Placeholder post: Ancestors

I don’t practice Ancestor worship — though of course, like anyone, I have often cried out to my parents (most recently during difficult times with my sister). I often heard my father or mother, clear as day. Father: she’s fucking impossible. Mother: don’t let her take you down with her.

Grace has already received her copy of Resmaa Menakem’s book, “My Grandmother’s Hands.” I’m still waiting for mine. His interview with Krista Tippet was beyond interesting. More like galvanizing.

The book, apparently, is full of practices, one of them an Ancestor Practice.

I’ve read it can take time. To make contact. Grace wanted to know where I’d read that.

Because of idiosyncratic research on the Yoruban religion, Ifa, over the years, I’m not exactly sure where I came across that notion. Googling terms like, “ancestor worship,” “Ifa practices,” or “babalawo” will turn up tons of sites, including many videos.

(Two asides: ONE, many religions include an Ancestor practice, of course. And TWO, until recently my feeling has always been, “why would I want to talk with THEM”? (Sorry/Not sorry)).

It was interesting to read that Menakem recommends reaching back several generations. People you never knew. That feels different.


“Ifa’s worldview can be thought of as the spiritual representation of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Our belief in, and practices of, ancestor worship bridges the time gap that Einstein believed must exist between the past, present, and future. In Ifa, we understand that the invisible world of our deceased ancestors combines with the visible world of nature and human culture to form a single organic truth. Through ritual we bridge the relationship between the past and the present, and in the process improve the future. The ritual process of ancestor worship can provide us with profound, quantifiable changes in our everyday lives. But the concept often meets with resistance.

The screen shot above reveals some of the links in a free library on the site.

Another wonderful source is Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation. You can follow her on Instagram


She also has a website. A remarkable figure in environmental justice circles and an advocate for the preservation of Gullah Geechee culture (overlapping circles), there are lots of reasons to follow her.

* * *

Busy morning. Doctor tele-annual shortly (yes, my cholesterol is still high, even taking a statin) and then my Tuesday class. Dog walks in unbearable heat.

9 thoughts on “Placeholder post: Ancestors

  1. Joanne

    I go in in October for a blood test to see if the statin is working. Also I am back to oatmeal everyday. And Omego 3. But I am off the statin before winter and red grapefruit season. I don’t care what the numbers are. I am eating red grapefruit. Every single day. I don’t even know my living relatives. Everyone hated each other. So, knowing an old ancestor? Not even sure that it is possible..

    1. deemallon

      Surprise! She said cholesterol was fine. The good one elevated, the bad one under the target threshold and triglycerides high because I’d eaten. This is one year on a statin.

    2. deemallon

      Shit WP ate my reply. Why does it do that now and then? Cholesterol was not high as it turns out. Protective one was and the bad one in okay range. Triglycerides were high but I’d eaten so doctor disregarded. This is after a year on statin number two (first one made my legs hurt).

  2. Nancy

    This is like a foreign language to me. Not sure I’m ready or want to know more or go deeper if it has to do with family, to prickly at this time, but may investigate…

    1. deemallon

      This post was really a way to answer a
      Question of Grace’s. Seemed too long for a reply in her blog.

  3. RainSluice

    Fascinating! I’ll check out the ancestral worship stuff mainly because I think I should’ve followed my heart at age 21 and become an anthropologist. Oh yeah, no paying jobs in that field, that’s what stopped me. So I majored in art??? Anyway, be fucking careful in this horrid heat and humidity. I don’t see how that exposure helps the heart, even though its exercise. Even though I do it and practically kills me. Though my most recent ancestors were doctors I don’t think I inherited those particular genes – plus I think they went into that fields because they enjoyed torturing others and I’m trying to break that chain. I’m sorry… I go negative so quickly! sending love, bottom line! trying to follow your open heart and open mind, first and foremost. I have my annual this afternoon so lmk if you’re interested!! LOL

  4. grace

    this is quoted from the book. Chapter 4
    “Trauma was not invented in 1619. For thousands of years before that, human beings murdered, butchered, tortured, oppressed, abused, conquered, enslaved, and colonized one another.
    By the late 1600s the English controlled nearly all the colonized territory in what would become the United States. In England, the 1500s and 1600s were not gentle times. People were routinely burned at the steak, tortured, hung, and otherwise brutalized.
    Many of the English who fled to America were victims or first hand observers of this brutality. Others were desperately trying to get away from poverty, starvation, overcrowding, and the Great Plague.
    It seems likely that many of the English colonists who made their way to America were deeply traumatized…and brought their trauma with them.
    Throughout America’s history, white bodies have colonized, oppressed, and murdered Black ones. But well before the United States was founded, powerful white bodies colonized, oppressed, and murdered other white ones.
    Our concepts of whiteness, blackness, and race were invented in the seventeenth century. The terms (italics…white person, white woman, or white man) did not appear until the 1680s.
    It was only in the late seventeenth century that white Americans began in earnest to formalize a culture of white-body supremacy.
    This culture was designed to blow centuries of trauma through millions of Black bodies and to attempt to colonize the minds of people of all colors.
    For America to outgrow the bondage of white body supremacy, white Americans need to imagine themselves in Black, red, and brown bodies and (italics experience) what those bodies had to endure. They also need to do the same with the bodies of their own white ancestors.”
    Resmaa Menakem My Grandmother’s Hands
    the above…to explain ancestor
    Today i begin listening to NYT 1619 Podcast. I listened to the 5th one first. Then began from the beginning.
    Love to you, Dee, for making space for This

    1. deemallon

      Well now I really can’t wait to get the book! The quote greatly enlarges how I was thinking about this.

      Many of my bloodlines go back to Ireland where the lax attitude of the British colonial power to starvation constituted in many people’s minds (mine included) — genocide. Also — the violence of Oliver Cromwell cutting down all the trees. Who DOES that?

      I am listening to the 1619 podcasts again. They are well worth a re-hear.


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