Monday, 19 February 2018

Honouring My Ancestors

Fancy bottle with graveyard dirt 

I use graveyard dirt lovingly gathered with my own hands from my family's burial ground, and placed within a pretty crystal bottle as part of my ancestral altar. 

"We hear your whispered voices speaking words of wisdom into our unconscious minds. Your whispers awaken our dreams, our hearts, our desires. You who are our ancestors who once walked upon the earth and are part of our shared life eternal, we praise you with all that is sacred in our lives."

Since the death of both my parents I have regularly honoured my ancestors as a means of continuing connectedness with them, and all those who came before me. There are many traditions and ways to do so, and there really is no right nor wrong way in my own humble opinion. I prefer a daily prayer invoking those who came before me, those who have stayed to guide, and protect me in my own life journey. I thank them and make an offering of my favourite incense, and will often light a candle in remembrance. Much like my Goddess altar I have created my ancestral altar as an outward expression of heart. I have included items that remind me that they are still a part of my daily living. I also include items that remind me of my distant ancestors, rocks, and bits of wood pine cones, from the land they once lived upon in a way to include those who I never met in this life, but feel strongly in my being. 

When I am able to I will visit the family burial ground to plant flowers, and sit quietly, but unfortunately that is not as often as I would like to. So creating this small space within my house has actually worked out very well for me. I find the privacy of honouring the dead at home more conducive to making them more fully a part of my daily life. My altar is alive, it is a living source of connection, strength, guidance and well being.

A  few words on cemeteries since I have pictured graveyard dirt above.

I love to visit them, they are sacred, liminal places. I enjoy photographing memorial art, giving thanks to those who they honour, and I will say occasional prayers for person's graves that appear in need of kindness or just call out to me.

But, I never take dirt, nor rocks from graves, or anything that does not directly belong to my people.

Nor do I invoke the dead that I am not directly related to by either blood or love. This just feels right to me personally. I know others do, and of course Ouija is very popular even if used as just game with no serious intention, but I do not recommend it, nor anything that involves working with the dead who are not your own. I have done a lot of ghost hunting in the past, along with investigating reports of hauntings and this has probably helped to greatly shape my view on the matter as I have witnessed and heard of many negative experiences.

A good resource for those who may wish to venerate their ancestors with Pagan traditions: For The Ancestors which contains helpful articles, advice, and prayers including for the elevation of the soul of the troubled dead.

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