The Three Kindred

IX. The Three Kindred

Nature Spirits: I always start these essays unsure how to start, so I’m going to just start typing, and likely will start rambling till a focus starts to appear. Trying to discuss them is akin to trying to explain why one taps their foot unconsciously.  It’s just there. They are just there.  They always have been around me and my family.  Pixies, sprites, the spirits within bugs and spiders, ghosts and sidhe folk, no one ever told me as a child that they don’t exist so the adult mature logic never interrupted my ability to see them.  Development of reasoning never shut away my third eye.  I’ve spent my life taking the nature spirits for granted, knowing they have always been there so there is no “awakening” for me in this part of my DP studies.  And so, it is how I raised my children, to expect to see them, to know that they are flittering around the plants within and without the walls of our home.  One daughter became rather close to a nature spirit she called “Pixel” and when we saw a ceramic figure at a ceramic/bisque shop and she pointed her little toddler finger to it and declared it as looking like Pixel, of course we had to bring it home and paint him to the colors that my then young daughter related to be the color of his clothing, his eyes, hair and his pink cheeks. That daughter is full grown and exploring her own spiritual beliefs.  The ceramic figure of Pixel still sits in my kitchen window, and recently the real Pixel has asked me to say hello to her.  She’s hoping she can regain the ability to tell him hello herself soon, and I expect she will.

My daughter’s ceramic representation of her friend, Pixel.

The nature spirits that live with my family can be quite brass at times.  My oldest daughter has a step-mother who at the time was a non-believer.  She was also at the time very strongly Christian and had accused me of doing evil things such as trapping spirits in the crystals that I had given my daughter to hang in her window .  Absolute rubbish of course, they were merely cut glass I gave my daughter to catch sunlight to shine prisms in her room.  Anyway, the Step-Mom had come over to pick up our shared daughter when I looked over at Step-Mom who was standing in my kitchen with her mouth open and her face draining white.  I followed her gaze to the macramé hanging basket of spider-plants beside the stairs leading to the upper floor, and there bouncing around the spider-plant and playing up and down those carpeted stairs were tiny little boisterous lights emitting tinkling sounds with their giggling (some call them Pillywiggins.)  I expect they knew she was a non-believer and they were showing off.  The funny thing is their dancing act sort of precluded a minor awakening to this woman.  Everywhere she turned after that she was being “re-educated” on how un-evil neo-Paganism is.

Another funny story I can relate is one I expect is quite common.  I had a few people over one night, my ex and his friends, a married couple.  They knew my place was a Pagan household.  My daughter’s father and his friends liked to talk spirituality but more in the flavor of philosophy, not tangibly touching and living with the beings they talked about.  So on this night one of my cats froze staring at something sitting on top of a stereo speaker, and then my cat started stalking it.  My ex and his two friends watched this and started getting creeped out at just what the heck was Kassarine, my little black huntress feline stalking, and what was that shadowy figure they could barely make out atop my speaker? The entity was working very hard at trying to be seen by them.  Its shape was quite clear to me and to my cat, but it was working with great concentration to show itself to these other people who weren’t as open to seeing such things.  It became quite apparent that though they talked the talk, they were afraid of walking the walk when it was presented to them.  That nature spirit sat there, trying to dismiss the cat edging around its space as it stared back at my ex and his friends.  It was with great difficulty that I refrained from laughing at the whole scene for I didn’t want to blow the effect that spirit was trying to emit to those people.  It seemed to want to say something like, “You three talk a lot about my kind with an air of great authority, and yet when you see one of us before your eyes you are afraid.”  And the funny thing is, there are so many that ARE afraid.  So many people just don’t want to understand, so they throw up a wall of disbelief and rationality that walls off the natures spirits from the subjective reality of the disbelievers, and when something breaks through, be it a nature spirit, or a ghostly ancestor, or a Shining One, when any of these kindred succeed in showing themselves and shakes a person’s armor of rationality, the “Rationals” are most often afraid.

Now I realize that perhaps my attitude may be looked upon as irreverent.  Nature spirits are not beings that my family exalts.  Rather they are like cousins, welcomed family; we expect them to be there.  I co-exist with them. Before I started doing ADF style rites and thus giving them formal invitation to be part of those rites, they were always there anyway, giggling and bouncing about and taking for granted they had a place and right to be there before the ADF gave me instructions to do so formally.

Now what about the wild ones of nature?  I have seen spirits of deer walking beside living fawn in Sequoia National Park when camping there.  I have seen ghostly squirrels running through tree branches while their living kin chattered and argued with blue-jays.  I have felt spiders busily knitting their webs with almost machine-like business mindedness as they shut out the more boisterous creatures and yet somehow felt those spiders perceiving the bridge between the spirits of living nature and the spirits of nature dwelling in an alternative layer.

