30 Days of Samhain: Day Seventeen

Ancestor Altars
Pics, Ideas and More

Today’s post follows yesterday’s about Samhain and ways to honor our beloved departed ancestors. As promised, I have pictures of various ancestor altars to inspire you. Begin by realizing that whatever you decide upon as the space of holding your ancestors near and dear will become sacred space dedicated to them. Whether this becomes a permanent fixture or an annual event the intention and simply the act of constructing a space of honoring is an act of devotion. The creation of sacred space and what I described as an act of devotion are all things we are familiar with in terms of our interactions with Deity or celebrating a Sabbat. The same is true, and in my opinion, even more so, because we are calling the memory of our deceased loved ones in a dynamic way of engagement that transcends the separation of planes of existence.

The pictures I’ve selected are a very few samples of what this sacred space could become. The picture below gives you a sampling of items that could be incorporated into how you set-up your altar.

 

Remember:

The important piece to creating a scared space in offering to your ancestor is intention. The size of the altar does not really matter. Making use of furniture surfaces can be a space saver…

For some, incorporating pictures placed on the wall and then adding to this is a nice way to have more than what could be accommodated simply on a table alone….
You can also add to what is existing and permanent by including feast foods….

A temporary space will serve as well, such as a small end table that can be decorated in accord with the season, the beloved’s birthday, anniversary of death or any other time that you wish to do a little more….

Tip:

Simplicity does not mean lack of care. Some of the most meaningful ways I have honored my grandmother and mother have involved very little “stuff”, but were abundant in the love that moved through my memories and was returned in reciprocity by the nearness and reach of connection and gratitude I felt.

A mantle or a book shelf can be decorated and dedicated to your ancestor..

Tip:

It’s always a nice idea to add food as part of the celebration. Sitting and having your meal with the beloved’s place set affirms that they have not been forgotten, nor have the times when talking while enjoying a good meal were treasured times together…

And, always remember that the most precious of altars you dedicate to your ancestors is yourself. You carry all that is needed by them and yourself to honor them with every breath, step and action you take. Be mindful and grateful for those intangible, yet very palpable, gifts they have left as legacy to you. Call up the image of them often and surround that image with love, just as you may have done with a hug in physical life. Audibly say “thank you” when the seeds of inspiration or the solution to a problem seems to appear “out of thin air”. It may have been a beloved gently whispering encouragement.

All journeys lead back to the source of their origins. In this case, that source is all who came before you, just as you will become the source for those who follow..

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