I could tell you tales,
Tales of my wanderings.
I may blab on and on about my triumphs or downfalls, perhaps how I have been very akin to a Gypsy. Except I know not where those words shall lead me.
I must run this course,
The course I’ve planned to write and tell of my spiritual wanders to know thyself.
Briefly, in past posts I’ve spoken of my research. Finding ancestors was like a gold mine because growing up American had stripped me of heritage. I could be told by my mother “I’m Irish, Italian, and German.” My father could say “I’m Danish, French Canadian, Scottish, British.” Except what did it mean to be any of those things? Culture, heritage, language? Everyone would say well, “you’re American.” It still felt strange though because many of my American friends had kept some form of old country language or culture.
I had a hippy mother who loved Jesus and a Norse Pagan father who was born of a Danish immigrant. Christmas, to say the least was interesting. We had a tree every year named Olaf, and a nativity in the corner. I remember wassail and Leif Erickson day, but it was pieces and fragments I didn’t grasp.
Studies of religion brought me through so many transitions in life. I sought Jesus from the age of nine and wandered about until my twenties. I started to cling to Christianity for quite sometime, which led me to Messianic Judaism, and finally full blown orthodox Judaism. I did find great comfort in Judaism and fell in love with the traditions, language, prayers and oral history.
Not knowing yourself can be quite scary, trying to find a place where you belong. I decided to do my DNA and found 88℅ of my blood was North West European. 95℅ is European in general. The German, Danish and British Isles dominated my DNA. These findings left me wanting to connect with heritage. I was so hungry to “take my place among my ancestors” so to speak.
I know all of those regions were Christianized (is that a word :D) but I also know for years they killed each other, Catholics vs. Protestants. I had ancestors on both sides who suffered great losses. I wanted to go beyond that before the conversion crisis as I like to call it. I found my Celtic and Germanic/Scandinavian ancestors worshipped the same gods and goddesses. The names varied by language but they were the same. These are the gods my father and sisters had come to know. I decided I wanted to know them too.
*When the struggle within myself surfaced*
I transitioned so much through religions and cultures, it was as if I hated myself. I ran from the Hansen surname. I remember getting married and double checking that I marked the box to give up my maiden name. Once we separated, I took on various pennames even using my mother’s German maiden name Schramm. There was honor behind my reasoning for using mother’s name but it’s another tale.
How many times would I allow myself to submit to what I thought everyone wanted me to be? How many relationships were built upon hiding behind someone else? It was the worst case of crisis identity. I believe my anger that I held onto against my father was the reason. I kept blaming everyone else instead of realizing, I had captured myself. Prison, I was in a personal prison without cell walls; yet it was such a small, lonely place.
It took me so long but I know who I am. Studying the old heritage and oral history of my ancestors has been water upon parched lands.I see the wisdom in each tale, the dual meanings in each poetic Edda. It is strength to discover who you are and where your roots have belonged all along.