Spiritual Work

YOUR ANCESTORAL ALTAR – REVISITED AND REVISED

(Scroll down to see How to Set Up Your Ancestral Altar)

My mother is a very spiritual woman, but all her life she hid her spirituality because of fear of being called an Obeah woman in a very judgmental Jamaican Hypocritical Christian Society. Obeah woman is a name that I Obara Meji have come to love, go figure, lol.

I had a brother I did not know, his name was Neville, a wonderful name I think.  He died when he was eleven months old. According to my mother, Neville was a beautiful child, good looking and plump and just a cheerful fun little boy. The father had another woman on the side. After my mother had the baby and the family was happy, my mom, the father and the child, the evil woman went “Out” (out as in Obeah/Juju yard) and threw wicked Obeah and so Neville the baby developed a huge boil. I cannot remember where on his body she said it was. The boil eventually burst and my mother said the stench from it was awful. She told us, after it burst Neville, my sweet brother, that I never knew died.

Mama said she was devastated and so was the father. They eventually split up, but the whole parish knew that it was a blow (Obeah) sent by the woman that killed the sweet innocent brother Neville.

We heard this story from my otherwise secretive mother because she had a picture of him on her center table, and as we grew we asked questions and so she told us. I would suck my favorite thumb and listen to her as she sadly told the story of losing her baby. I watched her eyes mist as she spoke about him, I knew that she never forgot him, and his picture on the table kept him alive to her somehow.

Iba Neville! I also will never forget you and so I call your name whenever I honor my ancestors of which you are one.

Also on the center table of my mothers living room was a hair brush belonging to my Aunty B. My mother’s younger sister, She died at a very young age. My mother said she stopped having her period in her early twenties, and from there she withered away. My mother described her as a very thin girl with long beautiful hair and a very quiet demeanor. She had the most gentle spirit, and she made no trouble to anyone. Her death was a mystery according to my mother who said they took her to the hospital but the doctors could not figure out the cause of her illness, and so sweet Aunty B died. My grandmother never got over her.

Once when we made a visit to the country where my grandmother lived, my aunt from America was coming to Jamaica. So we all met up at my granny;s house, as we gathered in the room (I forget which one, I was very young then) a dove appeared and perched on the window sill.My grand mother went over to the dove who did not fly away or even flinch as they normally would, and she began to cry as she picked it up.

She said “B, you come? you come to see your sisters as they are all together in one place with their children. My grandmother hugged the dove and cried, saying that i was my Aunt B. It was believable however (I know I may sound foolish to those who do not understand that a spirit can enter the body of the living, be it animal or human, but I pray for all the doubters that you awake one day), because it was remarkable how the dove, a bird who normally fly away at the approach of anybody, laid there and was comforted by my grandmother. It was an awesome sight to behold, and all who were there cried that day along with my grandmother. The dove stayed around for the time we were there, perched on the window sill!

The hair brush on the center tale in our house along with Neville’s picture were items dedicated to the memory of my mother beloved. I honor them as my mother did in her subtle way. Iba Aunty B! I call her name daily when I honor my ancestors, and she is around me, although I had never met her.

My mother, who knew the importance of honoring her people who had made their transition into the world of spirits, did so on the down low because of the stigma of dedicating a personal space (an Altar) for them would have had on her in an Christian minded, bible beating, ah pleas de blood ah Jesus Jamaica.

Yet Jesus is dead and there are Altars and shrines with iconography and all sorts of symbols dedicated to him all over Jamaica and across the world! How hypocritical, How very hypocritical!.

A spiritual Altar is a must for everyone. I lift my hats off to Chinese and to all Asian people who are open about their veneration to their ancestors, they do not hide their worship and they have altars all around them, and they prosper very well. Even in America when they dedicate a day (holiday) in memory of someone, Christopher Columbus, Martin Luther King day, Veterans day and so on, they are honoring the dead. Not to mention the Catholic Church with their blatant Altars and statues with candles, flowers, perfumes and thensome!

I have a wonderful altar which was taught to me on how to set it up by my wonderful Padrino, Iba Padrino!

He had instructed me, way back when to get a table with four legs pointing different directions as in East, West, North and South. I did not understand it at the time, but wisdom has since become my friend and has taught me much. He told me of certain plants to get and the most wonderful thing I know upon this earth, a thing I never travel without and that is Florida water. This thing call the most beautiful spirits. They respond quickly when it is sprinkled or even displayed. The Jamaican White rum is also excellent, however it can call down warrior spirits from the realms to assist us, so we have to know how and when to use it, and Kananga water, which we use in Jamaica a lot must not be used after 12 midnight. I will explain this in personal emails to all who want to know the reason.

