Coming from a family of mediums, some of my earliest ritual memories have to do with connecting with and honoring my ancestors. Since our beloved dead are too often overlooked except for Samhain, I thought I’d share a fairly simple ritual aimed at creating an ancestor altar and establishing contact with deceased relatives. My hope is that this will inspire year-round devotion. This can be done individually oe with other family members and can be adapted to suit a variety of paths.
All that you need to start is a space to consecrate to your loved ones, photos, mementoes, an altar cloth, and a white candle. First, clean and bless the space. With loving intent lay out your altar cloth, then set out the photos and mementoes, taking the time to address each ancestor represented. Speak to your dead; they’ve been waiting to hear from you. Tell them how you love and miss them, about your favorite memories. If you do this with your children, tell them about what made each person special and what they meant to you. When everything is lovingly arranged, light the candle. Welcome your ancestors into your home and ask them to weave themselves into th fabric of your daily lives. Name specific people whose love and energy you wish to draw into your home and let them know they will be cared for. As a nice extra added touch, you can lay out offerings of food and drink for them as befits honored relatives.
Stay as long as you’d like, meditating on what your ancestors mean to you. Let the candle burn down. Once it’s out, deposit food and drink offerings outside at the base of a tree. Now that your loved ones have a place in your home, remember to honor them frequently. You’ll be surprised at the blessings they will bestow!
(This ritual is part of a forthcoming book on ancestor work.)