10 Ways To Connect With Your Ancestors

With the veil between our world and where the spirits of our dearly departed reside at its thinnest this time of year, you may feel pulled to connect with your ancestors. But how do you go about doing this? There are a few practices you can put into action in order to draw the bond between you and ancestors closer together. And remember - you don't have to wait until the end of the year to connect.

Let's jump in.


This practice, I feel, is most common and relatively easy to do. But first, what is an altar? Simply put, an altar is a chosen spot where you carry out specific practices. It can be a small table or other chest where you place tools, offerings, current workings, and more. From simple to extravagant, you get to make it YOURS.

An ancestors altar is an altar that is set up specifically to honor your forebears. Another way to think of it is as a sacred place to connect with one another to open up the line of contact and communication. Your ancestors are there to help you in divination pursuits, spellcasting, shadow work, past life studies, and much more.

How you decorate it, again, is up to you. Here is a rough guideline you may wish to follow:


green cloth for ancestors altar

A lot of people like to set down an altar cloth in colors they either know or believe their ancestors will like. You could also use a piece of clothing that once belonged to an ancestor.


black and white photo of Victorian woman drinking tea for ancestors altar

Set up photographs of your people. If you don't have any photographs or are creating an general altar for your entire lineage of ancestors you can use symbols or drawn pictures for representation.


eyeglasses and pocket watch family heirloom for ancestors altar

Using family heirlooms, curios, and trinkets serve as anchor points to our world and our ancestors since passed. Tangible items like jewelry and watches, things made by the deceased, and tools physically handled by kinfolk really help to facilitate a connection.


small plate offering for ancestors altar

Think of offerings as gifts you wish to give to your forebears. The shape an offering takes is vast. It could be something you made with your hands, a bite of your meal, a poem you wrote, a trinket you found on your walk - anything you imagine they would like, really. Get creative.


water goblet for ancestors altar

As humans in general, we place great stock in what we eat and drink. From regular everyday meals to grand celebratory feasts, what we consume holds great significance in cultures and spiritual systems. As such, sharing food and drink with kinfolk is a customary practice when it comes to ancestor altars. At the very least you could set out a special designated cup of fresh water that gets changed weekly.


candles set out for ancestors altar

Candles and incense are easy to incorporate into your ancestors altar. Choose different colors, shapes, and scents that you think best represent your loved ones. If there is a specific ancestor you'd like to connect with you know that they loved the smell of fresh baked cookies, find a candle or incense blend that emulates that scent. You could also designate specific candles to specific relatives. Attach a picture of them and every time you light the candle, think of them intentionally.


tarot card reader tools for ancestors altar

If you work with the Tarot, pendulums, a wand, athames, etc. you could keep your tools on the altar. This will aid in charging them with the power and energy of your ancestors. A journal that you do your shadow work in along with your chosen writing instrument could be blessed as well. You may find that your endeavors feel more guided after adding your tools to the altar.


By writing letters to your ancestors, you can establish a connection for communication with ease. Start by either addressing the letter to a specific person or write to all of your ancestors in a general tone. Repeat this process until it feels natural to be writing to your dearly departed.

When comfortable, you may wish to move on to automatic writing. Also called psychography or spirit writing, it is where you allow spirits to communicate with you through using your hand to write messages.

If you do not want to advance to psychography, you can certainly just stick to writing letters from your end. Trust your gut and follow what feels best in your situation.


ritual for connecting with ancestors

Rituals are important to create and foster in many workings. By establishing a framework from which to approach spiritual connection with your ancestors, you become comfortable with the process. This can look like taking a cleansing bath beforehand, getting dressed in designated clothes, approaching the altar at the same time and day, lighting candles in a specific order, addressing your ancestors with chosen words, ending your time together with gratitude, etc.

Take your time and figure out what works best for you. Pay attention to any signals from your kinfolk. Don't be afraid to adjust the order of things, add in customs or remove steps completely. You may also wish to keep a log of what you do in order to compare sessions and pinpoint what is working and what isn't.


letter tiles spell out ask for help

Our ancestors are here to help us, and in turn, we should also be there to help them. Just as communication is a two-way street, so should be offering help. As with everything, start small. Work on establishing lines of communication until that feels natural. Then, either ask for guidance or ask them what assistance they may need.


girl visiting cemetery ancestors

Cemeteries get a bad rap. Sure, they are the resting place of the deceased. But from how they're portrayed in scary stories, supernatural shows, and horror movies, most people only travel to graveyards when attending a funeral or memorial service.

By taking the time to visit your ancestors' graves, it shows them how important they are to you. Consider bringing along offerings of their favorite foods or flowers. Playing music is another way to establish a link from you to them as music is a powerful connector. Get comfortable and enjoy the company.


family eating dinner together to celebrate ancestors

Typically a Samhain tradition, a Dumb Supper is where you plan a special meal in honor of loved ones since passed. During said supper, you set a place at the table for your ancestors - either one spot for each person you wish to honor or one setting for all - and no one speaks.

You can always eliminate the Dumb Supper element and instead gather with your family and collectively cook a meal in order to honor your loved ones. Again, this can be done for one specific person or all of your ancestors. If the meal is for someone specific, choose to cook foods they enjoyed and be sure to offer some to them before digging in yourselves.


Take advantage of the dream world and invite your ancestors to visit. Our subconscious mind is always running, but when we sleep it is in complete charge. As such, when our waking minds are asleep and unable to distract us, we are more receptive to guidance, answers, and messages.

Facilitate this method with a dream pillow. Use herbs like calming chamomile and lavender to lull you to sleep, crystals like lapis lazuli to aid in summoning spirits, and a token or talisman to connect your energy with theirs to add to your pillow. This could be one that you tuck under your regular bed pillow or an eye pillow you add rice to to help conform to your face.

Keeping a photograph near where you are sleeping can also aid you in your workings. Alongside any photographs, you could also arrange items that they handled regularly like jewelry or a set of keys to establish a strong connection. Keeping a journal close by to record details from your dreams is also highly beneficial.


Perhaps your grandmother taught you how to crochet or maybe a great aunt gave you piano lessons. Any hobbies that you have in common with your ancestors is a fantastic way to connect with them. Just sitting while crafting or playing music and imagining they are holding your yarn or accompanying you on the tambourine is a powerful method of connection.


woman holding crystal dedicated to ancestors

Crystals are a powerful metaphysical tool. As such, you can choose one you feel drawn to and dedicate it to your ancestors. Through the cleansing and programming process, you can bond yourself to your kinfolk. Your ancestor crystal can be utilized when meditating, during rituals, or carried with you in everyday life.

Crystals that hold great significance when working with spirits are selenite, sodalite, black obsidian, as well as the aforementioned lapis lazuli. However, if you are drawn to another type of crystal then by all means, follow your instincts and use it.


woman closing eyes picturing ancestors

This is another exercise that gets easier with practice. By visualizing your ancestors and evoking them to your conscious mind, you're one step closer to getting them to actively engage with you. A good time to perform this method is right before you go to sleep as your active mind is giving way to your subconscious mind.

Practice visualizing your ancestors hanging out with you, drinking their favorite cup of tea, speaking with you about daily happenings, etc. Do this every night before bed. This repetitive practice helps to create a shift in energy and to lift the veil between worlds briefly.


There we have it! 10 different ways in which you can connect with your ancestors. How do you connect with yours? Let me know in the comments!

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