Burning Ancestor Money 101

Posted by Roxy CosmicBeing on

How to use Ancestor Money Introduction 

Throughout history, various cultures have practiced unique customs to honor and communicate with their ancestors. One such intriguing tradition is the burning of ancestor money. This centuries-old ritual, observed in many Asian countries, holds deep cultural significance and spiritual symbolism. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of ancestor money, exploring its origins, purpose, and the beliefs surrounding its burning.

The Origins of Ancestor Money

Ancestor money, also known as "ghost money" or "spirit money," has a rich history in various Asian cultures, including China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Malaysia. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Chinese religious practices, where it was believed that the living could send money and other material possessions to their ancestors in the afterlife. This act was thought to provide comfort and prosperity to the deceased in their spiritual journey.

It has different names depending on the cultural tradition some of its common names are ghost money, spirit money, Joss paper, hell notes (mistranslation), heaven notes etc. Most of them will have the image of the Jade Emperor. The Jade Emperor is a Higher God in the Taoist pantheon and is considered the deity over all money on earth.

Ancestor Money is paper money that is typically made from Joss paper (however, I have noticed most vendors currently are not using traditional joss paper and I digress).

How is Ancestor Money Used

This paper money can be burned on your ancestral altar with the intentions to honor your lineage. Which is used as a way to uplift our Ancestors by sending energetic currency to your lineage that is now part of the non-physical world. The ancestors will be able to use this energy to pay for their debts on the other side.

This ritual is most common in Asian cultures and is abundantly used in funerals to honor the dead and during the hungry ghost festival.

Symbolism and Purpose

  1. Filial Piety: Central to this tradition is the concept of filial piety, a deeply ingrained virtue in Confucian philosophy that emphasizes respect, love, and devotion to one's ancestors. By burning ancestor money, descendants demonstrate their dedication and filial piety, expressing their desire to honor and support their deceased family members.

  2. Providing for the Deceased: The belief is that the smoke from the burning ancestor money carries the currency to the afterlife, where the ancestors can use it to purchase necessities and luxuries in their spirit realm. This act is a way of ensuring that the deceased's material needs are met even in the afterlife.

  3. Ensuring Prosperity: In addition to providing for the ancestors' needs, burning ghost money is also thought to bring good fortune and prosperity to the living family members. It is believed that by fulfilling their filial duties, descendants can gain the blessings and protection of their ancestors.

What is the Spiritual Significance of Burning Ancestor Money?

The spiritual significance and intentions of burning ancestor money is that you are making a deposit into the spiritual world at the beginning of your day.

Typically it is done when people want to have financial freedom, they deposit money into the bank so that they may draw upon it when the time is necessary.

However a deeper meaning and purpose for burning Ancestor money is that while the Ancestors are no longer here in the physical world, there is still work to be done in the non-physical world. We are interconnected begins and therefore the up-liftment of our lineage rests with the Ancestors and those currently living. 

When we make a deposit in the spiritual world the Ancestors will be able to use this energy to pay for their debts on the other side, whether these debts are karmic debts from their past lives that keep them trapped in a cycle, or debts that the took on during their incarnation. 

When these debts are not cleared or taken care of they may be passed down to you in your present life time. Helping your ancestors' be bright and well allows for blessings to rain down upon you because it makes space for you to receive. When there is static energy that is preventing opportunities there is no room to receive, in order to fully receive we must make room for it. 

Shouldn't I just burn real money?

DO NOT BURN REAL MONEY!!! However tempted you are to do this burning real money will result in you jinxing yourself as real money carries a different energy!

Remember that everything holds its own energy & frequency and therefore it is most wise to use energies for the intended purposes to the best of our abilities in order to create the optimal reality.

    What is the Best Way to burn Ancestor Money?

    For maximum results, it is advised that you spend time with your ancestors at the start of your day before you do anything, go to your altar, light candle and burn your ancestor money.

    How to fold ancestor money for burning & How much ancestor money should you burn

    Ancestor money should be folded in half towards you. When you fold towards you, you are drawing blessings towards you. When you fold away (you guessed it) you draw things away from you.

