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Calling ancestors/spirits


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#41 Michele

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Posted 20 August 2011 - 01:53 PM

Oh - and there's also something called 'ghost corn" (no clue how it got that name, lol) and it is something that is burned as an offering to spirit and that is particularly pleasing to them. I use this in my Divining the Crow ritual (divining as in knowing, not as in foretelling the future)and due to a dream where the whole ritual originally came from, I use sugar or honey burned on the coals. I also use an incense of herbs that are known for calling spirits and the dead. Yew is something I have a hard time getting, so I had a yew wand I use to "stir" the incense. Yew is very good for working with with the dead. I also use black crow feathers, and if I am doing an iinvocation to my homeland (the gods and spirits of England) then I use somethings that are specifically from the forest floor of England, along with a bowl-pitcher that was made in England. I don't kow the land of your connection or of your ancestors and/or gods, and although I do invoke the homeland one should always also honour the local land spirits and divinities (if you work with divinities) as you ARE on their turf, lol. And the land is someone's ancestor. There is the serpent energy that runs throught all things, and as such is part of ANY land, but there are also the particular local spirits of plants, animals, and even people, who have died on the local land and become a part of the land and it is only repsectful to acknowledge that. What dies decomposes and feeds what grows, so all living things have fed off the dead.

M

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#42 Anara

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Posted 04 October 2015 - 11:58 AM

Giving this a bump for the newer members to add thoughts and because I am finding so much good information in this thread for myself to get inspired, while creating a 2nd ancestor/spirit altar in my home over the past few days.

One curious point is that most witches here mention using a purple candle for ancestor contact. Instinctively, I am using a large white candle as I set this up (now that I'm thinking about it, the 1st altar has a large black candle centered on it, again, not purple).

Anyone else here use white instead of purple? Maybe I should try a purple one.

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"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return." ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

#43 Anara

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Posted 04 October 2015 - 12:11 PM

Hello everyone,

I was looking for threads that had to do with the ancestors and i found this one!

Its funny how so many of you use a purple candle for your ancestors, in Haitian Vodoun we also use purple when serving the dead/ancestors.

I have a table set up just for the dead, my ancestors, spirits from past lives, collective ancestors ect. This table is draped in all white and has 9 glasses of water on it. One is bigger than the others and that represents "El Gran Poder" which means the great power, which i guess you can call "God." Then there are 8 smaller glasses on the table which i dedicate to "Las Comisiones" which is like the different groups of spirits that i work with. I have one for the Gipsies, Indians, Witches, Madamas, Kongo, Spirits from past lives, blood relatives, Spirits who need light, all unknown guides. In the front i have a cross which represents the spirits of the cemetery, and on the table i also have books with different prayers and spells. Around that table i have different dolls and images that represent the different guides that i have, these dolls are charged and dedicated to a specific spirit, sometimes to materialize the spirit even more an animal will be offered to the spirit.

I communicate with them using what we call in the Caribbean (Im Puerto Rican btw) "Media Union" which is basically when you are psychicly linked to the spirits and you can hear them talking to you either with words or telepathically. A ceremony we do to develop this further is called "La Misa" which is when we gather around the altar and pray and sing to the dead so they can come and give us messages, sometimes a spirit will mount someone and the spirit will speak through the possessed person and consult the living about different issues: love, money, spiritual illness, magic, ect.

I could go on and on and on, but this is basically some of what i do with the ancestors!

Houngan Bryan


This post is really speaking to me right now. The altar I am currently setting up is not for blood ancestors, but for other specific spirits that live in my home. One particular spirit is not from this part of the world, but he loves to hear music all the time and once taught me a song from his homeland (which I should have recorded myself singing, because now I forget it....grrrrr).

I really love the idea here that includes books/spells/prayers in the space. I have a dedicated journal that I made, just for spirit work & I think it sounds fitting to keep it near the dedicated space.

