This full moon is Bhādrapada Pūrṇimā, and begins the time known as Pitṛpakṣa, also called Śrāddh in modern times. This is the annual fortnight each year where we pause to honor our ancestors and work through our ancestral karma.
A traditional conception of life is a wheel that keeps spinning throughout time. All creation is unified by and bound to this wheel. As much as we cling to our notions of discrete individuality, the reality is that we are created out of many beings who existed before us. Even the atoms of our body existed before we did, and when we pass they will be reused again. From our ancestors, we inherit not just our bodies and our DNA, but also our consciousness – our thoughts, feelings, traumas, beliefs, and even our notion of self.
As we journey through life, we too pass on these things to our children and grandchildren. The wheel keeps going through time and space, creating new lives and new destinies. Through ancestor practices, we give ourselves a chance to pause and engage with our past. By doing so, we also transform our present and our future.
Ancestor practices help us understand what we have inherited and put it to its highest use now. They help us clear blocks or limitations that unnecessarily limit us – and as we uplift ourselves, we also uplift all the other beings we are tied to. These practices also fill us with love and courage, reminding us that we are not alone.
Practice: Honoring the Ancestors
There are a range of traditional practices that we can do to honor and transform our ancestral relationships. At their core, they share an understanding that how we live our life impacts the collective wheel of creation, and that a great way to honor and thank our ancestors is to use the life they blessed us with for a sacred and beautiful purpose.
To guide you through them, we are once again offering our free 16-day ancestor practices course. Each day features a unique lesson and ancestor practice. If you have taken the course before, we invite you to refresh your understanding and experience by participating again.