HOW TO PRACTICE ANCESTOR VENERATION
Article by Rasia Mykonos Pouncie
Ancestor Veneration, in one form or another, has been a way of life since the beginning of time. We can see this through myths, storytelling, death and birth rituals, prayer and many other forms of ceremony. If we think of our bodies as the vessel through which our souls move, and our souls as infinite energy, then we can see why ancestor work is necessary. If energy is infinite, then it is transmutable, meaning it shifts and transforms but never dies. But sometimes energy can become stuck, or stagnant and needs support in moving through its passage.
This is the infinite wisdom behind Ancestor Work and the reason why the ancients utilized this practice. They knew that crying, whaling, mourning, ritual, sacrifice, song, and offerings were all forms of worship that assisted in shifting the energy where and when it was needed. The world of today is far removed from this practice. We have become emotionally, and spiritually disconnected because we don’t make space for the art of ritual in our lives in intentional and purposeful ways.
As spiritual beings in this third dimensional experience, we carry within us the DNA of our ancestors, their pain, their heartbreak, their cycles, their stories, the joy and their success.
If you or a loved one has experienced some form of trauma, part of integrating this trauma is Ancestor Work. When you look back at your lineage, the cycle of trauma is guaranteed to reveal itself. You are likely not the first to feel the expressions of it. If this is true for you, it is because that energetic expression hasn’t been integrated. Working with your ancestors allows for knowledge to be unlocked, passed down, and deeper healing to occur. Through storytelling, grieving, laughing, crying, and offerings, we honor the dead in all of their glory because without them, we would not be here.
I encourage you to connect with your lineage through whatever channel feels right to you, research, intuition, your guru, or simply by connecting with family and asking questions. Where did your people originate from? What lands did they travel on? What did they eat? What were some of their traditions? How did others experience them? Knowing the people and traditions you come from allows for a greater sense of self, a firmer foundation on which to stand, and it opens the door to focused and purposeful healing. Ancestor Work offers healing of the pas, the present and the future. Know yourself, know where you come from then tell your story. This is the wisdom of Ancestor Veneration.
An easy way to begin this work is to set up an ancestor altar. Before setting up an altar to any other deity, one should set up an altar to their Ancestors first as a sign of respect. Place photos of Ancestors that resonate for you on a table with a white cloth, this represents purity. Place a cup of water on the table to represent clarity and the vessel of the Divine Feminine. Flowers to symbolize the flowering of new life. A candle to represent the Divine Masculine and to light the way for your Ancestors. Offerings in the form of food, smoke, or just your voice through song, speech or prayer is always good. These items must be chosen with intention and should represent your lineage, items that they would have enjoyed. The spirits need to be fed! When you cook food be sure to place a portion on your Ancestor Altar before feeding yourself.