These ancestors become your guardians, and by communicating with them directly, you are giving yourself access to the past, present and future. These spirits live in realms where there is no time”Medicine Man
Setting up your ancestor altar is your opportunity to pierce the veil between the physical and spiritual realm and the earthly and ancestral realm. The ancestor altar becomes a sacred and holy place within your home where you can venerate your ancestors, communicate with your ancestors, establish a working relationship with your spiritual guides and guardian ancestors, pray and perform rituals. This is the foundation for a spiritually rich life which will benefit you in many ways. You will experience more confidence, peace, protection and healing. It will also keep the memory of your loved ones alive. There are many different ways to establish an ancestor altar. But this is the Melanin Rich Wellness Way:
1. Identify where your altar will be placed. The living room, dining room and kitchen are generally used to house an altar. Always follow your intuition and let that be your guiding light. An ancestor altar should never be in the bedroom or any other room where one makes love.
2. Determine who will be placed on your altar. Those who were close to you in this life and loved you should be on your altar. Those ancestors who you never met but still feel a connection to, should go on there as well. You don’t have to put anyone on the altar that makes you uncomfortable or who lived wickedly in this life. Again, always follow your intuition.
3. Find pictures of the loved ones you will place on the altar. If you don’t have pictures, write their names on pieces of paper. Never place pictures of those still living on your altar.
4. The ancestors should be elevated. You can use a table, books, or a box as the altar base.
5. Ideally, the altar should be covered with a white tablecloth or sheet. White represents purity and peace.
6. You should have at least one glass of cool water on the altar. If you are going to have more than one, it should be an odd number of glasses (3,5,7). Cool water quenches the spirit’s thirst. Water provides clarity, purification and life to your spirits. The water also serves as a conduit for communication.
7. You should have at least one white candle on your altar. The light from a white candle serves as a signal and invite for the spirits to come.
As long as you have the pictures or written names of your ancestors elevated on a white tablecloth, with at least one glass of water and white candle, that is all you really need. You can certainly add additional items as an offering to your ancestors. Additional items include:
Fresh Flowers & plants- connects spirit to nature
Black coffee- wakes the spirits
Food & Vices- black eyed peas, cigarettes, cigars, alcohol, wine, candy; anything that you know your ancestors enjoyed while living
Religious paraphernalia- any Bibles or palms that belonged to your loved ones can be placed on the altar.
Once your altar is established. You will light the white candle. It is very important to say an invocation as you are lighting your candles. This will prevent unwanted entities and spirits from presenting themselves. I use the following invocation:
“I call on my blood ancestors and my adopted ancestors, known and unknown and all my relations who love and support me. I call on my spirit guides who have adopted me as their own. Bless me with your wisdom and insight. Guard and protect me. Let me be a vessel for your spiritual power. By the power of three I conjure thee. In the name of the father, son, and holy spirit. Ase and Amen”.
You should keep your ancestor altar clean. Put fresh glasses of water on the altar weekly. Don’t let the flowers wilt or any food rot. Keep the altar dust and debris free. Lastly, never blow out your candle, snuff it out.
The moment I established my ancestor altar, my life changed. I have felt the presence of my ancestors, spirit guides and guardian ancestors perpetually. A physical death does not mean they left us. They merely changed energetic form. They are with us and willing to assist us any way they can. They are here to guide, warn, protect, uplift, support, and hold us accountable. They are our eyes and ears on the other side. Their love is true and pure. We are their wildest dream come true. Once you establish an ancestor altar, be prepared for your spiritual life to unfold in the best way.