Ancestorwork has been getting a lot of attention, and can be very helpful, but in modern American society many of us look at it in bafflement. In every workshop on ancestor work taught from the perspective of a tradition where ancestor veneration is part of the cultural fabric there are people who look at it hungrily and say “But I don’t know anything about my family. I’m an orphan. I’m adopted. All my immediate relatives are nasty people. My parents won’t talk about their ancestry, or they don’t know. Or this is for a particular ethnic group and I don’t belong to it. I’m a little bit of everything. What can I do?” Physical ancestors are not the only kind of ancestors you can work with. Ancestors of spirit are a valid path, and can provide many of the same benefits as ancestors of blood, but you get to pick them. They’re the people whose lives have inspired you, venerated teachers, shining examples of the things that are important in your life. We’ll talk about how identify them, and what you can do with them. We’ll also look briefly at the idea that you may be one for someone else someday too.
Our animal companions are friends, familiars, chosen family. Yet they are not honored as such in our society. What actions do we need to take when they pass, both for ourselves and for them? Our grief for them is no less real than for a human family member or friend, but society as a whole gives it far less respect. We need to seek solutions for that, both for ourselves and for those we may be called on to counsel if we are priests or priestesses. This workshop will discuss both practical and spiritual aspects of dealing with the loss of beloved companion, in terms which can be applied to a variety of traditions. No specific ritual methods will be taught. Instead we’ll discuss concepts and principles, so that you can go home and find ways to express them in the context of the traditions you follow. This workshop is about giving you tools, not off the shelf solutions.
Offerings for today’s practitioner
Offerings are common in many of our traditions, ranging from libations poured by the ancient Greeks and Romans to the animal sacrifices in the temples of the ancient world to bread and milk left out for the fair folk. How many of these practices are still appropriate for us now? What new kinds of offerings might be appropriate instead? Do we need to make offerings at all?
Emralde Kat moderator, Morgan Daimler, Kathryn Smith