You see, I’ve noticed that there’s been a lot of chatter in pagan networks recently about the “proper pagan” path for people. The discussion seems to have some relation to the “cultural appropriation” movement that some people stand firmly against and others are kind of so-so on the subject. So, it seems that some people believe that a pagan lifestyle is the choice of the pagan in question; a follow your heart or instincts kind of thing. Others think that a truly fulfilling pagan lifestyle depends on the cultural heritage of the pagan in question: Irish descendants to Celtic and Nordic descendants to Viking, that sort of thing.
I’ve never subscribed to this theory and after reading some people who do, I’ve often wondered why they felt this way. (So, if anyone who believes that reads this, please offer some viewpoints!) I think the reason I’ve never felt this way is because Kemetism fell into my lap. I love everything about it, but it wasn’t, like, I made a conscious decision to follow this path. It literally just sprung upon me after so long of Sekhmet knocking at my door and my blank look of, what the fuck is this? Really, the only reason it came about was because of a life-long obsession with all things ancient Egyptian. I’ve been collecting books, reading articles, and rabidly studying the whole thing for years. It seemed like a “well, duh” kind of thing when I started down this spiritual turnpike all those years ago. And then, this Vodou stuff happened, which again, has absolutely nothing to do with a cultural heritage standpoint but more along the lines of Sekhmet saying, “do it,” and again, a vast interest that goes back to high school.
I guess I always just thought of a pagan practice incorporating things that you love and find interesting was the way to go… versus a heritage that stems back to family trees, genealogical records, and all that jazz.
I’ve given consideration to the cultural heritage problem (obviously, since I’m writing about it) in my own practices. I honestly find the people who can do this and follow this and see it through to be, well, amazing. They have had the fortitude to do the searching just to find out who they were, a question I’m constantly wondering. And I think that may be part of the problem.
I know a very limited amount of information about my ancestral heritage. My family line from my mom’s side of the family is very limited: we’re French Canadian (so, really damn French) and English, with a possibility of Irish. And as my mom was so fond of saying when she was doing her genealogical research, “if you’re French Canadian, the chances are pretty high that you’re Native American.” I’ve never felt close or particularly interested in my French or English (with a possible hint of Irish) heritage. I’ve always been curious about the Native American thing but, it would appear that this could quite possibly be a family legend as opposed to a reality since we haven’t found much to verify anything to do with an Indigenous family melding with either my English or French relations. (I’m not counting it out… yet.)
The other thing is that I have an entire avenue that’s been utterly unexplored in the arena of my bio-father. I haven’t done much in the way of searching for him and the ancestral lines he has added to my genetic structure because I keep waffling. Do I want to know? Do I care to know? Is it really important? As times goes by and I wonder more, I’m beginning to think that it is important. And I’m beginning to, also, believe that if there’s any Native American heritage in my family tree it stems from his line as opposed to my mother’s. But again, I’m only guessing and wondering, and again, I’m only hemming and hawing. (Since I’ve always wanted to be Native American or have some of that rich culture in my blood, wouldn’t it be a laugh-fucking-riot to find out that I haven’t gotten a bit in there at all?)
You know, the only reason that this has come up is because of an article I read today. I go through phases where I do a little bit of research on the various native tribes in the areas that I know my family lines have lived. I, also, will end up reading articles or looking into spirit animals, which invariably leads me down this road. I guess what I’m saying is that if I were to ever incorporate the whole “cultural heritage” aspect into my practice than I wouldn’t want to base it off of any Celts that were in my family line or Vikings or Romans, but base it off of any form of native blood I may have.
This leaves me all very uncertain and wondering what the hell is going on over here (is my practice going to change again? I don’t even know what the fuck I’m doing now!) and where this is going. I can safely say that I haven’t a fucking clue, but when I find out, I might just blog about it.