ritual circle

SALTWATER SCHOOL:  Casting a Circle for Beginners

Originally posted by thewitchystuff

Witchlings and Baby Witches, gather ‘round to learn how to cast a simple Circle.  You may be wondering, “Why do we cast Circles?” and that can be easily answered!  Most of the time, we cast Circles to create a sacred space where our spellwork and rituals can be conducted.  There are other various reasons, but you can discover that with time, research, and practice.  For this lesson, we are going to focus on creating that sacred space for you.

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE CASTING A CIRCLE

**Circles can be cast alone or with others.  If you are participating with other witches, you may want to print them off a “script” of what will be said and done that way everyone can participate.  Change “I” in the script to “we”, “me” to “us”, and so on and so forth.

**Circles can be cast indoors and outdoors.  However, I do caution you not to cast Circles without getting the permission of the person who owns said space, home, property, etc.  

**You can decorate and dress up for your Circle casting.  Using the appropriate colors, plants, stones, and meaningful objects can aid in powering your Circle.  This, however, is not necessary.

**Decide in advance what will be done in the Circle.  Make a plan of what you want to do inside your circle, whether it worship, prayer, spellwork, or meditation.  Don’t feel rushed and take your time.  

**Music may be used to accompany the Circle casting and rituals.  I typically choose songs that don’t have words.  (I get distracted easily by music.)

**Feel free to customize these words and tailor them to fit your own practices.  You can substitute “walls and floors” with “foliage, stones, and ground” if you are casting outside.  Names for Gods and Goddesses may be used in place of “Lord and Lady.”

**There is no right way to cast a Circle.  There are many traditions that different witches use.  Find what you like, experiment and customize your circle casting ritual.

**NOTE**  This is just one example of how to cast a Circle (one I used when I was just starting out.)


TOOLS FOR CASTING THE CIRCLE

Candles, incense, matches (or a lighter), representations of the four corners, decorations, an athame (ceremonial knife) or wand. 


BASIC CIRCLE CASTING

1.  Ground and center, and then lay out where your Circle will be cast.  This doesn’t have to be physically marked, but I have seen people use cord, chalk, and candles.  (Note: using lit candles can be dangerous.  Please take precautions when doing this.  We don’t want anyone or anything getting hurt.)  I used to create a small altar at the direction North with representations of the four elements.

2.  Light incense and candles, and make your announcement:  The Circle is about to be cast and I freely stand within to greet my Lady and my Lord.

3.  Take one candle in hand and begin walking the Circle.  Here, we are acknowledging the Four Quarters (North, South, East, and West.)  We will stop at each direction and call out the corresponding greeting found below.  For this, we will walk deosil around our Circle.  To move deosil is to move in a clockwise (or sunwise) direction.  Once you have finished acknowledging the directions, return to North.

–North:  I call upon Light and Earth at the North to illuminate and strengthen the Circle.
–East:  I call upon Light and Air at the East to illuminate and enliven the Circle.
–South:  I call upon Light and Fire at the South to illuminate and warm the Circle.
–West:  I call upon Light and Water at the South to illuminate and cleanse the Circle.

4.  Return the candle to its rightful place and raise the athame or wand into your hand facing North.  Call out:  I draw this Circle in the Presence of the Lady and the Lord that They may aid and bless me in my work.

5.  Lower the athame or wand and walk deosil once more around the Circle, envisioning a blue light shoot out from the Circle’s boundary.  Call out:  This is the boundary of the Circle, around me, through walls and floors, above me and below me as a sphere is the Circle cast and consecrated to the Lady and the Lord that They may work with and through Their child, (your name/Craft Name).  This Circle is charged by the power of the Ancient Ones!  Only love shall enter and leave.

Begin your ritual, spellcasting, meditation, or any other word you wish inside the Circle.  Within it, you will be protected.  However, a word of caution: if you are a witchling, make sure you do not over exert yourself inside the Circle.  Casting any magic can make anyone grow weary or tired, so be aware of how much energy you are expending.  Like any magic, it takes time and practice.  When you have finished your work, you will open your Circle.


OPENING THE CIRCLE

6.  Take the athame or wand in hand both hands facing North.  Call out:  Lord and Lady, I have been blessed by Your sharing this time with me; watching and guarding me; guiding me here and in all things.  I came in love and I depart in love.