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"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return." ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

#44 Anara

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Posted 04 October 2015 - 12:41 PM

I find that for me the communication is extremely subtle, to the point that if I explain it to non-witch people they just get this knowing look and smile and say "oh - so it's all in your head" which annoys the shit out of me, lol. I started out by just doing something, anything. So I would light a black candle for them on a nightly basis (when I was home) and just say "for the ancestors" when I did it. I actually have 3 candles that get lit on my North Road table nightly - one for the ancestors, one for the spirits of hearth and home, and one between the horns for the gods, wisdom, and illumination. I also leave out things for them: wine, honey, food, coffee, cigar (depending on who's wanting what, lol).I say "good morning" to them and "good night" to them, and if I have any news I sit and say it out loud to them and discuss it with them just as if they were physically sitting there.

Contact for me usually comes in the form of dreams or impulses, often when I am between wake and sleep, or in a very dropped-down state. A good example is with my house Old Lady - I was just falling asleep and got an intense craving for a cuppa tea, then a strong visual of a child's china doll tea-set I had in my shed. So I knew she was wanting a cuppa rather than the usual wine I had been leaving her.

When I have been doing a working with any of them (house/hearth spirits, ancestors, or gods) that has been of particular importance to me I often do a specific "thank you" ritual for them and leave them something special. A red meal is also done regularly (a shared meal) as it cements the bond just as family dinners together strengthen family bonds. How do I know they actually hear and work with me? Becuase I believe they do. I mean, when I get impulses or they help me with something, anyone non-witch could easily write it off as coincidence. When I ask my Old Lady to do something and I get home from work and it's done, I could say "oh, what a coincidence that "x" happened". But it's just not how I think becuase I don't see things in that way. A witch sees things differently. But can I prove it scientifically? No, lol. And that's one reason why I don't discuss it in too much detail with lay-people becuase they just pour their doubts and their "yeah, right"s onto it...

But just start. Just starting anything in any way to initiate contact will usually get a response as long as you are consistant and respectful. (And consistancy is a key, just like you wouldn't call up your grandma or friends to borrow money then never call them again for 7 months until the next time you needed money.) And it is a reciprical relationship. They get something out of it, too. And the more you do it the stronger the bond will become and you will feel them, and sometimes see their flitting shadows around the house and find and feel their presence in your workings and your questions.

M


Michele, I see here you mention using a black candle instead of purple. When I set up my 1st altar (to my familial spirits), I decided on a black central candle because it felt like a gate to the shadows and the dead, and I was also probably thinking of the North direction as well.


Also, I want to make note of your (and others) use of daily offerings. It's such a simple and logical thought, but one that is easy to miss while going about my busy mundane life. I'm struggling with contact with certain spirits here, not because I can't connect with them-but because I am simply not making them a part of my daily normal routine! To sit and talk with them throughout the week (not just when I need to know something or when I feel like connecting), and to leave offerings is something that needs more attention from me.

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"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return." ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

#45 Michele

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Posted 04 October 2015 - 02:15 PM

It was interesting to me to read through this thread as much of what I do has evolved over the last several years, and specifically with my two-year journey into becoming an American citizen. I originally used black candles for the dead, I am currently using white 7-day candles on both my ancestor shrine and my divinity alter. I changed to white because it is a "purer" color symbolically to me and the color of life, and I am not looking to go to their world but looking for them to come and talk to me in mine.

I also found that trying to work with things from England was self-defeating as I live in a Caribbean climate and much of the specific English elements do not grow or exist here. Even the feel is different - we don't celebrate living through the cold, dangerous winter here - we celebrate more having made it through the long humid summer into the breezy 70 degree winters, lol. So I am finding out that there is the symbolic winter and association of the "dark half" which came from a northern culture, and then the daily living reality of the land I live on - for I am not northern although my ancestors may have been. Finding a balance between the two has been (and still is) an interesting journey.

I love ritual with a passion. I find it helps me to stay connected to do something daily and constantly be in touch with that feeling of connectedness. But I also work 9 to 5 and have a home-run business to boot. So when I made my ancestor shrine I said to them I will come and speak with you a minimum of once a week, and explained why. My ancestors want their line to be successful and flourishing. So they understand dedication and hard work to earn money and make the family safe. But I also believe one's word is extremely important, so I personally believe it is very important to speak with them at least once per week (and if I am going on vay-cay and will be away and miss the weekly ritual, I let them know at the ritual before).

