I’ve been working on the Ancestors essay for the DP, and finding that it’s a little hard for me to work with. I really like the division of Ancestors into different types of kin – from those whom you are actually related to by blood to those you have a spiritual connection to the ancient ones who worshiped in your chosen hearth culture. Even though I’ve had favorable interactions with them in the past, I’m still not sure exactly how I want to bring the Ancestors into my spiritual practice.
Part of this hesitation is that my blood-kin are extremely devout Protestant Christians (like the rest of my family), who would have looked very unfavorably on Druidry in life. I know I should expect that they have a different viewpoint on spiritual things from wherever they are in the afterlife, but I really don’t want to make anyone angry or upset.
At the same time, my great grandmother raised 11 kids on a farm in the Great Depression, and lived to read Peter Rabbit books with me when I was small. She was, by all accounts, a force of nature, and I’d love to have her advice on homemaking and life in general.
I think my first step will be seeing if I can track down some pictures to have with the other family pictures in my house. I don’t have a lot of experience working with the Mighty Dead, but I could sure use some extra wisdom some days.
My family doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about those who have passed away, at least not at this point in time, but I think a lot of that is because my extended family is still relatively intact. My paternal grandparents are still alive, and that’s the part of my family that has the most connection (my mom’s family consisted entirely of my maternal grandmother, who passed away some years ago, so I have no cousins or aunts and uncles to talk with about her). Both sides of my family have done some research into our family history and lineage, but it’s treated very intellectually as opposed to as a way to find family ancestors. I find myself more drawn to the photographs anyway, since I feel like I can actually get a sense of them as actual people as opposed to just names in a book.
As for the other types of ancestors, I have a few people who were mentors and teachers of mine who have since passed on. I truly value the time I spent learning from them, and am very glad I had their friendship. I don’t really have anything I can connect to them easily, though, aside from stories and experiences that I had while I was learning from them. Unfortunately I have no pictures of any of them, either. I’d like to represent them somehow on my altar, but a) it’s cluttered enough already and b) I’m not sure what I would use, since they represent a pretty diverse body of people.
Connecting to the Ancients who also practiced Druidry is something I haven’t explored at all yet, other than naming them in my Samhain ritual as part of the ancestors who were welcomed and honored at that feast. This might be an area where some focused meditation could work out well, or just working to remember them in my rituals.
This particular Kindred seems to include such a wide variety of people and entities. I think that may be why I’m struggling to get my mind around how to honor all of them. I can, of course, lump them together (as will usually happen in a High Day ritual, when one offering will be poured out for the Ancestors specifically), but I think I’d like to make a space for some of them separately as well. If nothing else, I can, when pouring out offerings to the Ancestors, pour out a little to each kind of Ancestor and remember them by type, if not by name. I’d also like to explore how the Norse remembered THEIR Ancestors, since I know they were venerated in that culture. Hopefully with a little more study I can find a balance of things that resonates with me.