The families we choose

Blood families don’t always work out for people, by choice or circumstance. Sometimes the families we’re born into just aren’t big enough to provide much in the way of support, or we prove to be black sheep and changelings, unable to fit in where we find ourselves.

Families made by choice rather than blood can be very powerful things. We can adopt folk into our clan or household, make ties that are more meaningful to us than those derived from shared genetic heritage.

In paganism, this can be especially powerful where the idea of craft parents and ancestors of tradition are concerned.

Craft parents are more than teachers. They guide and support us in our tentative early steps down the path of our choosing. We go back to them with our successes and failures, and in that regard they stand in the position of a parent. If your blood family has let you down, then the approval, affirmation and sense of belonging a craft parent can create, is a powerful thing indeed.

Not everyone has access to that kind of teaching and support. However, we can all look to ancestors of tradition. These are the folk who walked the pagan paths before us – they may be visionaries whose books we read, heroes whose stories we know, or people whose actions we wish to emulate. We choose our ancestors of tradition, and while they might not communicate with us directly, we can still learn from them, honour them, and through that relationship, we can find our own place in the world.

 Blood family is not the only way to be connected, and the tribes of our hearts, however we understand them and create them, can be blessings indeed.

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