    Remeber, that you must Always call in your most Holy & Honorable Ancestors to join you at your ancestor altar. Not all ancestors are highly elevated and not all ancestors are suited to be guides. 

    To help you begin the ritual you can use an altar bell for 4 purposes:

    1. To call in your Holy & Honorable Ancestors
    2. To clear away any negative energies
    3. To open a ritual & prayer
    4. To close the ritual 

    To learn more about the spiritual significance of Altar bells read our blog post here.


    Ancestor money needs to be burned in a heat safe bowl this can be a cast iron cauldron, copper bowls, soap stone, polished horn

    How much ancestor money should I burn?

    The denominations (numerical value) that you burn varies depending on your preference and or what is available to you. Keep in mind that the larger the denomination the more energy that it holds. For instance, 50 million is less than 10 trillion and 1 quadrillion is more than 98 trillion. When you are burning larger notes you are sending in more energetic currency to the ancestral bank. Typically larger notes are sent during ceremonies such as day of the dead or at a funeral to commemorate the life of a love one. 

    What Prayers do you say to your Ancestors when burning Ancestor Money? 

    After you have called in your Holy & Honorable Ancestors to your altar you'll want to burn a sheet of ancestor money for your:

    1. Currently passed - may those that have passed within the last year may they have peace & blessings
    2. Maternal Lineage - may they have peace & blessings
    3. Paternal Lineage- may they have peace & blessings 
    4. Currently living 
    5. For protection - from any and all negative energies that surround those passed & currently living 
    6. Wholeness- may the lineage be happy & whole

    Doing this ritual this way ensures that you are honoring your lineage in a way that incorporates both of your blood lineages and includes those currently living who are an extension of those of the past. Regardless of your relationship to those currently living as the chosen living Ancestor you must do your part. 

    How much ancestor money can i burn a day?

    There is no limit of how much ancestor money you burn a day. However it is wise to burn ancestor money at least once a day or twice a day. For instance, once prior to leaving your house 


    What do you do with Ancestor Money Ashes?

    In some spiritual traditions it is a common practice to burry ashes or place them at a dedicated tree or plant, however, it is not entirely necessary as some of us may live in apartments or do not have access to privacy. It is completely okay to simply discard in a garbage bin. Simply thank the ashes for assisting you in your ritual and dispose of them as you would any other item.

    What to do if you do not know your Ancestors

    While it may be possible that not know all of your lineage, you can start with those that you do know of. It's okay if you don't know everyone's name -you can always say after you mention the names you do know say, "to those known & unknown and those lost and forgotten to history".

    Additionally, if you have familial ties that rejects someone from one side of the family or are disconnected from either your maternal or paternal lineage that indicates that there is some work to be done. Whether or not you choose to honor them depends on the work that you are currently doing in your healing and whether or not that is part of the work that's in your soul's contract to work through. 

    As always please use your own intuition to guide on whether any of this is appropriate for you to do. Your intuition is your best tool for you to follow.  

    If you are adopted or have chosen family that is not blood related to you and you feel called to honor them by all means venerate them. 

    Ancestor money green flame meaning

    In the context of burning ancestor money, the color of the flame can carry symbolic meaning, and it often depends on the specific cultural beliefs and traditions of the people conducting the ritual. The interpretation of flame colors can vary across different regions and communities. While some cultures associate specific colors with particular meanings, others may not place as much emphasis on flame color symbolism.

    In general, a green or blue flame when burning ancestor money can be associated with positive and auspicious meanings, but the interpretation can differ. Here are a few possible interpretations:

    1. Prosperity and Abundance: Some cultures view green or blue flames as a sign of prosperity and abundance. The vibrant colors could symbolize the flow of wealth and good fortune from the living to the deceased ancestors in the afterlife, ensuring their well-being.

    2. Spiritual Connection: Green and blue are colors often associated with spiritual elements, such as growth, renewal, and transcendence. The appearance of these colored flames might signify a strong connection between the living and the spiritual realm, indicating that the ancestors' spirits are present and receiving the offerings with gratitude.

