Ancestry.com Results — Just the First Step onThis Journey

A while back, I decided to take a bit of a longer look at who I am, where I am from, and to explain a draw towards Druidry, and an Irish Goddess of the forest that has started to be a part of my daily spiritual practice.

The truth of it all is that a lot of this started with the trip I took to the UK last year. It took about ten minutes for me to fall completely in love with Edinburgh, enough to the point that I could easily envision myself living in this small city. The pull got stronger with a trip to the British Museum in London, where I visited The Celts exhibit; as well as wandering London through the tube system and a visit to the lovely Treadwell’s bookshop (very near the British Museum, I might add). While Scotland and England are both foreign countries to me (as an American), I felt more at home during my nine days there than I ever have here in the United States. Granted, I grew up a military brat, and became accustomed to the constant moving from one location to another. But none of that really explained any of the above.

One evening, I was watching a show on BBC-America, and a commercial came on about researching one’s DNA through Ancestry.com. So, I created an account on the site, and ordered the DNA kit. When it arrived, I was mortified at the amount of spit I was to provide. But I eventually complied and sent in my result. Well, this evening – July 3rd – my result has been returned to me. And I am a bit shocked at the result.

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I was not shocked at the Europe West, although I always assumed that the percentage would be much higher than 39%. Nor was I shocked at the Great Britain or Scandinavia results, although I had always assumed the percentages would be much lower. The Ireland and Italy/Greece percentages are a lot higher than I had assumed. No, it’s the Europe percentage at 100% that was the complete shock to me. But at the same time, it explains an awful lot to my mind: the interest in the Celts, my focus on the history of the Roman Empire in the Germanic frontier, why Druidry calls so strongly to me, and why I feel so at home in a “foreign” country, while feeling so out of place “at home”.

The next step for me is to locate a DNA test for the Celtic DNA strains. I know there is one, because I saw an intriguing display of it at The Celts exhibit. And much of this begins to explain the “Why Fliodhas?” musings that I have had. Certainly, there’s a lot more to cover in this exploration, but these initial steps are definitely reshaping some of my own internal self-identification.

Why the Irish Goddess? The Start of My Process of Inquiry

All right…thank you for the Emails folks.  I will write more often than I have been as has been asked by a group of folks. And staying with the requests…let’s move on from politics, and talk about some other stuff instead, agreed?

A few folks noticed a statement I made a while back about how I was confused that an Irish Goddess of the forest would approach a Germanic kid like myself. Well, I’m not a kid – at fifty-plus (my fifty-first is October of this year) – and as was pointed out to my via Email, there’s a potential for a lot of melding of Celtic Gods and Goddesses throughout much of the cultures within the islands and mainland Europe. Much like the intermingling of Roman Gods, Goddesses, and cultural influences during the expansion of the Roman Empire into the north and western reaches of Europe; there is a potential of similar intermingling of the Celts in a similar vein. Ok, I grok that perspective. And given that my heritage comes from a full-blooded German mother, and an American father whose ancestral tree traces throughout the central Eastern United States – there stands a more than fair chance that my ancestral DNA may be more than fifty percent in the Germanic vein.

Now, there’s some aspects that seem somewhat interesting to me. First, I am drawn with interest far more to the Roman civilization than I am to the Celt. My interest in Roman history goes far back in my life. When I was nine years old, my parents took me to the Base library numerous times. I was allowed to peruse the book shelves for things that would interest me, as well as look through Encyclopedias for information for classroom studies. Two topics piqued my interest:  nuclear fission, and the Roman Gods and Goddesses.

The first was more from a social perspective. The premise and potential for nuclear war in the 1970s was becoming stronger, particularly with the posturing of the (then) Soviet Union. The wild craze of building bomb shelters in one’s backyard had gradually died down, but there were folks who continued work in that vein. My seventh grade Science Project was a depiction of nuclear fission using dominos to illustrate how the method worked. Originally, I had attempted to add some of the more graphic depictions of nuclear devastation from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks, but was rebuffed by my Sciences teacher, and opted instead for pictures showing the internal workings of a nuclear weapon instead.

