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Set Up an Ancestor Shrine - Ancestor Altar

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Honoring Those Who Came Before Us
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Set up a simple shrine to honor your ancestors and loved ones.

Image by Patti Wigington 2008

In many Pagan traditions, the ancestors are honored, especially at Samhain. This Sabbat, after all, is the night when the veil between our world and the spirit world is at its most fragile. By setting up an ancestor shrine or altar, you can honor the people of your bloodline -- your kinfolk and clansmen who have helped to shape the person you are. This altar or shrine can be set up just for the Samhain season, or you can leave it up all year long for meditation and rituals.

If you've got the room, it's nice to use an entire table for this shrine, but if space is an issue, you can create it in a corner of your dresser top, on a shelf, or on the mantle over your fireplace. Regardless, put it in a place where it can be left undisturbed, so that the spirits of your ancestors may gather there, and you can take time to meditate and honor them without having to move stuff around every time someone needs to use the table.

Also, bear in mind that you can honor anyone you like in this shrine. If you have a deceased pet or friend, go ahead and include them. Someone doesn't have to be a blood relative to be part of our spiritual ancestry. Be sure to read our article on Honoring the Ancestors When You're Adopted.

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