I bought the e-book of Weaving Memory: A Guide to Honoring the Ancestors by Laura Patsouris through Asphodel Press in late 2012 or early 2013. By opting for the pdf instead of the paperback, I didn’t have to wait for shipping and paid less than $10 ($5 + Tax).
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The first section is The Dead. It covers why someone might want to do ancestor work, the basics of a shrine and the variety possible, honoring your maternal (Disir) and paternal ancestors (Alfar), communication, and toxic ancestors.
I don’t necessarily agree that an ancestral practice is the foundation of or essential for a strong faith because there are people who have strong practices without interacting with their ancestors. Some people also do run into issues with trying to honor their dead in a different religious framework than the ancestor in question, but in terms of basics, I think it was helpful.
At the time of purchasing this book, I found the chapter on toxic ancestors and steps that can be taken most helpful. Ignoring them is a valid choice, but doing elevations is another option. The advice about having an intermediary in the chapter on communication has become more helpful as I’ve gone on. I may not be getting bombarded with emotional, auditory, or visual messages, but I did get conflicting divination readings for a while because everyone was trying to give their personal opinions.
The second section is The Working. It covers possible magical / spiritual assistance (varies on your dead, but assistance with protection and warding can be possible), the wide variety of offerings for your dead, tapping into your ancestors’ strength, how to ask for ancestral vengeance on someone, keeping your dead happy, an example ritual for starting out, dying family members (ancestors-to-be) and grieving, ancestral memories, the angry / restless dead, passing an ancestral practice on to children, and honoring community ancestors.
The final section is Other Voices, which features pieces from other people. This includes Raven Kaldera (honoring the trans dead), Galina Krasskova (Living and Dying and how honoring our ancestors is one step in rebuilding Pagan traditions) and Llyne Foy (her first encounter with her dead).
There was a moment or two where word choice was personally grating, but it came back to how I don’t think an ancestral practice is required for everyone. Sometimes, your bio dead aren’t interested, no one steps forward from past generations, religious differences do matter to some dead, or a community doesn’t want you to focus on them. Some people only experience parts of this, and it may be related to what S/someone tells them to do (or not to do). We aren’t all called to be ancestor workers and to do everything on the path of honoring ancestors.
Overall, I think there’s enough of a balance of beginner material and “201” material that you don’t have to be a complete beginner to get something useful out of this book. Some may not find the Heathen (or related Norse traditions) concepts and examples as helpful, but Patsouris did include examples taking into account her Afro-Cuban heritage, so it wasn’t entirely Heathen focused. Most of the book seems like it could be useful for anyone on any path, since an ancestral practice isn’t limited to one tradition.
Final Decision: A – Acceptable