Autumn can be a nostalgic time when you think of the past and those who have gone before. All Souls’ Day falls on November 2nd and Remembrance Day on Sunday 11th. It can also be an eerie time, when the spirit world feels close. In ancient times it was traditional to honour the ancestors and even try to get in touch with them for their love and wisdom.
You can use this season to get in contact with your ancestors and feel guided and cared for.
- Talking to your ancestors
- Stories of your ancestors
- Making an ancestral altar
YOUR FAMILY TREE
You may feel very positive about your ancestors, or you may feel the opposite – maybe wounded and ashamed. More probably you’re somewhere in between, realising that some of your relatives have left you memories to be proud of, while others were difficult.
Make a family tree on as large a piece of paper you can find – poster-sized if possible. Draw your family tree with you at the top and draw fruit on the branches to represent your ancestors. Find photos if you can and stick them on a ‘fruit’ – the more recent such as parents and grandparents near the top, great-grandparents lower down. These may be people you remember, but also some you don’t. If they are still living, include them, of course, although you are not going to be connecting with them as ‘ancestors’.
If you’ve had a notable ancestor whose story has made an impression on you, by all means give them more space. Decorate your tree in whatever way you like, maybe with fallen leaves or brooches and mementoes.
If you don’t like the idea of a large tree on a poster, make cards for each of your ancestors and put them in order in a special box or pouch, along with any other souvenirs you like. Just by doing this you are affirming your past and your contact with earlier generations.
TALK TO YOUR ANCESTORS
People in the spirit world often want to communicate with us – just because someone has passed on does not mean that the connection between you has expired. Love not only never dies – it becomes stronger and purer. If you want guidance, just ask for it.
If there are things you never said to someone you love, who is now in spirit, sit before your family tree or hold your cards, look at their photo if possible, and say what you want to say. The spirit world isn’t limited by time and space, and they will hear you. Ask to be given a sign of their presence. You may hear their favourite song on the radio, there may be a significant cloud formation or you may come across something that reminds you of them. All this shows they are with you, and if you notice these signs they will increase.
If you feel angry and hurt, talk about that also! The saying ‘Never speak ill of the dead’ is just a superstition. Yes, the dead can hear what you say and may react to it, but that’s nothing to be afraid of. Nothing can hurt you but your own pent-up negative feelings. So tell them what you think, rage and cry if you wish. Death does not automatically make people wise but it breaks down the barriers of hurt and resentment, letting love flow between you. Maybe you can forgive, when you are ready, and heal yourself in the process.
Taking each of your ancestors in turn, make a list of the positive qualities they have given you. Maybe your kind heart came from your grandma, your independent spirit from a feisty auntie, your skill in music, gardening, cooking, painting from another relative. Simple qualities like patience and cheerfulness are also priceless gifts. Be aware that you have grown from rich soil.
Doing this not only connects you to your ancestors – it helps you to think well of yourself. If there are wonderful qualities that you have not developed, but would like to, write an affirmation/request on a card, such as ‘Great-grandma please give me your strength and determination’. Look out for signs that you are being strengthened, for the help will come, and maybe in ways you didn’t expect!
STORIES OF YOUR ANCESTORS
In the days before writing, knowledge was kept alive by talking. Tribes-people had extensive memories, and bards were able to remember vast amounts of information and poetry, which they would recite on special occasions. Exploits of the ancestors were a major topic, and Halloween was the start of the story-telling season, to our Celtic forbears.
Today we let our memories lapse as books, and computers do the job for us. However, there is nothing like talking about your ancestors to keep their presence alive. So why not set aside an evening to be with friends and family and reminisce. You can mark all you’ve been given to carry into the future with an informal celebration.
Above all, don’t forget the funny side. Those who’ve gone before loved to laugh, and humour keeps their legacy lively and uplifting.
AN ALTAR TO YOUR ANCESTORS
An altar does not have to be anything religious. It’s just a focus for reverence and a reminder of something sacred. So, for a few days or weeks around All Souls’ Day, put aside a shelf or cupboard top for your ancestral altar.
Cover your altar with a purple cloth for this colour is associated with spirituality – although of course you may choose another colour if you have a specific preference or reason. Place candles on your altar, along with the cards if you made them. Photos of your ancestors or other important pictures can be included, and of course your family tree poster pinned to the wall, or a board, behind. Flowers or plants that you feel appropriate can decorate the space. Other things you include can be personal, such as jewellery, statues etc.
When you can be quiet and peaceful, light the candles and burn a joss stick fragranced with frankincense and myrrh. Reflect on all the good things that have come your way from your ancestors. Say ‘Ancestors, grant me your protection that I may be strong, wise and just. Let me be filled with love for you, and for all of life. Thank you, and Blessed Be’.
Remember that you will one day be an Ancestor, and resolve to live your life being true to yourself and kind wherever you can be. This makes for a rich and meaningful existence.
HOW WE CAN HELP
We’ve looked at your family tree, talking to your ancestors, being positive, stories of your ancestors and making an altar. All of these activities should bring you close to those who have gone before. However, the best and most meaningful way to approach your ancestors is by a reading, so contact one of our expert Readers today and be connected to your loved one in Spirit. You will feel uplifted and reassured.
PUBLISHED: 12 November 2018