What do we the living owe the dead?
Three measures of respect: respect of body,
respect of offering, respect of memory.
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Who are your ancestors and how should your honor them? Pagan organizations seek aid from the community in the form of fundraising. And a Pagan icon is mourned. It's Watery Wednesday, our weekly segment on news about the Pagan community. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
"Just as the acorn holds limitless oaks, the Self has limitless potential. Expanding, contracting, opening, closing, leaping, pausing, watching, knowing, asking questions…" --Womanrunes, The Rune of Self
To be a human being sitting on a rock, in the sun, feeling wind, breathing in and out, reaching. This very moment, this very experience, this very capacity to sit and see and wonder, is the soul of life.
Today is my grandma's birthday. She passed away two years ago after a short and brutal bout with aggressive pancreatic cancer. After she died, my mom and I spoke briefly about whether or not my grandma's spirit is still present with us. I’ve noticed I don’t really get the kinds of “messages” that other people seem to experience after the loss of someone important to them and my mom feels pretty certain that life is over when it is over.
Before you were even conceived, the burning times had terrorized your soul. But you can reclaim your Pagan power.
During the European persecutions, thousands of women were killed as witches. Accusers would sometimes wipe out almost all the women of a village, along with some of the men.
I believe the burning times traumatized our DNA. This following shows how I picture it happening.
One Pagan's DNA Research
My ancestors are important to my shamanic path. My previous post discusses that and why taking an AncestryDNA test is part of that path for me.
Today's post discusses my feelings as I waited for the test results, my reactions to the results, and the adventure it put me on as a Pagan.
An AncestryDNA test predicts ethnicity. Waiting for test results, I wondered if I'd like them. I felt excitement and a bit of trepidation.
I was empowered thinking about the benefits my friends' experienced. One friend learned which regions in Africa her ancestors hailed from. Prior to that, she did not know where in Africa she was from. Another friend uncovered secrets her family had hidden. This freed her from decades of lies.
Science and magic meet. I won't choose between mysticism and science. They can feed each other.
My ancestors are spiritually important to me. So I'm combining science and spirit in a deeply personal way: I ordered an AncestryDNA test kit.
A mystic, I travel through the blood in my veins, back through time, to discover the ancient ways my family once practiced. Today, the logical rational side of me does the same by spitting into a vial. This test tube becomes a chalice that arrived by mail, enclosed in plastic. Two supposedly disparate halves of me come together to feed my spirit.
I mailed my saliva, part of my sacred body, to scientists, who will analyze it to reveal my ethnic background. They'll go back through many generations, the same way my meditations have. Their work will expand my otherworldly travels.
There is a certain kind of mindset that says that we, the current oh-so-modern inhabitants of the world, are the epitome of social and biological evolution, that we are an improvement over everything and everyone who has come before us. This concept was very popular in Victorian times thanks to Social Darwinism, a misapplication of the concept of evolution to social and cultural contexts. It was simply an easy way for well-off white Westerners to feel superior to non-whites, non-Westerners and pretty much every single culture that had come before them. So it came as quite a shock to Victorian society when Sir Arthur Evans uncovered the ruins of Minoan civilization and discovered complex architecture, beautiful naturalistic art and (gasp!) enclosed sewers and flush toilets. It turns out, ancient Crete wasn’t alone in this kind of ‘modernity.’ Almost every house in the ancient Indus Valley cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa had flush toilets attached to a sophisticated system of sewers.
The concept of linear cultural and social evolution, of simpler and cruder things leading to more complex and elegant things, derives from the Judeo-Christian worldview that offers a beginning (creation) and steady progress to an end (Judgment Day). This viewpoint colors our expectations of ancient cultures and our interpretations of what we find. But many cultures around the world, especially the ancient world, had a non-linear view of history. They did not see a straight path from beginning to end so much as an ever-spiraling cycle, like the seasons but on a larger, almost epic, scale. I think this circular/spiral mindset is more helpful than the linear one as a lens for viewing ancient cultures. It allows us to recognize the ups and downs of history and prehistory, the fact that people have always been intelligent, ingenious and adaptive....