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The Ancestor Altar

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Re: The Ancestor Altar

Postby loona wynd » Tue Feb 04, 2014 12:45 pm

Kassandra wrote:.
1. Rules are made to be broken, otherwise where's the fun in life? (I won't tell if you won't)
I prefer to bend rather than break them.

Kassandra wrote:.2. Last I heard, The H Police retired in Florida last year, and are no longer random-checking altars like they used to
Well that's good. My altars wouldn't fit with any altar police lol.

Kassandra wrote:.3. If you saw my altars, you'd have quite the chuckle, due to thoughts #1 and #2 above, hehe, so...
My understanding of altars have always been that they should be a personal representation of your path and connection with the deities and spirits you work with. While some traditions for rituals and practical work may have specific outlines (Traditional Wicca being an example) overall so long as it generates and keeps your power it should work.

I asked my question because the thought had occurred to me before. The ancestral altar is an altar for the dead so that we may honor and remember them. That is why I had always wondered about keeping a photo of my biological mother on there. So far as I am aware she is alive.

Kassandra wrote:.If you want to add an even more interesting twist to the mix, get your DNA tested. You'd be surprised what comes up in these tests! lol. People think they know their "family line," but often there are other family histories that were never told, it seems. Cat Yronwode wants to write a book about this topic one day...H ancestor work based on one's genetic test results. Intriguing idea, I think.
I think it would be interesting. Ancestry.com has a useful tool. It can trace surnames to their origin locations. So I looked up my own origin location of my biological surname. That is where I found out that my ancestry at least on one side is traced to a small Shire in England called Boynton (my biological surname).

I further looked up the history of that region and figured out that I came from a Germanic tribe. There are several tribes that were in that area at one point. So I just figured that going with Germanic and Nordic as my roots was a good way to go. It's been a ride. Before I started the ancestral path aspect I had a dream with the Norse Gods in it. So its been a return home there.

I've done the same for my adoptive family. I found that one name is German in origin. Bedell sounds and looks a bit German any way. So that was another point in the right direction. The other name is French. I looked up the area in france and found it could either be the Franks or another tribe. So yet again another Germanic tribe.

Kassandra wrote:.Once you learn your genetic ancestral story, you could have some items on your ancestor altar representing these ancestors. For instance, if you ever visit there you could take some soil from that country and incorporate it into your altar space. If you can't go to that country, you could do other things like include a Google Earth map of that location as a placemarker to represent this ancestral homeland, and/or place imported items actually manufactured in that country on the altar. Use your imagination!
I've been to England once and Germany once. Though in Germany I was in the airport and no where else. I do plan a trip to England again someday. On that trip I plan to try and find my way to the shire of Boynton. And you better believe I will be taking soil home with me to place on my altar. I'll also be taking photos of the shire name and me next to them.

Kassandra wrote:.I want to get my DNA test, see what comes up. :? .
Have fun. I would do this sort of test but I'm sure it costs a bundle.
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Re: Is a Photo of a Living "Ancestor" Harmful to Them?

Postby loona wynd » Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:31 pm

Kassandra wrote:Loona, for some reason, the first time I read your post, I didn't catch this question about possibly hastening your relatives' death...
That's ok. There is a lot of material out there in regards to ancestral veneration and altars. I said a lot of other good things about what I do for my own ancestral veneration. It's easy to miss things.

Kassandra wrote:.No, no, I don't think you are doing that at all by having that picture on your altar. You are reaching out in a loving way, and whether they are alive right now or not, they will get that vibe of love. I think you're fine (but, that's just my opinion; a more traditional practitioner might tell you otherwise). Your ancestor altar sounds very thoughtful and warm, and the four bloodlines meditation you experienced sounded very authentic and heartfelt. Like you said, with an adoption, your ancestral situation may be a bit different than most peoples,' and an exception to some rules may be in order.
I didn't actually think it was doing this sort of thing. However the book did make me wonder about it. Anything is possible with spirits of any form. So I thought other input was in order.

Kassandra wrote:.Anyway, I was going to post an afterthought I had this morning regarding breaking the rules, that's why I was reading over your post again. As I looked over at my grandmother's pic in my room this morning, I thought to myself, no way would I want her pic anywhere else in the house. It is an old water color on silk formal portrait, and I'm the only one of my siblings that has any such thing. It is dear to me. I also thought of a story about my mom's pic that kind of made me chuckle: once, I hung my late mother's pic in the hallway, thinking since she could "see" everybody passing by, she'd just love it there. But no. One day I walked by her pic and it seemed to be saying, "I don't like the hallway. Get me out of here. I feel like I'm wallpaper or something."

So, I broke the "no ancestor pics in the bedroom" rule, and set up my ancestor altar there. It just felt like the right thing to do to me. I realize some more traditional folks would frown on that, but I like "discussing" my dilemmas with them in the privacy of my room, versus trying to do the same in the den, or the kitchen, or the living room, all of which have no privacy. These were just some things that occurred to me this morning, in relation to your original question.


I always had my grandmother's photo in my bedroom near by. So it made sense to me to have the altar in the bedroom. It also made it seem more reasonable as my grandmother communicates with me through my dreams. I figured having the ancestral altar in the bedroom would make that easier for all ancestral communication. Its only been since I moved that my altars are elsewhere.
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