The Best Way To Honor Your Ancestors

I always seem to have big things happen in autumn. Job changes, new relationships, the passing of loved ones, windfalls, leases and losses. I used to think it was just random— but now I know that the constellation of your life simply becomes more malleable this time of the year. In part, because the most influential intercessors in our fate have more access to this world. In autumn, the Ancestors of the Otherworld draw close to help us on our journey.

In the Celtic wheel of the year, as well as in other traditions, the autumnal thinning of the veil between life and death is thought to make it easier to connect with those that came before us. When you tune into the Earth in fall, you can feel it. The Ancestors don’t leave, but live right alongside us, affecting our lives as viscerally as autumn winds and the falling leaves. Ancestor honoring has been central to human culture since the beginning. In the West, these traditions are currently surging back into the popular imagination— and for good reason. If ever there was a time when we needed the counsel of the Ancestors, it is now.

For years I’ve collected information about how to honor and work with these loved ones in the Otherworld. I’ve crafted ancestral altars and done family constellations, taken shamanic journeys into the past and made pilgrimages to my own motherlands. But sometimes I still wondered— what was it my Ancestors truly wanted from me?

Then, one afternoon in Ireland, I had the opportunity to sit alone inside an ancient burial cairn. In the near-complete darkness, surrounded by stones carved in spirals and turns, I asked my Ancestors how I could honor them. And their answer, though simple, completely changed the way I practice ancestral reverence.

In this new video I talk about my day inside a Neolithic burial cairn and my Ancestors’ surprising answer to the question— what, truly, is the best way to honor our Ancestors?


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Lately, it seems every time I listen to the radio or read the news I hear the same phrase: “we are living through unprecedented times….

While this is undoubtedly true for us in our individual lives, it is not true for our Ancestors. The tumult we are living through now is nothing new for the ancient ones that guide us. As those who have survived the deep trends of time, our Ancestors know how to weather any storm. Catastrophe, coups, plague and change. We may feel like the world is ending at times… but for them the world has ended many times and begun again. Our Ancestors’ resiliency is awe inspiring— and every drop has been passed down to us.

Honoring your Ancestors is another way to honor, and tap into, this power within you. As the veil draws thin in the midst of this challenging year, the Ancestors are here to say: we are holding you. We are working with you. You have one hundred thousand years of wisdom behind you and we are with you every step of the way.

If you’d like even more support as you walk through this time, come join me for Herbs for the Otherworld— a class that helps you open this gateway to the wisdom emanating from your Ancestors and those denizens of the Otherworld. Because another world is possible, and our Ancestors in the Otherworld are showing us the way.