My Celtic heritage as well as my Native American heritage have both wrapped cultures around the existence of nature spirits with a huge variety of Fae on the one hand and on the other hand there bears the reverence for the spirits of wild animals such as the buffalo and badgers and the spirit of the thunderbirds.

My relationship with them has been ongoing for as far back as I have any memory of my childhood, from my early youth having them pointed out to me by my grandmothers of both sides of my family, to my pointing them out to my own children.  There is a give and take hospitality with them.  I maintain their space, and on the last two properties I owned I kept portions of the land wild for them.  They have gifted me with tokens, feathers and stones and shells found in the strangest places.  They have startled non believers in my home.  They have brought friends to spy upon me when I’ve camped in the wild and by the time I’ve lit a campfire in the evening they’ve edged themselves to the perimeter of light cast by that fire to join where they found themselves welcomed.  Wherever I am, wherever I go, I am never alone, for they are among the Kindred that always will be with me.

Ancestors:  The Kindred known as “Ancestors” is also oft times referred to as the Mighty Dead. For some this is literally the ancestors of one’s bloodline.  For others it is the Mighty Dead of their cultural heritage, and others for the heritage, though not physically descendent from, but of which they feel spiritually attuned to.

Now, this particular paper being submitted for my ADF Dedicant requirements is going to be the most personal of my papers, because it does involve my personal ancestors, good and bad, so if I’m going to write a paper that is more than a simple definition and actually speaks of my own understanding of the topic, it is necessary that I bring in the elements that personally color my understanding of the topic.

For me, there is but one of the Blood-Kin that I hold dear that I have known well in this lifetime. You see, I come from a family whose father’s side preyed on their own and contained generation after generation of monsters. This is quite literal. Alcoholics, drug addicts, and child molesters. Generations of a clan that continued a never ending cycle of misery brought to the children that would grow up to bring it upon the next generation. My father’s generation abused mine, my grandfather’s generation abused my father’s generation. My great-grandfather’s generation abused my grandfather’s generation. It continues back as far as anyone could remember. Some of it is court documented.

When the last person I was close to on my mother’s family left this world in death, and having a driving need to escape my father’s family and to protect those descendants that would come from my own line, I changed my name, first, middle and last and I disappeared from them all. They do not know my name. They do not know my children. They will never know my grandchildren or their children.

Besides the family alive in this lifetime that preyed on me, there is also one among those monsters, in the blood-kin, that has preyed on me from the spiritual side, was able to follow me when I left my family to break the cycle of abuse to protect my daughters. For decades that spirit has been a problem, pretending to be a guardian, all the while feeding off my misery. It is a very long and depressing story, and not relevant to the study of the Mighty Dead.

Life, growth, so much of it depends on just standing up, making a decision, and then taking that first step to change the course of your path. Thirty years ago, I stepped off the path of my family. When I joined the path of Druidry, quite recently, a curtain drew back and I realized the truth about this ancestor of mine from my father’s side. I stood up, I made a decision, and I took a step. I gave permission to the ancestors of my mother’s side to encircle that negative kin and wall him from me. He now is among Outsiders. Of my blood-kin among the Mighty Dead, my maternal Grandmother is the only one I knew well in this life, though quite often I can feel my maternal grandfather’s father among them also singled out, the Scotsman that brought my mother’s father to America as a small boy. There are near a dozen of those Celts on my maternal side, blood kin and hearth kin that have swarmed forth since joining the ADF, since I performed that first ADF rite at Lughnasadh and invited them to join me. It was as if they’d been there all along behind that curtain waiting for me to say the words, “Come…join me,” as if all that had been holding them back was for me to declare their right to join me, to give them permission to step through that curtain to me. I have been a Pagan for many years, but never have I –specifically– called forth my Blood and Hearth Kin such as is done in calling the Ancestors in a rite before. It was truly as though the curtain was drawn back, and forward they came, welcoming, when I gave them permission to do so.

They are also working with my non human spiritual guide, a Patron, each respecting the other. My blood kin on my mother’s side is full of Celts, Scottish and Irish. There is also through my maternal grandmother a Native American group that is separate from my father’s Native American group and somehow their shamanistic feel melds with that of my Celtic Kin. My Blood-Kin that claim me are also my Hearth-Kin…Celtic of both Irish and Scotts, of Eire and Caledonia, with a seasoning of North American plains Indians. Those that are not directly related to me are Hearth Kin in that they are friends of other live times, all Celt and Native American.
The Mighty Ones, they have always been with me, through a curtain that I could only feel thinning as the full moon of Scorpio approached each year. Now I feel them daily at my shrine as closely as that Scorpio Full Moon[1]. It makes me wonder how much closer they will be able to reach when that veil thins again in three weeks at my first Samhain in Druidry.

