Suitable Offerings for Ancestors You Don’t Know
It’s not easy to get in touch with your Ancestors, especially if you’re not fond of the ones closest to you.
Can you skip your nearest Ancestors and ask for help from ones further back? Of course you can. But the question that has been stumping me is how. How do you not only contact someone you don’t know and then convince them that you’d like a hand, with no prior knowledge of said person/people?
The way to start this path is to create a space where Ancestors who are interested in forming a relationship with you to come forward and introduce themselves. Creating a shrine or sacred space can be as simple as setting aside a shelf or portion of a table and filling it with items, images and offerings that might attract add Ancestor. As you get to know them, you can swap them out for things you know your Ancestor likes.
The idea that the first gifts must be absolutely perfect or the Ancestor (or Guide/Spirit/Deity) will refuse to work for you is what keeps most people (including me) stuck and prevents us from forming relationships to Unknown Spirits.
No Spirit (no Spirit that you would want to work with, anyway) is going to go off in a huff if you don’t figure out their favourite food from one interaction. The best way to start is with items that they might like, and with Ancestor workings that’s easier than you think.
Suggestions of Ancestor Offerings
- Images of family mottos or coats of arms
- Figurines of family work – are you looking to contact a particular sort of person? You might add items like needles, or knives, or bullets to attract a person who had a particular occupation
- Money. You’d have to go very far back to contact a Spirit who didn’t understand the concept of cash. Money/coins is a good starting offering for many types of Spirit for this reason, but many traditions have burial practices involving the burial of a person with coins for one reason or another, so coins and Ancestor work go hand in hand.
- Food or drink. If you have a national or regional dish, a family recipe, or other significant food that is a good place to start. Even if they don’t like the food, you tried, you researched and you cooked a thing/bought a thing. That means something.
- National and regional foliage, flowers or herbs
- Pictures of human figures or skeletons. Giving them a ‘body’ to inhabit is a great thing to make communication easier. It doesn’t have to look precisely like them to be worth getting.
- Shells, beads, and jewelry items. You’d have to go even further back, possibly to before sentience, to get a spirit that didn’t understand or value a gift. Shells in particular are great gifts for contacting Super Old, like pre-Bronze Age, Ancestors.
- Pipes. Tobacco. Coffee. Alcohol. Things that were valued historically will often go down well. Even better if they are still valued now. There is no reason to go pouring a full bottle of Absolut for someone you don’t know, but a small tinny of beer or glass of wine usually grabs Their attention.
What items do you recommend giving to an Unknown Ancestor? Let me know in the comments!