Ancestors and ritual

Ancestors and ritual

Ancestral rituals are ones revolving around “Those Who Have Gone Before” and invoking the honorable ancestors who have helped shape and inform those of us who are still living.

Ancestral rituals are ones revolving around “Those Who Have Gone Before” and invoking the honorable ancestors who have helped shape and inform those of us who are still living.

by Sokara Kamillisa — 

Ancestral rituals are ones revolving around “Those Who Have Gone Before” and invoking the honorable ancestors who have helped shape and inform those of us who are still living. Many people in our society who have learned that honoring the ancestors is a bad or pagan behavior fail to understand that we constantly acknowledge “state ancestors” or those deceased folks who, the larger society agrees, have made valuable contributions.

One example is the iconography of deceased presidents on American currency. You probably will never see a living president on our money. Other examples include the naming of highways and roads for famous people, postage stamps posthumously issued or commemorations like President’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, etc. You may be able to think of other observances of state ancestors.

While these state customs are worthwhile and commendable, it also is extremely important to revere your own honorable ancestors. Many families share photographs or tell stories at family reunions about deceased family members. You can take this important process a step further in your personal life by establishing family or individual remembrances around the dinner table.

Ideas to consider

  1. Select one dinner per week during which an adult family member shares stories, accomplishments and perhaps a photograph of an honorable ancestor.
  2. Create a space in your home to display photos and mementos of ancestors.
  3. Select an area where you place a drawing of a tree representing the joining of two clans and the offspring. Place a vase of flowers there and notice how supported you feel by the invisible presence of Those Who Have Gone Before.

If you have noticed your children or an adult family member who seems to be afraid of death, teaching them that the rituals of remembering their ancestors may help them understand that life is a river of ebb and tide, that we continue via our descendants, and that we ourselves will one day be ancestors.

It seems that the holy books of most religions list the genealogy of important figures in their sacred writings. For those feeling isolated and alone, there may be no better way to reclaim a sense of belonging to a larger whole than to read these works.

The ancestors remain alive as long as we speak their names and hold sacred their lives.

 

Sokara Kamillisa has a bachelor of divinity degree and is a certified holistic practitioner and color therapist specializing in personal intuitive counseling, women’s rites of passage and family tree healing workshops. 602-265-5686 or supattana@cox.net.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 2, April/May 2005.

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