I come from a long line of heroic people and because of this I was raised knowing that I was the daughter of heroic people. Now before you think this is going to be an ego essay all about me, be patient and please read on because this essay is all about you.
Genetic inheritance is the basis of my family tradition. Built on the precept that the gods gave us everything we needed to make life a paradise, genetic inheritance was the key to the information that was stored within you to accomplish that. The scholarship and the practices we train in are merely tools for our getting to the information that already lies within. By having the ability to access the life lessons, education, experiences of those who had lived before you for hundreds or even thousands of years, one becomes a living library of genetic inheritance. That makes one a living beneficiary of their collective insights. No less privileged than those who inherit the duties and obligations of royalty, nobility, knighthood, or priesthood, I was raised to be acutely aware and deeply grateful for the responsibilities and opportunities that were my birthright.
Advances in genetic identifiers have mapped our heritage to a mother country, Africa. It has tracked the migrations from Africa to India to East Asia to China to Europe. We all come from a common ancestry. We all carry common genes that have crossed and re-crossed through the centuries. In each family line, we find craftsman and thief, artist and priest, beggar and king.
So, why do we feel so disconnected from each other?
We are obscenely territorial. The Lakota Sioux had the most wonderful tradition. At least once a year one had to give away just about everything they owned. They took all their prized possessions, from essentials that meant life and death to the treasures that were sacred and precious, and left them at the tent openings of their neighbors. Now as hard as it was to forfeit one’s valuables, one did it with joy and confidence. It was understood that someone else would replace the cook pot you gave away with one of their own. They had a completely different concept of ownership, everyone shared in the whole. This fostered the belief that possessions were transient and humans were what could be depended upon. This interconnectivity, interdependency reinforced the tribe’s desire to care for one another. The tribe generously cared for those individuals who cared generously for the tribe. Modern society has such a hard time extending the tribe mentality past those who we are related to, who look like us, talk like us, worship like us or those who work with us, who live in our neighborhood, our town, state, or country.
Part of my message to my circle is Remember Who You Are. Inevitably, they say that they either do not know who their ancestors are or if they know them, feel their ancestors were not particularly heroic. They feel that they cannot claim kinship in my family tradition because they are not of my family.
Even within my family, there are those who are not blood related to their parents. There have been many adopted through the generations. (Fostering is an Ancient Irish tradition) My foster sister, S. was adopted. I have an adopted daughter, Dru, neither of them are blood of my blood. Or are they? According to Mother’s wisdom, she was told that each was put in my path for a reason, and all have genetically crossed our family path several times through the centuries. Who is to say, they are not blood of my blood?
Dru has every right to claim her inheritance from me because she carries three cultures within her that I carry within me. She has English, Irish and French blood (The French being her strongest inclination) - in addition to her Mexican (Spanish-Indian blood). She is my daughter by any definition. Funny though, as she grows, it astonishes me watch how much she is growing to remind me of Mother, (gone now for 25 years) in mannerisms, likes, dislikes, tastes, thought patterns, gestures (and an inclination towards Mother's proud and royal French blood – second only to her Irish blood!). These commonalities – so unlike me – skipped a generation to land in her. How is that possible? She, who is not blood related.
How is it possible that my (fairy god) daughters, the daughters of my foster sister, S. carry traits of mine? Aer is physically built like me (and not her parents or grandparents). We both have a birthmark on our inside calves that mirror each other’s. (Bhen Rudha)Red who looks like her mother S., is intellectually my legacy and perhaps even Mother’s and my godmother’s intellectual legacy. (Time will tell.) Rhiannon, (another (fairy god-daughter) who I call my daughter in every way but by birth, was kindred from the moment I met her. She was in about third grade when her mother asked me to be her godmother. Rhiannon knew and loved Mother who also had a special affection for her (as is proven by the blue “Rose in Bloom” afghan Mother made for her – and not for her other “grandchildren”!). She knew and loved her Aunt S., my foster sister, her three spiritual sisters and her two spiritual brothers, one of whom actually came from my body and one – like her – crossed my path and never left it. And they loved her without ever thinking whether her African American heritage fit in our European dominated clan. Were we surprised to find that she has Irish blood too? Mother was not surprised at all. Mother said that the Irish tie was just one that we knew of – how many more might we never know of?
S., being adopted, didn’t know her bloodlines. When she came into the family, she was quickly adopted by Mother as a daughter and by me as a sister. We became as close as twins. Mother predicted that her bloodlines were almost identical to mine. It took several years to discover that she was – from greater to lesser – Irish, English, Welsh, Swiss and French. I am Irish, Welsh, English, Dutch and French. These patterns of connectivity, repeat over and over in those people who have come into my life as friends and who have become family. We come in all shapes, all sizes, all colors and all persuasions. And I dare you to tell me that we are not a family. So, when I say to them, Remember Who You Are – they can legitimately claim my blood history as their own – the hero’s blood that flows in my veins, flow in their veins too. (Not to mention all those they have that lie hidden within them who are as yet unknown to us.) My ancestors are their ancestors; paths crossed and re-crossed have made us a blended family.
So, I have this extended family – my friends, friends of my children, my husband and his friends. My tribe, my clan - with every nationality and race. Add to that, our connectivity to the earth, the sky, the rocks the stars – the stuff of which all things are made – and we are a pretty connected bunch. Even when we are aware of how different we are from one another - our eclectic individuality, uniqueness, and rarity – we are still connected. Tethered – one to the other – emotionally, intellectually, genetically, magickally – one organism of many cells. We represent each other as well as represent ourselves. We represent our heritage and those who came before us. They populate our memory and our hearts and stand guardian over us and encourage us to be our better selves, our heroic selves. And in all things, we need to Remember Who We Are.
What has this got to do with you? You are clan too. Known or unknown, the hero’s blood flows through your veins too. Their lives and lessons live within you waiting for an example in life to awaken its memory in you. To evoke that “coming home” feeling one gets when one meets a truth upon one’s path. Meet this truth. You have, within you, everything you need to make your life a success. You are the result of thousands of years of breeding and the receptacle of their wisdom and achievement. Stand upright. Raise your chin. Know the blood of nobles flow through your veins. And that they are watching you. And reminding you to -
Remember Who You Are.
© 2004 - 2010 Ardriana Cahill
The philosophy in this essay alone has earned me many emails telling me that these words brought someone through a divorce, a death in the family, a move or other total change of life or lifestyle without giving up. The phrase...Remember Who You Are...was the chant that carried them through. How gratifying!
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