Touching Heritage, and Finding More of Myself

me-2011Do you wonder where you came from? Or perhaps I should ask, what your connections are to your past? For me, that sense of connection intrigues me. I don’t know, perhaps it is my way of searching for my own sense of belonging. Perhaps, it’s my attempt to make sense of myself. After all, we know that genetics does play a decent part in defining some of our characteristics. Regardless of the reason, I enjoy digging through the various “hints” over on ancestry.com in search of some connection to my ancestors. Where did they come from? When did they make the migration from Europe to the ‘States? Is there a way to find that elusive connection to this land that binds me by blood and heritage to this beautiful land that surrounds me?

The rumors run thick on my maternal grandmother’s side of a Native American connection, but my great grandmother died when my grandmother was still a child and at best I can only guess that her connection to any Native American heritage that’s there was undocumented at best. Finding anything at all about my great grandmother has been the most challenging task. I’ve managed to track down a census that showed that she lived with her step-father at one point. She was married, and my grandmother was three when this census was taken. That’s it; there isn’t anything else I have managed to glean from the available documentation, not even a death certificate that seems right. I am still at this point relying on that deep sense of connection that sings when I hear the rhythm of a tribal drum beat, that tingle that runs through my body calling me home, with a sigh of relief and an excitement that almost moves me to tears. I know it with every fiber of my being. I know it’s there, I just wish I could prove it. One document stating that there is a tribal connection, one document that gives me that source of heritage, would be amazing. An affirmation of what I feel with my heart and soul.

My other familial connections have been much less elusive. I’ve found one definitive connection to a rich heritage within the land of vikings. My father’s ancestors on his paternal side come direct from Goteborg, Sweden and were there up until the very late 1880’s. My maternal grandfather’s stretches back over to Europe much farther back, some of his family members having served in the Revolutionary War. I can trace his family back to the 1600’s to an area refered to the Palitinate region which is near the present day border between France and Germany. This very European connection pulls me closer not only toward potentially European Celtic roots, possible further connections to the rich culture of the vikings, and possibly even a connection with the Gauls. There is also a traceable connection to Switzerland, which was a surprise to me.

Outside of pure curiosity and the charge that comes along with discovering this treasure trove of history, it has given me a sense of connection to my ancestors that I hadn’t expected. It has peaked my interest in exploring the history, lore and spirituality of the viking culture that is apparently running thick through my veins.

In this world of rushing about to look ahead, and technological living that disconnects us from the land and ourselves, this treasure hunt to find connection, and to discover a bit of a cultural history that’s been lost, feels a bit like tapping into an energetic infrastructure that I had not really been able to sort out before. It seems to have given me a sense of self that allows me to be more accepting of some of the bits about me that aren’t always nice, and sometimes feel a bit chaotic. It’s been a connecting of the dots that is giving me a more complete sense of self.

What helps you to connect and accept yourself with a greater sense of wholeness? What helps you to connect with a sense of pride in who you are including the parts of you that aren’t always nice? What connects your soul with that of your ancestors in a way that allows you to take a deep breath and find your inner voice rich with their history humming with connection?

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