Dec 3, 2015

Remembering my Ancestors by Sharing Their Stories

When I first accepted Gwynn ap Nudd as my patron deity and took his mark, he had one condition for me: "You must work with the dead."

Gwyn ap Nudd, Welsh god of the Underworld and Lord of the Dead
Illustration by Yuri Leitch
This made sense to me, as he is the Welsh god of the Underworld and leader of the Wild Hunt at Samhain.  He has also made it clear to me that he is titled Lord of the Dead, though I don't believe that title is found in what little written mythology there is.  He didn't provide me with any explanation or further details on what working with the dead meant for me, though.

That was a number of years ago.  He had largely remained silent on the matter - I assumed I wasn't ready to take on the responsibilities of the task, particularly in the time after I was forced from my coven and needed a significant amount of fallow time with my spirituality.

This autumn, I felt a growing pull to start collecting the stories and photos of my family, namely those who had passed.  As I approached Samhain I came to understand that this is the beginning of my obligation to Gwynn - my work with the dead starts with my family, telling their stories to keep their memory alive.

Because what is remembered, lives.

I started with a request in a private Facebook group for my father's side of the family, and have begun saving digital copies of the stories and photos I've collected so far.  While I was at my parents' for Thanksgiving, I also scanned a number of documents they had, including a family tree that goes back to my 3-times great-grandparents!

This is probably going to be a multi-year project, and I'm kind of excited about that.  I'm looking forward to seeing what other interesting stories and revelations about my family I discover along the way.  Maybe I'll even take a trip to research my family's lineage!  (Or maybe I've been watching too much Who Do You Think You Are? and am overconfident in my ability to afford such a trip!)

I'm not sure what I'll do with the findings - perhaps an ebook to give to my family, or maybe even a fancy website?  So many possibilities!

Have you done any research into your family's lineage or stories?  What revelatory discoveries did you make?

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