Ancestral Whispers: An Updated Review

After having some time to digest my thoughts on Ancestral Whispers: A Guide to Building Ancestral Veneration Practices by Ben Stimpson, I decided that it was time to update my review on his book. I still absolutely love it, and it’s one of my favorite books I’ve read on my spiritual journey so far.

I want to address my rating and only major critique of Ancestral Whispers. Originally, I rated it a 9/10 because at the time, I wished that it would have provided some examples of rituals or recommended practices. I am updating my rating to a perfect 10/10.

I will include my sources as page numbers in Ancestral Whispers in parentheses, as well as links to sources in the following text. You can view a peek inside Ben’s book on his website.

For reference, this is the paragraph of my initial review that I am addressing in this post:

One important thing that I think is important to point out about Ancestral Whispers is that if you are looking for a book that will provide any sort of “here’s-a-ritual-for-inviting-your-ancestors-to-join-in-your-magickal-working”-type of structure, this book is not it. There are no specific rituals, prayers, evocations, etc. provided, so if you are reading this book expecting direction in that regard, you may be disappointed. Because of this, I am having a hard time deciding if I would recommend this book to someone who is new to ancestor work. On the one hand, because it doesn’t provide any one specific viewpoint, it will get the reader thinking about different aspects of ancestor work to consider in developing a personal practice, so it is great in that it will not cause the reader to limit other input because they are so influenced by the first ritual for something they read. On the other hand, I feel that many people who are new to ancestor work would benefit from some form of an example ritual or working.

After rereading the book, taking Ben’s lecture series by the same title of his book, and getting to know more about Ben and his background, I must admit that it was unfair of me to have set expectations for him to share example practices/rituals – there are several reasons for this.

First and foremost, any spiritual practice is an extremely personal topic. An individual’s practices are none of anyone’s business, unless the individual chooses to share. I knew this at the time, but I was blinded to thinking about it at the time because I was so used to every other spiritual book I’ve read having example rituals.

A second, extremely important, reason that my expectation for examples was unfair is because Ben has a background in Lukumi, also known as Santería, which is an Afro-Cuban tradition (5). I cannot and do not speak for Ben when I say this, but due to the fact that Ben is Welsh by birth (3), it would honestly probably not be the most appropriate thing for him to share any specific practices from a mostly-closed spiritual tradition (5-6).

A third reason, and one that is my fault for not originally absorbing for some reason, is that one of Ben’s goals for writing Ancestral Whispers was “to challenge you to really explore your practice and take ownership of it” (6). THAT there should have been enough to get the expectations of sample rituals out of my head right off the bat!

The fact that this is not a “‘here’s-a-ritual-for-inviting-your-ancestors-to-join-in-your-magickal-working’-type” book has not changed, but I have changed my stance on one aspect of that statement: I am thankful for that! In a world flooded with books that have rituals laid out for us, Ancestral Whispers is a breath of fresh air. It challenges us to be bold and forge new paths instead of blindly following others’ views. (Which, as a side note, brings to mind one of my favorite poems: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

If you want a book about ancestor work that does have rituals laid out for you, albeit with a strong Wicca slant, I would highly recommend Badass Ancestors: Finding Your Power with Ancestral Guides by Patti Wiggington.

In my original review of Ancestral Whispers, I stated that I didn’t know whether or not I’d recommend it to people who are new to ancestor work. I can now say that, without a shadow of doubt, I would 100% recommend this to those new to ancestor work. Ancestral Whispers really digs in to getting to the root of your beliefs on many factors that come into play when it comes to developing one’s own ancestor veneration practice. If you are new to ancestor work and looking for a book to begin with, Ancestral Whispers is the perfect starting point for blazing your own personal trail – which will make all the difference!

“Annotated Bibliography”

To learn more about Ben and his work, check out his website:

My original review of Ancestral Whispers can be found here: 📝 Spells8 Book Club XXXI - Readers' Reviews! - #5 by Jewitch

A preview of Ancestral Whispers can be found on Ben’s website here: Publications — Ben Stimpson

An overview of Lukumi (Santaría) can be found on Wikipedia: Santería - Wikipedia

Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken” can be read here: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost | Poetry Foundation


A perfect 10/10 - hooray! :tada: I know from your first review that you enjoyed the book, and I appreciated reading about your thoughts have developed with time to see the book in a new perspective- I’m happy Ancestral Whispers have been such a valuable and thought-provoking read for you, @Jewitch! :heart:

As always, your posts are a pleasure to read- you have a great way of breaking down each point and walking us through it. Thank you so much for sharing your updated review on Ancestral Whispers :pray: :open_book:

Blessed be!