paths to spiritual enlightenment and personal power, no practice will pack a
stronger punch than Ancestor Veneration. The current wisdom teaches that there
is no deity or spirit more invested in our success than our ancestors. Their
blood courses through our veins. Therefore, as we succeed, they succeed. If
only for selfish reasons, they desire great things for us and will remove
blocks to achieving our goals. These powerful allies desire a relationship with
us just as we desire one with them. There are many tools one can employ to
develop and strengthen that kinship.
getting reliable information on those techniques has been challenging. Finding
information on Ancestor Reverence reveals a mixed bag of “One must always...”
and “Whatever you do, don't ever...” as well as turning up nothing at all. My
childhood comprised the “Thou shalt never” varieties and I abruptly
discontinued my nightly chats with my deceased Irish Grandma. In the decade
plus of actively seeking out my ancestors and opting to work with them, I've
encountered roadblocks that impede my process. When not knowing how long to
leave out a food offering, one might leave nothing at all. Others may have been
warned not to use a certain color candle, the very color their ancestor’s
desire. So, they burn nothing at all. Adopted folks experience a conundrum unto
themselves. These questions, if left unanswered, may paralyze one's work. One
could be called to honor their ancestors but glance at an empty table day after
day in fear of doing it wrong.
Mama Starr's latest book, Listen to Them Whisper: Honoring the Ancestors. This
information-packed book provides a comprehensive and forgiving path to Ancestor
Veneration. Individuals from all faiths and traditions can realistically read
this treasure and immediately establish the relationship for which they've been
yearning. Mama Starr, author of 8 previous books on her family conjure
practices, draws from a lifetime of personal experience. This book, which
consists of the following sections: “Honoring the Ancestors,” “Questions and
Answers,” “Setting up your Ancestor Altar,” “The Ancestors Speak,” “The Works”
and a “Spirit Working to Meet your Ancestors,” answers any question that could
plague a seeker. In her typical no nonsense style, Mama Starr describes
Ancestor work, its benefits, the process and methods of asking for help from
those who have come before us. Her belief that this work should be accessible
to all is a deep undercurrent throughout the book. Mama Starr teaches her traditional
techniques of working with the Ancestors while providing space for personal
creativity. She repeatedly explains how she was taught to do things, then gives
examples of how those things could be done differently. For example, Mama Starr
describes some of the components of her altar and advocates that others do what
feels right to them.
first time one hears Mama Starr speak, her power and connection become
abundantly obvious. My first experience was at The Folk Magic Festival in New
Orleans several years ago. At the festival's commencement, the Southern
Anti-Belle walked into the center of the attendees and called on Father
Blackhawk, an important spirit in conjure. She spoke with absolute confidence
and authority, asking him protect the festival, to ensure that participants got
the information that they needed and to guarantee that conjure itself endure.
My eyes welled with tears as Mama Starr spoke and Blackhawk arrived. He
protected us throughout the magical weekend. We got what we came for and more.
That is what connection looks like. That is what a mutually beneficial
relationship with Ancestors offers. Listen to Them Whisper is the compass that
will negotiate the sometimes perplexing maze of Honoring the Ancestors. Your
grandmothers will be as grateful as mine.
It’s funny how folks can see the same thing but from a different point of view.
True Story I went to one of the popular game stores to buy my baby boy a game for his birthday. The store was out of the game but the fellow checked their other stores and found one at the Mall across the street. This is what he told me “our other store is right across the street at the Mall, they have plenty of them over there.” So I asked where in the mall? “He said just as soon as you walk in the main entrance doors the store is right there”. I thanked him and went to the mall; of course I had to park in the back 40 because it was packed.
I walk inside the front doors of the mall and I look right then left and all I see is brick walls. I’m thinking WTF! Then I lift my head up and look straight ahead and what do I see but the sign for the store, it’s about a city block from the front doors over to the left. So I walk down and get the game, then head back to the truck; all this time I’m thinking “he saw the store right by the front door” I know for a fact it is almost a block across from the front door. To him he was right and to me I am right. The question is how can two people see the same thing so differently? It gives you something to think about.
Someone told me about a write up another blogger did on their blog about this book. I went and read the blog. I was intrigued that this writer talked about crawdad mud. I had never read the book so I wanted to know what he had to say. I ordered the book off of e-bay for $3.00 and I finally got it today. I have to admit I have not read the book nor will I. I don’t read books on work because I don’t ever want anyone to claim I stole their work. I only skimmed through the book to find the points that were made on the blog post. I must say I am a little disappointed, the author of the book uses words like Crayfish and Mud Chimney only folks outside the culture use those names, even though one of my students told me this author is from Houma the same place Mr. Robert was from. They are called crawfish, mudbugs, or crawdads and the dirt is called crawdad dirt, mud or a crawdad hole. I was a little let down you can find this information on page 55 of his book.
The other thing that got me curious was the “Sweet Bottle” using a stick again I was intrigued but not such a letdown this time as the author tells you to “shake” the bottle up a certain amount of times; half a work is better than none! I did kind of wonder at the watering the work down though, it calls for honey, sugar and water on pg 103 of the book. Also there is nothing else added to the jar.
Then we have the “Oil Lamps” on pg 100 something dear to my heart once again I was intrigued and excited. I thought it was wonderful that he talked about working with a magnets.
The coup was on pg 95 when scanning the book the word “Crossbones” caught my eye. I was surprised to see him write about working with 2 bones crossed together for protection. He does give you some chants to say over your work as you are making it. Glancing through the book and reading the information I bought the book to find out about it seems to have altar layouts and such. Like I said I didn’t read it nor will I. I wanted to see what was taught about crawdad’s and found crayfish instead. Starr