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Author Topic: Ancestor/Beloved Dead Veneration: practices  (Read 3234 times)

Fier

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Ancestor/Beloved Dead Veneration: practices
« on: November 29, 2011, 11:27:13 am »
For those of you who honor your ancestors and beloved dead, I have a few questions.

Do you keep a shrine? Do you combine ancestors and beloved dead(deceased friends, mentors, ect.) together or keep them on separate shrines? What is on your shrine? How do you represent those you don't have photos of? (Let's say you are honoring the entire Smith line back to 1600, you don't have room for all those images even if you had them.)

Do you give offerings? What kind of offerings and what happens to them? Do food offerings revert or are they somehow disposed of? How often are offerings given?

Do you visit their graves?

That's all I can think of at the moment. :whis:

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Re: Ancestor/Beloved Dead Veneration: practices
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2011, 11:43:19 am »
Quote from: FierFlye;32200

Do you keep a shrine? Do you combine ancestors and beloved dead(deceased friends, mentors, ect.) together or keep them on separate shrines? What is on your shrine? How do you represent those you don't have photos of? (Let's say you are honoring the entire Smith line back to 1600, you don't have room for all those images even if you had them.)


Yes.
For now it's more a makeshift shrine, because I don't have room atm.
I have some stuff on it, but no 'real' pictures. For some reason that would feel weird. So I don't separate the ancestors. I just honor all of them, that are well-disposed to me.

Quote from: FierFlye;32200

Do you give offerings? What kind of offerings and what happens to them? Do food offerings revert or are they somehow disposed of? How often are offerings given?
Do you visit their graves?


I offer once a week a glass of water (it's said the spirits of the dead can draw life power out of it), burn a candle and an smudge stick. That's the 'always-regular' thing. I've heard - and it seems completely sensible and believable - that it is ill advised to start a practice like this and than stop it again. So I wanted the basic thing to be simple.

On occassions I will hold a ritual meal for the ancestors.

And I don't visit graves.
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Re: Ancestor/Beloved Dead Veneration: practices
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2011, 11:49:41 am »
Quote from: FierFlye;32200
Do you keep a shrine? Do you combine ancestors and beloved dead(deceased friends, mentors, ect.) together or keep them on separate shrines?


I do have a shrine. Right now they're all smooshed into one shrine, because I am severely lacking in space- this is not ideal. When I have the space, I intend to make a Dead shrine area, with individual shrines for my dead in groups. (My dad's side, my mom's side, friends, etc.)

Quote from: FierFlye;32200
What is on your shrine? How do you represent those you don't have photos of? (Let's say you are honoring the entire Smith line back to 1600, you don't have room for all those images even if you had them.)


*deep breath* I have a framed embroidered handkerchief that belonged to my great-grandmother, a vase of fake daffodils (they are bright and cheerful), a Livestrong bracelet (lots of cancer on Dad's side), a Footprints pin (the poem is much beloved on both sides), the handout from my Papa's funeral and my great-grandmother's, a doll made in Alsace-Lorraine (one place my family hails from), a white glass vase, a a blue glass vase with glass irises, a small blue glass and metal vase made in Jerusalem (for the monotheists in the family), a number of bluebirds of happiness (which my grandmother collected), a blue butterfly dish I painted, the akhu tablet I made, a teacup belonging to my great-grandmother on my mother's side, the worry stones I received after both of my abortions, a hand carved bone bead, a round-tuit my Grandma made, and two "Dick's Bar" coasters belonging to my Papa.

At the moment, aside from the doll and the vase, there are no representations of family members I did not personally know. This is largely due to space. I intend, eventually, to make up a nice family tree and do some gravestone-style beaded tapestries or cross-stitch. Right now I just don't have the room, so I haven't put a lot of thought into it.

Quote from: FierFlye;32200
Do you give offerings? What kind of offerings and what happens to them? Do food offerings revert or are they somehow disposed of? How often are offerings given?


At the moment I only give water, which I pour outside onto living plants. I intend, eventually, to make food offerings, but again I haven't put a ton of thought into it just yet. Offerings are made on their birth and deathdays, and when I think about it.

