The ancestral altar then becomes a place where you can ‘talk’ to the ancestors. I know of many who work on family genealogy research near their ancestral altars, or create scrapbooks or organize photo books near them, or when agonizing over difficult decisions will meditate on the problem before them in the presence of their ancestral altar.
Why do we work with our ancestors?
In the Heathen worldview, each individual is part of a vast tapestry, that connects and interweaves them to their Gods, the land wights, and yes the ancestors. Our personal fates are influenced by the ancestors that came before us, specifically by what is known as hamingja (ancestral luck). That is not to say that we are ‘fated’ to a certain destiny, but rather that we have inclinations to certain things. If we inherited ill luck, by working with the ancestors we can overcome those items and change the influence of those threads upon us. A real world example of this is that studies show that children who were sexually abused by their parents, tend to grow into abusers themselves. But this isn’t always the case, and someone of a strong mind and determination and perhaps aided by others can overcome this inclination and never be an abuser at all.
By knowing the wyrd (that which has come before) and how it has affected your hamingja (ancestral luck), you can then work on turning the orlog (the current threads of your fate) to your favor. Just because alcoholism runs in your family, you can work hard to make sure that you yourself do not succumb to it. Part of how you can turn the orlog to your favor comes about by being both willing to do the work on your end, but also in turning to one’s Gods and Goddesses, ancestors, and living friends and family for help.
So how do you work with your ancestors? Or does anyone have any questions or things that have stumped them while working with one’s ancestors?