Recently, these English ancestors nudged their way into my awareness again, so with this Pagan Experience directive to write something about ancestors, – Who are your ancestors? How do you honor them? What will you leave as your legacy as you become the Ancestor? – I decided it is time to share with others.
Since I started writing here, I have written several posts about my American ancestors, and focused briefly on my shamanic encounter with some of my English ancestors.
This particular post started out with the intention of telling you a bit more about these English ancestors. Halfway through writing however, the post started heading a different direction.
Viewed through the window of today, my English ancestors 500 years ago were part of the early waves of European Puritans who went to the New World and were partially responsible for the decimation of the Native peoples already living there. Heavy ancestral debt to hold there and I hope the work I have done in this lifetime has helped to alleviate some of that.
I found this write up on the Patriarch of that family line:
The KITCHELL family As published in “Whallon and Kitchell Families” by Edward Payson Whallon, 1932 The first of the family to come to this country was Robert Kitchell, who landed at New Haven in 1639, his wife being Margaret Sheaffe, daughter of Rev. Edward Sheaffe, of Cranbrooke, Kent, England. They left England April 20, 1639, with a company of Puritan refugees, led by Rev. Henry Whitfield, in the first vessel, The Arabella, that anchored in the harbor of Quinnipiac, now New Haven, Conn. Robert Kitchell was born in England in 1604, and died in 1672. His wife died in 1682.
When Robert Kitchell took his family to the New World, be brought over not only everyone from his family, he took most of the members of his wife’s family as well. For all intents and purposes, that branch of the Kitchell family line ceased to exist in England.
Until I moved back.
Now for the weird bit.
Back in 1997 I began getting strong feelings that I needed to move East. I needed to leave the extended family and security (sameness) that I had been living in my entire life in NE Kansas and move. Out of a lot of fear of change, and limited thinking, I had the idea in mind that these urges meant I needed to move a mere 70 miles across State lines into Missouri. Instead, I met my future husband (now ex) in February 1998, and by the end of July 1998 I had moved.
Over 4000 miles East back to England.
Not just any part of England though. I moved to Kent, to the same part of England where the Kitchell family had lived.
I used to joke that if my Puritan ancestors knew I was a Pagan witch they’d be rolling in their graves. But a few years ago I had the opportunity to do some ancestral work, detailed in Honouring My Ancestors, linked to above. I could not believe the joy and gladness these ancestral beings expressed at having someone of their blood living amongst them again.
I am their granddaughter come home.
Recently, I have discovered this was more than just a coincidental event. From the earliest internal urges, to meeting my future husband, all had been orchestrated by the Universe in order to bring me back to this ancestral home. I’ve done some work again within Otherworld space to make my apologies to the ex for having used him in this way to get back to England. No, it wasn’t something I was aware of at the time, but on the other hand the Universe did do a bit of finagling in order to get me here.
So, my next question would be – why? Why did I need to come back? Why did I need to rekindle my connection to ancestors?
I think it has to do with finding a place, and being grounded. Something that is sadly lacking for many people around the world as we become more mobile and move hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away from the land and culture of our ancestors.
I think as well that this unrest and sense of non being connected may be behind this packrat spirituality that so many, especially of European descent seem to be embracing. Even though many of European descent have been living in North America for close to 500 years, there is still a sense of disconnect. And look, here are a group of Native Americans who have that connection we are looking for. Maybe I can have that for myself. And you end up with Europeans trying to claim Native ancestry, trying to take on Native customs and spiritual practices with no understanding of their deeper meaning. And rightly pissing off those Native peoples who see yet another example of some white dude stealing what doesn’t belong to him.
When I began following a Pagan path 2 decades ago, I found a few similarities between what I was doing and the superficial information that came my direction on some Native American spiritual practices. They weren’t the same however. And I would be an idiot if I even tried to claim a tiny percentage of Native heritage to try to validate my practices.
While I can read about different spiritual and religious beliefs, I can never truly understand and know them if I am not also immersed completely in the culture that created them.
My cultural and ancestral background is Western European, it is here that I find my Earth connection. And while many can and do access that Earth connection living elsewhere on the planet, I personally needed to return to the land of my ancestors to find a strong connection. Spirit obviously knew this, because I was getting those gut feelings and intuitive messages about needing to move East.
I am in no way advocating that people should leave where they are living and emigrate back to the land of their ancestors! For most people it would be nigh on impossible. My own ancestors come from at least 8 different European countries, including all 4 countries plus Wales in the British Isles. I at least have all my ancestors in the same continent. There are millions more whose ancestors come from 2 or 3 different continents.
I am also in no way saying that someone who is born in one culture cannot become part of another culture. I’ve known some who have been able to do just that. They did and do, however, embrace their new culture fully and were adopted into that culture by elders. They also did not take these decisions on a whim. They considered for some time if they were able and willing to live in this new world being offered to them.
Who I am, what I do as a healer, and how I practice my spirituality as a Pagan are completely different from the beliefs of my English, Puritan ancestors. Blood calls to blood however. Here, I am home.