Black Spirituality Religion : Constructing an Ancestor Shrine

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by river, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    My understanding is that the basic construction consists of a table or box covered with a white cloth on which is placed a glass of water and a candle and maybe some paraphernalia or photograph of a particular ancestor. From there the ancestors themselves will tell you what to put on the altar once contact is made.

    My question is this: does the altar have to remain in the same place undisturbed? This may be something that in my present living conditions cannot be guaranteed. I live in a dorm room and although I do not currently have a roommate they may decide to put someone in here wih me at any time. Also, the staff has free acess to this room. I don't want them coming in and telling everyone that I am sacrificing to devils and whatnot.

    The only thing I can think that might work is to put a box on my dresser. This might diminish the sacredness of the altar since my dresser is right near the door. Also, I have clothes and things in the dresser. So I would have to take the shrine down everyday and reconstruct it at the time I am using it. Is this permissable? Also, could I reduce the risk of a fire by using a small flat candle that would float inside the glass of water so that if it is upset the water will put it out?
     
  2. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sistah River

    I would caution you with erecting an ancestral altar if there is a distinct possibility of having a roomate.

    Ancestral Altars are sacred space, and as such should not be "contaminated" by other people, especially strangers.

    I have to run out now, but I'll be back to elaborate and give you some other tips on how to erect one.
     
  3. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    Thanks brotha Sek,

    You are the one person that I know has knowledge about this. I await your advice.
     
  4. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    You're quite welcome sistah.

    There are few things you need to do before erecting your altar, such as straightening out your room or house, getting rid of any garbage or other things you don't need. Clutter tends to attract negative energy, particuliarly if you find clutter in corners, so try to sort any extra belongings in containers or bins. After doing this, you want to smudge all the corners and doorways with sage or frankensense or myrh to purify the room.

    Secondly you can create an altar, by using a small table or dresser top, or corner on the floor for your egun (ancestor). Your altar can include photos of your ancestor and personal sentimental items of their possession while they were alive.including food served on white plates (preferably chipped). Bare in mind, never leave food on an altar to the point it becomes spoiled or rotting. Additionally, avoid placing food on the altar that may have contributed to poor health of an ancestor.

    The altar should have at least one glass of water (a must in each and every ritual), a white candle, white flowers, and a favorite religious symbol, for example an Ankh or a religous book of prayers. Mind you, BEFORE placing the water and candle on the Altar, you will want to dedicate the water and candle to the creator, your spirit guides and protectors so as not to invoke any undesirable spirits.


    The ancestral altar is the place where you bring all of your issues, financial, work, love interest, health and family.

    You're correct with respect to ancestors responding to you after a period of time, this will become increasingly evident after working with your altar over a period of time. Sometimes you will hear your ancestor talking to you, or perhaps see him/her, and sometimes reveal him/herself in dreams.

    I can't stress the importance of protection sister. Always, always, dedicate each ritual to the Creator and the spirits that protect, this is a must.
     
  5. river

    river Watch Her Flow MEMBER

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    I know you are right, brotha Sek. I am still detoxing from twenty five years of christian indoctrination which has programmed me to think of all spirits as evil. As I have said elsewhere the things the church sees as good turn my stomach so why should I fear what they think is evil?

    If my present living conditions make it unfeasible to construct an altar then now is undoubtedly the time for me to learn how to do this correctly and build up the protection that I will need when the time is right.

    Are there certain words that I need to say when I dedicate this to the Creator?
     
  6. Blaklioness

    Blaklioness Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Brother Sekhemu,

    I noticed that you said that preferably the plate should be chipped.....might I ask why? Also, what if the ancestor(s), even if good spirits, were westernized and didn't believe in ancestral alters or ATR's when they were living? Would this significantly impact the work or results achieved or not achieved? Thanks.
     
  7. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sistah, I was away for the better part of Sunday, and I'm just getting back. I have to go to a meeting right now. I'll give you a detailed answer upon my return.
     
  8. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sistah, I will answer all of your questions upon my return.

    HeTePu!
     
  9. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Sistah River,

    One important thing I neglected to mention to you is that I strongly encourage you consult a Priest/Priestess for the purposes 1) divination and 2) consecrating your shrine.

    The former can determine what type of shrine your ancestors require and specifically, what items should be kept in the area set aside for your ancestor(Egun). The latter serves as a means to effectively energize your shrine.

    Light your incense and candles, take a little while to clear all of your thoughts.

    Then recite:

    We give honor and praise the Divine, the Supreme, the Omnipotent.
    We praise all of our honored ancestors who live at the feet of the Divine in the lifetime to come.
    We praise and give honor to all our ancestors who died in the soils of Africa.
    We praise and give honor to all our ancestors who died in the Middle Passage.
    We praise and give honor to all the deceased to our family whose names are unknown.
    We give honor and praise to (name the oldest deceased family member).
    We give honor and praise to (name another ancestor)
    We give honor and praise to (name an additional ancestor)

    consistency is key here. It matters little how often during the course of a week, month or daily you work with your altar, as long as it is done on a constitent basis.

    Generally speaking, with respect to placing food on your shrine, one to two days is customary and then throw it out.
     
  10. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Some Initiates use older chipped, as a symbollic way of expressing the understanding that in age and death, all of us have a place in society.

    As we grow older in life our appearance may change but our meaning in life is no less important and intrinsic to our relatives.



    It matters not as to whether or not your ancestors believed in ATR's. Why? because the ancestors are in a realm where all bets are off as it were. Irrespective of their religious convictions, they are at a higher vantage point than those of us in the physical realm. This is not to say ancestors don't have anything to learn or issues to resolve in the spiritual realm. However they do have a decided advantage in helping out their loved ones.

    Carefully take into consideration what type relationship you had with them while they were alive. How close were you to them. How much did they care about you and in what fashion. How do your strengths and weaknesses compliment their own. Could you come to them with personal issues and accept their advice regardless of how well it sets with you.
     
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