Ancestor work is a practice that can be found all over the world, and encompasses many different cultures, and traditions. At its core, it is the act of honouring the beloved dead. These practices can help you understand where you've come from, and where you are going. They can provide insight into yourself, as well as your own personal history. There are different types of ancestors, each presiding over a different aspect of yourself, in the broadest sense, they encompass Blood ancestors, Allied ancestors, and Land ancestors. You can build relationships with all of them you have a connection with already.
Your blood ancestors are the beings that you are descended from, going back to prehistoric times. You will be able to determine your blood ancestor lineage through historical records, and DNA testing. Through the power of working with your blood ancestors, you are more able to closely connect with yourself, and your body's lineage. This can include entities who are not Homo sapiens, for they are also connected to you from our collective human evolution.
These are ancestors that you consider to be a part of your lineage, but are not connected to you by blood. These can include friends, pets, and family members who are not blood related. These types of individuals are connected in such a way that you have to consider them uniquely worthy of your ancestral veneration.
Land ancestors are those who've lived on the land before you have, and also called it home. Land ancestors have a unique knowledge about the area you live in, and are important to connect with if you wish to work with the land you live on better. This can also include entities like plants, bodies of water, and animals that are found in your area.
Connecting, Honouring, and Working with your Ancestors
In order to connect with your ancestors you should first spend time learning about them. Look into their
lives, the things they did, and the things they left behind. For blood and allied ancestors it might be
helpful to reach out to family members who knew them, to look through old family pictures, and to listen to
stories that are told and passed down about them.
You can honour your ancestors by building shrines in their honour, and by making offerings to them. You can perform prayers to communicate, venerate, and petition them for aid.
The Ancestor Shrine
Most cultures both ancient and modern who worship the ancestors have a shrine that is dedicated to them. It
is here that they are told of what happens in your life, and it is here that offerings are given. It is at
this shrine that ancestors are petitioned for aid, and for service.
An ancestor shrine can be anything from a small shelf to a full altar. By setting up a dedicated shrine, you are able to make a deeper spiritual connection to your ancestors and have that connection be grounded. You will want to make sure this space is cleaned both physically, and spiritually, wherever you set it up.
In this place you will be able to communicate with your ancestors more effectively, as well as being able to provide them with offerings. You will also be able to ask your ancestors for help and advice in many aspects of your life, and your ancestors may help you by protecting you and guiding you through the course of your life.
A basic Ancestor shrine should include photos, candles, and an offering dish. It should be tidied regularly, and maintained as a sacred space. You can choose how often this happens, as long as it stays relatively clean. You can also include effects that were important to your ancestors, such as heirlooms, personal belongings, and other things they held with respect and love.