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River

Thoughts on ancestry and roots

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River

Good afternoon everyone,

 

There's a topic that has been on my mind for a long time now, and I don't know why I hadn't made a post here about it. So, I've been thinking about the role our ancestry and cultural roots play in our spirituality and, in general, why do we feel the need to explore and to know where we're from. I see many people taking DNA tests or making family trees etc and I wonder where that need comes from. I myself have been experiencing that need too, especially as I am beginning to be interested in witchcraft.

 

My roots are pretty vague: I am Greek, and I grew up in Athens. However, as some people know, modern Greek traditions are more of a mixture of the traditions of people who have lived here over the centuries. I feel little connection with the Hellenic path, because it seems so far away and different from the present and recent past. My grandfather was into genealogy and he was saying that most likely I also have some Turkish and Slavic roots. But still, that's hard to pinpoint. To be honest, growing up in a city, with the only connection to tradition being some things that my gradnparents - who died when I was still a child - were teaching me, I feel pretty much disconnected with any sort of tradition. I read Lisa Lister's book "Witch: Unleashed. Untamed. Unapologetic." (I didn't really like the book but it gave me some insights on the topic). It says you should start your path in witchcraft from "home", from your own roots and magical customs. Well, if that's that, my roots are boring city life, sprinkled with Eastern Orthodoxy and stories about the civil war. The only thing that reminds of anything occult, was a belief in the "evil eye" and occasional coffee divination. ???

 

On top of that, all my twenty-something-year-old life I was rejecting the idea of tradition. I was thinking about looking for your roots as a sign of weakness, of desperately wanting to belong somewhere like a sheep in a herd. In the worst case scenario, as a petty habit of nationalists. And my own tendency to wonder "where do I really come from" almost makes me feel guilty. I'm asking myself: f I took a DNA test, and I turned out to be, let's say 70% Norse, would this suddenly justify me worshipping Odin and casting runes? Would it change anything in me? If I was feeling drawn to this kind of path, why not pursue it anyway? Why would it make a difference?

 

Lister justifies the need to look for one's roots, especially for witches as a means to "find your most authentic self, under any social conditioning". But, isn't the "most authentic self" based on your own personal experiences and memories, and not in things you learn later in life that were practiced by some ancient ancestors? And hasn't that "social conditioning" you were exposed to, become part of your cultural identity, whether you adopted it or reconsidered it? In a more unusual but certainly not rare case, what if someone is adopted and has no idea about their biological parents? Do they need to look for where their DNA comes from in order to start on a certain spiritual path?

 

These are my two cents on the topic. It will be extremely interesting to see what you have to say on it, looking forward to hearing your experiences and insights. :farao:

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Thoughtful

Interesting topic, l think everyone deep down has curiosity as to their roots.  That's why people get into DNA or turn to researching their family tree.

 

This may be way off what you are talking about so l apologise in advance.

l had a past life reading with a medium once and it did confirm why l was interested in certain cultures, and why l had interests towards other peoples ways of living.  Not that l followed any of them.

 

When younger l had an interest in religion to the point where l even considered becoming a nun (don't Laugh  :)) ).  This had nothing to do with family ancestery though. The medium told me l had been a nun in an earlier life. l apparently was worked hard and died early due to this overwork, (not keen on housework now l know why  :biggrin:)

 

Again l have always been interested in the orient, meditation, and the culture and history of the people. l have a lovely tarot The Roots of Asia, and l love collecting buddha statuettes. l was told l had been a Zen Buddhist. This made perfect sense to me.

 

l could tell of others but it would probably bore you. If you are looking to see why you are the way you are, it may not all be to do with family ancestry but a combination of that and past life issues.  Of course l realise not everyone believes in the after life or past lives.  But for me that was an eye-opener as to what formed my interests and influences me today.

 

Getting back on track,  we are made up of all our ancestor's genes so there has to be little bits of their past in all of us.  l love animals always wanted to live on a farm.  l think this comes from a great-great-grandfather who worked the land and became a shepherd.  l didn't become a farmer' wife far from it, its just the ancestral memories stirring up the thoughts.

 

We are our individual self but we do carry a lot of past history within us.

This should not interfere with who we want to become today, we have free will to be our most authentic self in whatever way we wish to live our life, regardless of ancestry  Follow the spiritual path you wish to pursue, be you in all ways. 

 

Not sure if this is in anyway helpful, l am sure others will put their views. 

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River

Interesting topic, l think everyone deep down has curiosity as to their roots.  That's why people get into DNA or turn to researching their family tree.

