So in my current downsizing, I recovered a mirror that’s been in the family since my husband’s Grandfather. Working with Ancestors is… a broad base in our family. I may be ‘just the wife,’ married into the family – but they accept me, and speak to me as if I was always there. There is a respect and honoring that won’t be denied here.
However, on both side of the tree – there are those who are not welcomed, and some who are just fucking dangerous. These dead still need to be fed, but… Kept seperate. Many books don’t cover this. Some dead not only never move on, but are still stuck in the rut they were in, in life. These individuals don’t have your best interests at heart, they don’t care if you’re happy, they don’t want to help you. There are many dead who are selfish, controlling, harmful, and otherwise extremely toxic to any living.
The hell do you do with them?
For me, I set the plates outside the home for one. In the morning, I salt my threshold, and windowsills to ensure that they do not return. Harsh yes – but for some of my dickish Ancestors it’s a measure I won’t go without. Also, a stiff tea brewed to wash the house, from floors to ceilings; as well as a staunch incense to ‘bomb‘ their mitts out of my home. Everyone leaves the building, and when we come home, someone holds their breath wearing protective talismans and opens all the doors and windows (usually me) and box fans put there to fan them out. Heat or not – it works.
The dangerous dead will ‘feed’ off of you, will invade your home, your spirits, and will ‘eat’ at you to get their desired ends. They are not people you want around. Sure, I’ve heard ‘You need to honor ALL of your Ancestors,’ but what about those who never deserved it? Those who were cruel, callous, or used your family? What honor is there in that?
For the beloved Ancestors, such as my Shirley Zimmerman, I adore giving her perfumed offerings, sweet foods, and macramed items, as well as hand made textiles. She loves them. In return, she’s showing me ‘signs‘ and gestures with sound that do produce immense magic. Wow Grandma, Wow.
For my husband’s side of the family, I give home-made sweets, shared tobacco (I share my pipe tobacco with them, many of my Hubs’ Ancestors were smokers), as well as regular polishing of their personal items so they always gleam. In return, they show me doors, and manners for interacting with the dead. I tip my hat, and give a reverent bow.
Little things count for so much with the beloved dead.
I have three colors that I use for the dead – red, black, and white. Not wholly surprisingly, these colors correspond to the three worlds – red for the Underworld, Black for the Middle World, and White for the Upper-World. Odd maybe?
I’m writing this as the summer solstice draws close. In this time of year, the dead come through this world in fixed parades, in a predetermined path that if you catch one, the best thing is to empty your pockets for offerings, and give your entire lunch or dinner to them. Trust me, it’ll go a long way.
But, your Ancestors are not just genetic Ancestors. Adopted Ancestors are just as potent, and just as loved. Blood does NOT make family in my book.
For my own work, making a fume to ‘feed‘ them is vital. Otherwise, what umph would there be?
A good fume I use is mullein, mugwort, and lemon verbena. Moist leaves/stems on raw charcoal makes an effective method to give them a physical bridge to speak to them. In my beliefs Arta rules the Underworld, and thus is a good Goddess to speak to in Ancestral work. In my view, She is one of the many Bone Mothers. Who better than one of the Bone Mothers?
Next is food. Saltless, and plain to nourish them. It’s been a long road, so feeding the hungry dead makes sense to me. I have used saltless cornbread to saltless yeastless bread for others.
Other than that, there are many websites, books, and blogs that can take your further. From here, it’s personal, and household related ONLY. No offense…