HOW Do We Honor our Ancestors?

Ceremony and Ritual

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t’s the final day of our exploration into the practice of Honoring Our Ancestors and today is all about the gritty details, the HOW.

So, you know what Ancestor you want to work with, you have found an object or item that brings them to mind for you, and maybe you have set that in s specific place where it won’t be disturbed. Now, what do you do?

Here are a number of different ways that you can begin engaging with your Beloved Dead:

• Building an altar, shrine, or house for your Ancestors. This is probably the most common way to begin developing a relationship with them and it does not have to be elaborate. You can simply set out a fresh glass of water by a picture or object you associate with your Ancestor and light some incense as a way to begin.

• Offering favored foods, drinks, clothing, objects, and flowers

• Representing the Ancestor with images, their handwriting, objects they treasured in life, graveyard dirt from their grave, ashes from their body, or other personal concerns

• Keeping a clean home — it is widely agreed that the Ancestors do not like to travel to or hang out in messy, cluttered spaces.

• Working with scent/incense — many cultures agree that of the five primary senses after death only our sense of smell remains fully intact. This is why pungent flowers like marigolds are used to mark out an Ancestral altar because they have a strong fragrance. Incense may be used for the same purpose. When working with scent think of it as building a road to the altar that the Ancestors may follow

• Party at the gravesite! Bring the favorite foods and drinks of your Ancestors to their gravesite where you can sit and have dinner with them!

• In some cultures the Ancestors are understood to remain in/at the altar or shrine all the time, in which case incense may be burned as a regular offering

• Food and drink should either be consumed by the living after remaining on the altar for a set amount of time or it should be discarded

• Consider the altar space of co-creation between yourself and your Ancestors. The primary objective is to honor them but you also want to use items that please you and put you in the right frame of mind to work with them.

• DO NOT offer alcohol to Ancestors who are alcoholics. DO NOT offer chemical substances (like nicotine) to Ancestors who had an addiction to that substance.

And remember, if you are beginning to explore a relationship with your Ancestors for the first time, it is perfectly appropriate to work with ONE at the time.

Now I know that there are a lot of suggestions and directions to go in with this work. You might be feeling a bit overwhelm and when you start receiving signs and communiques from your Ancestors that may leave you feeling ALL the feels.

This is why it’s a really good idea to have a relationship with a Go-Between.

A Go-Between is literally that. A Holy Helper who mediates between one thing and another – in this case the Living and the Dead.

Developing a relationship with a Go-Between gives you a place to begin focusing on your Ancestor work and also provides an extra layer of protection to you and your household as you begin this work.

There are many different Holy Helpers that are appropriate Go-Betweens to work with and I taught at length about this practice in the first week of Story Threads – which opens for registration today! You can learn more right here.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Crisis Means You Have To Choose

Divination and Dreams

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iracles, crisis

If there is a word that describes 2020 thus far it is the word crisis.

From Coronavirus to the economy, to the murder of George Floyd and the protests his killing has sparked, we have as a country and a world moved from crisis to crisis this year without taking a breath – and it’s only June.

There is no one I have talked to that is fine with it all, no one that is doing OK, no one that is unaffected. But I have noticed one group of people who are doing better than most.

I had started noticing them in mid March when we were in the throes of shelter in place orders and praying that our hospitals would not be overwhelmed. Those of you that I work with regularly have heard me mention this group as many of you claim membership in it. I have continued watching them through the protests, the demonstrations, and the grief, division, and hoped-for reconciliation that underlies it all.

Who are these people?

Survivors.

They are the members of our community that have survived trauma and abuse, long term illnesses, systemic oppression, domestic violence, drugs, and alcohol and they are the ones to watch right now.

This is ironic. How many of you, beautiful survivors, have I talked with and you have shared with me how, when the world seems sane and “normal” you feel anything but? My survivors tell me how they feel like such a hot mess all the time, how their inability to get it together, or keep it together (or at least fake it well enough to pass) has lost them jobs, relationships, and all kinds of opportunities on a regular basis.

Now look at you. The world is literally on fire in more than one quarter, it is burning. And yes, you are all affected by it, of course, you are, and yes, you are triggered by it, of course, you are, but you are also steady, calm, unwavering.

You, Survivors, are steering your ships with steady hands while others are flailing about and capsizing multiple times – why is this?

I think it’s because you know. You know these waters, you know what this part of the ocean holds. We are in crisis and you know, more than anyone else, what comes next because you have lived it.

Crisis.

I’ve written about this word before. Its ancient Greek root means “Crossroads” – its the place where we leave offerings to the Gods, where destinies are assigned, where you meet Old Scratch, and if he deems you worthy pick up no mean talent and the possibility of fame. The crossroads are where fate shows up because it is here we make our choices. For that is what crisis means, you have to choose.

This road or that.
Freedom or oppression.
Justice for all or justice for no one.
Standing together or falling apart.
Saving lives or taking them.

You have to choose.

Survivors know this. They survived because they got to the crossroads, knee deep in crisis, and they made a choice. To walk away, to confront and vanquish, to take the help, make the call, to dream of something better. Survivors know that crisis means you have to choose but they also know something more about the nature of choice itself.

Choice is not just about me, my wants, my desires, or thoughts or dreams. The choices I make are about my people and so they honor or dishonor my Ancestors, help or harm my fellow men and women, and creatures, they bless or curse my children. Every choice. There is not a lot riding on how we choose, there is everything riding on it.

Here is another thing Survivors know – trite but true: the only way out is through. No one gets to skip this part, no one gets to pick their road without first dealing a hand and getting one dealt at the crossing.

Ask any woman who has given birth and she will tell you about the moment when she hits the way and would strike any deal or make any bargain to turn that train around. But she can’t, she won’t, and she doesn’t because the fact is my loves, life demands our choosing again and again.

So we are in crisis, that’s the terrain right now. What is required is that we make a choice and choose well.

Onward, together.

XO,
Bri

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.