Walking with the Ancestors – Foreword

So I am starting a new project series here on the blog, for the simple reason that it has been dwelling in my head for some time. It tried to come out in the Wanderings of Dekloka, and it failed in a spectacular fashion. There was so much that was wrong about it that I had to axe that project. The more I looked at it, the more I hated it. The sources were bad, the facts were bad, the writing was bad. Bad bad bad!

As such, that project is getting recycled and remade in a new form here. Put plainly, a good portion of it is getting thrown out. I doubt that this project will really resemble that one at all when I am through, and I will be happy if that is the case.

There are many other reasons I have for wanting to this as a blog project. It may become a book someday, but it may not. It depends on how I feel about it when I am done, and whether I not it deserves refining/expanding into a book. It will be a longer project, that is for sure. I want to share this project with you, freely and as a kind of “open access.” This is not to say that I don’t believe my time is valuable, because it is. I just don’t want this kind of work locked up behind a pay barrier. I am doing this because I want to.

And, in some way I think I am doing it because I have to. This is a story I have worked on for several years now, and I want to share the story as much as the process behind it. I think it is important. More than that, I have landed in a kind of a strange spiritual situation lately. I have been pulling myself away from “community” in the more general sense of the word. It is time for me to really reevaluate my beliefs, and the labels I once used to describe myself.

I have had a strange and winding spiritual path so far. I was raised in a kind of agnostic household. Both my mom and dad I would say believed in something greater than themselves, but that was something that we just didn’t talk about as a family. I don’t think I ever went to church as child.

I am kind of grateful for my upbringing. I didn’t have a lot of the baggage associate with being a “recovering Christian”. A little still seeped in of course, as I recited the Pledge of Allegiance every day just like every other child. The monotheism was there, but I never really considered it and we never talked about it at home. It was always something other people did. At the same time, sometimes I feel I might have missed out on something.  All the same, while other people went to church, I spent my time in the forest. I spent much of my childhood in the woods, and in many ways that is where my animism took root. I quickly learned that there were other beings out there than me, other forms of life.

My spiritual search didn’t start in earnest until high school and after, when I was more or less an adult. I went to church then, but that didn’t last long. I discovered quickly that it was not right for me. I also started to develop my interest in genealogy around the same time. My understanding of my own ancestors took root slowly, and around the same time I was introduced to paganism.

I circled through the same phases a lot of pagans do, “Wiccan” inspired forms, neopaganish things, and so on and so forth. But as my understanding of my ancestors has grown, so has my spiritual path. When I discovered my Celtic ancestors, my attention turn to Celtic forms of spirituality. When my ancestors said, “look North”, I did, and that is where I have been for the past few years. But now that is starting to wobble.

It has left me in an odd place. Constant questioning of my beliefs is an uncomfortable practice, and certainly filled with its cycles of euphoria and depression. To use a metaphor, I feel like I am in unexplored territory. I have learned a lot over the years from writers and my mentors, people that are very near and dear to my heart. But in many ways, I feel like I have come to the end of the marked trails, and the explored paths. I have come to the place where the footsteps of others have started to disappear, and I have to find my own way through the woods.

The explorer in me relishes the idea of it. In some ways it feels like a homecoming.

It also means there is quite a bit of work ahead of me. Exploring a new territory is not easy, nor it is simple. In many ways, the ancestors have always been the center and foundation of my own path. As I outlined above, the steps along my path so far have been largely inspired by my ancestors, and now it feels like they are telling me to go get lost for a while, in order to find myself and my own way again.

And maybe, just maybe leave a few footsteps for others. That is part of the reason I decided to do this publicly here, so that others can see the process.

Which brings me back to the purposes behind this project. In no small way, it is meant to help me reorient myself with my ancestors, which are very central to all that I do. The genealogy has only grown over the years, as has my understanding of genetic ancestry, archaeology and the folklore and stories associated with my ancestors. The big purpose is to pull that all together. The one thing I have always loved about animism is how compatible it is with science. I think that is a fantastic thing, and that the understanding of both has only helped me grow.

As such, what I am hoping to do with this is to try and inter-weave scientific narratives and my own understanding of animism into a form of co-evolving narrative. The current plan is to have every part of this series to be posted as two parts, an A and a B. There may even be a part C, if I feel some kind of expanded commentary is warranted.

Part A of each post will typically deal with the “science”. Each “A” will be a blog type essay, talking about things like cosmology, physics, genetics, genealogy, archaeology or any of the other assorted studies that I feel are relevant.

Part B of each post will be a short story that draws from part A. It would be best to view Part A as the logic, and part B as a kind of interpretation. The idea being to work through this project with a balance of intellect and creativity.

Without further ado, I’ll see you all in Part 1 – A, which will be coming out soon!

Thanks for reading!

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About Nicholas Haney

I am a writer, author, hunter, craftsman, and student of anthropology/archaeology. View all posts by Nicholas Haney

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