The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Following Our Ancestors Path to Us


Greetings My Witchy Readers,

I find the longer I practice magick, witchcraft, an ancient Goddess based nature spirituality, the farther back I am drawn into the past. I find the bloodline of my ancestors, the lineage of the pagans of the path I follow, all go back into the ancient mists of time and the magicks are simple and sympathetic in nature as the ancients magickal practices were thought to be.

I had my DNA tested by one company that in addition to the basic info: which countries does your DNA hail from, it also followed my maternal haplogroup, which is a fancy word basically saying it traced my mothers bloodline back through her mother, and her mother, and her mother's mother's mother's back to 9,000 years to the same region in Eastern Europe. I found I was 99.5 % European and almost 50% Eastern European and when I saw it in black and white that the female line in my family, from my mother stretching back went back over 9,000 years .  .  .  to the same area, of Eastern Europe it made me stop and sit and go into deep thought.

 So I sat thinking, just imagining going back, from mother, to grandmother, to great grandmother, and to the next mother and to her mother and her mother and then seeing this line of women standing, just standing and this line stretching back so far I couldn't, even in my mind's eye, see the end and knowing that I am part of that continuous line is just awe inspiring to me.

There is no specific magick that is more right or wrong for any one person, you can do what you feel is right for you. When I think back that my mothers mothers stretch back over 9,000 years and the continuity, how every one gave birth, how every one needed to nurture their children, how everyone worried about their families and cared about their loved ones and the differences how each knew different men and melded into different families expanding their families, bringing in new blood.

Recent research shows we have Jewish lineage, Russian and my father's parents were born and raised in Austria and he did not even know this, having believed they came from Poland originally. When I see these cultures listed and I think of the cultures, possible religions, the traditions, that my family may have believed, practiced I think of how many people today so quickly state "organized religion" is ____________, fill in the blank, and it usually is derogatory, rude and disrespectful, because organized religion has in some chapters in history had some pretty awful pages. Especially in regards to those who were labelled witches. Many have totally disregarded organized religion today because it does not work for them, but that is not to say it does not work for everyone. It does and has worked for millions for centuries and still does. It is not for everyone, and not every religious path is meant for everyone.

I look at it like this. If you see a bicycle on the ground, lying on its side and you pick it up and try to ride it and keep falling over because you do not know how to ride a bike, is that bicycle bad or useless or no longer useful? No. If you hurt yourself, the many times you keep falling over, is it the bicycles fault? Of course not, it is an inanimate object. So, is it the bicycle that does not work, or is it you that is not able to work that bike, at that time? Yes, maybe a skateboard is more your speed, or maybe simply walking. Or a car or maybe another mode of vehicle?

No, there is not one path to God or heaven and No, there is not one chosen people. At least I do not believe so. I truly believe on the other side, there is no religion, there is no chosen or special people, and everyone .  .  .  everyone gets in. Every race, creed, culture, belief, even those who do not believe. Criminals, sinners, those that break every commandment, all are allowed in because there are no walls in Heaven. Ahhh, isn't that a lovely thought, especially in this day and age.

There does not have to be, because after we die, in my experience, and understanding, we "burn off" who were were in this lifetime, the physicality of this lifetime, the color of our skin, our culture, our religion if we have one, we even burn away our gender, our prejudices, our limiting beliefs, and all that holds us back in our physical realm today. This takes time on the other side and happens after the period of time we are "ghosts" or "spirit" and may be communicating with loved ones, but eventually an aspect of who we "are" moves on and transforms to become one again with the one soul that makes up everything. The Divine Cosmic energy that consists of All. All of Us.

