About Me

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I am a seeker of meaning, truth, and the Divine. I have been a practicing polytheist since 1997 and a lover of philosophy and theology since even before then. Most of this time I have been a Germanic Heathen, but I have also slowly taken to the practice of Gaelic Reconstructionist Polytheism. I am happily married, a hobbyist musician, a poet, pyrographer, sports fan, and pretty darn good cook. This blog will contain poems, rants, and musings relevant to my ever winding spiritual journey.

Friday, August 30, 2013

An Ancestral Experience...

In my Germanic Polytheistic faith, a major aspect of our worship surrounds the ancestors.  These ancestors may be physical, spiritual, inspirational, national, some of all or all of the above.  What is sought after in ancestor worship are three things.  The first is simply remembrance and giving honour to the memory of those who came before and have had an influence, direct or indirect, on our life.  The second is, if their soul is still in the afterlife(since many of us believe in some form of rebirth, reincarnation, or even transmigration of the soul), that we keep that connection strong even after death so that whatever relationship we had while alive does not pass away to the passage of time.  The third, like in life, is to gain their favor, advice, and luck in our daily struggles.

It is through worship of the beloved dead that we as Heathens and Asatruars connect to our heritage; cultural, spiritual, and physical.  It is through the ancestors that we learn important values, life lessons, cultural transmission, beliefs, and the like.  For these attributes, a debt is made in our orlog and living the lessons we learn in life is a part of this debt, the love we share with family is another aspect of this debt, and giving honour to the dead is also a part of this debt.  This ritual debt is much akin to the same debt we have for our Gods and the spirits of the land.  In our faith an important concept is that of a gift, ever seeking a gift in return.  For life, love, and learning we give the gift of remembrance and sacrifice.

I ponder on this now, especially so since I have connected with my older half sister, whom I have known about for quite some time but never sought out and who, in turn, never knew of me.  Circumstances played out, years in the making, and she found out and found me on Facebook.  We have been getting to know each other and it has been a wonderful experience doing so.  My point is that I think of this now, because before when I partook of any ancestral honouring, while the paternal line was also in my mind, I naturally thought more of my maternal line.  They are the ones who raised me, taught me my sense of ethics, sense of culture, my value system, etc.  My grandparents, who were more like parents were the best foundations in life anyone could ask for and both family lines are well represented by intelligent, jovial, down to earth folk.  I have had a good family experience so it is only natural to express a bias in that way.

However, that bias is also because until lately, my biological father's line was pretty much just a name...an idea...a matrix of genealogical and genetic information.  Now that line has a face, and a voice.  There is a subtle quality which makes it more...tangible.  I will be influenced by my sister's life and ideas in ways unknown to me, and her likewise.  The orlog which is being laid down will influence how I think and perceive any ancestral connections I have to my biological father's line.  It is an interesting theological soup to be sure.

So, what is the point of all this?  Nothing really.  Just throwing out ideas on my blog and trying to make sense of it all.  If anything, I guess the point is to not take your ancestors for granted.  Now, if your ancestors were horrible people, obviously no one wants you honouring assholes, but there are always other types of ancestors just as there are all kinds of families.  Above all, keep an eye out for the twists and turns of life for they may take you down roads you never thought you'd travel.  In fact, you might even come to realize that you rather enjoy the ride.  Hail the Ancestors!