There is probably no greater service that we can do for ourselves, our children, our communities and our ancestors than to help the spirits of our dead loved ones return safely and peacefully to their ancestral home.
– Malidoma Somé
The Dagara, as with other indigenous cultures, believe that the deceased can become powerful allies once they are fully “at home” in the ancestral realm. As a result, the Dagara perform specific rituals that support the deceased in letting go, in a powerful way, of attachments that might keep their souls bound to this earth plane. Once in their true home, the Ancestral realm, they become whole as Ancestors and are better able to engage with the living.
This ritual is an important step to access the Ancestors for healing and initiatory experiences. This process of aiding the departed in “crossing over” in common terminology or psychopomp in classical shamanism, is the ritual of Ancestralization.
What to Expect
Ancestralization is a four day intensive ritual process that includes an all-night vigil till dawn on Saturday in which participants stay up with the ancestors as they cross over.
If this is a first time, participants generally Ancestralize one male and one female as “representatives” of their male and female lineage. This is seen as a powerful way to attract others in your lineage to come and be transformed by the process. A divination is usually done as part of the preparations to identify and confirm which male and female is to be chosen. It has also been our experience that you can Ancestralize people who are not related to you by bloodline, but who are connected through the bonds of love, such as through adoption or friendship. So come with an idea of who you would want to Ancestralize, but plan to be open to what comes through the divinatory process, it may not be whom you expect.
Cost and Logistics
Housing options include shared 2-bed cabin ($20/night), tenting on a tent platform ($10/night) or on the ground ($5/night), or shared space in the Lodge ($10/night) . You may also choose “I will be staying offsite” if you are not staying overnight. If staying more than one night, please enter the number of extra nights in the registration form.
$350. Early bird: $300 (till Aug 10). “Villagers” will be offered a discount. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
There is a $20 charge a day for staying on the land to cover expenses for utilities, insurance, maintenance, porta-porties, etc. This is in addition to the cost per night for staying in a tent, cabin, or lodge. $20 x 4 days= $80.
$35/day – $40/day for special diet (selections on registration form)
This event runs from Aug 21-25. Plan to arrive by 4 pm on Wednesday, Aug 21. Activities end on Sunday, Aug 25 at 1 p.m. Lunch will be provided and you can plan to depart around 2pm.
We’ve provided a basic list of the essential gear you will need. Please go here for the list. Most important is warm clothing, especially for the overnight vigil, rain gear and camping essentials – flashlights, sleeping bag, tent etc.
- pictures of the deceased loved one(s) to be ancestralized, if no available photos bring mementos of deceased loved ones
- candles – red for ancestor altar, yellow/brown for earth shrine
- fresh flowers, sacred items to decorate the altars
- offerings – cornmeal, tobacco, whole foods including fruits, vegetables etc.
- pieces of fabric or old clothing belonging to the deceased if possible (do not bring clothing that belongs to you). You will make clothing for your ancestors to wear on their journey,
- sewing materials: scissors, needle, thread, thimble, etc.
- wood ash for the Village
**Note about photos. Be sure that photos do not depict those that are still living. Protect original photos by covering with plastic, laminating or bringing copies.