Things You Need for Your Altar:

Must haves for altars are in bold letters

• A personal space be it table or ground (ground is better) in an email to all who ask I will explain why.

• Water. One glass is fine, but I would prefer 3, 5, or 7. Do not do 9. (there is reason for this which I will not explain, here or through email. You will learn it at the school)

• Coffee or tea (with no milk)

• White cloth to set all items upon, no other color than white (again there is reason for this)

• Rum or any clear colored liquid

• Flowers or long lasting plants like creepers

• First Plate of Food (This does not have to be everyday, it would be nice of you can give them the first plate of food that you cook, but it is not necessary) the first food from the pot, no one must eat or taste until the ancestors are served first! Food does not have to be a full plate but can be small helpings of each side cooked. Remember these are spirits. They do not “eat” the food or drink you give them, they absorb the energy of the offering. 

• Candies in a dish or strew around

• Fruits

• Cakes (perishable items ought not to stay for more than three days

• Pictures of dead loved ones, or article of clothing for them (even a pet) you can include your pet who have passed away on you altar. Pictures or statues or images of any religious figure you like, NEVER PUT A PICTURE OF ANY LIVING PERSON THERE.

• Stones or sticks that appeal to you.

• Do not give them any food that you would not eat yourself.

• Place a knife, cutlass, or a Slingshot (Bingy) on your altar, give them tools to fight for you if and when necessary! (lawd God ah Obeah mi ah teach oonuh nung ei nuh!

• Crystals in a dish

Perfume (there is very good reason for this)

• Honey

• Unopened bottle of beer

• Religious book or your journal

• Incense and burner which you do once or twice per week

• Daily candles (be careful with these) White preferably, tea candle can be used, put them out if you leave the house

• You should greet your Altar upon rising in the mornings, and have devotion there, and also when you are out and come in safely, remove your shoes and go there and thank them for seeing you safely back home, never stand at your altar with shoes on. It is disrespectful!

• Keep it CLEAN! Good spirits dwell in only in clean spaces!

• Be sure to refresh or remove all dried foods, water or drink

If you have problems and are stressed, go there and pray, talk to them, they will never spill your secrets to anyone, remember to screen it off from prying eyes if space allows you to do so!

How to Set Up Your Ancestral Altar (Instructions)

  • Find a space in your home, preferably not in your bedroom. If you only have one room then do it in a corner and try to screen it off, as a matter of  fact all altars should be screened off because you are creating a space for your loved ones, or honorary loved ones to visit or be entertained. Altars can be on a table or on the ground, it is best placed on the ground, but if the table is best for you go ahead.

Spread  white cloth on the ground or table (use white, never another color, you do not want to pull what you can not manage).

  • Using your bottle of white rum or gin, Florida water or a clear colored liquid,  sprinkle some of the rum/gin/or florida water onto the table or ground, wherever your altar will be. Allow it to dry.
  • Now spread the table or ground with the white cloth. Sprinkle some of your clear liquid there also. Allow to dry.
  • Place your glasses of water there (remember only: 1, 3, 5, or 7 glasses of water, not 9). The glasses must be clear, no designs on them.
  • If you have any items of your passed loved ones such as pictures or jewelry or anything small, or a piece of cloth cut from their clothes, place it on the altar. Warning: NEVER PLACE A PICTURE OF A LIVING PERSON THERE!
  • You can add your coffee, black never with milk, and even if they did not like coffee when they were alive still put it there. Or you can add tea, often times when they come they are with other sets of spirits with whom these items may entertain. Remember they can not eat or drink like us but the essence of these items are what pulls them to the altar, coupled with the fact that you still remember them enough to dedicate a space in your life for them.
  • Flowers may be added, a bible may be added if you’re Christian or the Quran or any thing that YOU feel you want to put there.
  • Have a white candle lit there. Be careful of fire. Make sure to put the candle out when you have finished your prayers.
  • Add fruits, candy, a glass of sweet honey. You do not have to have them all at the same time, but if you can, it will be good.
  • Add a the first plate of food when you cook can be placed there. Make sure to place the food there before YOU OR ANYONE else eats. When the food becomes dried up, you can remove it (the energy has been taken from it).
  • What ever comes to your mind you can place there. However, please know that this is a space for your ancestors. Be mindful of adding any other type of deity or spirit that does not belong there or else this can create a confused space.

