One essay describing the Dedicants understanding of and relationship to each of the Three Kindreds: the Spirits of Nature, the Ancestors and the Gods. (300 words min. for each Kindred and 1000 words total) (wc 1353)
Ancestors: (wc 394)
In thinking about my ancestors, those who have passed away, I primarily think of my four grandparents, my father, and one granduncle I had. My mother’s father was gruff, but had a deep love of nature and used his gruff nature to hide his compassion and love for his family. My mother’s mother was always beautiful and elegant no matter how old she was; she was (for better or for worse) a perfect housewife type–I didn’t realize that she talked with my cousins who lived near her (up in New Hampshire) about psychic phenomenon and other such gifts that supposedly run in the family. My father’s father was gruff, but had a controlling side towards his wife (misogynistic) that I didn’t hear about until after he died. My father’s mother was very kind-hearted and mischievous–she blossomed as my mom has stated after her husband’s passing.
My dad was my dad–he rarely had a temper, but it would be passionate when it happened; otherwise, he was a very laid-back man. At my father’s memorial, it amazed me how many lives he touched–so many grown men were crying as they thought about him passing from this world.
My mother’s uncle, Uncle Freddie, wrote stories that he never published, but made sure that I got them. I still have them somewhere. I think I can look back at him as having helped me view writing as something I could do, and possibly instilling a love of words into me. My grandfather on my mother’s side was also an avid reader.
I honor my mother’s father when I show respect towards nature and try to learn more about the elements of nature (trees, plants, animals, birds) and would truly feel honored (like how my mother would be honored) if I started gardening. I honor my grandmother by looking for my family “gifts” and being a good host. I honor my grandfather on my dad’s side when I contemplate what it is to be a man (both the positive and negative sides and try to work towards the positive). I honor my grandmother when I’m lovingly and playfully mischievous. I honor my dad by being a goodhearted person who looks out for the underdog types. And finally, I honor my granduncle when I write or am creative by thinking of putting meaning into my words.
Nature spirits: (wc 384)
When I’ve been out in nature, I’ve tried to thank and connect with the trees I love in the graveyard. What I’ve noticed from interacting with nature when I’ve been out in the graveyard first started as simple paying of respect or just being with them. As I wrote up in my essay on #7, I created a little thank you to say to the trees I’ve interacted. When not in the graveyard, like when interacting with the ancient elm at the corner of my property I walk by every time I head out the side of my porch towards my car, I say “To the nature spirits that dwell within this tree and the tree itself, I come to show you respect and to honor you. Thank you for looking after my house, me, and my beloved pets.”
To honor the nature spirits outside of my worded thanks, I’ve put out milk with a little honey in it next to the ancient elm in front of a little fairy door I have nestled in a crook that’s on the ground from time to time. I also have put out my empowered offerings from my altar work of corn meal and cut oats in front of the tree as well.
As I mentioned in the working with nature section, I have noticed connecting with the spirits of the trees I’ve thanked in the graveyard. The trees have given me energy as a thanks for thanking them, one let me experience what it was like to be the highest branches swaying in the wind and what it felt like, and one dropped nuts to let me know it heard and appreciated my thanking it for just being there.
I noticed as much as the local Stone Mountain Park holds tree and nature-wise, it’s hard to connect with anything there with so many people about. That’s why the best experiences I’ve had connecting with the land spirits was through getting used to the trees in the local graveyard and them getting used to me. It did take some work to get the trees to open up to me; they definitely didn’t share energy or communicate in their own ways with me until I had shown them I was wanting to connect with them and proved myself.
Gods: (wc 387)
When it comes to the Three Kindred, the deities are the main one most people focus on and put the most effort towards in their own personal practice from some of the conversations I’ve had with other druids. The conversations I’ve had with heathens seem to lean towards a mix of some towards mainly the gods while others also work with the nature spirits and the ancestors in their normal practice.
It’s the gods and goddesses that tend to be the more obvious focal point for people in their worshipping practices since, I believe, most view that’s the purpose of ritual—to connect with and worship the gods. We have myths and stories about them as well as many works of art (books, movies, games, and such) about gods and goddesses so they tend to be the more obvious choice to most people trying to connect with them.
As for what sort of relationship I have with the gods I would say I respect and honor them. When I do my personal rituals or rituals with the ADF or heathen group, I make offerings to them (primarily Cernunnos, Cerridwen, and Freyja while still respecting Mimir) to just improve my connection with them. I really haven’t asked for anything from them when I’m making offerings, just thanking them for being a presence in my life and for what connection I’ve found that I seem to have with them.
As for any sort of connection with me in my daily life, I don’t think too much about them while I’m going through my daily routines and in my day-to-day life. I’m thinking that when I go into the clergy work that ADF has, I’ll be creating a stronger connection with daily prayers and such to them.
If I were to sum up what the gods were, I’d say they are beings that have been worshipped by many and through our worship and offerings, we forge connections with them. In most situations we want to have reciprocal interactions where we give to the gods and they, in return, work with us. I’ve done guided meditations to interact with all three of my patrons and they’ve communicated with me in different ways with different knowledge offerings or information, but I really haven’t asked for much of anything at all from them.
Summary: (wc 188)
Thanks to a combination of working with the heathen group I work with and my grove, I’ve been able to work with and concentrate on each different kindred, sometimes specifically focused on them. The gods are the main kindred most pagans work with, but heathenry and the ADF both interact with all three in their own ways. Both groups honor the ancestors, while the heathens have a greater reverence for working with the ancestors which has helped me reach out as well as think more about my connections with my relatives as well as spiritual ancestors who came before me. As for the nature spirits, my journeying into the local graveyard to connect with nature for my dedicant path work really helped me connect with the spirits of the land on a much deeper level than I had before. Putting all three together really feels to be a sense of unity as I work with all three. It also seems to be a positive feedback loop that the more I start reaching out to one of the kindred, I tend to get brought back into looking into another.