As it is I speak to them almost daily. My shrine is set up much like a Mesa Blanca (a very Caribbean way) rather than anything more northern and I find they have been very responsive to that. I light the candles whenever I am home and put them out when I leave. The ancestors I find are cool with that - they know I have cats and have no desire for me to burn down the house on their behalf, lol. They have my and my family's (THEIR family's) best interests at heart. I have a bowl of water with a bone-and-howlite "mala" around the neck of the bowl with a tree of life. I have used this often enough when talking to them and asked them to bless it, so I can take it with me if I feel a desire or a need to have them close, though in reality they are always close. But I find props help me, lol, and that's one reason why props exist - if you associate something with a thing, it will bring you quickly into that mind-set every time you use it.

I watch the water daily - any cloudiness is a sign of disruption or possible problem and is changed immediately and a ritual of connection done to let them know I saw it and do they have anything they need to say or "what's going on?" etc. The water is changed out weekly with a longer ritual, but daily I do greet them. Since spirits use water and it's fluidity as a means of connection, daily I dip my fingers in the water and lightly wash with it (just sprinkle it on my forehead and over my head and neck) and ask for their guidance and blessing for me and the family.

Weekly I dismantle the shrine and clean it and put in fresh water and sit before it and blow cigar smoke on it to call them , give rum to thank them for coming, state my lineage to them (yes they know my lineage, but stating it keeps it always in my mind and also honors them), and I also state the unknown ancestors and my honor to them as well, for without them I would not be here. I usually knock on the table 3 times when I start and 3 times when I end (sometimes I use a bell) so there is a clear-cut ending and beginning. I tell them family news, I ask if anyone has something they want to say, or something they want on the shrine, I thank them for their blessings and guidance, I pray for their own safety and "movement" for any of them who may not be where they need to be inn their realm. I also only invite in those who are of an appropriate nature, and I say a prayer for the movement for those who are not, because they are still family and I honor that and respect their journey. God knows how appropriate I may or may not have been over my multitude of lifetimes, lol, so I do not judge them, only offer my rememberance of their existence and that they are part of the family even if they lived 3000 years ago and no one knows their name or what they looked like - they are still family.

But the whole thing can be done in 15 minutes, or much longer if one wants. Bottom line is it is not time-consuming, but the benefits to me and to them are priceless to the evolution of the family and to any who are re-born into it if one happens to believe that reincarnations are often repeated into family lines.

M

Edited by Michele, 04 October 2015 - 02:20 PM.

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#46 Michele

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Posted 04 October 2015 - 02:30 PM

Of possible interest - I had a 3rd shrine I use as a working shrine, but tending all 3 was getting crazy. A friend happened to be in the 'hood yesterday and dropped by and he suggested combining my working shrine with the ancestor shrine, since they will have interest in my works anyway. So we added the 6 (three on each side of the main water container) little water glasses to the ancestor shrine and took down the working shrine. The 6 glasses are now for other spirits - guides, etc., who have a positive interest in me although the main one if for the ancestors. And aligning the 6 in different ways around the main glass also lets everyone know if the house is in normal mode, protective mode, or attack mode. I haven't done any magic with it this way yet, or had specific input from my ancestors on it yet, but I will let everyone know if they have any problem with it, lol. But always, my ancestors are greeted first. They are my connection, I live because of them, and I know the gods because of them, so I greet them first after stating my lineage.

M

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#47 Nikki

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 03:15 PM

Anara: Yes, I burn white candles, too.

Always have. White just make sense to me.

Could be my imagination - but, I've noticed there's a 'different' glow to the candles burned for my ancestors. Ever notice that?

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#48 GhostAndTheWolf

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 12:55 PM

okay maybe this has already been talked about but just looking for some insight from ya'll on this.

 

so I guess straight to the point would be how am I supposed to communicate with my ancestors if all the ones I know of were super evangelical Christians? 

I don't think there is a heaven or hell so I don't think they are in it but not sure they would know that....sorry this is a total ignorant question...


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You're all a bunch of fuckin assholes, ya know why? you don't have the guts to be what you wanna be.

