Exploring the Power of Rituals, Especially Altars, to Honor and Connect with Deceased Loved Ones
Have you ever lit a candle in remembrance of a loved one? How about speaking to your beloved after they are gone? Annie Mattingley, an after-death communications researcher, spoke with us today about the impact of these rituals and how they can help us connect with those we have lost.
The Importance of Rituals
When we are grieving, connecting with our loved ones after they have passed on can help us find peace. Rituals play an essential role in the cycle of life and death. Every culture and religion use rituals and ceremonies to show respect for those who have passed away. These techniques connect the human and the spirit world, and they are just as powerful for the dead as they are for the living.
Everyone has their own method for remembering their loved ones, whether they know it or not. It could be lighting a candle or saying a prayer. The most common way that people remember and connect with their loved ones is by creating an altar in their home. These rituals set an environment in which our loved ones will come to us.
Time, Place, and Intention
After-death communicator Annie Mattingley assures us that any death ritual you perform doesn’t have to be elaborate; all you need to connect with your loved one is a time, a place, and an intention. By using these three things to arrange your ritual, you are opening yourself up to communication. By incorporating rituals into your daily or weekly routine, Annie states that it creates “an invitation for someone you love to make the connection.”
The best time to set your ritual is when you know you will be relaxed and without distraction. This includes taking time away from our devices, such as our cell phones and tablets, to be completely present at the moment. To make your ritual a habit, commit yourself to the same time every day or every week. It “sets a rhythm” that the spirit of your loved one will feel.
Choosing a place can be as simple as sitting quietly in your home. It should be somewhere you feel comfortable. The location will be different for every person, but generally, most grieving family members and friends will find a place in their living room or bedroom.
We are always connected with the souls of people we loved, so they will know our intentions whether we say them aloud or not. While most people will perform a ritual to communicate with a loved one, we can always have another purpose. Other reasons to reach out to a loved one could be to resolve unfinished business or discover the circumstances behind a sudden death.
What Types of Rituals Work Best for Communicating with Spirits?
There are several ways in which we can communicate with the dead, but there is no particular ritual that works best. The ritual you choose will be something that brings you comfort, according to your spiritual beliefs. You may sit peacefully in a quiet room, or you may speak directly to the spirits. Altars – spaces in your home devoted to the memory of our loved one – are also very helpful.
Making an Altar
Making an altar in your home can be as simple or as elaborate as you want them to be. You can have something as simple as a photograph on a shelf. You can fill the space with pictures, candles, and other items that remind you of the deceased. Your daily or weekly ritual should include the altar or take place near it.
Other Rituals for Soothing Grief
Other rituals can help us process our grief. You can always speak to your loved one directly. Although they may not answer you right away, it lets them know you wish to communicate with them.
You may also find comfort in writing a letter to your loved one. Writing your thoughts down can be very therapeutic. It can help you recognize the source of your grief.
Many religions have different death ceremonies and rituals that revolve around food and drink. The concept of feeding the dead provides the soul with nourishment. Some rituals reflect a favorite activity with the deceased: you can make them a cup of tea or set them a place at dinner.
What to Do If Your Rituals Are Unsuccessful
Don’t get discouraged if the spirit of your loved one doesn’t come to you right away. Annie states that this is very common; continuing the rituals will strengthen your connection with the soul of the departed. Setting up a schedule for your routines will increase the likelihood of making a connection, but Annie advises that we never know when spirits will come to us.
Annie Mattingley is an after-death communications researcher, writer, and teacher. In her book, The After Death Chronicles, Annie discusses the importance of rituals that can help us find peace after the loss of a loved one. You can learn more on her website.
For more information on grief altars, check out our conversation with shaman Linda Fitch, “3 Powerful Shamanic Practices to Help You Deal with Death and Grief.”
Do you find peace in rituals? Are there any other methods you use when you need comfort? Let’s start a conversation!