Quote from: FierFlye;32200
Do you visit their graves?

Unfortunately, no. I don't know where anyone on my mom's side is buried- my mother doesn't know, doesn't care, and the rest of the family doesn't talk about Such Things. My father's side is all buried in IL, while I live in CT.

I would like, eventually, to do grave rubbings of any I can find and made small scale cross-stitch/tapestries, as I do not ever expect to live in the vicinity of familial graves for proper tending. I don't know when I'll be able to get to it, though.

Hope this helped! Feel free to prod if you've got more questions.
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Fier

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Re: Ancestor/Beloved Dead Veneration: practices
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2011, 11:53:52 am »
Quote from: Tana;32201
So I don't separate the ancestors. I just honor all of them, that are well-disposed to me.

Interesting. How do you address them so they know who it is you are calling? "Hey, ancestors of Tana"?

Quote
I've heard - and it seems completely sensible and believable - that it is ill advised to start a practice like this and than stop it again. So I wanted the basic thing to be simple.

That does make a lot of sense.

Quote
On occassions I will hold a ritual meal for the ancestors.
Like a dumb supper? What do you do with the food after the ritual is over?

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Re: Ancestor/Beloved Dead Veneration: practices
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2011, 12:08:11 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;32200
For those of you who honor your ancestors and beloved dead, I have a few questions.

Do you keep a shrine? Do you combine ancestors and beloved dead(deceased friends, mentors, ect.) together or keep them on separate shrines? What is on your shrine? How do you represent those you don't have photos of? (Let's say you are honoring the entire Smith line back to 1600, you don't have room for all those images even if you had them.)

I don't have a shrine specifically for ancestor worship, I just perform libations for them, as well as for other spirits I honor. Also, I don't have any photos, and I don't separate the lines, usually a generic praise "to my ancestors, blood and spiritual" suffices, accompanied by thoughts of ancestors I do know (and remember) of.


Quote
Do you give offerings? What kind of offerings and what happens to them? Do food offerings revert or are they somehow disposed of? How often are offerings given?

Wine libations, yes. I don't really have a regular schedule of it, though, which I really should have.


Quote
Do you visit their graves?

We try to, every year (it's a family tradition). As we don't live in our home country, sadly, there's no way of tending the graves more often.

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Re: Ancestor/Beloved Dead Veneration: practices
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2011, 01:23:58 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;32200
Do you keep a shrine? Do you combine ancestors and beloved dead(deceased friends, mentors, ect.) together or keep them on separate shrines? What is on your shrine? How do you represent those you don't have photos of? (Let's say you are honoring the entire Smith line back to 1600, you don't have room for all those images even if you had them.)


I consider the beloved dead to be a category of ancestor; bloodline isn't the only inheritance in the world.

My shrine is a carved antique chest, probably originally for jewelry, double-doors with a pin.  I keep tokens in it - keepsakes, items associated with people, as well as photographs.  I have an English-Polish dictionary from my great-aunt Vi, a china plate painted for me by the across-the-street neighbor when I was a child, and so on.


Quote
Do you give offerings? What kind of offerings and what happens to them? Do food offerings revert or are they somehow disposed of? How often are offerings given?


My standard thing is fire and water offerings.  At some point I want to get some nice wooden fruit and other things to be standing gift images.

Quote
Do you visit their graves?

 
Not terribly, given I live several hundred miles from most. ;)
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Re: Ancestor/Beloved Dead Veneration: practices
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2011, 01:27:26 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;32204
Interesting. How do you address them so they know who it is you are calling? "Hey, ancestors of Tana"?


Hmm, I don't worry about it? ;)
I just kinda say: "Hey all my mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters (just skipping all great-great-grands ;)) and relations who wish me well, I light this candle for you."

Considering that most humans are related (and the more, the further back you go) I don't worry about calling somebody not related to me. Besides that, ancestry is not necessarily via blood, there is the ancestry of the soul too. I could call on all poets, or witches, healers... as long as they feel addressed by the call they can show up. :)

Quote from: FierFlye;32204

Like a dumb supper? What do you do with the food after the ritual is over?


