I suck at ancestor worship. Like, really.
I keep trying to make it a priority but whenever I think about my family I think of all the abuse and lack of support and I just freeze up.
Being an Irish Witch means that family is important. Ancient Celts regularly died protecting one another’s honor, fighting enemies to keep the clan safe, even so much as giving their lives to be the spirit protectors of the lands and of the clans. I know that family is important. I’ve mourned over the lack of a support familial structure in my life. I’m so grateful for all the people that are supportive, but it’s still crappy that I don’t have the family structure that I want.
So, how does one with family baggage still worship the ancestors? Well, I’ve found that we do just that. We honor the old ancestors, not just the ones that we know about, the names that are in our family history that have been mentioned over Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t like Uncle Bob? Don’t interact with his spirit. Aunt Fran an insufferable jerk to you? Again, let her be at rest.
What about those ancient ancestors. The ones that even your grandparents don’t remember? What about them, that have done nothing wrong, but whose blood runs through your veins? That’s what I think about. I recently went on a little Ancestry.com kick. I set up the free trial and went to town nearly night and day for that time and learned as much as I could. I talked to people who shared common ancestors and I found photos of the full-blooded Native American chief’s daughter that is on my grandmother’s side. I followed my grandfather’s line back to 1596 in France.
What about those people, the one’s who have bones of dust right now? Honor them, even if you didn’t know them. Without them we wouldn’t be here.
Yesterday I went to a Samhain workshop and learned that water, honey and items/foods that were present in the area that the ancestors were in are all good offerings.
So, that’s step one. Create an altar/space for them, and give them offerings. This allows them into the home space, into the altar-space and lets them know that they’re welcome. It’s like any friendship, really. If they know they’re allowed and welcome, they’ll be more likely to go ahead and come over.
It’s also important to note that we don’t have to wait to talk to them. We don’t have to wait for the veil to be thinnest (although now is a perfect time for us to connect) in order to talk to them, in order to reach out. Try it tonight, instead of on Samhain. Do a little bit of research and see what your ancestors would have liked, and try to get it for them.
Let me know in the comments what sorts of offerings you leave for your ancestors! Today I’m going to try an apple. They seem to be popping up a lot lately.