Blessed dark moon from Salem, MA! Let’s talk about honoring the ancestors and how to create an ancestral altar. 

The new moon is an excellent time for introspection. One powerful way to harness the dark moon’s energy is to do ancestral work.

The big idea with ancestor work is: This is where we came from—and, in a way, where we’re going.  

That means connecting with our deep roots. Our past. And, if you consider the idea that time isn’t linear, it’s also our future…because right now, WE are the ancestors of our future selves. (Read that again + let it sink in.) More on this in a future post.

Connecting with ancestors can mean family members who have passed over—recently or many generations ago. It can also mean groups you feel deeply tied to, though you may not be able to trace your DNA directly to them.  

How to create an ancestral altar

Creating an ancestral altar helps open a portal between worlds.

It’s a sacred space dedicated to your ancestors. It can be super occult and witchy—or as innocuous as a framed photo on an end table with a candle and vase of flowers. 

Again, forget dogma. This is about working with your ancestral energy however it best suits you.

For example, my ancestral altar includes things my grandmother loved, like a small bottle of weird Hungarian liquor and a little figurine of a sparrow.

Here’s how to get started creating your ancestral altar

  1. Set up a sacred altar space.

    Add pictures of loved ones, or things that symbolize your ancestors to you. Make it as elaborate or simple as you like. This can be on a table, a windowsill, in a special corner, on your bedroom dresser.
  2. Include items that help you feel connected to them.

    For example, your grandmother’s favorite scarf, a pocket watch from your great uncle, the tea you know your aunt loved, etc.
  3. Add an offering to your ancestral altar.

    This can be a small cup of rum, wine, or other spirits. (Alcohol is good because it doesn’t go bad).

    You could also include a piece of cake or bread. Use whatever means something to you and your line. (For example, if you’re Italian, you may want to use some special Italian cookies. That kind of thing.)

    It could also be a special stone, some beach sand, a ribbon, etc. Again, use what is meaningful to you. YOU know your story better than anyone.
  4. Meditate to connect with your ancestors

    Light a candle on your ancestral altar. Meditate to connect with past and future ancestors. I’ve included a short exercise below to get you started.

Meditation exercise to connect to your ancestors

Close your eyes. Focus on your breath until your heart rate steadies and slows.

Let your subconscious work as a bridge. Open your perception and invite your ancestors to join you.

When you feel they are with you (you may have a physical feeling, get a rush of energy, or you may not feel anything in particular), thank them for their presence in your life now and always.

If you have questions for them, ask them now. Then remain calm and quiet, listening for anything they want you to know.

When you are finished, thank them again for joining you. Write down and impressions, thoughts, and feelings you may have. Reflect on them in the coming days, looking for intuitive guidance in the experience you had.

Do this as often as you like.  

Learn more about ancestral work

Get more insight into how to work with the spirits of loved ones who have crossed over to the other side.