After communing with my ancestors on Sunday, March 20th, I decided to start an ancestor altar. I knew that I did not have a large surface so I thought I would start small, until I am able to get a larger place to put photos and other mementos. Here’s a picture of the altar:
It contains a picture of my maternal aunt, uncle, and grandmother; a jar for water or alcohol to give to the ancestors in libation; a covered dish for copal incense which has given me great results with previous ancestor work; two tealight candles, partially for illumination and partially for offering; and reddish-pink roses. I hope to add an image or symbol for my unknown Egun, something for Oya, a permanent incense burner, and many more items that my ancestors enjoyed in life (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, various foods, etc.).
With regard to the colors and basic items on the altar: I chose white because it seems to be a traditional color for ceremony in Santeria and other Ifa derived traditions. I selected clear glass because it is attractive, my grandmother enjoyed glass items, and because I do not have any (chipped) porcelain or white ceramics which some sources recommend for ancestor altars. Overall, I am pleased with my start and I can’t wait to grow the altar and make it feel like home for my ancestors!