More like a Red Meal. I leave the food over night at my altar and put it outside the next day.
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Re: Ancestor/Beloved Dead Veneration: practices
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2011, 02:26:04 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;32200
For those of you who honor your ancestors and beloved dead, I have a few questions.

Do you keep a shrine? Do you combine ancestors and beloved dead(deceased friends, mentors, ect.) together or keep them on separate shrines? What is on your shrine? How do you represent those you don't have photos of? (Let's say you are honoring the entire Smith line back to 1600, you don't have room for all those images even if you had them.)

Do you give offerings? What kind of offerings and what happens to them? Do food offerings revert or are they somehow disposed of? How often are offerings given?

Do you visit their graves?

That's all I can think of at the moment. :whis:

 
I have a cloth and three wooden bowls that I set out on my dining room table once a week. I'll fill the bowls with the dinner we're having and share a meal with the gods, the dead and the spirits. It's normally an offering to my ancestors as a whole and a gesture of rememberance and honor, but on special occassions I'll gift individually (same with the gods).

After dinner I empty the bowls at a specific spot outside and then come in, wash and dry them, fold the cloth and put it all away. Its this last bit that's actually the most meaningful to me. It reminds me of dinner at my grandmother's with my great-grandparents and older relatives when we'd all clean up afterwards. It just has that warm and nurturing feeling of a family custom that the rest seems to lack a bit.

Sometimes, between the weekly meals, I'll just set the bowls out and leave flowers in them, or my husband will place candies in them, and then we follow the same process.

My family doesn't have any plots nearby and my recently deceased have had their ashes spread.
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Re: Ancestor/Beloved Dead Veneration: practices
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2011, 02:43:44 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;32200

Do you keep a shrine? Do you combine ancestors and beloved dead(deceased friends, mentors, ect.) together or keep them on separate shrines? What is on your shrine? How do you represent those you don't have photos of? (Let's say you are honoring the entire Smith line back to 1600, you don't have room for all those images even if you had them.)

Do you give offerings? What kind of offerings and what happens to them? Do food offerings revert or are they somehow disposed of? How often are offerings given?

Do you visit their graves?

That's all I can think of at the moment. :whis:


I have a shrine to my ancestors.  It has a photo of my grandparents, some Bibles from grandparents and their parents, a candle, a glass of water and a bowl for offerings.  

I give them water and food.  I pour the water outside on the plants and the food I throw away.  

Lately I've been giving offerings more often like every couple days or so.  Normally I try to make it once a week or so.  Sometimes every two weeks.  It depends.  

I'm finding that some ancestors want me to honor them (like my Norwegian ones) and some could care less.   I've heard of instances where some ancestors don't want to honored at all.
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Re: Ancestor/Beloved Dead Veneration: practices
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2011, 11:19:15 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;32200
For those of you who honor your ancestors and beloved dead, I have a few questions.

Do you keep a shrine? Do you combine ancestors and beloved dead(deceased friends, mentors, ect.) together or keep them on separate shrines? What is on your shrine? How do you represent those you don't have photos of? (Let's say you are honoring the entire Smith line back to 1600, you don't have room for all those images even if you had them.)

Do you give offerings? What kind of offerings and what happens to them? Do food offerings revert or are they somehow disposed of? How often are offerings given?

Do you visit their graves?

Quote from: FierFlye;32200
For those of you who honor your ancestors and beloved dead, I have a few questions.

Do you keep a shrine? Do you combine ancestors and beloved dead(deceased friends, mentors, ect.) together or keep them on separate shrines? What is on your shrine? How do you represent those you don't have photos of? (Let's say you are honoring the entire Smith line back to 1600, you don't have room for all those images even if you had them.)

Do you give offerings? What kind of offerings and what happens to them? Do food offerings revert or are they somehow disposed of? How often are offerings given?

Do you visit their graves?



