The Altar of the Dead, The lost, The Liminal

Ancestor altar

Every morning, I offer my first beverage of the day to the dead. I have adapted this small Morning Libation ritual from The New Orleans Voodoo Tarot by Louis Martinie and Sallie Ann Glassman, to my own needs, as me pouring out libations in plain sight of my landlord might be a bit conspicuous. The windows face out onto a small closed off alcove that is mostly inaccessible so all of my libations are poured on to this ground:

Morning Libations

The first liquids of the day are offered to the dead. Before refreshing yourself, fill a cup with coffee, water or some other liquid and stand over an open piece of ground.

Holding the cup with both hands, inscribe a crossroads in the air in front of you. Pass the liquid through the center of the crossroads with a slight throwing motion. Allow the cup to leave the grasp of your hand for a split second as it passes through the crossroads. Say, “To all who have come before.”

“To those who are named.” (Here repeat the names of those dead you wish to remember.) Pour out a bit of liquid.

“To those whose names have been forgotten, lost in the seas of Time.” Pour out  a bit of liquid.

“To those whose bones lie within and upon this land.” Pour out a bit of liquid

Raise the cup up with both hands. “To you from the living”

Take the first drink of the day.


One morning, I had awoken from a dream in which I was visited by the Loa’s, Papa Legba, and Baron Samedi, the scene was a cemetery with a large crossroads inscribed in it. On a grave stone appeared the Veve of the Baron, I was calling Papa Legba to open the gates for me, and The Baron arrived. I cannot remember too much from the fuzz of waking up, but I remember from that day forward that I had to stop being a wuss and actually do my offerings, as I had been interested from a distance for a while but tentative to begin any solid practice. This was around a month after I had lost my job, so with all the trauma of that experience and with a month of scattered energy, I finally had that final kick in the pants, as the dream had been no walk in the park.

On my Altar, are the small figurines of Mr and Mrs Skelly, which have become my personal representations of Baron Samedi and Manman Brigitte. For the Barons, I have also started making a Spicy Rum, infused with Chillies and some American coins I had been given when I was a child. On the other side I have a red candle holder with a tea-light candle which I light for Papa Legba when I pray and offer to him. I have offered him some keys and most recently some candied chocolate during my birthday. I have some Tobacco for him which I bought years ago when I stood at a crossroads and felt his presence for the first time, I will hopefully find a pipe for him to smoke it in soon, but I believe everything comes at the right time.

I do not pretend to be a practitioner of Vodou, or a Mambo of any kind, I am not, I am a witch, and my heart will always be etched in the magic of witchcraft, I merely give my offerings with an open heart, to those who have come-a-knockin’ at the doorway.

Anubis kneels in the center holding an array of objects, some of these objects belonged to those whom I love across the veil.

The top windowsill is somewhat of a shrine for Pixie, but is also a space where I can leave more general offerings for the Dead. Ol’ Grim whom I remember receiving as a gift when I was a child, is happily grinning away reminding me that I have always been a little on the nuttier side. I keep Laughing Buddha atop my urn for Pixie, as I feel His presence evokes the same joy, laughter, and compassionate spirit as Pixie.

This space is my place to honour those that have crossed through the veil, those, who hold the keys to opening the gates and those who walk behind and beside me every day. I hope that in this space the spirits that visit here will find nourishment and peace.



4 thoughts on “The Altar of the Dead, The lost, The Liminal

  1. I love the books written by Louis Martinie and Sallie Ann Glassman. i have never met them but read their works and they are friends on our coven’s FB page. Do u have a FB page? Ours is extremely limited to coven members and what i call “friends of the coven” so give me your name or send a request to You can see on my BSSS blog i was recently able to visit my old Ghede site in the city. Now that i am out in the country i have found a new Ghede at one of the local cemeteries. BB dear.

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