possible, leave the skein long enough for the blood to dry before starting the journeying. The skein will now only be used for that person and their bloodline; have them take it home after you're done and put it on an ancestor altar, or at least keep it safely hidden.
Although it's best to start with your own blood and bloodline - it's there, it's in you, it's easiest and most familiar - it's sometimes tricky to go from doing this for yourself and doing it for a total stranger; the jump from the blood in your veins to the blood on a skein of yarn that you aren't actually touching can be tricky to make. If you have a lover with whom you regularly exchange bodily fluids, and they are willing to give you a drop of their own blood to ingest, you can do an intermediate step. During the half hour or so while their blood is in your body, before it is completely broken down, it will be easier to bloodwalk them than someone whose blood is only keying a charged skein, and it will give you practice.
We'll start this description assuming that you are working with your own skein. Go do some utiseta, or lie down, or do whatever it is that works for you for trancework. The first time that I did bloodwalking, I was told to go stand up to my neck in water while doing it. I went down to the local pond; it was after midnight and the fog was so thick that you could barely a few feet in front of you. I could see the edge of the water, and beyond that was an opaque wall of fog. It took a great deal of courage to force myself to walk in up to my neck, after which I was completely isolated in a white world with nothing but solid mist in any direction. But as I worked, the mist around me became like a projection screen, against which images were thrown up - an eerie but very useful effect. I stood there with the skein floating on the water and fumbled my way through it, and visions of my ancestors appeared around me.
If you want to work more closely within a specific line of descent, you also might consider using a string of beads as a prop, perhaps with a certain kind of bead for each known ancestor, and other kinds for unknown family members. You could use this in a manner similar to using a rosary in order to help facilitate your journey. Such a bead string can also be worn or carried as a constant reminder of your connection to the ancestors. For example, if your mother's line is particularly important to you, you could construct a bead string for your maternal female ancestors and use it to bloodwalk along that line of descent. You can also connect different strands of beads together in the same way you would build a web of string as described above.
Whichever method you use, the sensations and feelings you may have while bloodwalking can be very different from those you get with other kinds of journeying. You may actually be able to move along the bloodlines from an outside perspective, drawing closer to investigate individuals. Or you might move directly through the blood, passing in and out of each person's lifetime, one after another. Sometimes there's a sense of claustrophobia. Sometimes, even if you've become experienced at bloodwalking, you might move very slowly and be forced to "push" your way through. At other times you could be drawn very rapidly along, passing individuals at great speed in order to reach a particular person or branch of the family tree.
You might also have vivid and sometimes difficult reactions to who and what you see, depending on what your relationship to your family is like or what kind of people your family members were. Even for those already experienced with trancework, bloodwalking for the first time may be intensely affecting in a way that other kinds of journeys usually aren't. If you managed to remain reasonably detached during the actual journey, you might still feel upset, angry, and/or emotionally drained afterward. This isn't a sign of a lack of skill or ability, but there may be some personal issues you need to address or some additional work you need to do to come to terms with the upsetting things you experienced.
As you move through your lines, you may also notice that some people may stand out from the rest of your family. The nodes representing them may glow brightly or attract you in some other way. This might signify that the person was psychically gifted and/or that they were a mystic touched by their gods, even though their religious beliefs might have been very different from yours. On the other hand, an ancestor's node having a darkened or threatening aspect could mean that something was especially wrong with that person, spiritually speaking. You might want to avoid such people but feel drawn to them anyway; they may have something to teach you, too. Use your own judgement and trust your instincts.
My grandmother's side of the family was...different. They "felt" peculiar in a way I couldn't really put my finger on. None of them were particularly out of the ordinary until I was far enough back for them to have been in "the old country" and came across someone who practically blazed with divine fire -- I mean, burning like a torch in among all the ordinary people before and after him. I have a strong feeling this person was a priest or church official of some sort, a true "man of God," someone who undoubtedly said Mass in a state of grace ... although he can't have been too saintly, as the line of descent came straight down from him, indicating that he'd fathered at least one child ... All of the brief glimpses I had into individual's lives seemed to come at random, and I don't know that they're necessarily significant to me personally so much as maybe I just happened to see what I saw, if that makes any sense. My speculations about the priest are just that ... speculations, based on the fact that his life-energy felt different from that of the ancestors on my father's side who had psychic or magical gifts, and it seemed very Christian in a way I can't really describe.
Going back along your family lines may surprise you with what you discover. Or it might only confirm things that you have long suspected about yourself, your family, and your hamingja and orlog. It can bring you closer to your ancestors, even very distant ones, and reinforce your sense of place in the lines of your family. It may allow you to contact specific ancestors, or at least learn more about them. It can help you come to terms with a difficult family history, or reveal a hitherto unknown one. You will also be able to do these things for your clients. Bloodwalking is a useful skill for most spirit-workers to learn.