7.  Raise the athame or wand high in the air in salute.  Call out:  Love is the Law and Love is the Bond.  Merry did I meet, merry do I part, and merry will I meet again.  The Circle is cleansed.

8.  Kiss the flat of the blade or the tip of the wand.  Here, we will bid farewell to the Quarters and move widdershins.  Widdershins, which can be spelled withershins, widershins, widderschynnes, appears to come from German and Lowland Scottish. In German, widersinning means “against the senses”, that is “not the usual”, or “against the grain.”  For our purposes, it means to move counter-clockwise.  So, we will go from North to West, South, and East.  As you move, this would be the time to blow out candles if they are how you laid out your Circle.  Once you have finished saying goodbye to the Quarters, return North.

–Depart in peace, Elemental Earth.  My blessings take with you!
–Depart in peace, Elemental Water.  My blessings take with you!
–Depart in peace, Elemental Fire.  My blessings take with you!
–Depart in peace, Elemental Air.  My blessings take with you!

9.  Raise your arms into the air with athame or wand in hand.  Call out:  Beings and powers of the visible and invisible, depart in peace!  You aid in my work, whisper in my mind, and bless me from the Otherworld.  Let there ever be harmony between us.  My blessings take with you.  The Circle is cleared!

10.  Take the athame or wand in hand, and move widdershins once more around the Circle, calling out:  The Circle is open yet the Circle remains as its magical power is drawn back into me.  The Circle has been cleared.  My ritual has ended.

11.  Place athame or wand aside, and take a seat on the floor (you may also lie on your back.)  Close your eyes and focus on grounding excess energy by touching your palms to the floor.  Let the magic in the room (or outdoors) disperse and settle.  Take a few deep breaths, open your eyes, and begin cleaning up your space.


I hope all of you find this helpful.  Again, Circle casting can be completely tailored and customized for your needs, and you don’t have to cast one this way.  It is meant to be a resource for those just starting out.  If you have any questions, you can reach me via ASK or by messaging me.

Blessings, little ones!

Other lessons in the Saltwater School series:  Making Your Own Tarot Workbook

Stress Responses

Aries: racing thoughts, increased agitation to normal events. they can get the red eyes and they find it hard to sleep even with extreme tiredness and exhaustion. there can be headaches, migraines, or clumsiness and they can see their short comings in crystal clear black and white  

Taurus: heaviness and the feeling of carry extra body weight. appetite changes and an increased reliance on personal pleasure to the extent it becomes routine but there isn’t real satisfaction in anything. the voice is shaky, caffeine intake can increase 

Gemini: quietened into silence by the consistent loud banging of thoughts. less focused and animated during conversation and socialisation, they can become more argumentative and defensive. quickly diverts the subject off themselves. if they smoke it increases. it may be hard to maintain dietary intake, they can become easily panicked and impossible to follow

Cancer: reacts overtly and excessively to emotional provocation. everybody in the house knows they are ‘in a mood’. the appetite can change, increase in sugar cravings, its easy to gain weight, regressive patterns can re-emerge 

Leo: physical symptoms of exhaustion including heart palpitations, hot flashes, and sore muscles in the chest and lower back. stress can increase energy to untameable levels so they can become more frantic, more sacrificial, more of a people pleaser, more in need of recognition  

Virgo: a person running around in a frantic pace doing 20 different things at the same time, feeling unrealistic time constraints, looking ultra productive and constructive but is running around in directionless circles. the rituals can get out of hand, digestive discomfort, appetite changes 

Libra: they can care too much about the image people have of them to expose their concerns and worries. they can wait for close friends to pick up on this by some form of telepathy and feel disheartened and betrayed when they don’t. they can get a nervous or sensitive bladder and feel like everybody is personally agitated or ignoring them 

Scorpio: Becomes self-reclusive and shuts off from everybody. They can become very hostile or reactive to attempted intrusions into their inner space and get ‘those eyes’ everyone close to them knows well. Sexual desire can fluctuate  

Sagittarius: The pace of everything increases to uncontrollable rapid speed in the mind and body there can be unusual headaches, nerves, the feeling of breathing stale air, back pain, and restless legs. They can feel happy, but they overthink, doubt, and wonder how long it will last.  