You will be surprised how connected you feel to that space after a while and how much you will grow spiritually… Keep connected with your ancestors and they will be steadfast in your life as well. Pray there as much as you can and be sure to keep the energy of your altar clean. Ask any questions if you have any!

 

Aboru Aboye!!!

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Obara Meji

Obara Meji is a spiritualist, Ifa-Orisa practitioner, and teacher of metaphysics. Since 2011 she has used her online platform to share her personal experiences to those seeking answers about spirituality. Her teachings will expand into short stories, novels, and public speaking to continue her mission of bringing enlightenment to the world.

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PYFISH
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PYFISH

Found the official one!

Carolyne
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Carolyne

I really like to read the article, I had a problem to stop reading the article. I was hoping to find an answer on how to forgive the unforgivable. Perhaps I will find it next to my zen garden. Thank you for the spiritual assistance.
Carolyne

Him
Blogger
Him

you got me with that Obeah line — mi bodi. I can imagine my aunt telling me to stop cause a obeah business…

trackback

[…] evil as she might have been, was wicked and evil when she was alive. She is no more that person, (read this post). When your Doreen died, (hopefully she is not earth bound) her mission while on the earth […]

Oyakemi
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Oyakemi

Do altars for the Oris need to be activated? Can anyone just set up an altar for their Orisa? What is the protocol?

BayoHS
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BayoHS

K’aro baba mi. Eledumare a wa pelu wa. I’ve just set up an altar as per your instructions. I have other rooms in my house but I’ve placed my altar in my bedroom so that I can communicate whenever I feel moved to do so. Is this okay? Also I was initiated into Awo so my Ifa and Esu are also on my altar. Altogether it looks very powerful and gives me peace when I touch my head to the ground. I’ve also place Schnapps, obi (kola), bitter kola, water, palm oil and my late parents personal belongings. I’d love to send a picture. Is this all acceptable?

trackback

[…] you begin to inquire, you have already begun. The next and very important step is to set up your ancestral altar, this is very very important. They (your ancestors) will guide the way for you, they will show you […]

trackback

[…] enemies, acknowledge them, call their names – If you do not have it already, keep or put a spiritual altar up in your home. Keep it clean and attend to […]

MEEKA
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MEEKA

Hi, can you burn joss paper/hell notes for the orishas? You said the you can have your ancestors share the altar with the orishas?

MTH
Blogger
MTH

Teach, wid har dainty bady. A wonder if is play time now for you. Gwan play yaah Teach, cause mi nuh waan haffi come a African wid mi hooligan self come beat nuh tuff ledda skin gal fi yu…

Cami
Member
Cami

Yazzy, you drink up to the brithday, lol At least you had the courage and enjoyed yourself.

I think I drank cocktails at least on 5 occassions…voodoo punch, appletini, margarita, sipped a long Island Ice tea, drank one called an orgasm 3xs in one night. Other than that I love me Red wine.

MTH
Blogger
MTH

Afternoon Teach. Perhaps you are sleeping now. I wish you sweep dreams and when you wake you have wonderful play times with your husband.

MTH
Blogger
MTH

Shana big up, Please, continue to blog with us. As Obara loves to say here, iron sharpeneth iron.

MTH
Blogger
MTH

Ty, thank you for the hail up.

I would love if the persons who have altar put up picts of theirs. Teach, I told myself I needed to get cracking with my altar. I will move to my own space early next month and will set up my altar. walked around town looking for

MTH
Blogger
MTH

Hello everyone, stick a pin…

MTH
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MTH

Cammy, I am just here thinking a million things. I am just marvelling how things are coming together.

Cami
Member
Cami

MTH, hope you good.

Cami
Member
Cami

Long before ES, I was drawn unknowly to Santaria and way before then I was simply drawn to the spirits as a child (I’m a loner).

Majority of what is listed for alters I assembled just out of the blue on a corner table and on top of a chest-of-draws (a vase of long pussy willows in the center) in an entry way…and here on this site I see that I was on point with many of the artifacts I displayed!

Cami
Member
Cami

lol…on the Ghandi reference just add “I don’t like” throughout it for me, lol. Was Ghandi really a racist or a “casteist” (my play on Caste)?

