How Do I Set Up an Ancestor Altar?

Connecting with our ancestors is a necessary step in almost every spiritual journey. 

In Hoodoo, ancestor worship is the foundation of the practice. Without the support and guidance of those who walked before us, growing into the totality of our spiritual powers remains out of reach. They’re who we should pay tribute to before any deity. 

In this article, we will go over the basics of ancestor worship and how to set up an ancestor altar. 

Who Are My Ancestors?

Our ancestors are those who we are descended from. This doesn’t just include blood relatives. If you’re adopted, like myself, or strike a deep familial bond with someone you’re not biologically related to, they’re considered your ancestors as well! If you don’t know who your ancestors are, you can book a tarot reading with Satin to get further guidance!

How Do I Petition My Ancestors? 

To petition your ancestors, simply call forth all the ancestors you know and don’t. If you know their names, feel free to say them. And if you don’t know who they are, that’s okay! Even the ancestors you may not know of, or somehow feel but can’t place, are still connected to you and will come when called. 

The SatinSays Ancestral Spirit Candle is also the perfect starting point for connecting with your ancestors. When lit, you’ll begin to receive messages from them, as well as immense protection. Another helpful candle includes the Intensify Psychic Ability 7 Day Candle, which will lift any unconscious blockages and induce premonitions that can enhance communication with your ancestors.  

What Do I Need For an Ancestor Altar? 

To start, you’ll need:

  • A white tablecloth and a white candle: White is a neutral color. It’s perfect for calling on the various backgrounds of your ancestors, and if you may not know your entire lineage. 

  • Pictures of your ancestors:
    Pictures are always a great addition to any altar you set up, but especially your ancestors! It lets them know you love them. However, if you don’t have any pictures of your ancestors, that’s okay. If you know them but don’t have a picture, you can write their names on a piece of paper and set it on the altar. If you don’t know their name, but, for example, know you have Mayan ancestry, you can print out an art piece as an alternative. 

  • A glass of water: Spirits get thirsty too! Because everything needs water in order to thrive, always keep a glass on your ancestor altar. Change it out daily. If you can’t, then let them know. 

  • A symbol/prayer of protection: Before you call forth your ancestors, say a prayer or draw a sigil of protection. Ensure you state you only allow benevolent spirits to come through. Not all of our ancestors have our best interest in mind, so it’s important to stay safe! Protection is always your first priority. SatinSays offers a number of protection and cleansing products, such as Magickal Chakra Balancing Sage, Magickal Extra Large Sage, Palo Santo Sticks, and a Spiritual Cleanse Bath, Bundle, and Kit. 

  • Where Do I Set Up My Ancestor Altar? 

    Some people set up their altars near the front door in order for the energy of their home to be protected. Others put their ancestor altar in their room, which is recommended if you don’t have a lot of space or you have a roommate. But overall, remember to do what feels right to you! 

    What Do I Offer My Ancestors? 

    If you knew your ancestors in life, offer them some of their favorite things! If your great-grandparent loved chocolate and jazz music, set some brownies on their altar with Nina Simone in the background. 

    If you didn’t know your ancestors while they were alive, and there isn’t anyone you know that can tell you about them, spirits generally love sweet things: candy, chocolate, etc. Start with that and watch how they communicate with you! They’ll let you know if they like it or not. You can also book a reading with Satin to find out what they like, or, they may communicate it to you through the Ancestral Spirit Candle.  

    How Do I Know My Ancestors Are Here?

    Keep an eye on the candle flame and water glass. When spirits are with you, the flames can dance or flicker in intense ways, depending on the personality of your ancestors! Your water glass may also fill with bubbles. They can be various or just a few. If these signs aren’t here, don’t panic! Your ancestors may still be with you, but will reveal themselves in different ways. 

    Another useful tool for connecting with your ancestors is using a pendulum, which is anything weighted that hangs. Get to know how the pendulum speaks to you. Once you do, you'll be able to ask yes or no questions-- for example, ‘Are my ancestors here with me right now?’ If it swings yes, you’ll know!

    It’s our ancestors who are with us always; protect us, love us. And, when properly cared for, the fierceness of their loyalty will know no bounds!

    To learn more about magick, witchcraft, and spirituality, sign up for the SatinSays Coven! Available for a monthly donation, the amount up to you, through CashApp ($satinsays). We will discuss your spiritual journey and provide a support system, a sisterhood, most of all a bad ass witchy family!
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