    3. Blessings from Deities or Spirits: In certain belief systems, green or blue flames might be seen as a sign of blessings from deities or spirits who oversee the realm of the ancestors. The colored flames could indicate that the offerings have been accepted and that divine beings are showering their blessings upon the living family members.

    4. Balance and Harmony: Green and blue are colors that evoke feelings of balance and harmony. When burning ancestor money, the appearance of these colored flames could represent the harmonious relationship between the living and the deceased ancestors, signifying a sense of peace and unity within the family.

    It's important to remember that the interpretation of flame colors is not universal, and it may differ based on cultural and regional variations. The most crucial aspect of burning ancestor money is the intention and respect with which the ritual is conducted. It is a way for descendants to pay homage to their ancestors, express filial piety, and honor their heritage. As with any cultural practice, it is essential to approach it with sensitivity and a genuine desire to understand and respect its significance to those who observe it.

    What does it mean to Venerate?



    Burning Ancestor Money 

    If you are not of Asian descent or do not have cultural ties to the practice of burning ancestor money requires that you have a deep understanding and appreciation of the cultural significance behind it. Cultural practices carry a lot of meaning and can vary greatly between different societies, and it's important to approach them with sensitivity and respect for their origins.

    Ultimately, the key is to approach cultural practices with humility, understanding, and an open heart, while being mindful of the context and significance they hold for the communities that practice them.

    If you're interested in honoring your own ancestors or loved ones who have passed away, there are many alternative ways to do so that may be more aligned with your own cultural background and beliefs. Lighting a candle, saying a prayer, creating a memorial, or participating in rituals from your own cultural or religious tradition are some ways you can show respect and remembrance.


    Burning ancestor money is a powerful and enduring tradition that reflects the deep-rooted respect and love for ancestors in various Asian cultures. It is a beautiful way for descendants to connect with their heritage, maintain family ties, and express filial piety. The ritual serves as a reminder that our connection with our ancestors extends beyond the boundaries of life and death, bridging the gap between the past and the present. As we embrace diversity and appreciate the richness of different cultural practices, let us approach this tradition with respect and understanding, acknowledging the profound significance it holds for those who observe it.

    If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

    Wishing you peace and blessings, 

    Roxy ✨🧿✨🧿✨🧿✨🧿✨🧿✨🧿✨🧿


    Roxy is a curandera and folk magic practitioner with a background in Communication, Master of Psychology and is perusing a doctorate in Psychology.

    **DISCLAIMER**: All information contained on this website is meant to be for entertainment purposes only, and in no way constitute legal, financial, medical or other advice. 

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    • Thank. This was very helpful. I know my family had blockages where money is concerned. I want to heal the relationship with money for my family past and present. So those that are newly born into both lineages well prosper and not suffer with the same struggles. Please, I welcome the knowledge you have for me.

      Tracey Mitchell on
    • Pls,Educate me on how to used it for my business and Medical Practice and General Protection in my daily work.

      Dr.Hycienth c Ekpemo on
    • Hi. I am new to this. I recently purchased the money for good luck protection etc and I don’t know where to start. How to burn what to say etc. I’m lost please help. Thanks.

      Melissa Brown on
    • Hello,
      Thank you for the article, and information. Is it ok to burn money for friends that have passed?

      S. Forrest on
    • First of all I’d like to think for the information,guidance, And also for the assistance that you guys provide through email. I am currently spiritually Confused. I did my first communion. I guess and I guess my question is. Are the universal laws, or The simple laws of attraction. Wrong or against any Christian beliefs? Because in my understanding to manifest something. It takes thought and emotion so if I put my thoughts into a positive intentions. Like for example getting closer to my religion that my ancestors followed. Wouldn’t that be a good thing to keep studying? Lol idk if I saw him dumb or make any sense. But I appreciated the assistance guidance. Could I also ask to be prayed for? Again my name is Marco Antonio landa Figueroa. Thank you and hope to hear from you guys soon

      Antonio Figueroa on

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