Honouring our Ancestors: an Offering of Gratitude & Grace

"You are a link in a chain of causation that stretches before and after your life for a thousand generations."
--Rev. Chris Michaels, founding minister of the Center for Spiritual Living

We all have ancestors, both of blood and of spirit, and each of our lives rests firmly on the foundation of their sacrifice. They are as near to us as our breath and bones, and when related with in conscious ways, they can be a tremendous source of healing, guidance, and companionship.

The ancestors we choose to honor may include not only recent and more distant family but also beloved friends and community, cultural and religious leaders, and even other-than-human kin such as companion animals. Our ancestors bring vital support to fulfill our potential here on Earth, and through gratitude and grace, we can invite a deeper relationship with them so as to better understand ourselves and our life purpose.

Fulfill Your Soul’s Purpose as an Ethical and Loving Person

The most important and most challenging way to honor our ancestors is to fulfill our personal potential and life’s purpose here on Earth. Many cultures maintain that we each have a unique destiny or karma to fulfill and that we ideally make it a high priority to remember these original instructions and do what is necessary to express our gifts, our true will, and our most authentic selves.

The ancestors are seen as allies in this process of remembering and a reservoir of power and backing to help us embody our potential in this lifetime. Conversely, when we have lost touch with a sense of greater purpose, if we are fortunate, the ancestors may bring about life changes aimed to jar us into greater contact with our soul’s longing and increased awareness of the agreements made before our birth.

Talk of destiny and calling is all well and good; however, in reality it’s difficult to actualize our full potential until our life and relationships are more or less in order. This gradual and ongoing work of being a conscious person may include things like learning how to express emotions in healthy ways, committing to tell the truth in relationships, reaching out for necessary support to get sober, seeking education to better ourselves, taking better care of our bodies, and generally accepting greater responsibility for becoming a loving and reliable human being. Whatever helps us to become more ethical, balanced, and open-hearted people is one of the most powerful and sincere offerings we can make to our ancestors.