Book Review: Invoking the Ancestors: A Guide to Ancestral Veneration

Right now I’m reading “Invoking the Ancestors: A Guide to Ancestral Veneration” by Mallorie Vaudoise. I’ve read several books about working with ancestors, but I’m finding that this is the most readable and useful one I’ve come across. Vaudoise has a very matter-of-fact, but intimate way of writing that feels like sitting down at the kitchen table with an older sister who knows way more shit than you do. 

She describes the different types of ancestors, and how to create altars, rituals, or offerings that you can apply no matter what religion or ideology you follow. Her advice is all hands-on, and she gives enough examples that you’ll find something in the book that you can use. The book itself is a nice size, about 5×8 and 264 pages. 

My favorite thing in the book so far has been how she brings up the concept of love languages in working with the ancestors–I never would have thought of that! Just because you’re not incarnate doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate things in different ways. Some of your ancestors might like it if you talk to them and give them lots of attention, while others might prefer that you do an act of service for them, or give them gifts. It’s really a great reminder that relationships with your ancestors are just that — relationships — and it doesn’t hurt to check in and make sure that what you’re doing is working for the other person and not just you!