Jan 11, 2022Liked by Rhyd Wildermuth

I often think about and talk of these various issues of growing old and what industrialization and centralization in general did to the family and elder. Alienation and loss of our sense of connectedness to our history, those who went before us. Without that, we have no idea who we are. Then, the competition in commercial culture perverts us.

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The concept of ancestor veneration is one I was never able to square with, but it's such a common part of pagan traditions that I can't really imagine being able to fall in completely with the belief system. Who even *are* my ancestors--a bunch of fairly average Central Europeans? A couple Jews, scattered around? Some good people, some abusive, some alcoholics, some very gifted craftsmen. A hundred years' worth of unfamiliar faces in black-and-white, in a shoebox; and then history spools too far back, and everything which can't be revealed on a 23 and Me test is lost.

My grandfather was a good guy, overall. Kind of racist about The Mexicans, and apparently he had a moderate drinking problem in the 70s. I remember him as a generally playful, active old man who used too many herbicides even though his property was on a major watershed, and tended to think that society was better back when people just didn't spend so much time thinking about how many problems it had. He died in the house where he'd lived for 60 years, surrounded by his family, and the last words he spoke were repeated "I love you"s to anyone sitting at his bedside.

That life just seems too normal, too human, to be something I could venerate in any religious sense. I imagine that if he were to somehow find out that one of his grandchildren had put out Samhain offerings to him, or even asked for a mass to be performed on his behalf, he would just think it was weird. There's no point in history at which I feel like I start to have *ancestors*--only ever greater- and greater-grandparents, all flawed in their own particular ways. Since I don't buy into any fantasies of being in the bloodline of a wild-woman Black Forest hedge-witch, or a Native American chief--what could there be back there which is worth elevating to greater-than-human status?

Not looking for an answer. Just thinking out loud.

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