BHM Day 14: How to Set Up an Altar to Your Ancestors

One of the reasons we lack power as a commUNITY, is because we have forgotten to honour our ancestors.

This is mainly due to religion. In yesterday’s blog I explained how our African ancestors were forbidden to practice their traditions and were given a watered-down version of Afrikan spirituality instead. Altar work was replaced with ‘going to the altar’ at church.

Today, I will show you how to re-connect with your ancestors, with the help of a book I bought from Bushmama called ‘Ancestral Veneration’, and a video by Dr Tochi.

Halloween is one of the best times to contact your ancestors, because it’s when the veil between this physical world and the spiritual realm is the thinnest. This is the true meaning behind the skull they use to represent Halloween. πŸ’€πŸ‘»

Instead of setting up an altar to our ancestors, we were told to go to the altar at church to accept a white saviour.

Many of our ancestors died a horrible death during the Afrikan Holocaust, and they too need healing. Many of our ancestors did some terrible things in their life which has affected future generations. They need healing too. Not all ancestors can help, basically.

When WE heal we’re not just healing OURSELVES,


We also have some strong ancestors with a warrior spirit that we can call on for guidance and protection, like Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Harriet Tubman, Khalid Muhammad, Nanny Maroon, Malcolm X, Queen Nzinga, Shaka Zulu, and Maya Angelou, who like me, her pen was her sword. (There are many more, feel free to do your own research).

If you have someone in your family or community who was a warrior while they were alive, fighting for the liberation of our people, definitely put them on your altar! If not, research the names I have given above, and choose which ones resonate with you.

Brother Dougie, Community Activist

I never really innerstood the term ‘guidance and protection’ until I started doing altar work!

Contacting known and unknown ancestors should be done with reverence, and care. I do not advise calling upon spirits you have no spiritual connection with; it’s best to start with those in your immediate bloodline.

I started with my grandmother, my father, and now my sister. In yesterday’s blog I honoured Lady Leo (as she liked to be called) for her contributions to our community.

Today I honour Harriet Tubman who freed many enslaved Africans from white oppression using an underground railroad system.

Harriet Tubman freed our people from physical slavery. My calling is to help free our people from mental slavery.

Before you start doing any altar work, make sure you are strong mentally and spiritually, as you are contacting spirits. This is nothing to be afraid of, they are your family.

Let’s start with how to set up your altar, bearing in mind that there’s always room for improvisation and ‘following your spirit‘.

Watch this video by Dr Tochi on how to set up an altar:

Here are some screenshots from Bushmama’s e-book ‘Ancestral Veneration‘:

You may need some time to build up to starting your altar work, that’s why I’m sharing this in-formation a couple of weeks before Halloween, which is the best time to make contact with your ancestors, as the veil between this world and the spiritual world is the thinnest.

Once you feel ready, proceed to setting up your altar:

In short, be sure to include items that represent the 4 elements in nature: air, fire, water and earth.

Use a white cloth to cover your table, or if it’s wooden you can leave it bare. I’m currently using an African cloth with Adinkra symbols on it.

In the centre, add a plate or bowl (white or glass). I personally use a glass of water and put what I’ve written on a piece of paper underneath it. Add a plant to pour libation to your ancestors, pictures of your deceased loved ones, a candle, and anything else that represents what you desire to achieve from your altar work. You can also offer food that you’ve cooked for them, but leave out salt.

Decide where you want to place your altar using the information above.

The first step in your altar work is to decide who you will be calling on:

I personally have had some profound in-speriences from doing altar work. Just a few days ago my sister Lady Leo came to me in a dream for the first time since passing over last September. She was reassuring me that she had my back.

Last year, I dreamt my father for the first time since he passed over 20 years ago! The message I got from that dream (and from two readings following) was that his mother was trying to make contact with me! I had only met my paternal grandmother once, when he took us to Jamaica; I was 10, and the only thing I remember about her was her force-feeding me coconut water from the coconut! My sister also loved coconut water, so of course, I have a coconut on my altar.

Tomorrow we will focus on how to actually do altar work, in the meantime, explore your family tree and decide who you would like to do Ancestral Veneration to!

Watch the video in yesterday’s blog where we set up an altar outside my sister’s house to honour the work she did in our community.

Read the next blog in my ‘Black His-story Month’ series Making Contact with Your Ancestors.

Check out To Know Thyself online course with Ancestral Essence.

In your service,

Visual & Spoken Word Artist | Author | Truth-seeker | Soul Purpose Tribe Leader

Touching the Heart…through Art!

In Year Twelve of my self-help novel Journey of a Sister Suzanne sets up an altar, download Year One FREE in e-book and audiobook – Kindle Unlimited members can borrow the e-book series from Amazon’s lending library FREE!

‘It is not taboo to go back and fetch what you have forgotten’

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