Capricorn: Can become itchy and suffer jaw tension. Everything needs to remain the same and completely normal so they keep everything inside so that nobody changes their behaviour around them. they self seclude and spend a lot of time thinking, cataloguing stressors and working through them one at a time, purposefully and painfully on their own

Aquarius: the will to make a difference flatlines, there is little inspiration and a lot of frustration in a world they can’t seem to fit into. their thoughts become very sharp and cut them deeply, they can detach from everyone and everything

Pisces: They can become their own worst enemy, worries can inflate into disproportioned fears and they can actively live these out, like if they have an early alarm and frantically try to get sleep and agonise about tomorrow’s tiredness and keep themselves awake all night by playing out imaginative scenarios until the morning 

-C.

5

Outlander 5/? 

“ They’re should’ve been ridiculous, prehaps they were. Parading in circle on top of the hill. But the hairs on the back of my neck prickled at the sight and some small voice inside warned me. I wasn’t suppose to be here. I was an unwelcome voyeur to something ancient and powerful. “ - Claire

Casting and Closing A Circle

This to me is one of the first things that you should learn when venturing into the world of witchcraft. By learning this, you are learning to protect yourself. Casting a circle act’s as a barrier too. That keeps what you want in and what you don’t want out. I will say that circles are not a necessity in magick but I do find it very useful to know about. 


DISCLAIMER: THIS IS AN OPINION AND PERSONAL PREFERENCE AND WHAT WORKS FOR ME,MAY NOT WORK FOR YOU. 


CASTING A CIRCLE

The first thing that I do before casting a circle is find a space comfortable for me to work in. This is usually a flat, open space with a lot of space to work with. Set up your circle how you feel most comfortable. I usually use a blanket to sit on and then use 4 candles as signified points. One representing each element that I ask to join my circle. once that’s complete, I follow these steps. 

1. From within the circle face east. 

2. Relax your breathe and envision air filling your lungs and surrounding you. In my case I call upon my Spirit companion who is a wind spirit to bring the element of wind to my circle. 

3. Turn to the south and ask for the element of fire to come to your circle. Envision large flames surrounding you in a circle and adding a ring of protection around you.

4. Turn to the west and envision the element of water. I envision huge waterfalls and transfer the energy from the rushing water into my circle. 

5. Stand in the middle facing North and envision a bright white light connecting each of the cardinal points. And roots burrowing from your feet and creating a circle around you.

Once you feel that all the elements are present say:
“I invite the elements to come to my circle and work as a protection to my body, mind as soul.” (You can also invite them individually as you are envisioning them)


At this point I am ready to work within my circle. Be sure not to break the circle by leaving it. Bring all the materials you will need for your workings in the circle ahead of time. 


Closing A Circle

Now that you are ready to finish up your ritual, you should close the circle.

1. Start by facing North Envision the roots leaving your feet and returning to the earth. thank the element for being present in your circle. 

2. Face West and imagine the water returning into the ground. Thank the element for being present in your circle. 

4. Face south and envision the flames dying down into ashes and thank the element for being present in your circle. 

5. Face east and envision a strong wind dying down and thank the element for being present in your circle. 

then say: “The circle is open but never broken. I hope to see you all again.”


At this point your circle is closed. 

spellbound (m)

Pairing:  Jimin x Reader
Genre: witch!au (sort of based on the secret circle), smut, comedy, slight angst
Warnings: dom-ish!jimin, magical sex rituals (so slight blood play, breath play, temperature play), rough sex, cumplay
Word Count:  10k+
Summary:  The only reason you agreed to do this magical ritual with Park Jimin’s Circle was for the sake of your own Circle - to strengthen your individual magic. Yes, that means you’ll have to fuck him, but no, you weren’t happy about it because you hate Park Jimin. Once again, you were only doing this for your Circle. 

Keep reading

Main Post for Christopagan spells Update (7/20/17):

Originally posted by thesacredmalewitch

By Secretcatholicwitch

Casting circle ritual:

Blessing objects:

☀️ Midsummer Ritual ☀️

a ritual for midsummer, a ritual that observes the summer solstice, and the new life that has been growing in the earth.

☀️ perform ritual at noon, call open a circle

☀️ build a safe bonfire in a safe area, or alternatively light a yellow candle.

