The passage of time is very important to my Pagan path. The main things that I honor are the wheel of the year and my ancestors, both of those play important roles in my spirituality.
As such, a number of years ago, I got a DNA test done with 23andme. Recently they updated it to include some things that I am trying to work into my practice, and I wanted to show you the breakdown of this aspect of my path.
The first part of my ancestry is the Native American part. This is my most direct heritage because my family came from Mexico in the early 20th century so it’s the part of my heritage that I can most directly identify.
So I happen to know that my ancestors were Aztec. The Aztecs arrived in the valley of Mexico from the American Southwest around the 13th century. They were wanderers and called themselves the Mexica, or ‘the people of the sun.’ They were a Nahuatl speaking people and the Nahuatl language is part of the Uto-Aztecan family of languages which include languages such as Hopi and Piman.
The Aztecs themselves are the descendants of the Ancient Anasazi people’s of the American Southwest who lived in the region around the 8th century CE.
To honor this part of my heritage, I have a specific part of my altar set aside to honor the Aztecs and the Anasazi.
The dish I have is an Aztec design which I use specifically to honor the Aztecs. Inside is a button of a picture of Xochipilli. Xochipilli is the god that governs the period of time on the Aztec calendar in which I was born. Xochipilli is the god of dance, music, love, and pleasurable activities. He is called the prince of flowers and his five flower symbols are the morning glory, the tobacco plant, and hallucinogenic mushrooms. So he’s a total hippie. To honor him, I put morning glory oil in his dish and that green soap is scented with morning glory. (Source:
Celts and Vikings
Another part of my ancestry comes from Ireland. Now I don’t have any relatives that came directly from Ireland that I know of, but I have been told by my biological grandfather that his side is definitely Irish. The Irish tend to be a blend of Celtic and Viking ancestry. The Celts once dominated Europe, they were one of the indigenous people’s of Europe. They were more or less driven off the continent by the Roman Empire and the British Isles were their last stronghold. Later, the Vikings colonized Ireland lending the blend of Celtic and Norse ancestry of Ireland.
I haven’t really explored this aspect of myself yet, I do plan to get a set up similar to the one I have for the Aztecs, but I haven’t done so just yet. But I do follow the Sabbats, AKA the wheel of the year, and they are based on Celtic heritage. As far as gods and goddesses, I feel a pull to Brigid, the triple goddess of fire, healing, and inspiration.
The above is all I have to share so far. The only thing on my altar so far is a rusted penny whistle, but like I said, it’s a work in progress. The next thing is a picture from our honeymoon to Ireland in 2010. This tower was right outside our hotel and from what I understand, it was built by Irish monks to escape the Vikings. There is an old cemetery right across the street and a little inside joke I have is that the cemetery was for the monks who couldn’t climb fast enough or for the monks who didn’t realize that the Vikings could climb too.
Spanish and Iberian
The third part of my ancestry is Spanish. Since my family originated in Mexico, its no real surprise that I have a good amount of Spanish ancestry in me. I have nothing on my altar for this yet, because I am still exploring what it means to me. I know that the Iberian Peninsulas earliest inhabitants included the Celts, the Phoenicians, and the Romans. Later, there were Goths and Moors. Rome probably had the most significant early impact on the peninsula, especially in the Southern regions and there is evidence of Roman and Greek pantheon worship so I will probably start there. I am particularly drawn to Artemis, the goddess of the hunt because to me she represents independence, and anyone who knows me knows that I am a very independent person. Also, Artemis’s Roman counterpart is Diana, which happens to be my mother’s name.
Trace ancestry is something fairly new that 23 and me has, so I haven’t really had time to incorporate it into my practice either. But trace ancestry basically means any part of your ancestry that is 1% or less, so its not a huge part of your DNA, but it is there in measurable amounts. My trace ancestry in Western and Northern Africa is likely the result of the Moorish invasion of Spain. The Moors had a very big impact on Spain and their influence is still heavily felt. They occupied the peninsula for over 700 years and it’s estimated that about 10% of the Spanish language is actually influenced from Arabic and Berber languages.
So there you have it, an in depth introduction of how ancestry plays a part in my Pagan practice. As I incorporate more and more aspects of my heritage into my alter set up, I will share it.