Ancestor Prayer Tutorial: Calling on Ancestors for Help
A key aspect of my spiritual practice is my ancestors. Ancestor worship is common all over the world, particularly in China, Vietnam, parts of Africa, Mexico, and with certain indigenous American tribes. Some pagans are beginning to see the benefit of ancestor veneration – it connects you with your heritage and offers further spiritual growth and blessings.
Often people are confused on where to start with ancestor worship. I say start with ancestor prayer, including calling on ancestors for help with healing, protection, and comfort. And, guess what? Praying to the ancestors isn’t as difficult as you think. They are quite literally a part of you, which is something easy to tap into. So even if you think the ancestors are somewhere floating around in space or have reincarnated, etc. it doesn’t matter. They are totally reachable because of that inseparable link – your bloodline.
Ancestor Prayer: A Few Ways to Pray
Ancestor prayer can be done in a few ways, depending on what your most comfortable with. First, you can formally pray to the ancestors like you would pray to any other god or goddess. If you like to start your prayers with “Dear God”, then start your ancestor prayer with the same “Dear Ancestors”. You can also say “Blessed Ancestors” or “Beloved Ancestors” as an opening statement. Then continue with your prayer. Whether you are asking for help in a certain area or giving thanks for their presence in your life, either way – it’s okay! I typically start my ancestor prayer with a statement of gratitude then proceed to request things I need. I will also close my ancestor prayer with something like “so be it” or “so mote it be” or “and it come to pass.”
Some people feel uncomfortable praying to ancestors in such a formal way. Maybe it reminds them of a religion that they left long ago. This is fine, too! Ancestor prayer can also be more of a general conversation with a friend or family member. Keep in mind, your ancestors are your family. So talk to them like you would a mother, father, aunt, uncle, cousin, etc. You don’t have to have a formal opening statement, nor do you have to close it with “amen” or “so be it”, etc. Close your ancestor prayer in a friendly way by saying “good night” or “that’s all for now!”
But what if I was adopted or estranged from family?
You don’t have to know your ancestors by name. Again, your ancestors are a physical part of you. They live through you. Praying to the ancestors is as simple as addressing them as “ancestors”. So even if you were adopted and don’t know anything about your ancestors, you can still pray to them. They are still there to guide and protect you. Are you estranged from your family? Same thing applies.
What if I didn’t get along with a specific ancestor, do I still have to pray to them?
The simple answer is no. You don’t have to pray or honor any spirit, ancestor, deity that you don’t want to. Your spiritual practice is your own. Now, you may hear other practitioners and witches telling you this is disrespectful to “skip over” certain ancestors. But the truth of the matter is, not everyone is a good person in life and some aren’t well even after death. So why would you seek out a bad person in the spirit world just because they’re your ancestors? You wouldn’t and shouldn’t. If you’d like to pray to a specific ancestor that you knew in life and loved, do so.
But, how do I know my ancestors can hear me?
Trust that your ancestors indeed hear you when you call – either out loud or in your head. If you want some confirmation, just ask. Ask your ancestors to send you a sign that they heard your prayer and will help you any way they can. Remember, your ancestors have been human, so they may not be able to do everything you expect they can in the spirit world. So be patient with them and the sign will come. More frequently than not, my ancestors will reach out to me in a dream or through some sign in daily life. Some of those signs include songs on the radio, repetitive angel numbers or symbols, and even animals.
I used to say rhyming doesn’t matter when it comes to prayers and chants. But in all honesty, rhyming helps focus our intentions and raise divine energy. Rhyming prayers don’t have to be said all of the time, but they are helpful when you are focusing on a specific intention. And they can be repeated easily. If you want an ancestral healing prayer, try writing one yourself. Even if you’re the “worst writer”, eventually you’ll come up with a poetic ancestral prayer that you can memorize and use any time you’d like! The ancestors appreciate when extra effort is put into communicating with them. It’s kind of like writing a poem for a family member – wouldn’t you be flattered if your family member wrote a poem for you? It’s communication and appreciation in the highest regard!
Ancestor Prayer for Protection
Ancestors within me
Wild and free
Guide and protect me
Ancestral Healing Prayer
Blessed Ancestors hear me this night
Grant me your love and healing light
Ancestral Abundance Prayer
Money flow freely to me and my family
Money flow freely
For the highest good of all
Ancestors make it be.
Calling on Ancestors for Help
It’s as simple as what I wrote above. Calling on ancestors for help doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or fancy. It is nice to remember your ancestors appreciate gifts. Set up a small ancestor altar to honor them or even start an ancestor wall or scrap album. If you have pictures of your passed ancestors, hang them up. Display them on your ancestor altar.
Leave offerings your ancestors might have loved – food, beverage, jewelry, stones, cigars, whatever! If you know your great grandfather loved smoking tobacco – leave a bowl of tobacco as an offering. If you know your grandmother collected packets of sweet n’ low – put some of those out for her to stuff in her “purse”. Calling on ancestors for help will always result in a positive outcome – but remember they like to be thanked for their blessings, too!