Speaking of Ancestors

The far right people put a great deal of emphasis on racial identity and ancestry. In the UK that’s in the news a lot at the moment, and it’s a sad state of affairs.
Ancestry is important – it shapes us culturally and genetically. How far can you trace your family? How much of who you are comes from your blood lines? I have Welsh, Cornish and Irish in the mix, I’ve been told I have Jewish blood from a long way back, and no doubt Roman and Saxon and Celtic along the way too. I’m British, utterly, which to me, means being a hodge-podge of all kinds of things.
Druidry identifies three kinds of ancestors – of blood, of place and of tradition. Blood ancestry is straightforward enough. The people who gave us our bodies and shapes. Ancestors of place are those who lived on the land before we did – so even if we have no direct blood ties, we can still honour those who have shared the space we now occupy. Whatever your background and country, how you relate to more indigenous peoples is complicated and a minefield, but treating them with honour and respect is vital, hearing their stories. Ancestors of tradition are those who did what we now do. That may mean the ancient druids, but for writers that will also mean the authors who have inspired you. I would include George Eliot on that list for me, for example.
Ancestry is not a simple matter of blood. it is all the rich diversity of our heritage. Ancestry does not divide us, it connects us to each other. We all climbed out of the saem primordial stew after all. We share genes with all living things.

3 thoughts on “Speaking of Ancestors”

  1. Really speaks to me, Bryn. I get flak for calling myself Druid when there is not a drop of Celtic in my ancestry.

    Yet the place we are born and exist inevitably gets into the bones of us, from the food we eat and the air we breathe. It’s plain commonsense science. Those of us who feel the power of place, and who revere Nature above other manifestations of the divine, merely are giving voice to a capacity that all could share, just as all carbon-based life shares that manas, that chi.

    It just so happens I met Druids and they helped me know what term to apply to it.

    Now there in my three paragraphs are your three types of Druidism. Mwuahaha.


  2. Hi Bryn,
    Wow, what a great and interesting post. Ancestory in the sense of physicality is important to a lot of people as it is a broad spectrum term that can help us to identify with others and give name to some of the classifications that we inheritaly feel.
    Your post also puts me in the mind of spiritual ancestory, if you believe in past lives then the call of a specific place, religion, ancestory may have something deeper then just where you happened to be born.
    Great topic and very thought prevocing,


  3. I tried to search out my roots but it drove me crazy. After I went so far I thought, I doubt they are going to write WITCH, Pagan or Lunatic on a census form lol.

    I see a lot of wars going on between ‘witches’ or Druids and many other type of Pagans, on who is hereditary, born into, blah, blah, blah and I think it’s all insane. lol I don’t think these people represent the Pagan community and I think if people look more deeply into them they could see that.

    I don’t even know how someone could say a person isn’t a Druid or a Celt or anything really lol. I mean we are so mixed with this and that, I doubt there is any faith or religion we don’t have a hand in (as far as our family tree goes).

    In my mind, EVERYONE in this world has a Pagan connection whether they claim it or not.

    I did trace my one family name back to Ireland and Scotland but I never wondered if they were Pagan or a part of a clan or anything lol. In fact, I kind of imagined them being off their rockers like the one Irish guy in Brave Heart lol. The one that thinks he owns Ireland lol. Ok, so I could relate to his insanity lol
    Awesome post Bryn, as always.


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