MoonlightThe Roman Gods and Goddesses were something I stumbled upon in picking up some research on the Roman military itself. The more I read about the Gods and Goddesses, the more I realized that these were more than the empty feeing I got when attended Catholic church. The Holy Trinity didn’t speak to my heart. My parents were invested in me continuing on to Catholic services, so I was taken there from time to time. Later, I would be enrolled in Catholic schools, where the indoctrination towards the Catholic church would continue. I would be taught why certain services were held, and when. I would learn more about the Sacraments, and the concept of transubstantiation. None of this really called to me. Plus I still recalled in the book of my mind that there were other Gods and Goddesses that belonged to other cultures. I knew the statement of condemnation – “thou shalt have no other Gods before Me”…but I struggled with the idea that a supposedly loving God would condemn individuals of another culture to spend an eternity in a place of torment, pain and anguish – simply because they had no concept of the Christian God or the Christian practices. To me, it was antithetical to what the Christian beliefs were about (as I understood them to be): loving, caring, forgiveness…. In the late 1980s, I started exploring outside of the Christian faith and found Paganism…and learned more about it than an Encyclopedia Britannica had ever expounded.

That was 1987. Since then, I have explored many aspects of Paganism. And in this exploration, I danced all around the terminology that would open my mind to where I am now:  Druidry and Shamanism. But that exploration that I undertook is something I would never want to relinquish or forego were I given the chance to go back in time and do things differently. I learned so much more by traversing various areas, only to find that it was not where I truly belonged.

Over time, I have had two Gods that have helped guide me to where I am at this point in my life. Neither Wolf nor Crow have ever pointed me in specific directions. Rather, through meditation, dreams and subtle pushes in personal study directions, I have managed to make my way to where I am in Life now. I give thanks and veneration to Them for Their guidance. In return, I have my own appointed tasks that I agree to do. I am not compelled to do these things, I do these of my own choice.

That’s only part of the story that brings me to the here and now. There’s a lot more to it then this. Some of it, I am reluctant to pass along – not because its fantastical and I fear no one will believe. I am not worried at all about someone else believes of me or not. Rather, I am reluctant to share some of this, because it is private and personal to me. Not all of my story is for public consumption.

A secondary question that was brought to this – how does one get the attraction of a God and/or Goddess to themselves? Honestly, its a lot like falling in love with someone. If you spend your time looking specifically for an individual to share your life with – someone you can give your heart to – you will find it to be a difficult time. Furthermore, you will spend a lot of time compromising on various aspects and facets that you would want in a loved one – simply to fit them into your life. You’ve essentially created a human-shaped hole in your life, and then spend your time trying to reshape that template to fit the people you audition for that role. In my experience, its far better to not go into the search, and just live your life. When the person that is right for that part of your life arrives; you won’t need to reshape some template. You won’t even need a template. They fit into your life, and you (and they) will know its the correct fit.

In my personal estimation, finding a God or Goddess working through you in your life, taking an interest in you, laying claim on you….that happens the same way. Keep working on your Spiritual life. Keep doing the things that give meaning to you. Meditate. Do ritual – even solo rituals (this is where I was/am). If a God or Goddess seeks you out, you have the option of being flattered and still saying “no”. Take your time when you feel things happening. Do personal research on the God or Goddess. There’s a reason that I don’t heed the call of the Morrigan…I hear Her, but my Path is not with Her.

All of this is only a starting point. Please understand, I am not an expert in anything, except for myself. I know what works for me. I know what *might* work for me. I know what doesn’t work for me. Whatever those things are…the manner in which I categorize them (will, might, won’t) is not necessarily true for you. Explore. Granted, you might get your hand slapped for being in a place where you aren’t meant to be. Just apologize and back out. And while some might not agree, just remember to mind your manners when dealing with Gods, Goddesses and Spirits of Place.

Yes, I know this post opens a variety of different directions to move on from. One of those will be my exploration of my DNA, in relation to some of my Spirituality. I am not sure that there is that strong of a connection between the two of them, but that’s an uneducated supposition on my part. And as I noted – exploring suppositions brings a bit more information. It just might not be what I expect it to be.

One last note; and take it in whatever manner you would, working with your Spirituality is a lot more than just burning candles, chants, rituals, and meditation. There’s research, digging for information, and even getting outdoors in the dirt. Roll up your sleeves and be prepared to do some hard work…Spirituality doesn’t come free or easy.

So why Fliodhas (or alternatively Flidais)? Why indeed. its definitely time for some inquiry, research, and even some DNA inquiry. Time to go spit for Ancestry.com.

 

–T /|\

 

Life With Trickster Gods

My beliefs are a very integral part of who I am. I have learned all the rote answers to the typical questions I get from folks of other Paths. What is a Pagan? What is a Polytheist? What is Animist? What is a Druid? What kind of religious ceremonies do you have? Are you a Priest (a particularly tricksy question to handle from my personal perspective)? How long have you been a clergy member (I try really hard not to laugh through this one)? But eventually comes the one question that will have me blinking – how do you communicate with the Gods and Goddesses?

