Stories of Spirit…Honoring the Ancestors [part 1/setting up an Altar]


I do believe it is important to honor, give thanks and leave offerings for our Loved Ones in Spirit, specially in the Fall when the Veil between the Living & Dead is so thin.  During the lead up to Samhain/Halloween the Spirit World becomes restless and more present in our world.  The Veil (barrier) between our worlds is thinning and they often find themselves homesick for their families and the lives they have left behind.  This makes sense when you think on the energy present in Autumn…things are fading; plants are going dormant, trees are slipping into their deep sleep & animals are preparing for hibernation.  The land feels sleepy & you can feel the unseen world more fully.

One of the best ways to honor your Beloved Dead is by setting up a Family Altar.  A Family Altar is a a shelf or table top set up with sentimental items (pictures, mementos, personal items).  One of the biggest things to remember when setting up an Altar is that everything on an Altar is placed there with intention.

Here is what you will need…

ALTAR SPACE- a shelf, window sill, or dresser top

PICTURES-photos, paintings, drawings of your Ancestors & Loved Ones who have passed into Spirit

MEMENTOS- jewelry, coins, tools, journals, letter, postcards, ornaments, sentimental items from your Dead

OFFERINGS- flowers, candles, tobacco, incense, alcohol, food, etc.

Once you have gathered your items, set about making your Altar beautiful to look at.  Remember nothing on your Altar is placed there haphazardly.  Set up the pictures of your family members (if you have family members from both sides place one family on one side of the Altar and the other family on the other/no need for separate Altars).  Decorate your Altar with the Mementos you have collected.  Place a candle on the Altar to light when you want to spend time thinking on/visiting your loved ones.

Offerings-When placing offerings on your Altar it is important to remember that the items will not physically be consumed.  When I leave a cigarette on my Altar for my Dad or Grandmother, they are not going to smoke it…they may try to get me to smoke it, but I am not going to come home and have a cigarette butt lying on my Altar instead of a full un-smoked cigarette.  Alcohol and food placed on the Altar will also not  be physically consumed.  With food it is a good idea to leave it for a day or two then remove it yourself.  Know that it is the energy of