☀️ leave out an offering for the fae near the candle.

☀️ make a solar wheel and burn it. 

☀️ speak a prayer to each of the four cardinal directions. 

☀️ play music and celebrate in the circle

☀️ close and leave the circle.

Ancestors: What Types there are and How to work with them

Introduction:

What is Ancestral Veneration

Ancestral Veneration is one of the most ancient religious and spiritual practices.  The respect and belief in an afterlife as well as honoring ancestors can be traced back to paleolithic mankind.   It is believed that honoring our ancestors was the first religious and spiritual form of ritual work.  From ways the dead were buried to views of the afterlife ancestors and the dead were never far from the mind of our paleolithic ancestors, and for some this truth remains today.

Ancestral veneration is not worshiping our ancestors, at least not in the common sense of worship. Ancestral veneration is more like honoring the dead in a respectful way.  Its a belief that they are still with us in a spirit form.  That they can hear us and can effect our lives from the other side.  Its a belief that our ancestors like other spirits can help us become the best person we can be and to live the life that we really want and desire.

There are exchanges of offerings and gifts.  This isn’t worship.  In some ways I think of it like when I put a flower on my ancestors grave.  Its giving something to them to signify that you remember them and care for them.  These gifts can be basically anything.  Though some cultures do have rules against some items being given to different spirits.
In some cultures flowers are only for the dead and it’s ok to leave offerings to the dead till they rot as this signifies they have taken everything.  In other cultures and practices only water is offered to the dead.   Even Christianity has mention of the value of prayer for the dead.  Working with and honoring our ancestors is a powerful spiritual path and there are many ways to go about it.

The act of the gift and the offering is the important thing though.  Its through these exchanges that relationships with our ancestors can develop and grow.  Its believed that a gift will ensure a gift.  Its also believed that because the dead and our ancestors are beyond the veil they have access to energy and powers of the universe that we don’t so by asking them to help us in our work and our lives they can tap into those energies for us.  Granted they dont help us unless we help ourselves.  So the gifts symbolize our part to do our work.

Many religions and traditions have celebrations and days of the dead.  Halloween, All saints and All Souls day,  Samhain, Dia de los Muertos(Mexican Day of the dead), The Bon Festival (Japan), and Pitru Paksha (Fortnight of the Ancestors-Hindu) are different festivals in different cultures.  They have one thing in common.  They are all festivals to honor the dead and the ancestors.  These are only a handful of celebrations that exist to celebrate ancestors and the dead.  The point is that the concept of honoring the dead is still alive and well in this world today.

The practice of honoring the dead is starting to become more common in Pagan practices today as well.  Part of that is that many of us are reclaiming this practice.  It was a part of ancient pagan traditions, so the practice was largely destroyed in the west.  For many reclaiming ancestral veneration as a part of our practice not only connects us to our more recent ancestors and keeps our passed loved ones in our lives, but it also allows us to reach the deepest ancestors we have which can be powerful guides for those starting down pagan paths.

Personal Development of Ancestor work

One of the reasons I am writing this post today is in honor of a new ancestor.  A loved one of mine has just crossed the veil.  It is this passing that has once again made me think about working with my ancestors and how is really always been a central part of my practice.  I haven’t always considered the contact with my ancestors and the shrines to my past loved ones ancestral veneration.  I thought it was simply remembering them and keeping them alive.

Ancestor veneration is a large part of my practice and spiritual work.  My ancestors have a lot to teach me.   I have an ancestor altar that I pray at everyday. While it is a strong part of my practice these days, ancestral veneration and honoring has not always been a large part of my path.  In fact it was at one point something I really only did on the festival of the dead (Samhain) as that was the focus.  I thought that was really all that was needed, and at the time maybe that was for my best.

When I started to practice witchcraft I had recently lost my Grandmother.  Many of the psychics and readings I had done at the time confirmed that she was staying close to me as a spirit guide (I was having dreams of her). So I started working with my ancestors through a single ancestor as a spirit guide.  That was 17 years ago.  Now I have an altar to all my ancestors as I have learned that any of our ancestors can be our guides and guardians.