 

Yeah, I was wondering though, why is that. Like, what difference does it make for people to know, since it doesn't add anything to their self-awareness, practically.

 

This may be way off what you are talking about so l apologise in advance.

l had a past life reading with a medium once and it did confirm why l was interested in certain cultures, and why l had interests towards other peoples ways of living.  Not that l followed any of them.

 

When younger l had an interest in religion to the point where l even considered becoming a nun (don't Laugh  :)) ).  This had nothing to do with family ancestery though. The medium told me l had been a nun in an earlier life. l apparently was worked hard and died early due to this overwork, (not keen on housework now l know why  :biggrin:)

 

Again l have always been interested in the orient, meditation, and the culture and history of the people. l have a lovely tarot The Roots of Asia, and l love collecting buddha statuettes. l was told l had been a Zen Buddhist. This made perfect sense to me.

 

l could tell of others but it would probably bore you. If you are looking to see why you are the way you are, it may not all be to do with family ancestry but a combination of that and past life issues.  Of course l realise not everyone believes in the after life or past lives.  But for me that was an eye-opener as to what formed my interests and influences me today.

 

Bore? Not at all! This is a very interesting perspective. I don't know if I believe in past lives - I think I want to believe but I don't have any personal evidence or experience. No recurring dreams or strange deja-vus etc. But it's definitely something I want to explore. No clue where to start though...

 

Getting back on track,  we are made up of all our ancestor's genes so there has to be little bits of their past in all of us.  l love animals always wanted to live on a farm.  l think this comes from a great-great-grandfather who worked the land and became a shepherd.  l didn't become a farmer' wife far from it, its just the ancestral memories stirring up the thoughts.

 

Actually I recently read that this has been observed in lab rats, and it's considered a fact in mainstream science: in animals, certain fears or even knowledge can be passed down through genes. For example, if you teach a rat how to navigate a maze, its offspring will have an easier time doing it too, than other rats. Or they have connected certain things to fear, and the rats of the next generation carried the fear as well. So, why shouldn't this happen to humans too, and perhaps with more complex things, like the thought about living in a farm that you describe. :)

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Raggydoll

 

Bore? Not at all! This is a very interesting perspective. I don't know if I believe in past lives - I think I want to believe but I don't have any personal evidence or experience. No recurring dreams or strange deja-vus etc. But it's definitely something I want to explore. No clue where to start though...

 

I know exactly who to ask - our very own Saturn Celeste[/member] !! She dues the most amazing ‘Past lives Celtic cross combo’ readings!! She gifted me one for Christmas and it was amazing!! I have had recurring dreams/flashes but I was never sure what they meant. And I wasn’t convinced if I believed I Past lives. Now I do. That reading explained so much of what I’ve been experiencing and why.

 

To me, past lives are a part of ones sense of self and legacy. My ‘real life’ ancestry is one that I’m a slight bit conflicted about. I’ll tell you why. I’m from Sweden and my roots are 100% Scandinavian. On my dads side they’re Swedes and on my moms side there are Swedes and Norwegians. My moms grandfather was actually a descendant of a famous Norse Viking. I know that those type of roots are seen as interesting and valued by some people. That is also partly why it’s tainted to me. There is nothing I detest more than the nationalists who speak of pure Viking blood. And I also have issues with the patriarchal norse mythology sagas that so many find fascinating.

 

When I grew up I had several relatives that practiced what would might be described as norse shamanism - the kind that was not uncommon by people living in the northern parts of Sweden (particularly those who did not have any formal education and who was taught the old ways and traditions by other villagers or by family members). I was told stories about goddesses and magical creatures. But there were never any mentioning of typical norse gods. No one believed in Odin or Freya, they spoke of the creatures in nature (I guess the ‘Fey people’ would be a somewhat good translation). My relatives was what you might call superstitious and believed in magic, bad luck, omens and so on. They foretold the future by studying animals (mainly birds) and they knew a great deal about the medicinal properties of plants. THAT is the part of my legacy that I’m proud of and that I want to explore more. I’m glad that I had a grandfather that could heal wounds by the use of magic, and who could track missing objects with his mind, and who were great at using dowsing rods. But I really hesitate to speaks of ‘norse roots’ because I fear that people will get the wrong idea. There are so many preconceived ideas and myths.

 

So yes, I struggle a bit. I like to research and connect with the pre-Viking religions of Scandinavia. Everything points at there being a goddess-centered culture, and this speaks so strongly to me. It resonates with what I feel as I commune with nature. And it’s not a path I’ve chosen, it’s simply one that I found I’ve been walking on all this time.