  Basically I follow an ADR type style of Ancestral Veneration  and Honoring the Dead thru the boveda and Egun shrine.

  At the boveda I honor the dead I feel or sense are close to me or around me or those who have made themselves known to me as part of my spiritual cuadro thru Misas. I have a picture of my grandmother on there and seven glasses of water, six of equal size arranged in a circle around a bigger central one. I purposefully do not have a crucifix on the boveda but do have a cross. I usually have two vases of flowers, some cigars, a cup of coffee occasionally, lighted incense, cascarilla, some perfume or Kolonia which I spray liberally around, and white candles. I have the Virgin Mary on the boveda and sometimes a statue or two of Catholic saints, mainly when instructed by the Ile. I have Saint Michael always on the boveda. Catholic saints are Catholic saints on the boveda, with no Orisha symbolism intended. Sometimes I spray rum from my mouth over the boveda as well and smudge it in frankincense and cigar smoke. I do not like plastic on the boveda, only glass, wood, or ceramic and sparingly metal. The boveda table is wooden and is draped in white cloth over which everything is placed.

  In front of the boveda and on the floor I place a bowl of water with a little rum, Kolonia, cascarilla, and flower petals. I wear white when at the boveda and cleanse myself with the water from the bowl as well as sprinkle the boveda with it. I smudge myself and the boveda with incense. I light the candles and knock on the boveda three times with my knuckles. There is a candleburning magic book I came across that has a good number of the most often recited Bible verses rewritten in poetic rhyming form. Mostly for my grandmother, I sing some of them. I sing a song I made especially for the boveda Spirits as well. Then I talk, sometimes thanking the Spirits, sometimes imploring Them for help, sometimes just shooting the breeze. I sing a few Misa songs for other boveda Spirits besides my grandmother. I really get into the talking and singing. I sit in silence for awhile. I cleanse myself with some of the flowers on the boveda, knock three times again on the boveda...that is basically it. Not getting any real Catholic vibe from any of the boveda Spirits, I do not Hail Mary at my boveda.

  I do not have a personal Egun shrine but participate when the Ile is honoring the Egun there. Egun are more specifically Ancestral by blood or family lines or spiritual lines(as in an Ile setting) This is a more formal affair than what is done at the boveda. The shrine itself is on the floor in the corner of a room specially marked off for that purpose. Specific ceremonial things are placed on the shrine, often in sets of nine. A special Egun staff is tapped on the floor to call the Egun. An animal sacrifice is sometimes done in front of the Egun shrine. A cooked pigs head is usually placed on the shrine in honor of the Egun. A simple divination process is done to see if the Egun's needs and wishes are being met. Images may or may not be on the Egun shrine. People call out Ancestral names in their family or spiritual lineage as far back as they know and then all the others are acknowledged as well. Special songs are sung for Egun and drummings as well.

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Re: Ancestor/Beloved Dead Veneration: practices
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2011, 03:56:19 am »
Quote from: FierFlye;32200
For those of you who honor your ancestors and beloved dead, I have a few questions.

Do you keep a shrine? Do you combine ancestors and beloved dead(deceased friends, mentors, ect.) together or keep them on separate shrines? What is on your shrine? How do you represent those you don't have photos of? (Let's say you are honoring the entire Smith line back to 1600, you don't have room for all those images even if you had them.)

Do you give offerings? What kind of offerings and what happens to them? Do food offerings revert or are they somehow disposed of? How often are offerings given?

Do you visit their graves?

That's all I can think of at the moment. :whis:

 

I have a shrine specifically for my Nana Joan who was/is the greatest inspiration in my life, helped raise me and was the salt of the earth!!!

My shrine is a picture of her that holds extreme significance and has two tea lights on each end of the frame, a small goddess statue on the left of the frame to represent what an amazing woman she was, and a bell on the right that I can ring whenever I need her to come to me and let me feel her presence.

I don't make any offerings to her as I don't feel that she would want any. Knowing her, she would probably want a cigarette and well, that's not going to happen.

