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How to Set Up an Ancestor Altar

How to Set Up an Ancestor Altar

As we move toward the thinning of the veil at Samhain, you may feel the urge to connect with your ancestors. From cooking with your ancestors to setting up an ancestor altar, there are many ways to honor those who have come before you. In this post, I’ll discuss setting up an ancestor altar. Your altar can be as elaborate or as simple as you desire.

How to Set Up an Ancestor Altar

As with any form of magickal practice, you get to decide what feels good to you, so as you read the following tips, listen to your intuition and choose what works best for your family. 

Where to Set Up an Ancestor Altar

Our ancestors love to be around us, so choose an altar space in a central location in your home. The entryway, fireplace, and kitchen are great places for an ancestor altar. Consider your ancestors’ professions or hobbies when choosing where to place the altar. Honor an ancestor who loved cooking in your dining room, for instance. A shelf altar is an excellent alternative if you’re short on space. Just make sure you’ve got enough room for your ancestors’ items or pictures and any other objects you’d like to include. 

The Best Objects for an Ancestor Altar

When choosing items and objects for your ancestor altar, you may be limited in your choice due to availability. That’s OK! The best objects for an ancestor altar are those that resonate with you and your loved ones. Here are some ideas:

  • Pictures of your ancestors, if you have them.
  • Jewelry items once belonging to your ancestors.
  • Military pins and awards,
  • Favorite flowers,
  • Lace or fabric that reminds you of specific ancestors,
  • Music they used to love – you can intentionally play a song for them right from your phone while you assemble the altar!
  • Their favorite food or drink.

Then, add a few items listed below to complete your altar.

Candles for Your Ancestors

One of the easiest ways to enhance an ancestor altar is to grab some candles. Carve your ancestors’ names into candles or select a scent for a particular ancestor. For instance, if your grandmother loved jasmine, choosing a jasmine candle for her altar would be perfect.

Below are some candle colors that align with ancestor magick. In a pinch, remember that a white candle can be used for any purpose.

  • Brown: Family connections
  • Purple: Hidden knowledge, divination, intuition
  • Yellow: Communication and wisdom
  • Black: Protection 

Herbs to Work with Your Ancestors

If you’d like to include herbs in your ancestor altar, here are a few that will enhance your magick.

  • Wormwood: Calling in spirits
  • Cinnamon: Spirituality and raising vibrations
  • Bay: Psychic abilities and protection
  • Mugwort: Dream magick and protection
  • Pine: Immortality and renewal
  • Rosemary: Remembrance and love 

Gemstones to Add to Your Ancestor Altar

Gemstones are another easy way to honor your ancestors. Below are a few ideas for helping you connect with those who have gone before you.

  • Obsidian: Scrying and protection
  • Lapis Lazuli: The afterlife
  • Amethyst: Intuition
  • Bloodstone: Bloodline connection

You can also work with your ancestors’ specific birthstones as well. Wear or carry them with you to remind you of the beautiful legacy from which you come.

Remember, YOU are the magick, so follow your intuition and heart as you set up an ancestor altar this year.

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