When we invoke our Ancestors, we usually make it a point to invoke the “honorable” ones. We want to bring in the family members who supported us, the spirits who inspire us, the people who developed the land on which we live and survive. These loved ones who have passed deserve our praise and offerings. But what about the “not so” honorable ones?
Everyone has someone (or most likely multiple someones) in their family who was not the best role model. It could be someone who had personal vices such as gambling or substance addiction and had no motivation to stop. It could be someone who was abusive on a variety of levels. Maybe they never hurt you, but you watched them hurt others. This person could be generations back so that you never met him/her, but you’ve heard the family stories. Maybe, he/she was just a bad person. Whatever the reason, this is not someone that you feel deserves to be honored when you call the Ancestors.
So what can you do? One option would be to simply ignore them. When those who choose this call the Ancestors, they make it a point to say “honorable” to distinguish between those deserving praise and those not deserving. That is a valid choice and for many, the only choice they feel they can make. I would like to suggest some other options. If you feel you can try these options, you may find it healing for both yourself and your Ancestors.
One option would be forgiveness. I know this is hard and for some, almost impossible. There are wrongs that we feel can never be forgiven. But death is a huge transformation. Just think about the times in your life where you had an “epiphany” about something that completely changed your perspective. When your spirit passes from the physical plane, everything changes. All the things, both physical and metaphorical, that you thought were important, aren’t anymore. Isn’t it possible that when the struggles of day to day life are gone, a person would have a different perspective? Wisdom and Vision would be less clouded by our egos and desires? Passing over does not make what they did right, but it may give them the ability to see what they did, how it negatively affected their loved ones and truly be sorry. If you can accept this possibility and offer forgiveness, you may have an ally in the Ancestor realm you never thought you would.
With ghosti, we allow ourselves to be forgiven as well. Maybe we did not always make the best choices in how we dealt with this person both in the living world and/or once they passed on. No one is perfect. Forgiveness is often a mutual need.
What if you just can’t forgive them? What if you’re convinced that it does not matter what plane of existence they reside in, they were just plain bad? Consider this: how did they affect who you are? A man who had a “dead beat dad” may grow up to be a wonderful father because he would never do to his son what his father did to him. Someone who grew up with and abusive addict in their family may grow up to never abuse drugs or alcohol. In this way, this Ancestor helped to shape who you are as a person, for the better, even if this was not a direct intention.
Give honor to the lessons learned, if not the Ancestor who inadvertently taught them. Mistakes are our greatest teachers.
In this time of year when the veil is thin and we often think of our loved ones who have passed, perhaps take a moment to think about the Ancestors we purposefully forget. When you do, I encourage you to try a different perspective. You may be surprised how liberating and healing it can be.
May your Ancestors bless you and always walk by your side.