How to Perform an Ancestor Elevation Rite

Not all ancestors are healthy and helpful. Ancestor Elevation Rites help those stuck move on.

Not all ancestors are healthy and helpful. Ancestor Elevation Rites help those stuck move on.

Excerpt from Deliverance! Hoodoo Spells of Uncrossing, Healing, & Protection:

Ancestor Elevation is a 9-day rite performed to help resolve issues that may be weighing down spirits of the dead and delaying their progress. Depending on one’s cosmology or the state that the soul is in, it can work to “elevate” the departed from the physical plane to the ancestral realms, or from a non-physical plane to an even “higher” realm through prayerful intercession on their behalf and words of comfort and relief for the soul.

Ancestor Elevation can be performed for one or more specific ancestors, all of one’s ancestors who are in need of it, and even for spirits of the dead who are not biologically related to the practitioner. It is a truly malleable rite that can be altered according to the tastes and traditions important to the practitioner and / or the spirits of the dead that are being elevated (for example, including prayers associated with the religion they practiced while alive).

The minimum that one needs for this work is:

  • a white altar cloth

  • a large white candle (taper or glass-encased is fine), or nine small white candles

  • eight books

  • pleasant-smelling incense

  • a glass of clean water

First, set up an altar on a clean surface with the glass of water at the center on top of your altar cloth. You may wish to add white flowers to the altar or religious accouterments that would be comforting to the souls of the dead you are elevating (e.g. – draping a rosary over the glass of water for souls that were Catholic while alive, etc.). If the rite is being performed for one or more specific souls and photos of them are available, you may choose to include them on the altar as well (ensuring that no photos of the living are present).

If available, you may wish to fix, dress, or anoint your white candle(s) with one or more oils that speak to the energies of Blessing, Healing, or Love Uncrossing. Praying a prayer of blessing over a small amount of olive oil can be just as effective in this case, if so desired.

Once your altar has been set up, begin by placing your incense and large white candle (or one of the small candles) on the altar, burning your incense as an offering to any benevolent spirits who arrive to offer aid and as a comfort to the souls of the dead whom you are elevating.


Though Ancestral Elevation is a truly personal work, a helpful order may be found in the following:

  1. Calling upon spiritual help for protection and to aid you in the work.

  2. Offering words of comfort, healing, and resolution to the dead.

  3. Praying traditional prayers and singing traditional or comforting songs for the dead.

  4. Thanking those spirits who have come to help.

  5. Closing the rite.

The words below may provide some inspiration.

(After lighting the incense) “I call upon my Ancestral Helping Spirits – those who lived well, died well, made it through the Veil and chose to accompany me in this lifetime. I call out to you who bring all that is beautiful, true, and just into my life. Be here now to protect me and to aid me in the elevation of these souls this day / night.” You may now choose to call out to any other helpful spirits you have a strong relationship with as well as any benevolent spirits who wish to aid in providing comfort and elevation to the souls you are assisting. Feel their presence around you.

Light your candle. “I call out to (insert names of the specific souls, ‘my unresolved dead,’ or generic name for group of souls you are elevating) to be here now. Arrive and partake of this cool, clear water. May it quench your thirst. Partake of this incense. May it bring you peace and comfort. Partake of this candle flame. May it light your way now and forever. I remember you. I remember you. I remember you, and I offer you light, love, and progress. I offer you light, love, and progress. I offer you light, love, and progress.” The more passion and energy that you put into these words, the better. Emit the energies of “love” and “remembrance” toward the souls you are elevating. Each word is an offering. You may feel inspired to improvise or make gestures, e.g. raising your hands as a symbol of elevation on “progress.”

“Your grief is known (insert names). I tell you that your grief is known and you are not forgotten. You have not been forgotten. You are remembered, (insert names), and the time of grieving is now at an end. The time of sorrow is over. Now is the time for celebration and joy, for you are loved and remembered unto the Great Fabric. Whatever you are holding on to, let it go. Whatever happened during your lifetime – all is forgiven. All is forgiven. All is forgiven. All is forgiven and YOU ARE REMEMBERED AND LOVED! Be elevated. Be elevated. Be elevated. It is for the good of all.” Prayerfully ask for your helping spirits to aid in helping resolve the issues of these souls, helping them to let go of what is holding them back from progressing. You may even call on the Ancestral Helping Spirits of these souls to aid in this, or any helpful, healthy, benevolent spirits who loved these souls while they were alive. Again, feel free to improvise as you emit the energies of loving-kindness and resolution to the best of your ability.

At this time, you may choose to offer up traditional prayers or songs that would be comforting to the dead you are elevating. Possible considerations include scriptures such as Psalm 23, songs like “Amazing Grace,” prayers such as “Our Father,” or others as deemed appropriate by you. Imagine your voice as a sound bridge connecting these souls from the plane they are on the plane it would best serve them to get to.

Afterwards, state “If there are any souls that are ready and able to be moved on, I ask the benevolent spirits accompanying me in this rite to take them there now.” Thank these helping spirits for their protection and help in elevating the souls you are assisting. Snuff out your candle.

The next day, dismantle the altar and place one of the books on the clean surface, draping the white cloth over it. Reassemble your altar on top of this with a glass of fresh, clean water. Perform the service again, each day adding a book to the stack and reassembling the altar setup atop it. At the end of 9 days, you may choose to perform divination on the effects of your work and if it would be helpful to repeat it.

Disclaimer: This powerful, transformative process can indeed take a toll on your emotional, mental, or psychic state. I encourage you to call upon your wise, healthy, energetically resolved ancestors throughout the day and ask them to help create a firm boundary between yourself and the ancestors you are elevating. Consider wearing white or light colored clothing and head coverings as much as possible during the nine days. It might also help to try to avoid intoxicants. Daily practices of grounding and centering are also suggested.