Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The Ancestors

An interesting question was raised in a pagan forum recently: When using the term "ancestors", to whom are you referring?

My answer was not complete, but I wrote the following:

Firstly, I refer to those in my bloodline, i.e. direct ancestors such as grandparents, great-grandparents ... to that end, I undertake genealogical research as best I can.

Secondly, I refer to my bloodline clans, i.e. those with a similar surname to myself, and my paternal and maternal antecedents in Ireland, England, America, France, etc.

Thirdly, those who lived on the land of my ancestors, perhaps alongside them, especially when visiting those places.

Fourthly, those who lived on the land, where I currently reside, before me, such as the Britons, the Romans, the Angles, the Normans, and so on.

And, finally, those with whom I may have an affinity. This category I find hard to define. Another response was more erudite, referring to ancestors of "blood, place and craft", but I would redefine it to "blood, place and craft/spirituality". By craft/spirituality, I mean those who have preceded me in my endeavours. For instance, when I undertook Reiki (over a decade ago), which I consider both a craft and a spiritual calling of sorts, I always maintained images of Usui and Hawayo alongside those of my blood relations. Spiritually, I would also refer to those pagans who lived on these isles prior to the Romans. They are my spiritual ancestors. Were I an artist of any sort, I would probably consider those who had gone before as my ancestors, too, but its not really as simple as that. I wish I had the words to explain, but I don't. Perhaps others can provide the definition I find so elusive?


Geraldine Moorkens Byrne said...

I'm not sure I can improve on the definition but I like it. I have to agree, i too would divide my answer along those lines (blood, land etc)
then there are those to whose way of life I feel allegiance - both spiritually and philosophically.
When it comes to "craft" it's the faces of my teachers I see, but in my heart I honour everyone who has taught me, along the way.

The ancestors are a theme with me today, i just discovered a connection with someone I've known and like for ages...not a direct bloodline connection but a shared ancestor. These are the things that anchor me, I feel.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way about the ancestors as you. And will have them all in my thoughts during my Samhain ritual. Samhain Blessings to you. Happy New Year.