Ancestor Worship?

So, if there is one area of my practice in which I’m sorely lacking, it is that of ancestor veneration.  As a black American, knowledge of my ancestors is limited to what can be found in State records, or what is passed down in the family.  (A close relative of mine has researched all there is to find on our family, which sadly, wasn’t much more than what we already knew; and yes, I realize that many black Americans will not share my plight, as their families are more recent arrivals to the States.)  On top of all that, my ancestors were likely Christians or members of tribal religions.

As a Hellenist, what do I have in common with them, besides bloodlines? Would they even want a relationship with me?  Do they know me already?  I have no idea, but I know I’ve wondered about them for a very long time.

I keep a whole shelf for them in my shrine cabinet, but I don’t really know how to go about establishing communications.  How exactly does one begin to honor their ancestors?  If anyone reading this has experience in this area, I could use a few suggestions, so any assistance would be much appreciated. Advance thankies to any and all who respond.  ^_^


6 responses to “Ancestor Worship?

  1. Well, the first question is : do you want to start some ancestor worship ? Do you need to ? Because if it’s something that seems important to many, maybe it’s not part of who you are.

    Secondly, you sure have a peculiar family history, not knowing makes it hard to grasp. To know what would be “appropriate”, the best thing is to focus on what you know and what you feel. Start with grand-parents and great-grandparents. What do you know about them ? Their beliefs, their temper,… what did they or didn’t they like ? And then, ask yourself constantly, what you could do to please them, what you could offer…. just like for deities. You could start be talking if it’s easier. Well, you could sing for them, or sing all songs/lullabies…. or maybe read books of such peole’s history ?

    • Well, lately I’ve felt a strong need to develop these relationships. My mother passed away several years ago, and we were close, but I’m not sure how to approach her now. But I’ll try cooking some of her favorite foods, and maybe buy her a pack of cigarettes (she was a smoker), and see where that leads me. I never thought of singing for ancestors, which is surprising since I sing for my gods. Thank you for your suggestions, and I’ll definitely take them to heart.

  2. Hi I know this is an old post but I wanted to comment. I understand how you feel – my ancestors are also Arican American (with some Native American and Irish thrown in). A member of my family was trying to find something out about our history and got as far back as finding out we were related to Nat Turner (which was exciting). I don’t know much about my fathers side of the family as for whatever reason they don’t talk. Both my parents passed away when I was 5 ( that would be 29 years ago).
    I wasn’t sure what to do at first either as I have very few pictures of my parents.
    So I have worked with “eneric” images. The ones that I liked the most. I have also researched aspects of the areas where I’m pretty sure they came from. I have been dabbling with the idea of getting one of those DNA tests to find out which parts of Africa my family is from.
    I digress – start small, I simply had a brown & green candle, a glass of water and some small food stuff on a table for them. I said a small prayer whenever I lit the candle (For those ancestors named and unnamed, for those known and unknown I give light and warmth. Cool water to ease your thirst and food to feed your souls. I givr thanks for being here because of you). It was a baby step, but it has helped me a lot with other things in my life.