A is for Ancestors

Today is the first in a new series of posts on Fridays using the letters of the alphabet for inspiration. The first post begins with the letter A and therefore today’s topic shall be Ancestors. I have done previous posts on Ancestry here, here and here, but as I have said before, honouring those who came before is a very important part of my spirituality because it helps me to develop reverence and respect for others, to remember with gratitude those whom I have loved and lost, and to help ground me, giving me a sense of identity and history.

Over the past few months, I have done a lot of research into my family tree, discovering lots of interesting things. Just before Yule, I managed to get some information from a distant relative which took one line in my family tree right back to 1650. I am really chuffed about this, and I’m hoping to do more over the coming year. I think researching our family tree is a very important spiritual exercise and is one very important way of honouring our ancestors. It allows us to find out who they were, where they came from and even stories about their lives. It is a way to remember them and to develop within ourselves a sense of appreciation and connection towards them.

As I have said before, having a shrine or altar to Ancestors is another way to honour them, and I am trying this year to develop a daily spiritual practice of honouring my Ancestors at an altar. If anyone follows the Atheist Witch Blog, today she included a prayer that can be said each day to our Ancestors. Though our Ancestors may be dead and so unable to hear our prayers, praying to them is still important for what it does for us, the character traits it develops within us, and the spiritual mindset we develop. It allows us to reach across the expanses of time and build a connection with those who have come before. There is also something special about addressing our Ancestors directly rather than in a third person sense.

English: The Chinese Ancestor altar in my sino...

Chinese Ancestor altar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Using both the prayer from Atheist Witch and the one I previously wrote for rituals, I have created the following prayer which I will be saying daily to my ancestors….

Dear Ancestors, known and unknown to me,

From my closest blood relatives and all those of my genetic inheritance,

Through the ever rotating circle of life and evolution, to abiogenesis.

To my intellectual idols, and all who’ve influenced and inspired my culture and my life.

To you whose feet trod this sacred land before me,

And to you who gave your lives that I might eat and live.

Thank you for giving me the gift of existence.

Thank you for the examples of your lives.

Thank you for the love shown by those of you who shared your life with mine.

I light this candle now, an offering to honour you all.

May my memory of you live ever on.”

(light candle and spend 30 seconds in silence)

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