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Flaxen

This is such an interesting question!

 

It’s something I’ve gone back and forward with many times. There are many cultures/mythologies I find interesting and like to read about but the only ones which call to me are

the ones of the land I live in now and ones from where I was a child.

 

I think there is something which is passed down through blood ancestry - a sort of folk memory of sorts - which interacts with the land we live on and where we were born. In my experience, the place where we are born is linked to our soul. It’s hard to explain but when I go back to the country where I was

born, there is a ‘recognition’ by the spirit of that place and spiritual experiences are strong. I am in some sense ‘of that place’. This also comes over time when I’ve lived elsewhere for a long enough period.

 

There are also the places which feel like ‘home’ on a soul level but for which I have no recent ancestry although it is possible much further back in time.

 

I can see how a past life would influence an attraction to a particular spiritual path especially if it was a happy one.

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River

I know exactly who to ask - our very own Saturn Celeste[/member] !! She dues the most amazing ‘Past lives Celtic cross combo’ readings!! She gifted me one for Christmas and it was amazing!! I have had recurring dreams/flashes but I was never sure what they meant. And I wasn’t convinced if I believed I Past lives. Now I do. That reading explained so much of what I’ve been experiencing and why.

 

This sounds interesting indeed. I've seen many "past life tarot spreads" online but even if I try them, I'm not confident enough to take what comes up seriously. I'm curious about how a tarot reading can be so eye-opening about past lives.

 

To me, past lives are a part of ones sense of self and legacy. My ‘real life’ ancestry is one that I’m a slight bit conflicted about. I’ll tell you why. I’m from Sweden and my roots are 100% Scandinavian. On my dads side they’re Swedes and on my moms side there are Swedes and Norwegians. My moms grandfather was actually a descendant of a famous Norse Viking. I know that those type of roots are seen as interesting and valued by some people. That is also partly why it’s tainted to me. There is nothing I detest more than the nationalists who speak of pure Viking blood. And I also have issues with the patriarchal norse mythology sagas that so many find fascinating.

 

When I grew up I had several relatives that practiced what would might be described as norse shamanism - the kind that was not uncommon by people living in the northern parts of Sweden (particularly those who did not have any formal education and who was taught the old ways and traditions by other villagers or by family members). I was told stories about goddesses and magical creatures. But there were never any mentioning of typical norse gods. No one believed in Odin or Freya, they spoke of the creatures in nature (I guess the ‘Fey people’ would be a somewhat good translation). My relatives was what you might call superstitious and believed in magic, bad luck, omens and so on. They foretold the future by studying animals (mainly birds) and they knew a great deal about the medicinal properties of plants. THAT is the part of my legacy that I’m proud of and that I want to explore more. I’m glad that I had a grandfather that could heal wounds by the use of magic, and who could track missing objects with his mind, and who were great at using dowsing rods. But I really hesitate to speaks of ‘norse roots’ because I fear that people will get the wrong idea. There are so many preconceived ideas and myths.

 

So yes, I struggle a bit. I like to research and connect with the pre-Viking religions of Scandinavia. Everything points at there being a goddess-centered culture, and this speaks so strongly to me. It resonates with what I feel as I commune with nature. And it’s not a path I’ve chosen, it’s simply one that I found I’ve been walking on all this time.

 

This sounds a bit like my experience, because sometimes people find my roots fascinating and keep telling me about Zeus etc and honestly none of my gradnparents' practices had anything to do with the ancient mythology. They were hardcore Christians. Praying a lot, burning incence on Saturdays, fasting, chanting Byzantine religious songs, going to church on Sunday. They were spiritual in their own way, but totally distanced from anything ancient. The very few customs they followed that weren't Christian, were generic Balkan things.

 

And, to be honest, most people here are like that. As you say about Norse mythology, I have some negative connotations about Greek mythology and religion too. I mean no offense to followers of Hellenic traditions abroad or in Greece, but most I've met were let's say overly patriotic. I mean, even the nazi party Golden Dawn was following that faith before publicly converting to Chirstianity for votes. Some aspects of it are appealing, but overall I don't find it particularly calling me, it doesn't feel like "roots".

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River

This is such an interesting question!

 

It’s something I’ve gone back and forward with many times. There are many cultures/mythologies I find interesting and like to read about but the only ones which call to me are

the ones of the land I live in now and ones from where I was a child.

