The Past is our Future?

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Twyrch
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The Past is our Future?

Postby Twyrch » 24 Aug 2007, 13:21

Mind if I ask you all how much your ancestry played a role in choosing your path or feel you are drawn to your path because of your ancestry?
This is a topic originally brought up in the [Who's Your Cousin] thread in the Pub. We began to discuss it there, but I thought we could split off the topic and discuss it here, so as not to derail the original thread.

Does your past play any role in shaping your future? I believe that who we were and who we are help to make us who we are to become.

Sure, the genetic makeup of our ancestors is different from what we are today, but when I reached into my past and discovered my roots, I felt drawn to my past so strongly, it eventually guided me to the path I'm walking today.

I'm not saying everyone is drawn to Druidry from their past, but I am curious how many people feel drawn to their past, either in past lives or ancestral heritage, in some way or another... and perhaps, how that connection has changed you as a person?
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Postby Aylyn » 24 Aug 2007, 13:56

My ancestry played little or no part in my current path. Due to WW2, a lot of my ancestral records is lost, and my relatives are scattered. I have only memories up to my great-grandmother, and even those records were lost when they passed away. Recently, I have been trying to finsd out more about my family tree, but it is difficult as the only person who can still remember is my grandmother, who is now 95. Apart from that, hard evidence is difficult to come by as a lot was lost and burned in the war.

I have chosen my path purely on affinities, not on my ancestry. The interest in ancestry I have now came afterwards, when I started to work with Samhain. When I didi the ritual the first time, greeting those who have gone before, it came to me that I have no idea who they were. This sparked my interest.....
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Postby honor_your_life » 25 Aug 2007, 02:06

I became interested in Druidry after I started a school project on religions. I have been a druid for many years before stumbling on the religion, but it is what got me finding out more about it and my ancestory.

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Postby Ghostrider » 25 Aug 2007, 10:21

My ancestry has nothing to do with me choosing to walk the Druid Path.
Or at least, nothing I can see now.

Since starting on this Path, I have learned to see signs within my current life that hinted into this direction. There were a-plenty, I just needed to learn how to read them.

But my ancestors? I don't think so.. not as far as I know anyway. Perhaps if I start digging, I might find some signs, but that will take some time  :D
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Postby Meadhbh » 25 Aug 2007, 23:41

They did in a way, but I won't say it was my only reason. I was researching family roots at the time, since they are for the most part Irish and Scottish I was already reasearching the area. Since I was already pagan at the time I decided to research the myths and the like as well and one thing lead to another. So, perhaps they did but in an indirect way.
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Postby Kernos » 26 Aug 2007, 00:16

I am drawn to the past more generally, certainly related to my ancestry, but not just so. Humans and cultures keep doing the same things over and over again, so one best way to understand the present and the future is to understand the past.

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Re: The Past is our Future?

Postby Ben Wood » 05 Nov 2007, 13:04

Does your past play any role in shaping your future? I believe that who we were and who we are help to make us who we are to become.
This is an interesting philosophical question as well as a fascinating personal one. I think it was Cicero who said, "Everything contains within itself the germ of it's future". I suspect he was right. We are always living out the consequences of our ancestors, in our genes, in our attitudes, beliefs and actions. We don't come into the world with a completely clean slate, we are culturally and historically situated beings. In this sense, it is sometimes difficult for us to know what is our own choice and what has been laid down by our cultural or genetic heritage. The nexus of cause and affect is so complicated that it is impossible for an individual to break from his/her the past completely.

