A Ritual of Gratitude for the Ancestors – Serving Spirit First


Prepare your altar with fresh water, and with a new candle and incense.

At dinner, before serving yourself, take a white plate which you will designate for this specific purpose from now on. This will be your spirit plate, upon which you serve your ancestors and your guides.

Fill the plate with food, making sure that you give them some of everything, even the pie. Place the plate on your altar, light the candle, and say the following prayer*:

“To my ancestors, to my lineage, to my grandfathers and my grandmothers: I send you light and love from this moment back along my ancestral lines.

I honor your strengths, and I forgive you for your weaknesses.
I carry forth the spark of life which you have bequeathed to me.

I offer this water to soothe and to cleanse any unresolved family conflict or karmic inheritance.

I serve this food as a humble offering of gratitude and as a symbol of preservation and sustenance, of thankfulness and acknowledgement of my heritage and what I must never take for granted.

I am a product of endless generations of your converging paths, of a grand tree which roots and connects to all other trees here on the earth.

I thank you for my existence. I thank you for my life.


Now join in prayer with the rest of your friends and family as you say the words of grace or gratitude which are customary to your traditions, or as you feel so moved. And now, go ahead. Dig in!

*if you are not eating at your own home, you can take your spirit plate home and place it on your altar when you return home. Leave it there for as long as feels right, which may be anywhere from a few hours to a few days, and then dispose of it.

Please share this ritual and prayer, you may be surprised who is open to starting this tradition of serving spirit first.