With that said, as of late, due to the time of year, I've been thinking a great deal about family and ancestors. For some of you, this is a relatively simple thing to think on, but for someone like myself, I find that it is a great deal more difficult. To give a bit of background, my parents and I never did get along, and when the chance arose I left them behind. The time I saw them was roughly six years ago, and the last conversation I had with them was barely civil.
When I was raised, from the age of 5 years old and onward, I was cut off from my father's half of the family completely, which left me to interact with my grandmother on my mother's side, my brother, and my parents. Beyond that, I was relatively isolated, and the excuse given was that my family on my father's side were racists.
Well, I recently had the fortune to come into contact with my uncle, who I had never met prior to the message I received, and, through him, came into contact with the rest of my estranged family. This experience has been delightful and incredibly enlightening, but it has brought me to an interesting crux in my life that I struggle with, to some extent. For a long time, I had practically ignored ancestor worship, due to my misgivings about being related to my mother and father, and it was only ~6 months ago that I seriously began to work with my ancestors.
Sob story aside, that brings me to the point behind this post: we, as "pagans" (or whatever other paradigm you ascribe to) who practice ancestor worship, may have differing views on what we define as family. The definition of family becomes important, as it, naturally, affects who our ancestors are. Due to the circumstances in my life, I've effectively disowned my mother and father, but still love my mother's relatives and my father's relatives dearly. The same can be said for my brother, my cousins, as well as for my girls. My girls are not, obviously, related to me by blood, but we have a bond that goes deeper then blood or bone. Blood may well be what ties me to the ancestors I am bound to, but with them too, the bond is deeper then any physical material or manifestation.
To that end, when one comes to a point where he or she realizes this, we must also realize that they do, in many cases, feel the same about us. They may also feel the same way you do about the handful of idiots in your family, so you might have more in common with them then you realize. For those of you with a situation similar to my own, I urge you to keep this in mind...its truly an awesome revelation, in my opinion.
Now that we've established that there is more to an ancestral or familial connection then blood, we are forced to realize that we are tied to the ancestors of those we love as well. They are not somehow insulated from us, or visa versa, and they too should be honored. I honor, frequently, my late father in law, and his ancestors, as well as honor my mother-in-law's ancestors. So too do I do this for the adoptive parents of my girlfriend, their family, their ancestors, and those of my girlfriend's bloodline. Its amazing how enriching that can be, and its a rather startling revelation when you realize that we can and should do this.
So, the Tl:DR message of this ramble of post is this: "We are connected to our family's foremothers and forefathers whether the relation is of blood or of spirit." I urge you to connect with them all and see how it changes your life.