Another issue I often run into is people who become disenchanted with their religion of choice because of the person they "chose" to be their spiritual or religious leader. Truly, no one, no person in the position of teaching or guiding others along their path ever sets themselves up to be a spiritual "leader". Not if they are sincere and not on a "power trip". Yet, people will blame those that are in the position of teaching or guiding when the students own down falls catch them up, because many people on their path, are unable or unwilling to take responsibility for their own failings and their own mistakes and blunders. So it is so very common to cast blame.  We all know this. You are meant to have challenges on your spiritual path, that is why it is a path, and not a destination like a room where there is a party going on. 

Now look at religion, any kind of religion. It is not religion that does not work, but if it does not work for you, it really is not fair to lambaste religion and blame it for the shortfalls you encounter. Indeed, it may not be the religion for you. Or maybe religion is not for you. Maybe the person teaching you is simply not the best fit for you, nothing to take personally, oh but they always take it personally!! That's perfectly fine, because remember one important thing. religion is a man created concept. .  .  .  yes.  .  .  man created it. All of it. But, the real thing to learn is it is up to you what to do with it.

So when you can get away from focusing on what does not work for you, then and only then can you get started with what does work for you. Why not take the best of the different spiritual beliefs that touch you, that feed your soul? Does the sight and beauty of a Christmas tree bring you peace and happiness at the holiday times? Then have a Christmas tree. That alone does not make you Christian  If you wish to celebrate the Wheel of the Year Sabbats, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltaine, Litha, Lughnasadh, Mabon and Samhain and that feeds something inside then that is wonderful too. It does not necessarily make you a pagan. What if you light candles during the eight days of Hannukah and play the Dreidel game does that make you Jewish? Of course not. But it may give you a feel of kinship with ancestors who have gone before you. A connection that fills a place inside of you and gives comfort.

This is a very special time in our world's history. It is a time where you, and only you, primarily, can determine, what your religion is, what your spiritual path, should you wish to follow one, will be. If you are an adult, you make this decision on what is best for you. Regardless of what spiritual path, if any, you may have been brought up in, you, as an adult can choose.

You can celebrate any holiday, any religion, study any spiritual path, go to any church, temple, synagogue or mosque in this day and age. You may need to follow the rules and regulations of said religious establishment, but you have the choice. So rather than spending time focusing on what does not work for you, what has not worked for you and where you have been in the past, focusing  on where you wish to go and what you wish to experience and what you find works for you is the best energy.  Find the area of learning, whether it be a class, a teacher, an author, religious classes, on line study (beware of on line study as so much false information is perpetrated. Be sure to back up your on line learning with solid additional credible training.)

I started the idea of this blog post because I did a DNA test which was very interesting as I mentioned above, and it led, with long discussions with my mother, whom I am so lucky at my age, to still have my mother at the age of 78 and father at 83, with me.  Well, one day, I was visiting my mother. This was last year, and we were looking through old family photos and her baptism records, marriage certificates and remarking on the Polish names and out of the blue she looks at me and says, "You know, I never told you, but we have Jewish blood in our family".  I was surprised! I had never heard this but I had had suspicions because the family's last name was a strong Jewish name, the great grandfather's first name was Jacob (Joseph) but called Jacob in the family and that is Jewish for Joseph.

My mother told me that when she was born, in 1939 the start of WWII, by the time the war was over, it was many years before things were back to normal, were they ever? She said one day her mother, my grandmother told her (my mother is the oldest of 8 children) to never ever repeat this, that their grandfather was Jewish and to never, ever say anything or she would be punished. My Grandmother did not want her children treated differently, or poorly, or how she might have thought it would affect them. The community we all lived in was predominantly a Jewish farming community, but there was fear, a great fear. My mother remembers my grandmother hiding sugar, flour, and other staples in the linen closet under towels and sheets for fear that "they" would come and take these things.

These stories made me wonder, who was my grandmother afraid would come into her home and search? Who would come in and take her sugar, her flour? My grandmother had many children and like so many had to rely on ration tickets but she also had a farm and they had eggs, chickens, milk and butter to barter.