You need people like me, you need people like me so you can point your fuckin fingers.

and say " That's the bad guy"

So say goodnight to the bad guy!


#49 Tana

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 01:54 PM

Actually that is a really good question. I have no idea what the process of death and enlightenment to those crossing the hedge would be like for Happy Clappy Christians. I would like to think they realise how wrong they were and then spend their time making it up to the universe! Who knows... I would say if you are disappointed in your heritage of recent years, then go back further to older ancestors. Ask for their help, not least in identifying themselves and coming forward. Thats just a quick, shallow little thought... will ponder further and also be really interested in others opinions on this.


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#50 GhostAndTheWolf

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 03:30 PM

Actually that is a really good question. I have no idea what the process of death and enlightenment to those crossing the hedge would be like for Happy Clappy Christians. I would like to think they realise how wrong they were and then spend their time making it up to the universe! Who knows... I would say if you are disappointed in your heritage of recent years, then go back further to older ancestors. Ask for their help, not least in identifying themselves and coming forward. Thats just a quick, shallow little thought... will ponder further and also be really interested in others opinions on this.

 

yeah see and that's exactly were I am at on it, I know that my fathers side is german/Mohican/irish and my mom's side is Irish, have cousins from Belfast/Dublin and Galway.

I know that when they came here they were all Catholic obviously and once they got here they changed it all up.

anyways I will look into this more and see about the older ones from before that. I am very VERY interested in this topic!!!!!


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You're all a bunch of fuckin assholes, ya know why? you don't have the guts to be what you wanna be.

You need people like me, you need people like me so you can point your fuckin fingers.

and say " That's the bad guy"

So say goodnight to the bad guy!


#51 Solanaceae

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 08:34 PM

As Tana said, the ancestors you reach out to, do not even have to be ones you know of. Just from your mix of background I can tell you for sure that if you go back far enough you will find ancestors who are more understanding of your practice.

 

That said, many people do seem to change or grow in understanding after crossing, letting go of some biases and outdated beliefs. Not everyone for sure, but many.

 

I am sure you know that historically a lot of people had Christianity forced on them, and other ways could be buried just under the surface. Some of your super pious relatives might surprise you.


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Some are born to sweet delight,

Some are born to endless night.

 

(Fragments from "Auguries of Innocence") William Blake


#52 Madame

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 05:34 AM

okay maybe this has already been talked about but just looking for some insight from ya'll on this.

 

so I guess straight to the point would be how am I supposed to communicate with my ancestors if all the ones I know of were super evangelical Christians? 

I don't think there is a heaven or hell so I don't think they are in it but not sure they would know that....sorry this is a total ignorant question...

 

 

 

I know someone who had a similar issue. He instead works with spiritual ancestors rather than his own family line. 

 

Sometimes, as previously stated, you'd be surprised at who will come forward within your more immediate (passed on) family. The couple of ancestors that have been around for me were not only Christian, but a highly dry and not terribly spiritual type of Christian. 


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#53 Holdasown

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 02:57 PM

okay maybe this has already been talked about but just looking for some insight from ya'll on this.

 

so I guess straight to the point would be how am I supposed to communicate with my ancestors if all the ones I know of were super evangelical Christians? 

I don't think there is a heaven or hell so I don't think they are in it but not sure they would know that....sorry this is a total ignorant question...

 

I had the same issue when I started. No one ever seemed to show up and I knew why. Then I just started calling out to older ones. Basically saying any in my blood line who wanted to come and help out. Made a huge difference. I have gotten to know two pretty well. 


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#54 GhostAndTheWolf

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 04:04 PM

that's great thanks everyone for responding to my question.

yeah on my father's side the main bloodline are the Connollys from Galway and I know they go back to the four tribes of Tara....i'll start working that line.

thanks again everyone.


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You're all a bunch of fuckin assholes, ya know why? you don't have the guts to be what you wanna be.

You need people like me, you need people like me so you can point your fuckin fingers.

and say " That's the bad guy"

So say goodnight to the bad guy!


#55 Khundekling

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 11:54 PM

As usual I was thinking on this for the last couple of days and Ghostandthewolf has asked the exact same thing already! 

