Review: The Ancestors
Many Root-Workers start out working with spirits of the dead in the form of the Ancestors, the spirits of the dead connected to them by blood. It is believed that the dead don’t die, but rather ascend to another level of being, from which they can look on and assist us. From this higher level, the Ancestors can guide us in our daily lives, intercede with the Godhead on our behalf and protect us in times of need.
The process of working with the Ancestors begins with the construction of an Ancestral Altar. Before I go any further, I’d like to point out that many root-workers are Christian and adhere to God’s commandment in Exodus 20:3 to “have not other gods before me.” Therefore, root-workers do NOT worship the Ancestors inasmuch as they venerate them. The Ancestral altar is the place where this veneration ritually occurs.
Setting up an Ancestral altar is beneficial for many reasons some of which include, but are not limited to the following:
- It allows you to make a spiritual-connection with the other-side.
- It allows you the opportunity to develop a relationship with spiritual allies.
- It confers a certain amount of protection on you by inviting the spirit of loved ones who have passed to be an active part of your life.
- It allows you greater access to information in the form of your ancestor’s wisdom and experience, especially if they were a spiritual-practitioner as well or had a special talent or ability.
- It prepares you to work with other types of spirits and spirits that are not connected to you by blood.
Setting up an Ancestral Altar is fairly simple and there is no standard layout for one. Like other altars they will often grow and change in relation to your personal belief-system, your understanding of how to put those beliefs into practice, the items you have and/or can obtain, and sometimes by request of the Ancestors themselves.
The Ancestor Pot
The Ancestor-Pot is a sacred tool that allows you to make a physical connection with your ancestors on a deeply personal level. It consists of a pot into which a portion of dirt from the grave of one's ancestors has been gathered. In the modern era, when people die they are often buried in steel vaults, if they are not cremated. Before this time, they may have been buried in pine boxes or simply a winding sheet. Over time, their bodies decomposed and returned to the earth. Therefore when dirt was taken from a grave, it was believed that one wasn't simply taking dirt but rather the essence of that person's body that had become a part of, and not apart from, the soil.
In another time, an individual's ancestor pot may well have included the bones of of their ancestor, however, many modern practitioners have taken to including a ceramic or crystal skull in their Ancestor Pot as a substitute for their ancestor's bones. Small libations of water or whiskey may be poured over the skull to "feed" the ancestor or it may be anointed from time to time with oil. In addition, some folks even include dirt from an unused portion of the cemetery to represent the "unknown" ancestors as well as samples of dirt from various places such as banks, post offices, jails, hospitals, crossroads, etc.... to empower the dirt with the force of energy of that place.
Using Your Ancestor-Pot
My Ancestor-Pot is the focal point of my Ancestor-Altar. Being the dwelling place of the ancestors in the physical plane, it is the place where I focus my eyes and direct my words when I am conversing with them. In fact, I often get ideas, inspiration, and direction from them.
For example, at one point I had a money mojo that was working very well for me. Things were going so great I didn’t think I needed to carry that mojo around anymore so I put it away in a little box where it was promptly forgotten. When my money luck soured I pulled the little mojo back out, tried to feed it and get it working for me again to no avail. Finally, I was having a conversation with my Ancestors who instructed me to place the mojo inside my Ancestor Pot for three days. After three days I removed the money-drawing mojo-bag from the pot and it worked stronger than ever! In fact, the same day I received a substantial windfall.
Sometimes when a spell is finished and I think it needs a little more oomph, I will take the petition that I created for the spell and place it in the Ancestor-Pot, rather than disposing of it. The same can be done with talismans, jewelry, and other objects as well. In other instances, if I feel that someone or something is interfering with my working, or it needs more power I will remove a candle from the altar where it is burning and place it directly on the Ancestor-Altar. If I have an enemy working against me, or someone is bothering me I will take their photograph or name paper and place it directly under the pot face down and ask the Ancestors to keep them down.
Your ancestors are those spirits connected to you by blood and are your most powerful allies in the spirit world. Working with the Ancestors begins with the construction of an ancestral altar which consists of white candles, flowers, a glass of water, and mementos of deceased relatives. This altar is where you make periodic offerings to the Ancestors, as well as communicate with them on a daily basis explaining what is going on in your life, your needs, and your desires. If you choose, an Ancestor-Pot can become the focal point of your altar where you direct your attention and interest when communicating with them. By placing items in or around the pot you can directly incorporate the energies of the Ancestors into your workings.