As the days get shorter, this is the season to honor our ancestors. Ancestral reverence has been misconstrued as “devil worship” by those who don’t understand. It is not “worshiping,” it is a form of honor. It is also practiced in other traditions such as the Mexican “Day of The Dead” and Haitian and New Orleans Voodoo “Fete Gede. “

The Mexican tradition is celebrated Oct. 31 – Nov. 3 and Fete Gede is celebrated the entire month of November.

In the process of acknowledging those that came before us, we honor a representation of our roots and ourselves. This encompasses the positive and negative aspects. We are what we come from but that doesn’t define our destiny. Epigenetics has proven such. When we understand the traumas and strengths from which we came, we can recognize our triggers and gifts. Knowledge of these aspects and the wisdom to use them will change your life.

Have you ever noticed that you attract the same type of relationships that your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have? The dynamics of the relationships are what we’re examining.

For instance, if there was a history of physical violence or a lot of infidelity in their marriages and you seem to be experiencing the same type of scenarios in your life, you may be the victim or the aggressor in your relationships.

Either way, the dynamics are the same. If so, how can you change the narrative in your life so that your children and their children won’t repeat the same abusive cycles? These answers can be discovered with a combination of therapy and spiritual practice, such as ancestral reverence. Therapy can include seeing a professional who’s trained to guide through trauma or a type of artform of expression utilized to work through the emotions that arise as you work on yourself. This could consist of hobbies that allow us to tap into our creative selves.

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One of the first steps to ancestral reverence is setting up an altar or a sacred space that is used to honor those who came before you. Your altar will not look like anyone else’s. It’s authentic to you and your ancestral lineage.

The four basic elements of setting up an altar include water, earth, fire, and air. Water elements could include a glass of water or alcohol. Earth could consist of crystals, a plant, food or incense. Fire is represented with candles. Air is represented when you burn incense or light a candle. Some put pictures of their ancestors on their altar. If you don’t know who these people are, you can use a plant. Every time you water the plant or pour libation, you acknowledge your ancestors. Use a cloth to cover the table or area you use. It can be white or whatever color you feel drawn to.

Developing your altar is strictly instinctual. Whatever comes to your mind, you put there. It’s your sacred space to commune with, receive guidance, emotional, spiritual, and mental comfort.  Ask your spirit guides to help you on this journey with physical, financial, and mental concerns. This beautiful practice will help you to establish a relationship with your spirit guides on this road called life.

This powerful connection with our spirit guides will eliminate the need to go outside of ourselves and to give our power to those who choose to control us for their benefit. You’ll see why this practice was taught to us as “evil.” You can’t control someone who is aware of who they are and are directly connected to their divinity.

Take your power back and utilize ancestral reverence to reach your full human potential. May you walk the path your ancestors dreamed about.