ANCESTRAL MAGICK: More Than Blood

Ancestor

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“We’re all ghosts. We all carry, inside us, people who came before us.”

Liam Callanan

For a lot of Witches Ancestral Magick looks the same but for me, it’s a complex, layered, emotional aspect of the Craft that took me years to dive and tap into.

Ancestral Magick is just that; connecting with your Ancestors, honoring them, and working with them in a Magickal capacity.

There are some who center their practice around their Ancestors, others simply incorporate aspects of Ancestral Magick into their overall practice, and others who do not incorporate their Ancestors at all, for a variety of reasons, but primarily because they don’t feel connected; usually there are deeply rooted generational traumas in cases where the cord between us and the Ancestors seems severed (it can never be severed; hidden yes, severed, no).

We all have generational wounds, they affect us differently, so to compare one to the other is futile.

However, we must be aware of these differences, they are important.

Those of us of European descent who came here, willingly or unwillingly, and had our hand in colonialization will have entirely different wounds to heal and psychic debris to filter through than people who, for example, are a product of African Diaspora (Transatlantic slave trade as one example) , or the Indigenous People who were slaughtered upon our arrival.

I’m not here to discuss politics, but facts are facts.

Regardless of how we, personally, feel about what happened in the past, regardless that it happened in the past, it must still be owned, discussed and healed.

Part of that healing is bringing true human ugliness to the surface.

The Witch community needs intersectionality just like every other area of the human experience.

Personally, I believe that past lives play a huge role in who we are, and what we believe; for the sake of my sanity (Ie. I can only imagine the comments under a blog about that) and the integrity of this piece, I will keep the two topics separate, for now, and focus on Ancestral Magick in the true sense.

Well, kinda.

Stars

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So, before I venture too deeply into territory where there is no turning back, let’s talk about what my Ancestral Magick is/looks like.

My Maternal lineage is Scandinavian (Dane, Norse), Irish, English with a splash of French-Canadian.

My Paternal lineage is Polish.

Therefore, history plays a pivotal role because we need to know about the conflict among our Ancestral lineage; this conflict is important to understand, on both sides.

Especially if you plan on using your Ancestors in a Magickal context.

The dead are tricky to work with in general, they have minds of their own, and we as Practitioners are responsible for finding a dynamic that works for all parties involved.

I’m sure some of you reading this are thinking I am out of my mind right now, but am I?

Have you personally not yet discovered that, for example, some Spirits and/or Deities prefer not to work together? They don’t like to have parts of their Altar next to so, and so? They request not to be evoked or conjured when another is present?

I have learned the hard way, the funny way, and the disastrous way that Spirits and Deities have “conflict” among them—by conflict I mean, the energies don’t compliment each other.

It’s the same with our Ancestors—the love they have for us is not enough to squash some of the beef that they have with each other, trust me. Particularly if you, like myself, are deeply connected to Ancestors from way, way back.

I keep an Altar dedicated to the dead all year long, not just during Samhain.

On my Ancestral Altar there are representations of Death in all forms, offerings, and tokens of my loved ones; I honor my Great-great Grandfather by having his Masonic books there, I honor my Grandmother with a broach of hers, etc.

Most importantly I honor my Ancestors in the foods I eat, the movies I watch, the books I read, how I believe, the way I live my life and who I am as a person; Ancestral Magick is not just about how we honor them in a Magickal and Practical setting, it’s about how we honor them in our day to day, mundane lives, too.

I feel most connected to the Grandparents who raised me (my parents were present, but both worked).

My Grandfather was first generation Polish-American, and a WWII Vet; my Grandmother was first generation Polish-German American, and they both hold huge chunks of my heart.

We are not connected by blood, though.

Yet they come through so strongly.

 

Ripple 2

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You see, my estranged Father was adopted by a Polish family (his own ethnicity) but other than him being full blooded Polish, we don’t know much else.

When I connect with my Ancestors, it’s a pair of Vikings (how cliché, I know; they’re farmers by trade, warriors by choice, sworn to Odin and use the Valknut as their calling card) and my Grandmother who come through the strongest—Gramps kind of goes where Grams does, so he’s around, too.

During one Samhain Ritual, the entire Paternal side came through, and by that, I mean, ALL the Aunts, Uncles, etc. Most of whom were either already passed, or very old by the time I was even born.

They show up and show out for me whenever called upon.

For a lot of people, they don’t have the luxury of knowing their background, so connecting to Ancestors can seem like a daunting, and painful experience.

But, anything worth having is worth working for.

Ancestral Magick is powerful Magick; Ancestors even more powerful allies.

I have found Ancestors that will do anything for me because they love me, others who will do anything for me because they like discord and conflict, others who are mischievous and some who are just gentle healers and teachers.

Ancestors are not just those who we are connected to by blood, they are the people and Spirits who made us, guided us, and showed us the way; the people who raised us, the people whose hands helped heal and hold us.

“Walking. I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my Ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.”

Linda Hogan

Lessons in Magick: Feeding Our Spirit’s

garth-knight

Image: Garth Knight

 

“All that spirits desire, spirits attain.”

Kahlil Gibran

Feeding our Spirit’s is one of the most important practices Witches must keep up with; I refer to both the Spirits we work with, and the Spirit that exists within us—the Spirit that is us.

This is the part of the blog where I have to remind people that I am a Luciferian and there is no worship aspect to my Craft but, I am also a Traditional Witch, and thus, I work with Spirits (Ancestral and those who seek me out).

