The Wheel Of The Year turns, and as the evenings start to draw in I find myself thinking of home. Yet this actually poses something of a quandary for me in a way. Oh I'm as English as they get, generation after generation of people who worked hard for a living in the English countryside, going back more centuries than I can uncover, but from a spiritual point of view I rather feel like I've been excluded from the party.
Now I will admit I am something of a history geek, and English history has always fascinated me, not in the musty school text book way, but the real people. I grew up in a village in Surrey that was old. Very old. Samuel Pepys stayed at one of the coaching inns; Roman archaeology has been found under the foundations of another ancient and still used pub, and the only reason it wasn't mentioned in the Doomsday Book was because as a settlement it came under Windsor Great Park and was therefore part of the royal estates.
As a witch, I just can't bring myself to follow a path that I don't feel a right to, yet I want to understand my spiritual ancestry and connect with it. What do I mean by this? As an example, let's look at the ancient Egyptians. I have been fascinated with them since childhood. I can remember poring over pictures of the pyramids and the gods and goddesses in my children's encyclopaedia, watching films and tv shows about them, and even wearing a necklace with a scarab on it, but I have no actual connection to them. I have no ancestral link to the area and the gods, so I reject them as a witch.
To some people, this seems silly; if they call to me that much, why not dedicate my alter to Isis? But I would feel like a fraud, like a little girl dressing up and playing make believe with the cool kids as I try to make myself fit. However, my upbringing in suburbia has given me other challenges. If I was a witch in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, or even Cornwall, I would understand my ancestry and the Celtic gods and goddesses would be my guides. The trouble with Surrey is it was often one of the earliest ports of call for invaders and so has no real spiritual ideology of it's own. There were late Bronze Age settlements just outside my village, and several Roman roads meet in the woods just to the north of the village (we used to explore them sometimes as kids) but it has no clear spiritual identification. The fall of the Roman empire left England largely unprotected, and we were soon invaded and settled by the Anglo Saxons. Later, in the north, Vikings invaded and the whole top third of England became Danelaw, but again Surrey seems to have been neither one thing nor the other as it is roughly where Wessex and Danelaw meet, so it appears to have changed hands over the years.
Image from Wikipedia
So where does that leave me and my quest for my spiritual ancestry? I'm still figuring that out to be honest. Now all this is written on the page, I may actually be able to see the wood for the trees. Certainly there are Roman links to my home, but the village itself has an Anglo-Saxon name, and if I consider I look like my paternal grandmother and her ancestry is Wiltshire, maybe I need to do my Saxon homework. Let the quest begin!
Blessed be )0(