When I look into my face in the mirror, I do not see a mere reflection, but a tapestry of my heritage. Like many other Pagans who celebrate their ancestry, I too have looked at my lineage, tracing through history each trait that I see in myself. My most pronounced features belong to the German, Russian and French in my heritage. Some say I have a Jewish nose, and well, I have many Jewish relatives but that spiritual line died with my grandfather many years ago. Many of the people on his side of the family had immigrated, some through Elis Island. They had faced many challenges prior to the move, and some of my eldest relatives on that side had been in the “Death Camps”. It is a little ironic and definitely scandalous that he chose to marry a German woman.
What may not be so visible is the Irish, English and Polish blood in me, but I assure you it is there. I felt a deep calling for England and the Celts at a young age. Visiting Stonehenge, Avebury and Solsbury Hill was a dream come true, as I had wanted to visit since I was 11 years old. I felt in touch with my history and experienced a few past life flashes while I was there. My past lives create a map across the Western world. For whatever reason, perhaps a gift from the Gods, but I recall many of these lives vividly. And like a map, I try to explore the people in these lives, believing they are Ancestors to me now.
One of my most vivid experiences with the Ancestors occurred during a meditation. Unfortunately, another thing I inherited from my Grandfather and his family is schizophrenia. This meditation was not intended to be a visit to my Ancestors, I was new to A Druid Fellowship and most of my experiences with it have come from Western Shamanism. In any case, in this meditation I journeyed to the Underworld to speak with my power animal. She was there, but so was this crowd of people in various attire. They came toward me with outstretched arms and I let them guide me to this stone slab, which they helped me lay upon. I closed my eyes, feeling the energy coming from the rock and my Ancestors. They laid their hands upon me and began chanting. I do not know how long this lasted, but when I opened my eyes they had stepped back, and then I realized they were trying to heal me. I will never forget this experience.
Interestingly, there were Native Americans present but I have no Native American ancestry, only past lives where I was once one of them. Does that make them my ancestors? And if so, it would definitely change the idea of who is and is not an ancestor on this physical realm.