The link between genealogical research and connecting with our individual ancestors may seem obvious, but the reality of making discoveries and learning about the past has had a much deeper effect than I expected.
I’ve always had a small portion of my altar space dedicated to ancestors in general, meaning showing a reverence to all those who have come before us and not to any specific ancestral spirits. One day, in a seemingly random thought, it overcame me that I needed to learn more about the life of my grandfather, whom I never knew, and my interest in genealogical research was born. This, of course, led me to learn about many branches of my family and my husband’s family. The more I learned about them, the more clear they became to me – what life was like for them where and when they lived, the jobs they had, the land they owned, reading stories about their lives, finding pictures of their grave sites and sometimes even finding pictures of what they actually looked like! All of these things were increasing my ability to connect with them before I even realized it. It became even more apparent that I was connecting with them when I had an ancestor reading with Rev. D. John Michael Hilford. Not knowing I was studying genealogy, he spoke of three gentlemen who were with me and he described them as three of the men I had been researching. He said they were very happy I was aware of them, that I should make it known to them that I appreciate their presence and to not be afraid to speak with them. This was the impetus to create a true ancestor shrine on my altar.
My ancestor shrine is made up of the following: in a small crystal dish that belonged to my Grandmother I placed a citrine crystal skull (with a large rod of tourmaline naturally growing through it!) surrounded by bay leaves, white sage, frankincense tears and a piece of angelica root. In another crystal dish that also belonged to my Grandmother, I keep small rocks, pebbles and shells that I’ve found over the years to remember and honor their earthly lives. I have pictures of my ancestors and a small tray decorated with a picture of three African women, which came from Nairobi, Kenya, and reminds me to always honor the ancestors that we all share. I also keep my pendulum and my crystal ball on my ancestor altar. I dress all of these objects with spirit guide oil and feed them small cups of whiskey and florida or rose water. I light candles for them and am working an starting a honey jar to draw their guidance to me.
Although genealogy has allowed me to establish a connection with my ancestors beyond what I thought I was capable of, I’m still working on reaching out to our greater ancestral spirits to connect with one who is willing to work with me. I’m beginning to study the saints and great martyrs and leaders of ancient times and am finding that even they have their own mystical genealogy. Since today is All Saints Day, I ask that all of us think about the greater spirits that guide and teach us and to be open to listening to them. And in honor of All Souls Day tomorrow, I ask that all of us think about those ancestors whose genes we carry and to honor the lives they lived.
Much love and luck to all!