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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in ancestors

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Thoughts About My Ancestor Mystery

I've been cogitating about my previous post, Solving an Ancestor Mystery with DNA, and what the new information means to me. Firstly let me state that the Cherokee Freedmen were culturally Cherokee regardless of DNA, so when I talk about the revelation that my supposed Cherokee ancestor was "really" African, I'm not implying that anyone else's Freedmen ancestors were not "real" tribespeople. I'm only talking about me, and my personal ancestors.

There must have been a good reason why my dad's family were not living in a Cherokee tribal community at the time of the earliest living memories to which I was exposed growing up, and the stories I've previously heard about why that was are now suspect. It seems likely that my Freedmen ancestors left because they could, because they were freed. My dad's early spiritual teachings to me were Native American in character, not African, referencing the corn spirit and other spirits native to this continent. His teachings set me on an animist spiritual path in harmony with the land spirits, which I continue as an Asatruar. He never specifically stated what tradition he was, though.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Oh, cool! Does Finland have a tradition about that?
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    When you mentioned that you call your drum Grandmother Elk I immediately thought of Finland.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Solving an Ancestor Mystery with DNA

Asatru is one of the paths that includes ancestors among the beings we honor. That doesn't always have to be one's own personal literal biological ancestors, as explored in a prior post. However, many heathens go in for genealogy, and for those who have done so and hit a wall, or for adoptees and others who don't know anything about their ancestors, the corner where modern science and capitalism meet has provided home DNA tests.

My brother has extensively traced our family genealogy and uncovered some interesting things, but there was one mystery the paperwork could not answer for us. We had been told that we were part Cherokee. The summer after I graduated from college, which was about a year after my father died, I went looking for my Cherokee roots and drove across the country, all the way from California to the Qualla Boundary reservation in North Carolina. I utterly failed to connect to the land spirits, the people, or even the artifacts in the museum. I went camping nearby in the Great Smoky Mountains and did not connect to the land there either. I tried looking for records, and whether I approached via writing or in person, I hit a wall of silence everywhere I went. I tried to connect spiritually, and decided that was not the path for me. I had already been following a heathen path at that point, but that was about when I found a local California Asatru organization, and when I went there I felt right at home, welcome and connected, so I was affirmed on my path. But the unsolved mystery of the elusive Cherokee ancestors stayed in the back of my mind.

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We have all had times where the challenges that life brings to us feel overwhelming. For the most part, hopefully, these are brief times of illness or misfortune, but it is a fact that each of us will have to come to terms less often with times of real challenge and even with death. As we journey through our lives, we seldom find these things occur at convenient moments, when we feel strong and equipped to endure. At such times we realise that all our lives are constantly navigated through realms of unpredictability and the chaos of a multitude of lives and circumstances co-existing and intersecting with our own. How much power we have over our fate is often woefully small. Yet there is to be found, even at such times, a wellspring of resources within us and around us, if not to cure, then certainly to provide a balm for our distress.  

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Heathen Ancestral Wisdom to Cope With Quarantine

From mundane to woo, here’s some simple advice on what to do.

#1: Honor Your Ancestors

We’re all here because our ancestors pulled through much worse times than this.Their strength, pragmatism and a good deal of mystical knowledge are all still available to us. At this time, it’s a good idea to thank them and ask for their support. Honoring the ancestors is a core part of many polytheist paths, but it may be new to you. It doesn’t take much: raise a glass to them, say a prayer, talk to an old family photo. Keep them in your thoughts. b2ap3_thumbnail_othala_20200318-204744_1.jpg

The rune Othala (pictured at left) can really help with this,
through meditation or burning a candle inscribed with it, dedicated to the ancestors. Family is important right now. Even if you haven’t always seen eye to eye, rise above it: these aren’t ordinary times, and you need each other, but don’t tolerate—or inadvertently cause— abuse. Check in with your relatives, especially more vulnerable older folk you may not have seen for awhile. It’s also a good time to sit down and listen to those oft-ignored elders, learning the family stories, and hearing how they learned to cope.

Do this now, because you may not get another chance. While this is always true, current events just underscore this.

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You’re invited to a Samhain ritual

You’re invited to a Samhain ritual. It will be held via teleseminar (group phone-call). Simply dial your phone, and you’re in. No other equipment needed. Attendance is free.

 

Dial-in number and other details for this one-hour ceremony are in my upcoming newsletter. Subscribe for free: https://outlawbunny.com/newsletter/ 

 

Samhain is a major holiday for many Pagans. The holiday has various aspects. Here are a few: 

* It is similar to the Mexican Day of the Dead, in that it is a time to honor and visit with ancestors.

* It is a harvest festival.

* Many Pagans celebrate the New Year at this time, instead of on January 1.

 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Asatru FAQ: Bad Ancestors

FAQ: I want to be a good heathen and honor ancestors but my ancestors were bad people. Who can I honor?

Related FAQ: I'm going to be attending a sumbel in which there will be a round toasted to the ancestors, but I was adopted and don't know my ancestors' names. Who can I honor?

My answer: One can honor Askr and Embla, the first man and woman according to heathen mythology (made by Odin and his brothers.) One could also honor any gods that appear in one's family tree. According to heathen mythology, everyone is descended from Rig, whom most Asatruars consider to be an aspect of Heimdall, thus, anyone could honor Heimdall. There might also be other gods one could include among ancestors, depending on one's family line. I have honored Lollus as an ancestor.

You don't have to honor your literal biological ancestors to be a good heathen. When the sumbel horn is passed in the ancestor round, you can honor the mighty dead whom you admire whether you are lineally related to them or not. You can honor your personal heroes, the elders of your path, a writer who influenced you-- that's my personal hope of ever being remembered, since I have no children. You can honor the founders of your nation, city, profession, or art. Honor your spouse's ancestors. Toast your favorite childhood teacher, the composer of your favorite song, or anyone with whom you have an emotional connection.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Nods. The Disir have a named holiday, Disablot, so they were definitely honored in ancient times. One honor them, or the alfar per
  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    Victoria Wednesday, 14 August 2019 · I honour the mothers and fathers of my ancestral lineage. Heathens get too wrapped up in in

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
“Wise Woman’ By Jane Brideson. 
Used with permission

She sits on the windowsill above my altar in a gold frame. The image is entitled ‘Wise Woman’ painted by Irish painter Jane Brideson entitled. The Wise Woman is sitting by her kitchen table burning something in a small copper cauldron from which the smoke swirls and wafts up and around her.

There are images in the smoke, a hare under a waxing moon, a croft with a thatched roof, smoke trailing out of the chimney. The cottage has two windows on its whitewashed front which I want to peer through, the paint of the front door is probably peeling in several places, to reveal a rainbow of colors which span decades. I imagine what it might look like inside, maybe like the Irish croft my Great Aunt Mary lived in, a wise woman herself who never married and worked the farm alone and traded for most of what she needed. The third swirl of smoke holds the scene of a cauldron pot over a fire, next to a large kettle.

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