PEGI EYERS ~ Ancient Spirit Rising
Multicultural family lines are far more common than not, and it is more about being in alignment with self, making conscious choices, and perhaps factoring in the physical make-up of our being and the building blocks of our family tree, that may point to the treasures of an Indigenous Knowledge/European Indigenous Knowledge system (IK/EIK) just waiting to be discovered. Becoming part of a specific ancestral group can give us a firm foundation, and a place to turn to for spiritual guidance, cultural values and familial connection. If we can pinpoint a path of specific ancestral connection, why not embrace the opportunity? If we are blessed with knowing the details of our heritage, how beautiful and how honoring of ourselves and our Ancestors to re-create our specific traditional roots to the best of our ability!
Cultural diversity is an honorable goal, and to move away from the commodified Pagan and New Age expressions that are not connected to any specific IK/EIK or spiritual tradition. Spirituality with a moral code means restraint and discernment, and the integrity of focus. Since the beginning, Pagan and New Age texts have offered Ancient Ways cobbled together from diverse cultural traditions, and describe practices that are mostly Celtic in origin without identifying the specific source. Both the assumed default of "Celtic Studies for everyone" and the datamining of the “exotic other” (cultural appropriation) are offensive approaches, when authenticity is so close to hand. Also, claiming Ancestors from any culture worldwide is problematic, as past-life regressions, experiences and visions may be valid, but appear indulgent as unverified personal gnosis (UPG). For example, if you have heard the ancestors of the Lakota “calling you,” and consider yourself one of the Lakota “people,” you really have to wonder if the same ancestors also informed the Lakota that you are part of their culture? (LOL) Or if you are convinced that your past life as Egyptian, Cherokee, Huichol or Vodun give you special insights, or the entitlement to claim ancestors from those traditions, do you really need to “go public?” Perhaps it is a private matter best understood over time, as you continue to explore the continuum of your personal mythology.
Instead of celebrating our ethnocultural roots, the separatist notion of “racial pride” has become so warped by Eurocentric white supremacy in recent times, that many modern white folks now consider cultural or ethnic integrity to be taboo (for white folks, anyway). In a new twist deriving from the toxicity of racism, we now have white people attacking other white people (the oppressor) without any people of color (the oppressed) even entering the conversation!
Meanwhile the fear is very real that the perverse “racial purity” agenda of the white nationalists, white supremacists, eugenicists and nazi cults could rise again, and we have to be on guard, but ethnicity aligned with cultural traditions is the way humanity has been self-organized for millennia all over the world, long before the fabrications of German occultism, “racial science,” or the invention of white superiority. When we look to the colonizer/colonized power imbalance that is our legacy, and the reality in the Americas today, racist or anti-racist white folks who are in no danger of dying out from genocidal attack simply sound ludicrous when making the rules for cultural preservation. The psychoses of Eurocentrism, White Superiority and Ethnic Hierarchy (“racial” stratification) are the only issues that need to be called out and addressed, not the reclaiming, celebrating or practicing of a specific pre-colonial earth-rooted ethnoculture by any individual or community.
In marked contrast to other cultures worldwide, it is only western society that is in complete denial that spiritual practice is usually determined by ethnicity. Displaced Europeans and colonized diasporans who have had their traditions stripped from them now consider homogeneity to be the “norm,” and have forgotten what it is like to have one’s ethnicity entwined with cultural practice and spiritual expression. Localized ethnic or kinship groups have lost their value, and the white privilege of historical amnesia has given rise to the notion that it is only the exotic “other” who indulges in these kind of antiquations.
