This Ancestral Ritual Shows Up In Hip Hop And The Bible

In Genesis 35:14, Jacob sets up a stone pillar and pours his drink as an offering in the place where God had spoken to him. He was pouring libations, an ancient Black ritual that we still do today.

This Ancestral Ritual Shows Up In Hip Hop And The Bible
Via Wikimedia Commons

When a loved one passes, sometimes we “pour one out for the homie” by sloshing a bit of liquor onto the ground in honor of the deceased. It’s a centuries-deep ritual our people have been doing forever.

In Ancient Egypt, libations, typically water, were poured as an offering for the dead. The ritual has stood the test of time and appears in hip-hop culture and the bible.

Pouring libations as an act of reverence occurs in Genesis 35:14. “So Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He talked with him, a pillar of stone; and he poured a drink offering on it, and he poured oil on it.”

According to some Yoruba priests, modern libation ceremonies begin by praising God and honoring ancestors whose knowledge and love constantly influence us.

Today, some Black churches keep the ritual alive; many couples pour one out at their weddings.

We live in an anti-Black world that tries to tell us who we are. But by leaning into and reclaiming our practices, we can never be swayed from our truths.

Next time you want to honor an ancestor, begin with prayer before pouring one out for them and speak aloud to express gratitude for their life and all they’ve given you.

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