In this sense I think there is a germ of truth in the Christian doctrines about sin. If at sometime in the past, human self-perception was distorted, then this distortion would be passed on from parents to children, until people would be caught in a cycle and perpetuation of harmful relationships which individuals would not able to control. I mean, look at the Middle-East. The distortion of perception regarding the Palestinian or Jewish "other" is historically conditioned. The conflict has taken on a mind of it's own, stretching back into the past. In order to break from our past we need something quite extraordinary. Something has to come into the heart of our lives and shatter the roads towards the predictable destination. Jesus was one of those extraordinary people that broke the mould of expectation. I suspect this is why Christians believe that he can come to the heart of a nexus of bad relationships, stretching back into the past and remake them. Paul apparently had such an experience, turning him from the path of zealous persecutor of Christians to an Apostle. Buddha was another such individual. His followers believed that Buddha had broken the Karmic forces which keep beings enslaved to suffering.

Most people's lives are touched by at least one event which shatters, maybe only momentarily, the train of events linking the past to the present. But in that moment people turn around, reconsider and take a different route. I've had a few of these moments, when for a moment I am freed from the past and can make a choice seemingly more objectively, or a choice I would never have believed I would have make. There is I believe only partial determinism in this universe. It is partial because we can welcome something extraordinary into lives which changes us irreversibly, throwing us off the cosy road. Spirituality and faith provides us with thousands of years of experiences like this. But such experiences contain a profound lesson. Most religions rooted in sudden epiphany, challenge us to treat our past with honour, while at the same time tell us to seek new ways to renew what is the best of the past in our present.

To feel "at home" on a path of faith, means being responsible for the spiritual home we are living in. Bringing our lives into this dwelling entails changing our attitudes. We are no longer a spiritually homeless person, with only the sky for shelter. We must keep the house in order, keep everything in good repair and spend time bringing our touch to the home. Druidry also teaches this lesson. The old Druid is a symbol of bringing the best of the past into present use. If we let him in, he can be an extraordinary catalyst for change in our lives. He can allow us to break with our past constructively, if we allow ourselves to scrutinize past actions and bring what is harmful under the guidance of the Druid archetype.
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Re: The Past is our Future?

Postby DaRC » 06 Nov 2007, 12:55

If you view history as a tapestry of interwoven lives then the past will influence the future - the key is at the nexus point of the now where actions / choice will determine the pattern of the weave in the future. However there are greater patterns in the weave and sometimes these will make an individuals actions / choice irrelevent.

So I would say so but then, being a Heathen-Druid I would! Both heathenism and druidry have a strongly determinist philosophical basis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determinism

From my perspective Druidry is a natural fit and is in my past from within genetic, cultural and familial threads of the weave. So once I chose to seek a spiritual path it was natural to arrive at OBOD's door obviously I could have chosen other paths but after looking at quite a few they just didn't seem natural.
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Re: The Past is our Future?

Postby Twyrch » 08 Nov 2007, 18:15

Ben, thank you for that post. It was well written, deep and meaningful. You seem to have gotten to the heart of my philosophical question and then built upon it. Very insightful!
If you view history as a tapestry of interwoven lives then the past will influence the future.
Dave, I guess you haven't forgotten my post on the Tapestry of Life. ;) Yes, that is how I view life and history as well. Our lives are merely threads interconnecting other threads by touching the lives we come in contact with throughout our life. Where our thread starts on the tapesty at the beginning of our life, has a great deal to do with where our own thread ends when our life comes to its natural fulfillment.
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Re: The Past is our Future?

Postby lotuswelcome » 09 Nov 2007, 12:25

Great topic Twyrch!

I think our ancestry play an important part in our lives but I also think our own choices and actions , both present and past ,are what shape our future. Also , the actions of others have repercussions in our lives. I don,t believe in predestination but in the concept of Wyrd.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyrd

DaRC, when I was at school, I had to do a project on Determinism. The book I had to read was called 'Walden 2' by Skinner. It was really interesting.

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Re: The Past is our Future?

Postby DaRC » 09 Nov 2007, 13:20

Thanks lotuswelcome I shall look out for Walden 2; I'd come across references to it whilst reading a poetry anthology and finding more about Thoreau.

The only thing I did disagree about the Wikipedia entry on Wyrd was that it suggested that heathen philosophy is quite fatalistic.
I see now that the entry appears to have been updated :)
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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