I know I haven’t updated this in a while. Here’s to me getting back to it.
I have recently set up an ancestor altar, and have been doing nightly devotions. I have a small table, covered in a black cloth, with pictures of my grandparents, great-grandmother, father, and dogs – the honored dead. There is also an incense burner, candle, and cup of water as offerings. Each night, I give the water as a libation outside, light the incense and the candle, and place a fresh cup of water on the altar, with prayer. I have also recently joined Ancestry.com and so far its been a good experience.
I think that ancestor veneration is one of the biggest pieces missing from a lot of Neopagan practice, especially considering how important it was to the ancients. We become so focused on the Gods, that we forget that the Gods were not the only – or even the primary – focus of ancient Pagan worship. Paganism is practical, if anything, and the rural people of ancient and Medieval Europe worshiped the spirits who could most directly help them – the spirits of nature, and the blessed dead. I look at it as maintaining and nurturing a relationship. These are the people who loved us when they were alive. That love goes on, and they guide us still. Ancestor worship helps to maintain that connection.