When you look to the past you can learn more about the present. And I don’t mean looking at our own past (although this is a valid place for self understanding). I am talking about our DNA’s past. Our chemical make up, our genetic inheritance. Today is All Hallowseve, Halloween as you probably know it. But in the times before the Christian church today was called Samhain. Samhain was the end of and the beginning of the wheel of the year. And as a time of death, it was at Samhain people honoured and celebrated their ancestors.
So what has that got to do with us modern man?
Hold your horses I’m getting there. We are not simply made up of our experiences, but of our genetics. In fact today we know more about our DNA than ever before. Now I don’t suggest you go out and have your DNA analysed or your family tree researched (Although if you want to it’s an interesting journey.) Samhain is a time where we can be inspired to look back on our ancestors and the gifts they have given us.
I truly believe that if you understand the past, know yourself fully and honestly have a better idea of where you are going to in your life and what skills you have in yourself to get you there. Our DNA is a overflowing tool kit than can guide us through our lives. So this Samhain start to find out where you come from and the gifts you ancestors gave you.
Ancestors conjures up the idea of ancient people, but I don’t mean them. I am talking about the family members that have gone before and that have now passed over. We have all (probably) lost someone in our families that we were close to, also people that we were not so close to. For example some of us will have all heard stories of our great grandparents. These people gave us so much we can appreciate when we take the time to look deeply.
For example My Mum’s mum (Grandma) was wonderfully talented at sewing and knitting, a little dappy, she had a sweet smile and a huge capacity to love her grandchildren. My Mum’s Dad (Grandpa) was friendly, could get on with anyone, make people smile and love structure order and was a talented draftsman. My Dad’s mum (Grannie) travelled the world, stood up for herself and others, loved food and learning as well as telling stories. My Dad’s dad (Grandfather) who died before I was born was a great business man, loved to live abroad and loved sports.
I am not the same as my grandparents. Not by a long shot. They were from a much older generation (at one point our living family covered a hundred years!) I am much more relaxed, hippyish and unconventional, although I am still slitghty dappy. However each of these wonderful people gave me gifts. From my grandma and grandpa came my creativity, ability to meet new people and a fantastic belly jiggle when I laugh! From My Grannie and Grandfather I love travel telling stories, can sell almost anything and a love of learning , great food and to be active only in my case it’s dance not sports.
Of course these are just some of the gifts they gave me. There are many, many others. Everyday I can feel their influence. From knowing their gifts, I have a deeper understanding of who I am. Of what I can do. From expressing these gifts I have a clearer insight into where I want to go in life. And from honouring them and understanding them I have a firmer root and foundation in myself.
Looking at our genetic inheritance is an incredibly powerful and enlightening experience.When you start to discover these gifts you will begin to see you actually have everything inside you to do and be whatever you want to.
So this Samhain why not start to look at where you have come from. Who in your family do you most take after? What were their strengths? Find out what you have inherited from them. Find the gifts your ancestors have given you and start the Celtic New Year with a deeper understanding of who you are and where you come from.
(P.s For those of you that maybe don’t know who your family is, this exercise can also be done with people you are not genetically related to. The results are slightly different but still incredibly powerful.)