Ancestor Communion Ritual

I rarely post ritual scripts, but this is a short ritual we did as part of this morning’s Sunday service at Denton UU.  It’s suitable for Pagan groups, UU services, religiously mixed groups, or individuals.  We split it up into five parts, but it could have been done by one person.

Feel free to use it – just credit the source.

strike gong one time loud

“Let us now invite our ancestors to join our service.”

light first candle

“Fathers, Mothers, Grandfathers, Grandmothers, ancestors we knew in this life, we invite you to our service.  We thank you for giving us life, for caring for us when we were young and helpless, and for teaching us to stand on our own.  We remember you at your best.

If there is an ancestor you would remember, call their name now, silently or aloud.”

<pause for names>

“Beloved ancestors, accept this offering of food and drink, given with honor and with love.”

pour drink and crumble bread into cauldron

light second candle

“Great great great grandparents, ancestors so old your names are lost to us, we invite you to our service.  We live in times very different from yours, but we are not so very different, and a part of you lives on in us.

We cannot call the names of these ancestors because we do not know their names.  But think now of that ancestor who first crossed the great ocean, who survived war and plague and famine, who first learned the skills that would create civilization.  Remember them now.

<pause 6-8 seconds>

“Beloved ancestors, accept this offering of food and drink, given with honor and with love.”

pour drink and crumble bread into cauldron

light third candle

“Ancestors of spirit, mighty dead, we invite you to our service.  We do not carry your blood but we carry your spirit: your thoughts, your ideas, your dreams.  We thank you for inspiring us and enlightening us, and for founding and creating the traditions and institutions that mean so much to us.

As Unitarian Universalists we remember our spiritual ancestors Servitus and David, Channing and Emerson, Murray and Ballou.  As Denton UUs we remember Tom and Isabel Miller, Genevieve Scott, Ruth Clark, Jackie Gibbons.

If there is a spiritual ancestor you would remember, call their name now, silently or aloud.”

<pause for names>

“Beloved ancestors, accept this offering of food and drink, given with honor and with love.”

pour drink and crumble bread into cauldron

light fourth candle

“Ancestors most ancient, you who share few of our genes, you who lived on a very different Earth so long ago we can barely conceive it, we invite you to our service.  We thank you for surviving under most difficult circumstances.

Homo erectus, Homo habilis, and Australopithecus; long-extinct mammals and even-older vertebrates; smaller and simpler creatures stretching back to the first life: sometimes we struggle to see ourselves in you, but without you we would not be.

Remember these most ancient ancestors, and remember that some of them are also the ancestors of other species alive today.  When St. Francis called the wolf his brother, he had no way of knowing just how right he was.

<pause 6-8 seconds>

“Beloved ancestors, accept this offering of food and drink, given with honor and with love.”

pour drink and crumble bread into cauldron

“Let us now honor our ancestors with an offering of music.”

musician plays “Wild Mountain Thyme”

“Let us now share in this celebration of our ancestors.  If you aren’t ready to join in, for whatever reason or for no reason at all, simply let the bread pass you by.”

musician plays “Spirit of Life” while bread is distributed.  When all have been served, place the bread back on the altar.

“Ancestors we knew in life, Ancestors whose names we know not, Ancestors of Spirit, and Ancestors most ancient; we thank you for attending our service and blessing us with your presence.  May there be peace and love between us now and forever.”

strike gong one time loud.

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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.

  • pagansister

    What a beautiful ritual. Thank you for sharing it.

  • http://www.paganleft.wordpress.com Mariah Sheehy

    Very nice. I’ve long thought doing simple rituals to honor ancestors would be a great way to share our religion(s) with non-Pagans without proselytizing or violating their beliefs. My agnostic partner has in the past enjoyed helping me create Samhain altars when I’ve invited him to add images of his own ancestors along with my own.

  • AnantaAndroscoggin

    I never got to meet my paternal grandmother, as she died while my dad was young. Over the past 4-5 years, however, I have discovered within myself a growing sense of missing her. Reading this brought her immediately to the forefront of my mind.


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