The Shining Ones: The Kindred known as the Shining Ones, in my hearth culture, are of the Tuatha de Danann pantheon.  My lead Patron and Matron are Bel and Danu and their children and tribe are my Shining Ones, the Tribe of Danu.  I worship a cross section, Irish, Welsh and Scottish.  At the top of the list for the Shining Ones is Morrigu, Brigid and Dagda.

Now, I do have three more that do not fit into IE culture, they are part of my own personal Kindred of Shining Ones that I believe fall into this category though.  One is known across several Native American tribal nations and is called Grandmother Spider.  I am a tad less than ¼ Native American, primarily Comanche with a little Cherokee (the rest of my heritage being completely Irish/Scotts) so perhaps that is why She came to me, though it could quite possibly be that it is because I have become in tune with the nature of this land, and America is the land in which I live, and Grandmother Spider is a strong Matron of the land of our United States for those with hearts open to hear Her. The final two of my Shining Ones I suppose could classify as UPG (Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis) and are draconic.  One is a red male dragon that has been teaching me since early childhood and has been leading me through many, many hoops to deliver me to where I am today.  To the non-pagan, I supposed He could have been considered the imaginary friend, but He never went away after childhood ended, and has been a constant presence in my life.  The other is my own guardian, a female yellow-gold dragon and though she is my own, she has been more in the background while the red one has dragged me along.

Where are they though?  Where do they exist, live?  I feel them around and touching inside.  For me, in my UPG, reality is like a multi layered onion.  We live in one layer.  The Sidhe exists in another layer and the Gods freely move between the layers.  The Ancestors and Spirits can pass through when the skin of the onion between the layers is thin enough (like Samhain and Beltane) or those spirits are powerful enough, of if they find weak spots they can gate through. Some of us open gates ourselves to reach through or to help them pass through.  In my family there is a long history of a shamanistic connection between this onion layer and the next.  I’ve no idea why.  My mother had it and people around her worked to squelch it.  It think it’s part of what drove her mad.  My grandmother’s generation hid it, it was something that wasn’t safe to talk about around people.  No one ever told me “there’s no such things as ghosts” so I never lost the ability to touch through that other layer and fortunately, I developed a dorky and eccentric personality that people just expect me to pop out with something another voice tells me to tell them.

“Danu’s Path” a piece of artwork I created with a 3D computer program.

The Dedicant Through the Wheel asks the question, “What do you call it when you do ritual? Is it “worship” to the Gods, “honor” to the Gods, or “love” to the Gods? Or is it something else entirely?”  My personal relationship with these Kindred is one of love, of looking up to them the way a younger sibling looks up to and idolizes an older, wiser, more powerful sibling I see Danu and Bel as my parental figures in my spiritual tribe, and the Shining Ones as my older siblings. They had their faults and trials in their youth as we all had. The myths and fables tell of their foibles, but with our honoring them as ancestors, and then their ascent made them Gods, we are still of one family.  I, and those that call the Tuatha de Danann their tribe, are Their youngest siblings, working on our spirits, hoping to make our older siblings proud and honoring them in Their help in raising us and helping our spirits mature. In history they had became our Honored Ancestors, and with the power of our honoring them over the centuries, those Ancestors ascended to a level of godhood. They are the greatest of our Ancestors, our Gods, Our Shining Ones.

[1] There are certain celebrations in the Wheel of the Year that I am compelled (call it my own personal gnosis I suppose) to perform not on the more recent Gregorian Calendar, not by the passage of the earth’s cycle as recorded by a method of Man, but rather by the calendar of Nature, of the earth and the stars and a greater power. I celebrate Samhain, when I personally feel the thinning of the walls between our existence and the spiritual existence as the moon reaches fullness in Scorpio. Likewise, my family’s Beltane is the full moon of Taurus. The equinoxes before them are like a door I feel starting to crack open and revealing just a glint of the energy or world that hides behind it, and by the time the full moon arrives upon the sign after that equinox, the door is fully opened. With Autumn Equinox to the full moon of Scorpio it is a door between the worlds of our existence and those of the spirits, our ancestors and kin. With Spring Equinox to full moon Taurus it is a door between this world and the one in which I feel the Well of Fertility, a creative burst and pouring forth. It’s really hard to describe the energy I feel pouring forth when that door opens with Beltane’s full moon, it is not like of a fertility type that one would normally think of in the mundane world. It is like a plane of existence that is full of the Divine Spark, the very essence of fertility from which all life was conceived of.


~ by Spider Lily on August 29, 2010.

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