How to Burn Ancestor Money on Your Altar (Joss Paper)

Many people in the West are becoming more aware and using ancestor money nowadays.  Dr. Mitchell Gibson ( was the first person I heard speak about the importance of burning ancestor money on your ancestral altar.  This article will help you better serve your relatives on the “other side”.

Ancestor money has different names including 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.

As we pointed out in the article, Altars for Ancestors: How to Setup & Give Offerings, burning ancestor money at your altar is a beneficial practice for yourself and the ancestors.  When our loved ones transition, they still need things in the afterlife.  One of these things is ancestor money to help dissolve debt in this realm and beyond!

Burning ancestor money on your altar is a very easy practice that yields phenomenal benefits. You can burn one or more bills everyday, on set days, or whenever you can.  For me, it seems to yield the best results when done all the time, so do your best to burn daily.

How to Burn Ancestor Money

What you need:

What you do:
  • Give your daily offering of food and/or other items (cigars, wine, alcohol, perfume, loved ones favorite items etc.)
  • Write the names of your ancestors on the money.  You can list by full name or put the family name ie. Jones, Myers, Smith etc.
  • Say something like “this money is for all my ancestors both known and unknown”, while you burn it
  • Burn the ancstor money AT YOUR ALTAR in the safe pot
  • Give thanks
That is all you have to do!  Once again, this practice is very simple and tremendous benefits have come into my life since including this habit in ancestor offerings on a regular basis.


Written by S. Ali Myers

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