Additional factors that have led to the fallacy that alignment with ancestry equals “ethnic racism” or “spiritual apartheid,” is the prevalence of the generic monomyth principle; the many popularized versions of the "rainbow nation," "one tribe" and universalist we are all one memes; and conflating the newly-found pan-human 99% identical genome with the idea that cultural diversity is outdated and irrelevant. And yet the cursory New Age understanding of “One Tribe” is not true IK or EIK, no matter how much we pretend the traditions are our own, and when we look to Indigenous nations worldwide, we see that their identity is linked to place and kinship group, and Indigenous people know exactly who they are. It is only members of the entitled white majority who have unlimited choices in superficial lifestyle and spiritual practice from any IK/EIK or ancestors we desire from any tradition, who actually reinforce the goal of Empire, which is to normalize “multicultural” globalization with white homogeneity as the default.
Those in Pagan, Neo-Pagan, New Age, Reconstructionist, Ásatrú and Heathen circles who critique the practices of cultural recovery as aligned with ancestry should be more concerned with those in their own eclectic communities who openly claim a imaginary or UPG-derived “soul connection” to ancestors in a cultural group or ethnicity not their own, as this unsubstantiated behavior can be interpreted in many cases to be racism perpetuated by an oblivious member of the dominant society. And all the time spent perpetuating false views of what racism “is and is not” should be resolved, and instead of ridiculous debates involving “white on white” racism, white spiritual seekers should invest in the actual pro-active deconstruction of white superiority, and dismantling the roots of the genuine racism that continues to be directed at BIPOC in the Americas today.
White privilege has given us automatic access to the intellectual and spiritual property of any culture we choose, but instead of empowering us, I would argue that in the ignorance of our own cultural practices and the assumption of the “other” we are the most bereft of all. The ethics of reclaiming genuine EIK from our own ancestral tradition(s) will automatically gain respect from those already rooted in ancient earth-honoring culture(s), forming both an actual and metaphysical membership in the Sacred Circle of worldwide indigeneity. Even if you know of only one ethnic group in your composition, you can express elements of that with authentic passion. For those who are aware of their family tree it is incredibly exciting to delve into ancient tribal connections, and unique combinations are going to look quite normal, for instance a mix of Irish and Hawaiian EIK/IK!
Ultimately, knowledge is always shifting and changing, but each human being worldwide has one or more root culture(s) with earth-connected aspects that can be embraced. Working on your bond with nature in the landscape where you are living will validate your IK or EIK, and more importantly, evoke your eco-activism and the protection of the land. As the ravages of Empire play out, cultural recovery may become our goal again in the future (!) - and we may find ourselves by choice or necessity living in small localized kinship groups once again, looking to our own ancestral traditions for a template to survival. If nothing else, listening to what the Earth is telling us in our ethnocultural practice, plus embodying the elements of the ancestral traditions that sing to our soul, is to experience the joy that comes from authentic living.
Taking flight across the centuries by visiting the homelands of your ancestors may spark more of a deep connection to place and the flourishing of your eco-identity than you ever imagined. When you are rapt with wonder as you view the mountains on your way to the Isle of Skye and never want to leave that place or when you thrill to the sight of upright stone circles, or find you are spellbound by the music of the harp, pipes or bodhrán, or have a sense of being “at home” when you study Welsh or Irish mythological cycles, or have been compelled to create a Green Man mask without quite knowing why, then you have found your place in creation. When you are touched by the truth of your ancestral soul, you will know!
 Colonial dispossession is known as “epistemicide,” or the killing of knowledge systems (epistemologies).
 Martin Pretchel, The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic: The Parallel Lives of People as Plants, Keeping the Seeds Alive, North Atlantic Books, 2012
 This was the exact experience of John McLeod, who travelled from his home in America to Scotland, and later found out he had deep ancestral connections to the Isle of Skye. James Hunter, Scottish Exodus: Travels Among a Worldwide Clan, Mainstream Publishing, 2007
Pegi Eyers is the author of "Ancient Spirit Rising: Reclaiming Your Roots & Restoring Earth Community," an award-winning book that explores strategies for intercultural competency, healing our relationships with Turtle Island First Nations, uncolonization, recovering an ecocentric worldview, rewilding, creating a sustainable future and reclaiming peaceful co-existence in Earth Community.
Available from Stone Circle Press or Amazon