Originally I didn’t offer any prayers, or much to my ancestors.  I would simply say hello to them when I needed to feel their presence.  I had a place of memory for them where I could see them and keep them in my life.  Then when I started to explore traditional witchcraft as a religious and spiritual practice I heard of the concept of giving them offerings and having shrines and altars to them.  So I created one and started an ancestral prayer working.

The practice with ancestral veneration got even deeper when I started to explore Germanic paganism and found I had Germanic ancestry.  When I read how they honored their ancestors and the powers of wyrd and Oorlog I decided that I had to develop my relationship even further.  So I started to work them into Germanic rites and rituals through the phrases “The Alfar and the Disir”

There was a time when I stopped practicing basically everything.  Then I started to explore Hoodoo.  My interest and desires to understand magic and witchcraft returned.  Through this I found more focus on ancestors and honoring your culture.  I found that ancestors will be powerful allies in spells as well as in meditations and trance work.  So through Hoodoo my work with my ancestors started to develop further and I learned new prayers to use for my ancestors.

Now today I have a prayer I say to them every morning and I have a prayer I say every evening to my ancestors.  I give them offerings when I perform rituals and I invite them into my ritual circles.  They have a part of my day to day life and my spiritual life. I couldn’t imagine my spiritual work without my ancestors at all.  They are always there for me and they always will be.  I may not be able to physically hold them and see them, but when I need them I can feel them and I know they are always there for me.

The types of ancestors:

Being adopted my ancestors actually come in different forms and types.  Not all of my ancestors are of the blood.  Some are of the spirit and some are of the heart.  I have legal blood ancestors and blood ancestors.  I have ancestors in all of my families that I don’t know but are my allies through the bonds of the heart and the spirit.  I even have ancestors that are not really in my family at all but are in my spiritual family. All of these ancestors have roles to play in my life and I honor them all.

I dont consider ancestors limited to just the blood and the heart though.This post is going to discuss the different ancestors I have through my adoption and my spiritual practices and how I can honor and work with each of them.  For the longest time I didn’t engage in ancestral veneration because of my adoption.  I wasn’t sure if I should honor my ancestors of my adoption, my foster family, or my biological family.  Thinking about this also was painful so while I wanted to honor my ancestors I didn’t go about it until I had answered my confusion.

How I came to see the types of Ancestors

That was how I came to see the different ancestral lines.  One year I went to the local Pagan Pride day.  I typically attend a few of the workshops that go on.  This year there was one about ancestral work and contacting your ancestors.  The key component of that workshop was a meditation on ancestral lines.  During this meditation I saw three lines of ancestral blood flowing from my body.  There was a fourth that was some what gray at the time and today its now clear.

It was then I knew that I was to honor all of my ancestors.  Those of my foster family, my blood or biological family, and my adoptive family.  It was through this work that I came to see that there are many different types of ancestors and that not everyone will have access to blood ancestors.  Through these meditations and concepts I came to see that there are
four primary types of ancestral allies: You have your ancestors of the Blood, your ancestors of the heart, and the ancestors of the spirit.  Adoptive ancestors are actually a mixture of two types which I will get into in the next sections as well as being their own type of ancestor.

Ancestors of The Blood

Every one is familiar with the concept of blood ancestors.  These are those of your family or blood line that goes back generations.  These are the strongest allies that one can have.  These are the ancestors that everyone thinks about when they think of ancestors.  Ancestors of the blood also include ancestors gained through marriage and long term committed relationships.  When I got engaged to my fiance his ancestors joined mine and mine his.  We are a family unit.  These ancestors go back generations on each side.  So the lines of blood ancestors are very long.

These are the strongest allies that you can have as a spirit.  They are the ones that have your best interest at heart.   Through the strands of Fate, and the workings of Wyrd we are always directly connected to our ancestors.  Our actions reflect them as much as their actions reflect on us.  So we need to honor them in our lives and we need to keep them close to us.  Before any other spirit is petitioned the ancestors will work stronger for you and faster for you. There is little that is stronger than the power of the blood.

Adoptive Ancestors

For me I also have my adoptive ancestors,  These are the ancestors of my adoptive family.  They are the family that raised me and that belongs to me.  In ancient cultures at times the roles of the blood ancestors would be replaced by the foster and or adoptive family.  In my case I never considered them to replace the blood ancestors at all.  I considered them additional ancestors that I was blessed to have.