Cami
Member
Cami

Obara, I wasn’t on this site at the time of the post…now, is there something familiar in the post that is associated with something else on here that you recognize? Yes. me a test you on you own writing, lol

shana
Blogger
shana

I just put my altar on the floor, It was on a table but at the end of 2014 I felt like spirit was telling me too put them on the floor.. My dog eats all the food I leave for them. Not only that two weeks ago she ate the candy I left for Elegba and she drank his rum. lol smh ( yep she was drunk and she went to bed early lol ). I was reading a blog one day and this guy was saying how mad he was because his cat ate the food from his altar, he throw the cat across the room. smh. I was thinking to myself what an idiot. I believe that animal sometimes have the spirit of our ancestors in them. This is why I never get mad when my dog eats the food. 🙂

Ty
Blogger

Hey Shana…I love your dog…I am happy you are here…I am happy you have your altar up…many amazing things will happen for you…

The altars are so personalized and dynamic…mine is always changing…I move things around, add and subtract things…

Cami
Member
Cami

Ty, Ty hailings…hail up Yw too.

Cami
Member
Cami

The dog drank the rum and ate Ellegbua/Esu sweets, lolol. Ellegbua/Esu love those types of mischevious things, lolol That is too funny.

Ty
Blogger

Work has been pretty busy and will be so far the next few weeks, I will not get to be on as much but will try to come on when I can…

Ty
Blogger

Happy Birthday Mth!!!

I hope you had a blast…I wish for you to have a blessed day, week, month, year, decade, century…Ase!

Ty
Blogger

As I read your list of suggestions, a pure, check, check check…lol

Thanks again Obara for all the help…

Iba Padrino…

Ty
Blogger

Iba aunty Bev…

Ty
Blogger

Thank you for reposting Obara…

I love my altar…I have to thank you for that…your original post got me to put up my altar…it started simple and now it pack up…it is my spiritual space and homing device…thank you so much…May God continue to bless you and your family…iba Neville…iba all your ancestors…I know they are proud…

empressfaith
Blogger

Your blog is truly inspirational, thank you for sharing this, Peace and Love

Spiritual Seeker
Blogger
Spiritual Seeker

This is helpful. I don’t really have a closed off place for the altar, so I hope that won’t be too much of an issue. Also, what is Florida water?

kiabubblez
Blogger
kiabubblez

Just re-reading this post as I have a feel to honor my Orisha, Sango on my altar. I don’t know what would honor him tho Obara. i r-read the Orishas post and know he likes bitter kola. Can this be added to my altar? Also Obara can you tell us why it is important to put on the floor? I don’t want to attract pest to eat there.

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[…] incense. Also, Flowers in a vase must always be kept in the house, all over but preferably on the altar (YOU MUST ERECT AN […]

Lady T
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Lady T

Sorry for spelling errors didn’t spell check first

Obara meji
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Obara meji

Np

Lady T
Blogger
Lady T

Hi Obama thx for all the great info as usual. Is it better to have a separate altar for your ori and if so I’m assuming it should be screened off but if this is not possible does it weaken the strength of the altar.
I’ve heard before it’s not good to have sex in front of the altar so I’m wondering if the same holds true for being naked or intimate without intercourse.

Ty
Blogger

Can I put a picture of my husbands ancestors on their too or does my husband have to get his own altar?

Obara meji
Blogger
Obara meji

Yes you can

Ty
Blogger

Ok, thank you so much

Ty
Blogger

Can you place items for your Orishas on this altar for you ancestors or do you have another separate altar?

Obara meji
Blogger
Obara meji

Yes you can, until you actually get your orisha you can place whatever you believe represents them here

colon cleaner
Blogger

I blog often and I truly appreciate your information.
This article has truly peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your blog and
keep checking for new information about once per week.
I opted in for your RSS feed too.

Sa-Fo
Blogger
Sa-Fo

One questions for you my lady,how comes you have to put the food at the table before anyone eats/

Sa-Fo
Blogger
Sa-Fo

This one made me chuckle a little bit. On many occasions I would be sharing food or getting something to drink and it would spill. Happened to my mom too and she would always be like ‘gweh u nah get none” or “somebody wah mi food.” Ah boy.

Your posts just make so much sense. Forgiveness is very important. We have to let go. The essence of someone left behind when they pass on is very real, I can attest to that!

Vanessa
Blogger
Vanessa

I have my favorite cousin’s ashes on my dresser with a picture of my daughter and I on top of it. I feel very safe with these ashes in my home. They are simply in a box as I originally was going to spread them but I cannot bring myself to do it. IS this a bad thing Obara and also if I wanted to do an altar for him could i use his ashes?

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