So many of us truly take the world we live in these days for granted, because we do not have the memories of having to hide our food, to have to be rationed to only so many of anything, even if we have the money to purchase more, not in a time of bulk food warehouses.

My research has also opened up that we have Russian, as well as Austrian heritage. We had believed we were 100% Polish but we are more a mixture of many eastern European cultures, a colorful, beautiful, cultural family of so much history. Sadly so much was hidden, and secreted away out of fear.  So that decades and generations later we, the younger generation have a lot less information and are now trying to put back what was a rich, cultural heritage.

I understand why people felt as they did and they did what they felt was important, and what they felt was necessary. So now every night, in addition to my red candle for love, I light a blue candle for the ancestors.

A glass encased blue candle to represent the ancestors and their line that stretches back thousands of years, in one fashion a tree as we are familiar, the family tree with mother and father and the branches of each as they stem out in many different directions.  Yet, in another fashion, when we follow our maternal, or paternal line exclusively, as I did my maternal line it does not form a tree, but it goes back, from mother, to mother, to mother, to mother, a direct, unbroken, undiluted, pure line that in my case reaches back 9,000 years. 

There is a magick inherent in the lineage of your ancestors, of your people, your family. It matters not that you didn't know them. Even if you are adopted, your bloodline still stretches back. There is some very credible work written by scholar, witch and author Raven Grimassi regarding the magickal, mystical lineage of our ancestors and I strongly recommend you read his books. His most recent "Communing With The Ancestors" is really outstanding work, and it is preceded by the "Cauldron of Memory".

 Love Ancestral Altar 

My thoughts, impressions and magickal concepts  I discuss here,  do not come from Raven's books but are my own magickal experiences and observations, but I do recommend his written works for those who wish to delve deeper into this subject as he goes much, much further into this topic.

For myself and to share with you, magickally I have set up my love/ancestral altar pictured above. I shuffle and cut the tarot deck daily to see what the ancestors wish to tell me. This is one way I choose to use the tarot, for this altar. I light the love candle first always. The I light the blue ancestor candle. Sometimes, in the center I burn a small gold and silver candle for the God and Goddess, and will ask for specific blessings, such as healing for a family member, protection or for the God and Goddess to look over a loved one who may be in a dangerous situation say serving in the Armed Forces, anything specific I desire. So as an altar, I use it for the Love and energy the God/Goddess primarily and the centuries of ancestral energy from so many matriarchs and patriarchs who can aid me in sending love and healing, protection and comfort for those living today.



When I stand before this altar, I take the time to think and close my eyes I see back, the line of both mothers and fathers flowing back into time so far the ends can't be seen, and the hundreds, thousands? of people who culminate in who we are today.  So for Hannukah I will have some blue and white decorations,  and maybe have some brightly colored dreidels. I like the idea of a Menorah. simply because the lighting of candles is so very much a part of what I do in my spiritual practice, and for Yule I will light the candles on a Yule log,  and then we will have a lovely dinner at a friends home for Christmas.  It is important, for me, to remember that my spiritual practice is done for myself and only myself. I do not do anything in this realm for anyone else. It is between myself and my God/dess.

In conclusion, I recall my maternal grandmother, when she passed away a number of years ago. Someone had the most lovely of ideas, to have all of my grandmothers children (she had 8 that survived) all of their children, the great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, her legacy it was referred to.  They had all of us, my grandmother's legacy, gathered in the front of the small pretty Methodist church in the tiny town in rural southern New England, and it was so impressive as I heard someone had taken a quick head count and there was 101 people in the group. The line will continue, perhaps for another 9,000 years. How remarkable. I'd like to think while we all stood there honoring my grandmother, all 101 of her legacy, and everyone else in that small church that day, that the spirits of all of those women somehow were present and if so I believe they would have been proud.

Thank you for reading my musings today, Ms. Faith

Live, Laugh and Always Love



© 2010-2018 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see www.enchantmentsschool.com or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited. 

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