 

All my known ancestors have been either Catholic or Protestant, but as some of you have said already you just need to go back further. My question now is, if you are calling for ancestors that you don't know, by name or appearance, how do you know they are related? From what I can gather, some spirits can be rather tricky. That's probably a very "noobie" thing to ask, but from all the spirit ass kicking stories I've read I'm just a little wary.


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#56 Solanaceae

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 02:43 PM

First of all : (1;  Blood calls to blood. Therefore you would not even need names or appearances.

Those things might make it a wee bit easier for you to connect, but they are not necessary at all.

 

Point 2;  As has been mentioned earlier in this thread the fact that they were xtian in life does not necessarily mean they will be completely unresponsive to you in the other world.

 

3; Even if they are not blood-related, they could still be 'ancestors'. They may have a deep-rooted connection to you or your line or be invested in your well being for other reasons.

 

Yes, spirits can be tricky. Your ancestors are likely the safest starting point in spirit work, but even then nothing is foolproof. 

It is good to be wary, but if you are going to do spirit work there is no way to guarantee it will be 100% safe.

Even in doing this work you will attract the attention of opportunistic entities. They may seek to manipulate you while posing as an ancestor, or simply to feed off your energy and that produced by your workings. 

Learn and grow. Learn discernment and to trust your instinct.

Spend much introspective time getting to know yourself. 

Read and research. 

 

If you jump right in with both feet without knowing what you are doing you either will learn the hard way (many of us did and survived)

or you will decide it is not for you, or you will lose yourself completely. It happens.

 

If you take your time as most initiations would require, do the necessary work on yourself first and then get to know those in the other world that will protect you you will be 'safer', but even then there is no guarantee. It swallows some people whole.  

Most people do not have the patience or commitment for that these days and even I am not convinced it is necessary for everyone, we all learn different ways.

One thing is for sure though, if you do not do the 'self-work' now, you will be forced to do it later if you will continue on this path, and you will not know true power until you do.


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Some are born to sweet delight,

Some are born to endless night.

 

(Fragments from "Auguries of Innocence") William Blake


#57 Khundekling

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 11:19 PM

Thanks a lot Solanaceae, I did think maybe I'll just know who they are by intuition.

I'm in no rush, I'm in a "realignment" phase on my path at the mo, so making a few adjustments before I take on new practices. 


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life is better with a biscuit

#58 RapunzelGnome

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Posted 19 March 2018 - 02:23 PM

I have not had trouble working with Christian ancestors. I mean, they get it NOW, lol.

To answer the original question of the thread. I keep an ancestral altar and have a short ritual I do before offering any offerings there. At first I did it daily to establish relationships, now I do it on birthdays and death days of ancestors (ancestry.com rocks for this information). It didn’t take too long before “the ancient ones” started showing up too, even though their names and histories are likely lost.

Anyways, the ritual I do before making offerings involves a short song that I sing which playing one of my singing bowls. I only use this bowl for this purpose...it’s consecrating for calling them.

If I am doing a working and need to call upon the ancestors, I incorporate the bowl and the song into the rites. When I’ve been away from home and the bowl, I’ve found that even just singing the first couple of lines of the song gets their attention.

That particular ritual has become one of the most precious parts of my practice to me.

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#59 Phaedra

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 05:11 PM

I used to get hung up on the details and apparent complexities of setting up a dedicated space for ancestral spirits, but once I came home to the likelihood that all of human kind has a shared ancestral heritage, it simplified everything greatly for me. I have a simple space in my home dedicated to the mighty and beloved dead, where I offer tobacco, sweets, and fresh water at the start of each week. Every day, I greet them there and light a white candle and burn a stick of incense in their honor. I don't name names or use photographs or anything personal like that; it is a place where I honor and give back to all of those whose lives helped to shape my own conditions of birth and living, and there are more people that fit into this category than I could ever possibly be made aware of. Christian in life or not, I feel that all spirits benefit from this kindness. As for calling on the ancestors when in need, I don't; shared DNA ensures that they are with me, and the offerings and remembrance strengthen the tie. 


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