We have no physical blood that ties us.  However to all of the world and all legal meanings they are my flesh and blood.  That is how I feel about them as well.  In all honesty at times they are more my family than my blood and biological family simply because I have minimal contact and my relationship with that family is in its infancy (until recently was non existent).  Which is why they are both ancestors of the blood and of the heart.  The time that they spent raising me and being involved in my life can not be undone.

They gave their blood, sweat, and tears to me.  They are for my my most powerful allies.  They have been there for me more than the blood ancestors.  They were the first ancestors I have contacted and they were the first ones to make themselves known to me.  This is the ancestral line that has been the strongest for me.  My blood ancestral work is focused on more ancient pagan ancestor while my adoptive ancestral work is more with Saint and angel work (Hoodoo influences as well).

It is because my adoptive Ancestors gave so much of their blood, sweat, and tears into my life and that they took me in they are also ancestors of the heart.  They are of the blood because of the family ties and concepts but of the heart because there is no physical blood.  Its a spiritual and memory based blood love.  The bond of the heart here shows how even just being in a family for a short while can create strong family bonds.

Ancestors of the Heart

Those of the heart are the family that has passed that are not connected through marriage or blood or even legal adoption.  In my case this is where my foster family lies.  They did not adopt me but are still my family.  I have lost several members of that family and they were all close to me.  They are now my ancestors and they watch over me.  Our bond is somewhat stronger than blood or law.

These ancestors are some of my more recent ancestors.  It was my Uncle Cleve’s passing which made me think about ancestors.  He was my foster uncle and is an ancestor of my heart.  His two brothers are also my ancestors here.  I have a Grandfather here as well.  To them and to me the fact that I did not live with them, and was not legally a part of the family after my adoption never mattered.  I never stopped being their family.  That is what the ancestors of the heart are all about.

The ancestors of the heart are those that have passed on we considered family even if there was no blood between you.  These can be friends you thought of as brothers and sisters, close friends and even those who you would consider “father"or "mother” figures.  If you feel that they were and are apart of your family in your heart than they are your family and are your ancestors.  Never let anyone else tell you any different.

Ancestors of the Spirit:

Finally there are ancestors of the spirit. For me I consider any Occultist, Witch, and Magician who worked hard to preserve the magical and spiritual arts are my spiritual ancestors.  Even though I dont agree with all of their teachings and philosophies people like Gerald Gardner, Aliester Crowley, Doreen Valiente, Scott Cunningham, and many others put a lot of work into making magical spirituality acceptable and part of our day to day lives again.  Those are a few of my spiritual ancestors as a witch based on the practices I have taken into my practice.

As I explore Hoodoo and other magical systems other spiritual ancestors will come into my practice.  For example Marie Laveau is a famous Hoodoo worker in New Orleans.  In some respects I could consider her a spiritual ancestor.  Other ancestors in the case of Hoodoo would in general be any one who struggled to keep African American spiritual heritage alive through Hoodoo and Rootwork.  When a teacher passes I would add them to the spiritual ancestors as well.

You can also have ancestors of the spirit when you are spiritually adopted into a tradition.  There are many religions and paths where they are only open to people of a specific culture.  Occasionally through the practice of spiritual adoption outsiders are initiated and welcome into that spiritual family.  The ancestors of your initiator in these situations become your ancestors and guides as well.  It is a spiritual family you have entered into and like all families they will help you and work with you if you honor them as taught.


Working with your ancestors

Now that we have covered the types of ancestors out there and I have mentioned the importance of working with your ancestors its time to actually start thinking about how we can work with them.  Why do we work with them, and what the best ways of working with them are.

There are two primary ways aside from meditation and spirit travel work that a person can work with their ancestors.  These two forms are the altar and prayers.  They work well together and serve as a starting point for building power with your ancestral allies.  Unless one is experienced in astral travel and spirit communication using those tools right away to work with your ancestors is not the best of ideas.  Prayers and altar work are all you really need.

The altar

Really when it comes to working with your ancestors the only real must do I have found is having an altar of some sort where you can offer prayers and other items to them as you get to know them.  These altars can evolve and change over time. The point of the altar is to serve as a focal point in your work.  The altar is a place for you to offer your prayers and your gifts to them.

