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The greatest gift my biological father gave me was his signature on the papers that allowed my Dad to adopt me when I was 5. My biological father, Michael, was not a part of my life, and from what I know that was a blessing in itself. I never really longed for Michael to be a part of my life, I didn’t grow up missing a Dad, but what I had was different. Growing up I felt what can most adequately be described as a walking experiment in Nature v. Nurture. Most parts of me, my inherit patterns and traits I saw reflected around in those around me. I got that from papa, that from mom, and that from grandmother. I could point to it and see how I carried the pattern too. There were other things though, that I didn’t see reflected back. I thought maybe these things were just mine to carry, that they originated in me. I felt that way until I got to know my half-brother Sam. All the pieces slammed together, Sam, Michael, and the rest of my biological father line was with me in my bones & blood.
When I began making my Ancestor altar, I added only my 3x great- grandmother Mariah Marie. As a healer and the one my great-grandmother told me the most about, it felt only right to want to create connection with her and my mother line. Shortly after I began the Altar, my great-uncle and great-grandmother, both of which lived on the farm with me, passed within months of each other. They are both on my Altar. During a particularly tough Saturn transit, I found myself looking through my biological father line. Marking down the names, finding pictures, and reaching out to my paternal grandmother to get to know her better. It took a few weeks, and some major processing, but I eventually added them to my Altar. The moment I did, it was like turning a tap that had been running at 50% up to 100%.
The strongest emotions that came up during the time of integrating my father-line ancestors were #1 do they deserve this? The men in my father line were horrifically abusive for as many generations back as I could find. My father, when he was still living, did not want a relationship with me even when offered in Adulthood. He also died on me. As far back as I could remember, I had the assumption that we would eventually meet in his later years. That he would apologize, and I would get to tell him that there was no need to apologize because he gave me the life that he himself couldn’t provide. The moment where I simultaneously accept him and let him know I never needed him. It never happened. He died of a heart attack in 2017 at the age of 54. He had never told his fiancee and life partner of 10 years about me.
The second emotion was am I betraying my Dad, the man who raised me, the man who loves me, by not lifting up his ancestors? This one sent me digging equally deep, and I turned to the only place I knew that could give me proper advice, the spirits themselves. The answer came like smoke drifting through the trees, subtly.
“You owe him; you uplift him; it is he would has taken you on, it is your lives entwined, but his line is not yours.”
As far as the spirits were concerned, and over time I have known this to be true, I owe my allegiance and veneration only to my Dad. I do not carry the wounding, nor the gifts, of his line. I carry them only from my own blood line.
When my Dad passes, he will be on the Altar. His story will be marked in the book of Ancestors. My future children and grand-children will know his stories. He is part of my line, but I am not part of his.
Recently, Jessyka Winston of @hausofhoodoo caused quite a stink on Instagram talking about how unless you have Ancestors from Haiti, you cannot hold Voodoo. This pissed off quite a many people who have been initiated or wish to be initiated into this powerful practice. The thing is though, when we access our spiritual power through our Ancestors, it is OUR Ancestors we must reach out to, honor, and feed. If you go around feeding someone else’s Ancestors but starving your own, you are loosing your power. When we carry the DNA and blood of those who have passed through the veil, we carry them in us. Asking a spirit who is not a part of us and never created a bond with us on this realm to protect and serve us is neigh on an impossible situation. The connection just isn’t there. Go to your ancestors, feed them, learn their names and stories, and it’s like lightening hitting your marrow.
The more you tap & connect to your ancestors and linage, the longer you follow it, the deeper into the earth you will move, until you find yourself so rooted in your own belonging that no one can shake your world.
Happy Samhain beloved future Ancestors,
Feed your spirits today,
Remember your people,
and slide into my DM’s so we can talk about Ancestor connection.