People say that Samhain or Halloween is the time to honor the dead. Beliefs holds that during this time the veil or boundary between the world of the living an the dead is thinner and easier to traverse. While this is certainly true we all have ancestors and everyday they lend us their soul, their spirit and even their blood to insure that we prosper and thrive.
I received a response this week on my Twitter account asking if setting up an ancestor altar or shrine was purely reserved for those in ATRs or African Traditional Religions. My reply was simple we all have ancestors and they all need to be remembered. Very often when people ask me where to begin their spiritual path I recommend that they connect with their ancestors. In my post The Hardest Thing About Creating An Ancestor Altar I write “Some traditions believe that once loved ones are gone they travel to a different plane… a heaven, a nirvana, or a whole other world. It doesn’t really matter what your belief system is.”
A place to honor your departed loved ones can be as simple or as complex as you, or they want it to be. Everyone has ancestors and almost every culture has a way to remember them. Your offerings can be as simple as a white candle and a glass of water set it front of their pictures, or as complex as an entire room dedicated to those who have gone before. One thing I always try to do is to include the types of things that the individuals love in life. Most often this takes the form of their favorite foods and drinks. There are several posts here on Voodoo Universe about how to specifically set up your space, please check them out :
- Creating Ancestor Altars in Santeria, Vodou, and Voodoo
- Frequently Asked Questions About Ancestor Altars
- Smart Ancestor Recipes for your Dumb Supper
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