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  • Writer's pictureBriana Amos

Ancestor Veneration: Connecting with the Royalty inside your DNA

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Your favorite aunt, your great great grandfather, his sisters, that one cousin that died in 1902 that everyone says you look like. Your deceased loved ones are your spiritual army. Your ancestors want to connect with you. You are reading this for a reason. Ancestral veneration is a vital part of many spiritual traditions and cultures across the globe. Just about every religion or culture has some level of ancestral veneration. In Mexico, El Dia De Los Muertos (The Day of The Dead), is a full day of celebration & giving offerings placed on what’s called an “ofrenda”, for deceased loved ones. Egyptians had elaborate rituals & created beautiful tombs to help their loved ones transition back into the spirit realm. Having altars for the dead that are regularly tended to are a huge part of many African traditional religions such as Vodoun & Ifa. In more common, Abrahamic religions such as Judaism & Christianity, flowers, pebbles & other items are placed on headstones whenever graves are visited. A strong connection with the ancestors is something that should be essential for any and everyone, regardless of the individual spiritual journey. Having a connection with your lineage is critical to making sure you stay on the right path mentally, emotionally & spiritually. I like to think of our ancestors as personal deities that live within our own individual bones & blood. Like each & every one of us has this built in spiritual army. The burning question is though, how DOES one begin connecting with & venerating their ancestors? The answer is truthfully a very simple one. Just talk to them. If you wanted to connect with a living relative, what would you do? You’d go out to lunch with them or hang out & just talk. It works very much the same for your relatives that live in the spiritual realm. Of course in talking to the dead, you have be careful so that you are not opening yourself up to other non-ancestral spirits that just want to trick you or use you. So unless your name is John Edward or Sylvia Browne, you’ll want to start out with some sort of altar space for your spirits.

Start by picking an area in the home where there isn’t heavy traffic, while avoiding intimate areas like the bedroom or bathroom. Clean off a shelf or small table. Smoke cleanse the area with cleansing herbs like sage or rosemary and/or wash it with Florida water. Just make sure it’s clean & spotless. Then lay out a clean, plain white cloth. This is your altar cloth. The only other two things you need are a white candle & a glass of water. This is what my big sister would call a “bare bones” ancestor shrine. While “bare bones” it will still be highly effective even for the beginner bruja/o/x. You can increase the number of glasses (3, 7 or 9 glasses) and you can add photos but remember this space is for the non living, so do not include any photos of yourself or any other living persons. Don’t beat yourself up if you live on the west coast & all the awesome photos of your grandad are situated in your mom’s Brooklyn apartment. You don’t have to have a bunch of photos nor do you have to remember all of their names. With a positive, pure heart & good intentions, your ancestors will reveal themselves to you even if you don’t know who they are. Some offerings you can leave at your altar will include coffee, tea, cigars, flowers. You can give them the food you like to eat as long as it’s not too salty or spicy. If you know some of your ancestors favorite foods or treats, those offerings are always appreciated. Things like rum & marijuana are sometimes offered but they are not suggested if you or someone in your family has a history of abusing these substances. Now, it’s important that once your altar space is set up, to spend time at your altar regularly & tend to it. Remove the flowers when they start to wilt. Throw away the food when it starts to go bad. Empty & refill the glasses of water every week at minimum. Always change the glasses if they appear cloudy. Greet your ancestors everyday like you would a visiting family member. Set aside some time every week to just “be” with your ancestors. Try to keep a schedule so that you don’t become neglectful. Play music they may like, serve them food, meditate & pray with them. Ask them for guidance. Sit with a journal & write down whatever comes to mind while sitting amongst your spiritual army. Write down any names, places, any visions you think of. You’ll be surprised at what you may find. Connecting with the various personalities in your ancestry will not only help keep yourself on the right track spiritually, but they will help you build good character, increase your wealth and improve the overall quality of your life. If you have concerns about connecting with a loved one that you didn’t get along with in the physical realm, or overcoming pain caused by a loved one that is no longer on this earthly plane, seek help from a more experienced practitioner like myself or someone else you trust that works with the dead regularly. You can book a reading with me via the link below. Whether or not you personally knew any of your deceased family members, they are still your family. So they are ready & willing to help you, guide you, and build you into someone that surpasses all of their wildest dreams. Take the time to get to know them because getting to know your ancestors is also getting to know yourself. Always remember, la familia va primero. The family comes first. Asé. Book A Reading With Me:

Example of a simple ancestor altar complete with trinkets, a bible & ancestor money. Ancestor money is burned as an offering to repay karmic debts and increase prosperity.

A scene from the children's movie "Coco" with two of the main characters standing in front of their family's ofrenda. The word "ofrenda" means "offering" in Spanish and is also used as another name for an altar. The movie "Coco" follows a young boy aspiring to be a musician & his adventures in the spirit realm on El Dia De Los Muertos.


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