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.
$300. Early bird: $250 (till Oct 15). “Villagers” will be offered a discount. Please write to email@example.com 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 Oct 30 – Nov 3. Plan to arrive by 4 pm on Wednesday, Oct 30. Activities end on Sunday, Nov 3 at 1 p.m. Lunch will be provided and you can plan to depart around 2pm after returning space to original state.
We’ve provided a basic list of the essential gear you will need. Please go here for the list. Most important is warm clothing, warm coat/jacket, rain gear and good footwear. For those planning to sleep in tents or cabins, please bring extra warm sleeping bags as it will be chilly in the Taconics.
Check weather here: https://www.theweathernetwork.com/us/weather/new-york/berlin
- pictures of the deceased loved one(s) to be ancestralized, if no available photos bring mementos of deceased loved ones or write their name on paper as an image.
- candles – red for ancestor altar, yellow/brown for earth shrine – important to have long-burning candles so shrine stays fully lit during vigil – ideally red candles that will burn for 15 hours; avoid scented please; white is alright if red long-burning are not available. Yellow/brown candles can be replaced during vigil.
- fresh flowers, sacred items to decorate the altars
- offerings – cornmeal, tobacco, whole foods including fruits, vegetables etc.
- pieces of fabric or old clothing, ideally of natural fabrics (no metal or other inert materials), belonging to the deceased, if possible. Do Not bring clothing that belongs to you.
- sewing materials: scissors, needle, thread, thimble, etc.
- knife for whittling if you have one
**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. Black & White photos disappear when laminated – copy and laminate copy.