We are more than our bodies, our brains, our memories, or our feelings. We are the accumulated experiences of the people who came before us. They may have been our grandparents, family friends, or spiritual leaders. From them, we receive our natural inclinations, our cultural traditions, our sense of origin, and a support system that spans generations. Study of the Ancestors enables us to explore this great lineage. An individual studying this subject will uncover their connections with the past. They will form bonds with their dead that will deepen their faith and teach them lessons for the future.
Individuals must pick one of the two options below and complete it using whatever means are available to them. If they wish, they may complete both options. Suggestions for how to complete them are in the Recommended Activities section.
- Individuals can choose to learn about their personal ancestry and form relationships with the spirits of the deceased who are connected to them by blood or adoptive ties.
- Individuals can choose spiritual ancestors and form relationships with them. Spiritual ancestors are not connected to us by blood, but by a common origin or experience. They can be community figures, religious figures, mythic or real heroes, chosen family, mentors or teachers, or those the individual admires and aspires to be like.
Individuals are encouraged to complete any of the following activities to strengthen their relationships with their ancestors.
- Individuals can regularly visit the graves of their ancestors, if possible.
- If an individual’s relative is in charge of their family tree, they can explore the tree to learn more about their ancestors. If an individual’s family does not have a family tree, the member can start one.
- Individuals can take DNA tests to learn where their ancestors may have originated.
- Individuals can set up ancestor shrines in their homes.
- Individuals can learn stories about their ancestors from those who are alive, or recall stories they already know.