How to Start an Ancestor Altar

How to Start an Ancestor Altar

If there’s one thing that most cultures share, it’s the honoring of ancestors. As a practice, some people even tend to do it without the slightest questioning. Ancestor altars have become a pillar through which individuals can connect with their lineage and show gratitude and respect for the ones that came before them.

Through this vessel, some people even go as far as seeking advice from their ancestors. So, creating one is such a beautiful thought. It can help bridge the gap between the spiritual and physical worlds and pay homage to those who came before you.

So let’s dive into the subject and see how you can start an ancestor altar yourself.

What is an ancestor altar – a brief history

First, you need to acknowledge that you don’t need to be a part of a certain religion to create it. Through time, beauty has been joining forces to develop something extraordinary and joining together significant beliefs.

There is a specific ritual that makes this a special practice. In the past, it was believed that by building an ancestor altar, you manifest a deep connection between this one and the other world.

To this day, this belief is still very much in force.

How to start an altar?

The intent matters the most, the driving force that will help you get to the finish line. It is the will to appreciate something larger than you, larger than life, that will get you started on this ancestor altar project.

Take some time to reflect on the past. Have a look at some old albums and breathe in each photograph. Note how the traditions, the culture, and your family changed over the years. All of them together make up the heritage you are proud of today. Wanting to manifest that by creating a soothing ritual is the perfect reason why you should start connecting with them.

You can begin creating an altar in a few ways, and we are stating the most important ones for you below. Naturally, we cherry-picked the one that is the most important ones, so keep on reading to find out!

Picking a space

Is there a certain space in your home you wish to dedicate to your ancestors? That is a good way to begin. Think of it as the beginning of your journey, where you journal your steps. Write down everything you do to create a feeling of wholeheartedness!

Think about it – it can be any space – a coffee table, maybe a special corner, or even a side table, or a bookshelf. If you want to create an Ancestor altar very close to you, use your nightstand – it’s a great idea, right?

Remember that this will be something you need to nurture throughout the year, not just for a limited period.

What to include on your altar?

Tapping into the wisdom of your ancestors using the world and tools of today may seem like a tricky business. But we can help you overcome that! After you have thought about the right reasons why you are doing this and picked a space, it is time to focus on the elements that are a part of it.

Include anything you feel is important on your altar – anything that would honor your lineage. The first things that people usually think of include old notes, cards, pictures, or small items. After you have added that, you may want to put your personal touch. Here is how to do that:

Get some candles – lighting a candle or two or using incense is the perfect way to represent the spirit of the one that has passed. Candles are always a part of these rituals, as the flickering flame represents the bridge that binds you and your ancestors. 

Incorporate various scents and colors. Incense, on the other hand, is a way to cleanse your space. It creates a deeper spiritual platform and helps you focus on your prayer. It enables you to feel more supported by your loved ones.

- A bowl of water – purifying the space can be done in more ways than one. For example, think about adding a small bowl of water. It symbolizes pure love and affection – just the kind you have for your ancestors. It also creates a sacred atmosphere that is not only soothing for the soul but visually pleasing as well.

Offer something personal they would like – even if you haven’t met your ancestors, take a look at the family's traditions and culture and take it as a starting point. Manifest what they would have wanted onto the altar. Yes, the altar is a place of remembrance, but it is also a place of calmness and connection. Don’t be afraid to mix the two to create the perfect atmosphere worthy of those who came before you.

Add some rituals – and by rituals, we mean some practices that you get to perform while you dedicate some time to the altar. Include some affirmations, add a journal, and even meditate! There is nothing wrong with sitting quietly in front of the Ancestor altar. The key is in creating consistency – one through which you will nurture and cherish your deep connection to the past.

There is no better time to start working on your ancestor altar than today. It is a profound way to begin honoring your past and where you came from. While doing so, you get the ancestors' support, too, making the whole practice even more cherished and special! Experience all the wisdom passed through generations – all at once! This sacred space can help you achieve that.

Ancestor altar is a unique way of expressing yourself, so allow yourself to be guided by your intuition and your heart and witness how you will make the most out of it!

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