If you were dead right now, will the people you love and care about think about you? If the answer is yes, you are very fortunate. Many deceased people yearn for the feeling of somebody caring for them and yet not all of them have crossed over to the other side. Anybody can become an earthbound spirit for a lot of reasons, but nothing is more sadder than picturing a family member who died tragically and becoming one. Sure someone can always become one with a good reason to watch after their love ones, but sometimes your long lost relatives are the ones on the other side of a loose string. What I will be dissing here is ancestor worship and its benefits toward you and your deceased loved ones. Please feel free to comment if you practice ancestor veneration or have any ideas on how to practice it.
I call this thread kindling the flame for a reason and the reason is this. Imagine yourself as a log, not just any kind of log, but firewood. Now imagine your blood as fire, as it represents your family bloodline. Each time someone is born in your family a new log gets added to the fire, which makes the fire last longer. You are a log that is still burning with power, you could waste this power or put it to good use. This power is called the current. The current is the fire and you can take care of that fire by honoring it. Dont let the fire burn out, remember your ancestors and let their wood burn just as well as the day they were born, even if they are long gone. Since they are dead it is your duty as an ancestor worshiper to kindle their flame for them.
You may have ancestors who have been murdered or even committed suicide, I know I have, Some may be lost and confused because there fire has been burnt out. Dont let that happen. When a person becomes an earth bound spirit, also known as a ghost, they need energy to survive or they become slow and lethargic. Make an altar for them. This does not need to be fancy, just a small dresser and a few pictures will do the trick. Now light a candle in there name as a representation of their wood still burning by your love for them, even if you dont know them. As you light that candle leave some water and some food, so they can feed on those instead on energy. Most ghost get energy from people and some can do this in some very mischievous ways. Giving them a place they know that they are remembered and will be cared for will show them the light and they may cross over.
Now that you know how to handle the fire of your ancestors, remember that if you are their for them, that they will be there for you. You may notice that some may cross over and still watch over you from afar. This is a sign of respect for the love you gave them and they may even assist you for daily needs if you pray to them. Dont tread on the dead and ask for frivolous task, because that is disrespectful. Dead people are not dogs and they dont play fetch. If you think you can do something without their help do not ask them.
Since we have reached the end of the thread I hope you learned a thing or two about the dead and take my advice. Just remember if you somehow end up dead, youll want people to remember and love you just as much as they did when you were alive. Always respect the dead and treat them with love and care.
While I do not hold the same views as you regarding the theory, I think ancestor veneration is important. Some spiritualists feel those are the first spirits one should start building a relationship. I really love the set up you presented here. I would also like to add the idea of just talking with them, about your day, plans, memories shared between you two, stories, anything you want, can be a great way of involving them. I know one person who watches their grandfather's football team play and tells them the scores.
Several practices, such as Hoodoo, encourage a relationship with ancestral spirits. I also hear ancestor veneration being part of Heathenism, Vodou, and other religions. In Hellenismos, the ancestors are venerated with the Agathodaimon in household worship. Both of these spirits have strong connections to the household, or oikos.
I love seeing a post on the subject of ancestor veneration and think that it is a great place to start in regards to spirit work.
-Some Thoughts on Ancestor Veneration-
Ancestor veneration can include, but doens't need to be limited to:
Candle lighting ( White, generally )
Food Offerings ( I find sweets go over well )
Drink Offerings ( Coffee, water, and their perferred alcohols )
Flowers ( Generally white, unless ancestors ask for something else )
Statuary and items of personal importance from before their death ( can include jewerly, perfume, religious paraphenalia, etc. )
If you can't have a set space for them, getting a box and to keep tea lights and other altar items in and doing regular veneration using that altar can be a great substitiute for the closeted spirit worker/witch.
If you are in the area, leaving candles, money, and other offerings graveside can be great. Cleaning their graves usually goes over well.
In many practices, there is a period post-mortem in which the spirit of the person is not venerated. In my experience, this time is usually about a year.
There are finer nuances to graveyard work in multiple practices, such practices can include leaving an offering with the protecting spirit of said graveyard, which is very important in some practices. Especially, if you are attempting to get your hands on graveyard dirt.
- Setting Up an Altar for Ancestor Veneration -
( Some influence from my practice, alter as needed )
What you'll need:
A space or box
A white tabletop cloth
Candles ( White )
Pictures ( If you have any )
Personal Effects ( If you have any )
Cleanse your space
Lay the tablecloth down
Place the mirror in the center of your space
Fill the glass with water and place it on the mirror
Set candles around the mirror and light
Place pictures and personal effects, while calling on the ancestor who it's associated with
Call forth your ancestors and offer the space up to them
Feel free to pray and meditate with them for a bit
- Prayer/Devotional -
You would do well to come up with your own, but below I'll offer a generic one that might help to inspire you. hope you like it:
"I call upon the blood of my blood to join me in this space. ( Name all the ancestors that you know the name of ) I ask that you join me now. Ancestors whose names who have been lost, please join me. Please guide and protect me on my journey."
When it comes to Ancestors they are always with us even when they are not being served or when there is no altar to them.
Ancestors generally take any kind of food cakes,cookies and such but do not give the ancestors salt or salty foods or any food that contains salt.
You can give the ancestors florida water,Kananga water I myself make a special water with herbs that are connected to the ancestors but I also have a bottle of florida water for the ancestors. The Ancestors love white flowers any kind is fine like white roses,Chrysanthemums and other white flowers. The ancestors do take alcohol some say gin others say rum. I myself dont give my ancestors rum I give them coffee with sugar. Remember you have ancestors some are closer then others. There will always be one ancestor that will be very close to you or more ancestors.
Here is my way of making an ancestral altar:
I always start with a space where I want to put the Ancestors which I have them on a shelf in my room above all my candles and the things I work with you can put the ancestors anywhere. I start by cleansing the space with florida water you can also use basil water and them I dedicate it and bless it. I put a white cloth over the shelf. I put all the pictures of my ancestors in the back a cross in the middle (to represent faith in God and my ancestors) I put 2 cups of water one for my mothers side and one for my fathers side and then I have a big glass bowl with water in the middle. If you dont have any pictures of ancestors you can use anything that they owned in life. You can add rosaries I have have my cross adorned with different coloured rosaries. You can also add saints example my family saint is Saint Michael the Archangel (where my middle name comes from) I add his statue to my ancestors. Some people who have a Madama put their Madama with the Ancestors but I personally have mine next to my ancestors but they are honoured many times at the same time. The day that belongs to the Ancestors is Monday which I burn a 7 day candle for them and often go to my altar to burn 2-3 tea-lights for my ancestors.
If you are gonna add a mirror I would put it under the bowl of water.
You want to always keep your ancestral altar clean and fresh.