Rituals for the Ancestors
Festival of the Bones
is a multicultural community ritual honoring revered ancestors. It was originated by Chief Yeye Luisah Teish and Ile Orunmila Oshun in 1995, produced annually until 2011, then again in 2014.
Two of my contributions to this wonderful tradition are shown here: a digital Poster promoting the 2014 festival, and The 5 Directions Ancestor Altar created in 2010.
Digital Photo Collage made from my photographs of The 5 Directions Ancestor Altar.
RGB Photo Collage JPG
The 5 Directions Ancestor Altar
(Shown below) was structured as an equal-armed cross of four directions extending out from the fifth direction—the center. Each arm extends about four feet. Each direction relates to an element: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit and was decorated with appropriate colors, cloth, flowers, food offerings and candles.
© 2010, 2014, 2017
Five Directions Ancestor Altar
Festival of the Bones 2010
Above is a view of the whole altar before ritual participants arrived. The directions are (counter-clockwise): North/Earth on the left, West/Water to the right, Center/Spirit, and South/Fire on the far right. The table corner below the white lily is East/Air.
The altar developed as pictures of revered ancestors and personal, sacred objects were placed by members of Ile Orunmila Oshun. Later audience members arrived and added their ancestor pictures and offerings. In the West/Water section, Shala Rodriguez placed a bowl of salt water filled with shells on a circular net-like pattern made from efun (white chalk) and cowrie shells to honor Olokun, Orisha of the deep.