It takes discipline to maintain a relationship with Spirits, and take care of them.

A bit presumptuous to think we can just call on them (whomever they are) on a whim without having an established working relationship and/or at least having something to offer them, don’t you think?

After all, is that not what Magick is; varying levels of discipline?

Let us first talk about actual Spirits that we work with, if you are not a theist then skip right over this part and scroll down.

There seems to be a common misconception that we must have ornate altars and setups to please our Spirits or make our Magick more potent and powerful; this simply isn’t the case.

As I always say, Magick is about intentions not materials. Sure tools, Sacred space and such add ambiance and energy but they do not make or break our Magick, or us.

Personally, I have a main working altar; it honors the deities I work with most often or feel most connected to. I also have an altar that honors my Ancestors and the Dead in general; I make sure to keep it separate and not share any of my offering plates, or other items used for them in other areas of my home. The dead do not like to share, not to mention the residual energy can be a bit tricky.

I have an altar to charge my Shop items, an altar dedicated to the Divine Feminine, and a few other small altars (or what I call “landing zones”) throughout my home. I like any visitors to be drawn to certain areas; it helps keep track of those who are here out of curiosity and those who are here out of malice.

There are Witch Balls, plenty of warding set up, and iron horse shoes above every door; along with many other tricks of the trade but, I can’t spill all my secrets, now can I?

The idea of keeping several altars is to make my space as inviting to Spirits as I can; it also happens to be super inviting to humans and animals as well. I do not have a large home or a lot of space (I live in a decent size apartment) but Magick is my life and so, I incorporate it into my home décor as much as possible.

The type of offering given depends on the Spirit you are working with. You can start out with the general rule that incense/candles/resins, a beverage of sorts and some type of food are necessary; Spirits are much more willing to work with you if they are fed and happy. Some will ask for cigars, objects, or plants, etc.

A few examples off the top of my head:

If you have Fae around then you want to make sure there is plenty of milk and honey, or sweets in general for them; they also like anything shiny, and make sure to keep iron free from there designated space because it harms them.

If you work with Djinn, they also enjoy shiny objects; in fact the more gaudy, and bold the object (usually jewelry) the more pleased they will be. They also like Myrrh Resin.

If you are working with Daemons it will be specific depending on who you are summoning.

If you are working with the Divine Feminine think of foods that are sensual in taste, texture, and look; pomegranate is always associated with the Shadow Goddesses, while an apple or grapes represents the Lighter Goddess Archetypes. Think chocolate (dark chocolate for the dark Goddess), strawberries, a decadent cake, juicy peaches, and/or any food that is considered an aphrodisiac. You will want to choose a rich red wine for the beverage offering to the Shadow Goddesses, and a sweet, white dessert wine for the other Goddess energies.

If you are working with Angels, God Consciousness or other Divine Light Frequencies, you want to keep their space pure, fresh and clean. Offer citrus fruit and rich, sweet breads. For the beverage you will want to use purified water. Depending on who/what you are working with, you can tweak this a bit. For example, Raphael likes all things green; Gabriel likes all things golden and/or yellow; Uriel likes all things blue; Michael likes all things silver and/or white. They may request stones, foods, or other objects associated with those colors.

You want to offer items that vibrate at a similar frequency to the being in which you are working with. It is important to keep our Spirits fed, happy, and feeling welcomed because I have seen firsthand (and experienced on my own) the wrath of a pissed off, hungry Spirit.

If you work closely with Spirits, even if you don’t use them in your workings on a regular basis, you want pay attention to them; they hold many answers.

Tarot cards no longer speaking to you? Check your Spirits.

Inspiration running at an all-time low? Check your Spirits.

Little things keep happening and you have the feeling that “something is out to get you”? Check your Spirits.

Chaos and discord running rampant in your home and/or life suddenly, and out of nowhere? Check your Spirits.

I fully acknowledge that not everyone works with, or even believes in Spirits; I also acknowledge that not every little thing that goes wrong in our lives is Magickally, or Spiritually related.

However, I have seen the correlation between the mundane and the Magick too often to dismiss it so easily; I think all avenues of thought should be considered, or looked in to. Checking with our Spirits is the first step in figuring out a problem or obstacle.

Now, moving onto the importance of feeding our Spirit.

We live in a world of unknowns, a world currently full of fear mongering, hatred, divide and intolerance; a world I no longer know anymore. That is why now more than ever it is of the utmost importance that we feed our Spirit and live authentically.

I am not an optimistic person, and I don’t even consider myself happy. To clarify, I am happy with my life as I know how blessed I am; I am referring to the actual mood known as “happy”– it’s just not a mood I know very well.

Because I get so overwhelmed and so easily I have to take time out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life and feed my happy; which is my way of saying, do something that brings me joy.

Of course this changes from week to week, even day to day but it is so important to do. If we are not happy and fed (literally and metaphorically) we are tired, drained, lack inspiration and motivation to achieve the things we need to get done; on the mundane and Magickal levels.

Sometimes this means taking a bath and pampering myself; sometimes this means doing a hard workout getting the sweat glands working and heart pumping; sometimes this means going out in nature and just listening to Mother breathe.

Finding joy in the simple things often offers the best answers to life’s most profound questions.

Our Spirit’s are the heartbeat of life, listen closely.

Thud, thud. Thud, thud. Thud, thud…