Ancestors 101


If you are going to make an altar to the ancestors, keep in mind these points.

Firstly, not all ancestors will wish to be on your altar. When you first place a photo of the ancestor(s) you wish to have on your altar, light the candle and ask them if they wish to be on the altar. If they do not, whatever their reason, respect their wishes and remove their picture. Bear in mind that ancestors may change their mind – my mother-in-law said she did not want to be in contact with me via my altar, then a few months later the other ancestors said she’d changed her mind and wanted back on.

Secondly, the ancestors on the altar will have all the same faults and virtues that they had when they were alive. If an ancestor is an untrustworthy son-of-a-gun when s/he was alive, they’ll still be like that after death. Only venerate the ones which will support you in your life. I have not yet had an ancestor turn up who I did not wish to be in contact with after death, but if I did I would politely request them to leave. If the ancestor did not I would then research banishing rituals for spirits.

Thirdly, I have heard that you should wait a year and a day after their death to invite them to your altar. I was going to do that after my Poppa (mother’s father) died only because it seemed like a decent interval. However, he turned up on my altar six months after he died. This may be an exception, as he was always a people person and my son is named after him, which may be a good reason for hearing from him sooner than I thought. I would still wait a year and a day, but it would be insulting to ask them to come back later if they turn up before that interval.

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