As a written resource I do recommend Honoring your Ancestors by Mallorie Vaudoise to start with.
You can also listen to Aequus Nox and I chat about Ancestral Veneration in her delightful YouTube.
Please note that the language I use when teaching has evolved over the last year of consulting, and I now recommend Kindly over Well and Healed.
I am of the stance that Ancestral Veneration is an essential practice. I do daily prayer and offering to the Ancestors which at max takes 5 minutes of my day.
You do not need to give any offerings other than time, attention and gratitude. But let’s take a look at an introductory practice.
I recommend that you set aside a space that is well light, ventilated and accessible. You can build an ancestral shrine in the shared living spaces, or even on a book shelf. If that is not maintainable you can build and disassemble the shrine each use in a private and safe space.
As simple offerings I prefer to give a glass of water, shot glass of coffee or wine, a candle and a small offering of food. (Usually apple wedges and a piece of bread drizzled with honey and dusted with cinnamon).
Arrange the space in a way that you find pleasing.
Begin with an opening prayer: ‘I call to you Kindly Ones, you Ancestors who look on me with favor. You who are Well and Healed I call you.’
You can now light the candle. State: ‘Let this flame burn bright and lead you to me. Let it give you warmth and clarity.
Gesture to the water: ‘Let this water quench your thirst.’
Guesture to the food: ‘Let this food nourish you, giving you form and strength.’
The shot glass of wine/liquor or coffee is optional. But I brew coffee every morning, so everyone gets some.
Pray: ‘You Kindly Ones, let these offerings nourish you and satisfy your desires. I thank you for your blessings and favor.’
You can be more elaborate, address individuals etc. But as this is a beginning I would recommend to stay open to the Kindly Ones who come forward and make their presence know.
Once done give license to depart: ‘I thank you Ancestors for your blessings, continue on your journey until we meet again.’
Don’t leave a burning candle unattended. You can blow it out once you dismiss the Ancestors. You can also dispose of the offerings right after by composting, burying or throwing into the bin. It is not recommended that living humans consume food that has been given to the dead. Some cultures and traditions it is common practice. But just to be safe, unless you are initiated into a tradition that it is common practice do not eat the food of the dead. It is safe to give to animals though.
I hope that this brief guide to a foundational practice inspires you to embrace this journey and learn with your Ancestors.
You can book an Ancestral Veneration Mentoring session here:
May the Kindly Ones bless you.
Love and Manyfold Blessings
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