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Author Topic: Help With Ancestor Worship  (Read 559 times)

Occulto

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Help With Ancestor Worship
« on: September 24, 2016, 04:02:35 pm »
I'm new here, and new to Paganism. Can you give me advice on ancestor worship?

Ancestry is very important to me, and I have a need to connect with my ancestors for guidance and help. My family has had a long tradition of being Atheist, and Christian on my mom's side. I do not think calling on a specific person would be of much help, unless it is my great grand mother on my mother's side.I want to connect with the ancient cultures and heritage that I have inherited, and venerate those who have come before me. I am largely individualistic, so I do not want to directly worship them like gods, but emulate their good and carry on their tradition. I am new to this, so everything is appreciated.

GrayEyes

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Re: Help With Ancestor Worship
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2016, 04:31:01 pm »
Quote from: Occulto;196591
I'm new here, and new to Paganism. Can you give me advice on ancestor worship?


I honor the ancestors, I don't worship them, but I can tell you what I do.

When I am near them, I tend their graves and talk to them. I remember them at holidays and tell their stories. I keep some of their keepsakes on my bedroom altar and remember them in my prayers, both for them and asking them to intercede on my behalf. At appropriate times, such at the end of October, I give them a glass of whiskey and a bit of cake because who doesn't like a little dessert?

I tell their stories in general, keeping them alive in the world. This is very important to me. I tell the funny stories and the hard stories and the stories that meant a lot to them. I tell the stories about how they came to America and the trials they faced and the work they did. I also remember that they were flawed people and tell those stories too. I remember that I don't know all of their stories, that they were people with secrets and lives, and that there are many ancestors whose names I don't know but I can work to honor.

History and knowing history is a way of honoring ancestors, too. I have studied a lot of history, academically, and I make a point of trying to have an accurate concept of history, rather than a romanticised version. I also consider the cleaned-up pseudo-Victorian histories to be a different kind of romanticism, where sex, drugs, and dirty words were somehow invented in the 20th century. Both that and the "everyone before 500 was a goddess-worshipping feminist" (or any other romanticism) dishonors the lives lived by our ancestors.

My family has also been Christian, likely for more than a thousand years. However, as Catholics, they believe(d) firmly in the intercession of the dead/the saints. I grew up in a household that had a very sincere knowledge that the dead are with us and the family who have passed on are just as involved in our lives now as they were when they lived - if not more involved. Some family members, knowing they were on close to death, have even given the family signs to know them by.

So honoring the ancestors and asking for their aid and/or shared devotion, I suspect, is one of the practices that I simply formalized, but I don't think it would be offensive to them. And, after all, as a friend once put it, the dresser of every elderly Catholic eventually becomes a shrine to the ancestors.

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