Its easy to formulate a quick response. I communicate with them through trance, meditation, and dreams. But that’s not a complete answer. In fact, I would almost call it skirting the question. There’s a lot more to it than trancing out, or meditating, or stumbling into a dream-state. And as I sit here and type this, I know that what I am describing is not correct for anyone else. So perhaps, I should start at the beginning for myself. With Coyote.

Coyotes are animals that I am drawn towards naturally. They work in groups, but can be very solitary creatures at the same time. I self-identify with that quite a bit. I work far better on my own, one of the many reasons that I approach my Spirituality from the perspective of a solo practitioner. Though I am not sure what I am practicing, most everything I do in my Spirituality is the real deal. Practice doesn’t come into it. But that’s a tangent for another time. I do work fairly well in groups, so long as I am not in a position of leadership. I am certainly – in my opinion – one of the worst leaders of magickal and ritual group work around. I know my hard limits, and that’s definitely one of the big ones. But my aspect of solo and group work identifies well with the common legend of the coyote as an animal.

Once that identification was held tight, I decided to spend time trying to approach Coyote through meditations and trances. It took a few months of continual and constant work, petition, and searching, but eventually I made contact through the meditative Path. At first I embraced Coyote outright, and was eventually set into a few situations where I was made to look very foolish – particular for my fervor in trying to accomplish the completely silly tasks set before me. Trickster God. Go figure. But this was one way that I realized I was being shown that I was in the right place. The third situation that was handed to me, I looked it over before denying that I would do what was asked. My first lesson. Learning to say no, no matter who was asking.

[Poem] If I Could Only Speak Crow...Crow was a little different. I didn’t ask for, or petition for Crow. In a manner of speaking I was introduced to Crow by Coyote during one trance session. I didn’t understand what was being asked of me, so I ignored Crow, treated him as a bystander. And then Crows started showing up everywhere. In the mornings, the Crows would be in the tree in the backyard, waiting for me to come outside for the greeting of the Sun. They would be at work, hopping through the manicured lawn of the college. They would line the rooftops of the local Wal-Mart, alongside the smaller Grackles that are a nearly constant sight. I knew Crow was vying for my attention when I saw Crows everywhere on a summer vacation in the Rockies. A trance session with my focus directly on Crow provided me with the second of the Trickster Gods that are a part of my daily Life.

Over time, I realized that it made sense. These are First Nations Gods, and I live right in the middle of old Comanche territory. The old Gods of this area of the world are here with me. Certainly, there are plenty of other Gods, including Celtic and Irish from the multitudes that practice those faiths here. But the First Nations Gods claimed me.

So, how does one attract the attentions of the Gods and Goddesses? Focus. Trance sessions, Meditations, Lucid dreaming. Petitioning them. And patience. It doesn’t happen in the first five minutes. Nor the first five days, and may not the first five weeks or the first five months. Show your dedication. Make offerings. And continue to be patient. And don’t get mad if the ones you petition don’t show up. Before Coyote, I had flirtations with Pan, and Tsuki no Kami – neither of which worked out after nearly two years of effort (Pan), and another year and a half of meditations and offerings. Perhaps, I may have had better luck by not offering to any particular God or Goddess, but that’s all into the Past now.

My third Spiritual companion has started to make her presence known, Floidhas – the Irish Goddess of the forests. Sort of strange for a guy with mostly German ancestry to have the flirtations of an Irish Goddess. Perhaps an Ancestry.com DNA kit may shed some better light in that direction. Hers came about with the horn of the Wild Hunt invading my dreams and mediations. I would focus on something, and eventually, the horn of the Wild Hunt would be sounded – and I would either break concentration or come fully awake. It took me a short time to catch the name of the young lady who stood by as the Wild Hunt passed along, and would then wink at me, and run off giggling and laughing. Flow-us. Took me even longer to figure out how it was spelled, much less that it was Irish.

Now, I am not going to sit here, hands typing at the keyboard and relate that this is the ONLY way to approach, communicate, and commune with the Gods and Goddesses. It is one way, and the way that works particularly well for me. All I can really pass along is that its a lot harder work than you may think. And that when the Gods that approach you have your ear – they will ask favors, provide tasks, and require devotional work from you. And it most definitely is WORK. Like with anything that happens between mortals and Gods, its not something that comes intuitively, nor is it something that comes easily. There will be some measure of sacrifice that comes. There will be a degree of hard work that is necessary to accomplish what is asked of you. And that is a measure of your commitment to their cause. It is a measure of dedication you have to who they are and what they stand for. You have the will to say “no.” You have the will to say “yes.” Think carefully before committing to one or the other.