 

I think there is something which is passed down through blood ancestry - a sort of folk memory of sorts - which interacts with the land we live on and where we were born. In my experience, the place where we are born is linked to our soul. It’s hard to explain but when I go back to the country where I was

born, there is a ‘recognition’ by the spirit of that place and spiritual experiences are strong. I am in some sense ‘of that place’. This also comes over time when I’ve lived elsewhere for a long enough period.

 

There are also the places which feel like ‘home’ on a soul level but for which I have no recent ancestry although it is possible much further back in time.

 

I can see how a past life would influence an attraction to a particular spiritual path especially if it was a happy one.

 

Thanks for the input too. I hadn't thought about a connection between this sort of "folk memory" as you say, and landscape. I was seeing it as purely a matter of customs and traditions. To be honest, what you describe sounds more like you're familiar and bonded with the place you grew up in or you're currently living, I'm not sure what it has to do with past lives. But feeling like home in a foreign land sounds to me like it could be an indicator. I'm not sure if I've felt like that before because I haven't travelled a lot out of my country. So I don't really measure the difference. I do remember the feeling of being "foreign" when I travelled for the first time in France and Germany. It wasn't just the language, I didn't know how to explain it. I wasn't expecting to feel like that, I was expecting to feel like home everywhere. :biggrin: But when I went to neighboring countries, even if I didn't understand a single word, I was feeling like home. I guess it's a mixture of familiar landscape and similar ways of behaviour.

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sandrang123

This is an interesting question, with a whole lot of layers. <3

 

I am a second-generation immigrant on both sides of family tree. My mother's parents both came over from Scotland, Granddad through Canada, Grandmom through Ellis Island, four years later. My father's parents came over from Budapest, through Ellis, though one was originally from Poland.

 

I have done the DNA thing, luckily before my father drowned in 2011. (We're coming up on the anniversary date of death March 9th, which is why I think this has crept up in my responses once or twice before, of late...my apologies.)

 

The MOST interesting thing I found was my father has an extremely rare haplotype, to say the least. We went through the National Genographic Project back in 2008! My father's DNA came back a mystery, mostly...lots of DNA points missing from the "general" data. We even had people on that site ask if he'd do additional testing. It was kinda weird. So those people in Europe (ancestry-wise) that we were similar to were VERY similar to us (the closest currently is a Russian Jew from Belarus), but what we found was there actually weren't many of us in Europe on the whole, i.e. there were not many of "our kind" who migrated into Budapest or Poland. In fact, MOST stayed in Ethiopia, so if you look at my dad's side: I have more in common with your "typical" African today than I do with your "typical" European, which is pretty cool.  8) Dad used to have like a ten marker missing factor. I think last year (when I checked last) he still has one or two missing markers to really hone in on him. This tells me he has a very old haplotype.

 

Oddly enough: From the time I was a child, I LOVED Africa. Now this is plainly compounded by the fact that a relative (of Dad's) happened to spend time over there for years. She would visit when I was quite small, and I always associated her with some "faraway place" that I somehow knew. <3 It's my biggest "bucket-list" place to visit even now, though I want to go to Ethiopia, and not Cape Town, where all the tourists go. :0

 

I like to think--and truly do think it--that we are guided sometimes by "past ones" who are helping us connect in the distant spiritual plane, because the more we connect with distant, the more those in the future can come in and show us an arc of total existence. I know that might seem a little weird, but that's how I get it. These things aren't really linear, you know. They're more...multi-faceted, would be one word, but there are others.

 

As for other European family (of mine), those who did come from Europe: I can't tell you how many war dreams I have, which I believe is Spirit taking me into past lives of a few important ones and/or pertinent info to access. In my own life, I lovingly refer to this as "woo-woo land," where you get bits of past info delivered into the present, as needed. Mostly I believe these come through to help heal and let go of (more recent) historical wounds. And by "more recent" I mean in a relative sense, because I also believe some hurts are "imprinted" on us, generationally. Spirit has all the time in the world to work on things...the sense of time over there, vs. here? A day here can be 20 years there. There isn't an exact match-up, as least as I've been shown.

 

I hope this helps.

All Best,

Sandy

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River

This is an interesting question, with a whole lot of layers. <3

 

Glad you found it interesting. ^-^

 

I have done the DNA thing, luckily before my father drowned in 2011. (We're coming up on the anniversary date of death March 9th, which is why I think this has crept up in my responses once or twice before, of late...my apologies.)

 

I'm sorry for that, really, no apologies. I've lost family members in a bad way too.