Your altar doesn’t need to be fancy.  Many people start off not knowing any of their ancestors. In which case a candle, a cup for water, and a plate for offerings is all you would need to contact them.  If you know your passed on loved ones and you have photos of them you can and should add those photos to the altar.

The altar also serves as a place of remembrance of the dead.  So its a place to put items that make you think of your ancestors as well as their photos.  You want it to look nice and appealing.  This is going to be their home for you in your house and their place in your life.  So its also important to keep the altar neat looking.

There are no limits on your ancestral altar.  Let their spirits come through.  There are reasons for the symbols I have placed on my altars.  They grew as my focus and my relationships grew.  One thing has always been common though-the focus has been on remembering them and keeping their memories alive in my life.


Ancestral Prayers

The best way to work with your ancestors even before starting an altar is simply to pray to them.  Prayers to your ancestors aren’t really any different than prayers for gods and spirit guides.  You are simply having a conversation with your ancestors.  Prayers are how we can communicate with them directly and its our best way to communicate with them.  They can communicate with us in different ways (dreams, scents, meditations, sudden insights etc) but we can really only speak to them through prayers.

The easiest prayer is simply:
“Blessed Ancestors I welcome you into my life.  May you bless and guide me and may you teach me what you yourself can”

That’s all your prayers to your ancestors need to be.  You dont need to praise them.  You don’t need to have a fancy invocation.  You simply can address them as your ancestors and they will listen to you.  You dont even really need to ask for a blessing.  You could simply say something along the lines of:
“Good Morning Ancestors.  I welcome you this day”.

All you are doing with your prayers is acknowledging that they exist and that they are apart of your world.  By giving them a simple welcome everyday you will start to feel their presence build up.  You will begin to know them and feel them like you do can with other spirits and beings that you work with.  The more attention you give them the more you will notice them.

Prayers can be more complex and verbose.  My personal prayers evolved from a simple Hello and welcome to a full blessing and daily petition for them to be here.  There is a bit of praise and there is a bit of thanks.  These prayers are offered twice daily.  I feel that they flowed from me into the written form when I was channeling spirits and writing prayers for them.  My ancestors let me know what they wanted.

Offerings and Gifts

The final way that we can work with our ancestors is in offerings and gifts.  These gifts are ways that we say thank you and show our appreciation to them.  There are many ways types of gifts that can be given to our ancestors.   You can give your ancestor basically anything you would give yourself or a person.  They are still family and they are still people.

For myself I consider flowers on graves a gift to them.  I also place flowers on the altars every so often as remembrances of them.  I try and give them their favorite flowers.  I also try and give them their favorite things.  For my grandmother I will think of her when I go bowling and send her some of that energy as play and a memory of our times together.

On holidays I will set aside a portion of the food on my plate for my ancestors.  I will let it sit till the end and eat that last.  They eat the essence of that portion while I eat my meal.  When I have finished the portion for me they will have had their fill and I can take nourishment from the food.  Other cultures burn food offerings to ancestors and spirits.  Some burry the food in the yard.   Other throw it into the woods for animals to eat.

There are some taboos in various cultures about what can and can’t be given to ancestors and the dead.  If you belong to a specific culture, religion, and or tradition I suggest that you look into ways that they honor the dead.  By honoring the traditions of your culture, your religion and your tradition you are honoring your ancestors in that way as well.   These traditions after all were ancestral in many cases.

Conclusion:

This post has covered my own discovery into the importance of ancestral veneration.  It has covered the types of ancestors and a few of the ways that we can work with our ancestors.  Your ancestors are part of who you are.  They are powerful allies that can teach you things you wouldn’t imagine and who can be there for you in ways none else can.   Your ancestors are still here in this life and in this world just in a different form.

There are many ways to work with them.  Once you start working with them you will find that there are many more ways and reasons to work with them.  I’ve been working with my ancestors actively for several years and my relationships with them continue to grow and develop.  I am constantly learning new reasons to honor them and new ways of working with them.  The more I learn the more I realize there is to learn.

These allies seem to be the ones that develop the most as I develop spiritually.  The more I understand spiritual and magical practices the stronger they seem to become and the more things we seem to be able to so together.  Its my hope that any one who has read this will start to develop their own relationships with their ancestors and start to find the power and comfort in ancestral grace and guidance.