The word ritual is defined as “an act or series of acts regularly repeated in a set precise manner” and it is a big part of my walk with Ancestors and Orisa. There are rituals that I do daily and even more for other circumstances. The rituals are tied into the practice of living tradition. They can be rigorous or super simple. It takes spiritual and mental discipline, and spending a lot of time reflecting.
For me, the rituals started many decades ago and grew over time. There was a personal journey to reach the rituals that I use today so their information is guarded and one that is secret to those outside of my household. I am still growing with them and finding that I have to make room for continued growth.
One ritual that I will share is my time at the boveda. When I started maintaining one over 20 years ago, my commitment was once weekly where I would go and sit to meditate and remember those that I loved who transitioned. There was a time that I stopped maintaining a boveda, starting again later once I stabilized from an imbalanced lifestyle.
I continue to commit to cleaning/physically caring for my Ancestral shrines once weekly, but as I have grown my understanding of my Ancestors has changed greatly from 20 years ago. I have lived through many deaths closer to the base of the family tree as I grew older. One day I looked around and realized that I am next in line as the elder and soon to be the eldest; most of my beloved elders have transitioned.
I have now had different life experiences so that my interactions at my Ancestral shrines have changed. I also have more life experiences where the Ancestors have interacted, interceded and cared for me and that has changed my approach. Instead of weekly I go to my Ancestors first thing in the morning after hygiene daily and I return to them again at night. I discuss plans for the day, good news, or bad news with them first before any other rituals I must do.
Ancestral rituals are one of my requirements before leaving my home daily. The manner in which I interact with them will likely be unique to my lineage, but is ultimately not set in stone. The main point is to have one, then to have the discipline to carry it out whether I am running late for work or not, an emergency or not. (You would never rush past your grandmother without telling her you were on your way to the hospital to see Joe when they were physically present, and the same principle stands while they are spiritually present.)
Performing rituals daily help to reinforce the concepts of tradition, its teaching, and beliefs. It fully integrates ancient knowledge, wisdom and understanding into your life so that your practice in tradition and your lifestyle become one in the same. The benefit of this is walking a path that is filled with peace, blessings, grace, abundance, elevation and fulfillment (also known as ire).