Honouring Kin and Ancestor Worship

Pagan Blog Projecy 2012: Kinship

For the most part ancestor worship has not been a part of my Pagan practice over the years. As I begin to explore more into the Northern Traditions and specifically into The Norns and Hela, I find a particularly strong emphasis placed upon honouring one’s ancestors.

(Actually worship of any sort is not part of my practice but that is for another time perhaps)

While I haven’t delved into ancestor worship as such, over the years I have found much to admire in those who came before me. Especially the women who for the most part, in the tales told in my family history, seemed to have very much been at the mercy of the decisions made by the men in the family.

I take comfort and strength in knowing who my grandmothers were back through time, and in knowing that their strength runs in my own blood. There is the multi-great grandmother who divorced 3 times. In an age when divorce was frowned upon. That had to have taken incredible grit and determination to defy societal norms not once, but 3 times!

Then there is my great-great grandmother who at age 17, heavily pregnant, journeyed with her husband and 2 year old

Sod House

My great-great grandmother lived in a house like this

son in a covered wagon from Illinois to the Nebraska Territory where they worked a homestead for a number of years. And as a typical homesteading family, my great-great grandfather would be gone for several weeks each year helping with harvests. Leaving my g-g grandmother to manage the home and farm on her own.

My great-grandfather was born in that covered wagon somewhere in Kansas.

The majority of my ancestors left Europe over 400 years ago searching for religious freedom in the New World. One Puritan branch of the family line actually comes from this part of Kent where I now live in England. We sometimes joke they must be rolling in their graves at my being a Pagan witch today, I do take some comfort in knowing that, having returned to England, I am now walking on ground which my ancestors would have walked 400 years before.

When I do shamanic work with the ancestors, I can feel their ancient spirits around me. I don’t worship my ancestors, but certainly I can honour them.

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One thought on “Honouring Kin and Ancestor Worship

  1. I do have a similar sentiment but I started keeping an ancestor/spirit altar last year. It’s funny because while I have always known my family history and sort of respected or admired them my spirit altar started in a totally organic (not sure about healthy) way. When my best friend died unexpectedly I gathered pictures of her, and a few of her things she left over my house various years and put them on a shelf together. Slowly, pictures of my great grandparents, and my grandparents who passed away have joined her on the shelf. So now, I take time to honor them the same way I honor her. I don’t know if that really counts though, because I am only honoring people I knew… usually by leaving “gifts” for them on their birthdays/death days/special days.

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