 

Oddly enough: From the time I was a child, I LOVED Africa. Now this is plainly compounded by the fact that a relative (of Dad's) happened to spend time over there for years. She would visit when I was quite small, and I always associated her with some "faraway place" that I somehow knew. <3 It's my biggest "bucket-list" place to visit even now, though I want to go to Ethiopia, and not Cape Town, where all the tourists go. :0

 

You should go, definitely! :D It will be interesting to see your reaction to the place, when you actually visit it, instead of dreaming about it. How will it compare to your idea or expectations of it etc. I often dream of traveling to other countries too but I rarely manage to do it. I love traveling though. For me it doesn't really matter if it's far away or nearby, what I enjoy is the feeling of freedom I get from being "on the road".

 

And by "more recent" I mean in a relative sense, because I also believe some hurts are "imprinted" on us, generationally. Spirit has all the time in the world to work on things...the sense of time over there, vs. here? A day here can be 20 years there. There isn't an exact match-up, as least as I've been shown.

 

 

Well, as I said before, it's starting to get proven by mainstream science that some hurts or even skills get passed on from generation to generation. I don't know how far or how specific that can get, but well, if it happens in mice, I find it likely it happens in humans too.

 

That being said, I don't think I've ever beein contacted by a dead relative or ancestor of mine. I'm partially disappointed for that, and partially happy because if they did contact me I think I would completely freak out. Theoretically, I think it may be possible. Practically, I'd call a psychiatrist.

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Queen of Nothing

A little late to the convo, but I feel like a lot of people are curious about their ancestry and stuff because they don't really have a history? Personally, I'm really curious about my family history mostly because it's all just a blank space. There's people out there who know who their grandparents were and where their family comes from, who have these family stories of like when great-great-great granda fought in some war or have these family heirlooms that can be traced back generations. But personally, I don't have that kind of family history.

 

My parents are immigrants, and I grew up very isolated from my extended family because they are all literally in a different country. I don't know even know who my grandparents are. My mom was able to tell me a little about her parents' lives, but she never met her own grandparents. We don't really have a generational memory or history to share. I have found that this is an experience that other first-generation immigrants have, though some are apathetic and others are not.

 

On top of that, there's also the curiosity of my ethnic background. My dad's last name can be traced back to a specific lieutenant in the Conquistador army, and my mom's maiden name is Austrian, which is so weird because her father was so dark skinned. How did that happen? Lots of latine people are mestizo, and I think that when it's something we think of, we kind of are vaguely aware that it's the result of colonialism, but it's not something we actively acknowledge. Trying to work out where we come from is our way of working through that.

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Tanga

[River] "It says you should start your path in witchcraft from "home", from your own roots and magical customs."

 

Well...  I absolutely didn't do that  ;D X/

I just wondered about, reading a bit of this and that, and sampling this and that (smiling sweetly at the Catholic practice I found myself in and biding my time until I found something else) - until I bumped into the thing that "fit". Which incidentally - is Eclectic/Progressive Wicca.

 

 

[River] "what if someone is adopted and has no idea about their biological parents? Do they need to look for where their DNA comes from in order to start on a certain spiritual path?"

 

NO - quite simply IMO.

 

 

I am half Kenyan and half Swiss. I know no further than a very brief history of my grandparents from each side, and I grew up in a loosely Roman Catholic structure (my parents were not strict Roman Catholics), which I went along with, keeping to myself about any facets of it that didn't work for me, until I left home. When I moved on to University, that was when I first walked into an occult bookstore (none existed at home - I grew up in Kenya, with a cosmopolitan twist due to a Swiss mother), and encountered a huge array of practices and ideas on the whole subject.

I read. I attended lectures and workshops... and when I bought my first Wicca book and read it (even though I didn't quite approve of the author) - I thought - "ahh - so this is what I am".  Simple as that.

 

 

Now - I only just last month got my basic DNA test result (because I was curious to see just how mixed I really am. There are a couple of surprises in there, and it is pretty mixed as I knew: North, East and West Africa; plus Iberia, Eastern Europe (including Ashkenazi Jews from there) & Italy; plus South and West Asia.) - and... there is no influence to explain why Wicca fits me so well. Lol.

 

THEN AGAIN - because Wicca (invented in the UK) in truth, is a mixture of a whole load of things... perhaps it explains it perfectly!!  :think: :D :D :D

But I'd never have discovered it in either of the countries that my parents come from, and grew up in - culture and all.

 

 

There's my pennys worth.  :heartz:

 

 

 

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