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Honoring Our Ancestors

We all can acknowledge that we have certain ancestors which give us a sense of belonging and connection.

There are certain times of the year when it seems the veil between the living and the dead is thinner. You may sense your deceased loved ones around. Whether you sense them or not, you may want to create an "altar" like the one my hubby and I created for our family who have left the earth plane.

When we acknowledge our ancestors, we are saying to them that their lives matter. We are drawing their presence in through the act of speaking to them, thinking about them, or in some way honoring the gift of life they imparted to us. I often find that when speaking with the departed, they know when their loved ones have done something to honor them. They know about the picture on the mantle, the flowers on their grave, or the cake that was baked for their birthday.

Any time you would like to speak with your loved ones, or sense their presence, just go to the altar and talk to them as if they were right there in front of you! I like to light a candle, and sometimes I like to offer a gift of their favorite food, beverage, or even some coins.

This blog is not necessarily about the creation of the "altar", but it is important to honor the whole family, both the ones everyone "liked' and the ones that were not so savory, or perhaps a secret. I even have baby Angels to represent the babies that did not make it to full term. Be creative! Remember that nothing and no one who is alive should be represented, so no pictures of anyone who is alive, no living plants. The clock must be non working. If someone in the family had a specialty or a specific natiionality, perhaps an item to represent that. My father-in- law's favorite whiskey is beside his picture, as is my mother's Bible.

Today was an odd day. I was feeling a bit out of sorts. I was having some unresolved feelings of guilt from the distant past when my mother and father were alive. For some reason I was feeling bad for the period of time in my life when I was in a particulartly difficult dark night, which actually lasted for several years. On several occasions I missed checking in on my parents when they were going through challenging times themselves, and I even failed to show up at their 40th wedding anniversary celebration.

So here I stood, at the altar.

I started out by lighting a candle and asking them to forgive me for my thoughtlessness.

I asked them what gift I could offer them to make up for my failings as a daughter during these particular times when they really needed me and I had let them down.

Imagine my surprise! My parents told me I was being entirely too hard on myself! They said they understood the hard times I was going through at the time. They were happy that now I had found happiness!

My mom and dad told me that any gift I laid on the altar would eventually have to be thrown away so why waste my time. ( I was thinking a piece of german chocolate cake). They said they wanted me to go have a glass of wine and some chocolate for them! The enjoyment that I had was all they wanted! I will admit that I was a bit emotional at this point!

So many times we go through life doing the best we can at that particular moment in time. As years go by, we may have an experience that shines a mirror on some of our own past behaviors or shortcomings. At that moment, we experience how someone else may have perceived our behavior which was probably perfectly justified in our own eyes at the time. We may experience guilt, shame, or a myriad of emotions.

The person who we just realized we wronged may be now deceased. It is important to make amends! Your "altar" may be simple or as extensive as mine. I have had several years to add to mine and my people talk to me regularly and tell me how they want to be represented! The point is, you can make amends!

Light a candle. If you have a photo of the person, all the better, but not completely necessary. All you need is your intention. Say a word or two as if they stood in front of you. Ask advice. Make amends. Express your emotions. Perhaps give them a gift.

This month is a perfect time to honor those who came before you. No matter how you feel about them, they gave you life. They did the best they could. And so are you.


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