Never been to her grave as it is all the way in Australia and I don't know where it is as my mother would not let me attend her funeral/memorial services several years ago.
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Re: Ancestor/Beloved Dead Veneration: practices
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2011, 01:05:15 pm »
I swear I answered this yesterday...

Quote from: FierFlye;32200
Do you keep a shrine? Do you combine ancestors and beloved dead(deceased friends, mentors, ect.) together or keep them on separate shrines? What is on your shrine? How do you represent those you don't have photos of? (Let's say you are honoring the entire Smith line back to 1600, you don't have room for all those images even if you had them.)


I do not keep a shrine, due to severe space restrictions. However, I'm hoping that one day I won't live in a place that is the size of a postage stamp. When that happens, my shrine to the dead will be a folding card table with a home made 'table cloth' in the colors of Baron Samedi: purple, black, and white. At the back of the table, I want to have representations of Wesir, Anpu, Baron Samedi, and Maman Brigitte. The rest of the table would be covered with representations of my dead family members.

As for what those representations are? Well, that's going to be challenging. My father hated having his pictures taken, so the only time he was talked into it was when he was holding one of us kids. (Or if it was a group picture.) This means that I have to find something that I feel represents him. I've decided on a black-and-white plaid shirt since that's the last shirt I remember seeing him in... and the guy loved plaid. In regards to my Gramma and Papa L, I'm going with a little train set since they built model trains.

Quote from: FierFlye;32200
Do you give offerings? What kind of offerings and what happens to them? Do food offerings revert or are they somehow disposed of? How often are offerings given?


I plan on doing the offering thing. I want the offerings to be there all the time, daily even. When it comes to disposing, it's a full out 'get rid of.' There is no reversion or ingestion. The reason for this is because you do not take (in voodoo tradition) offerings away from the dead until you're given the go ahead by Papa Ghede or Baron Samedi. This could quite possibly mean that a given offering will have been out there for weeks.

Quote from: FierFlye;32200
Do you visit their graves?


I visit my dad's grave often. However, since my family 'doesn't discuss unpleasant things' I have yet to be able to go to any of my grandparents' graves. This is irritating to me, but I figure with the whole dead-people shrine thing, I can stop hating on people for failing to draw me a map.
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Re: Ancestor/Beloved Dead Veneration: practices
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2011, 08:58:15 pm »
Quote from: FierFlye;32200
For those of you who honor your ancestors and beloved dead, I have a few questions.

Do you keep a shrine? Do you combine ancestors and beloved dead(deceased friends, mentors, ect.) together or keep them on separate shrines? What is on your shrine? How do you represent those you don't have photos of? (Let's say you are honoring the entire Smith line back to 1600, you don't have room for all those images even if you had them.)


Yes, my fireplace mantle is a shrine for my ancestors and beloved dead.  A shrine to Shapash, the Canaanite sun goddess who watches over the deceased, hangs above the mantle.  I have photographs of more recently deceased relatives on it (grandparents, great grandparents, etc...) and three candle holders; each containing a votive candle to honor my beloved dead, my more distant blood ancestors, and my Canaanite ancestors respectively.  I also keep a small Jizo statue on the altar to honor an unborn soul.


Quote
Do you give offerings? What kind of offerings and what happens to them? Do food offerings revert or are they somehow disposed of? How often are offerings given?

Do you visit their graves?


I've had to give this careful thought since I have ancestors who would appreciate offerings and ancestors who might not.  For my Christian ancestors, I light candles to simply honor and remember them.  For anyone else who doesn't mind offerings (Christian or otherwise), I burn incense, pour libations, and prepare food on occasion.  Unlike food offerings to the gods, I don't eat what is given to the dead.  The bits that can be composted are and the rest are disposed of in the garbage.  (I don't offer large amounts of food so it's not especially wasteful.)

This past lunar month I observed the Canaanite holiday of Marzichu by lighting candles, baking cookies that all of my deceased grandparents liked in their honor, visiting their graves, and burning incense for whoever might accept the offering.  This year was my first time visiting graves to leave flowers and it was very nice- I hope to make it a tradition.

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