Full Moon vol 29: The Ancestors

Living Sanskrit Newsletters

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You can’t go where you’re headed until you understand where you came from?”

This has never been more true, especially within a tradition that sees life as a continuous and interconnected wheel. Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end. And, each thing impacts every other thing – so no matter where we go, we remain connected.

When we pass, we become ancestors (pitṛ) to those who are still alive. The ancestors are protectors and guardians of life, watching over their children, and all creation. And it’s up to us – the living – to honor their sacrifices and express our gratitude for the gift of life by fulfilling the purpose of our lives with wisdom, virtue, and joy.

Beginning with tonight’s full moon, we enter a sacred time known as Pitṛpakṣa (which literally means “the ancestors’ fortnight”). It is a 16-day period where we connect with our ancestors and do good things on their behalf as an expression of respect and gratitude. We also receive their blessings, guidance, and protection.

We were literally created from the physical and spiritual energies of those who came before us. When we connect with our ancestral essence, we start transforming our most subconscious patterns and primal energies. And the effects of this can completely change our experience of life on earth.

Ancestor practice is one of the more mysterious but deeply potent aspects of the dharma tradition. If you really dive in to it, it can be wholly transformative and release a tremendous amount of fear, confusion, and burden from our lives.

In honor of Pitṛpakṣa, we have two special gifts to support your learning and practice:

FIRST, we are offering a free 16-day course on traditional ancestor practices, where you will learn a unique practice each day. You can sign up here, or click below. We’re thankful to be able to teach on this interim platform as we finish production on this web site!


SECOND, we are offering our first live webinar class with Shivani Ray, the founder and a Core Teacher for Living Sanskrit. She will be teaching us how ancestor energies impact our lives on a daily basis, as well as guiding us through a traditional inner practice to connect with them and send blessings. And, you will have a chance to ask questions at the end – register here.

In lieu of giving you a single practice for this issue, we invite you to learn the wide range of ancestor practices by participating in the course and the live class. The single greatest way to honor your ancestors is to awaken and fulfill the purpose of your life, and we hope these tools will support you in your journey.