Thursday, January 26, 2012

Musings on my daughter's roots

I was born by the mediterranean sea, where the land carries the echoes of peoples long gone. The Romans, the Greeks, the celto-liguric tribes and peoples further back in time, who sailed the seas and traded, shaping what later became Europe.

The Mont Ste. Victoire near Aix-en-Provence, where we lived

For the first few years in this life my eyes perceived the world in a special shining light. The bright sun of Provence warmed my skin. The ground was dry and my feet toddled over pebbles, the air I breathed was full of spices.

I grew up in the North of Germany, where the soil is dark and moist, the land is flat and the horizon is low. Where buzzards fly in a leaden sky and the Goddess lives in moors and heather. There I watched my mother and I learned to love the Earth. I learned about the cycles of planting and growth, of harvesting and rest. I learned how to build and tend to a woodfire.

In spring the white skin of birch tree maidens shines bright, planted in pairs following straight trackways across the great Northern Plains, their hair of fresh green leafes dancing in the wind. In summer cattle graze on deep green meadows, growing fat, crops grow high and flowers are colourful and abundant. Ancient stones have stood there for millennia, like watchers following the change of the seasons and of ages.

One of seven neolithic tombs, called the Seven Stone Houses, in the heather not far from where my Mum lives

Standing Stones also watch the land of Brittany. My father's people are the people of the West and every year I went to connect to this part of my heritage. There I heard the ancestors call me, the Celts and the neolithic people, whisper stories to my ear, of sea lore and earth lore, the hidden meaning of the symbols carved into the stone. I heard the mermaids sing and the selkies cry. Marie Morgane stirred the seasalt within the blood that runs in my veins and told me stories of the world below the tides.

I walked among stones aligned and womb-like tombs, built from stone and earth. I walked the coast of grey granit in the rain and watched the green-grey sea, sea spray clinging to my skin and hair, rugged rocks and stormy skies, royal sunsets and misty veils. I swam and played in the waves, found treasures on the beach, watched the sea pinks nod their little heads on the cliffs and I listened.

I listened to the music in the wind and stories of the seagulls.

My mother's folk came from the heartland of Germany, crossing artificial borders and stretching into slavic lands and Baltic countries. This is a land that has seen many uproars and wars, where peoples fought and killed other peoples, where blood has deeply soaked the earth and cultures and kingdomes came and went.
It is hard to feel secure and safe where nothing is constant, because what is built is quickly unrooted and torn down again. The only thing lasting there is the land itself, which carries memories of all. Plains and fields interchange with hills and deep forests, land and sky meet directly and for ever the living energy of creation and destruction flows between the two, extending out into and nurturing the whole of Europe.

I have been blessed to have been able to do a little bit of travelling, dipping into the flow and the scent of other cultures on other continents.

I have marvelled at the speed and sound and colours and at the stillness and the attention to purpose and detail of Japan, I have watched the mist hide the traces of the Native Americans' heritage between the trees in the woodland hills of Washington, USA, and I have felt the desert sands on my skin while ancient stone faces silently smiled down on me in Northern Africa. I have yet to explore the lakes and forests of the North, I am longing to see the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun. But where I feel most at home is in Western Europe. I long to return to walk the lush green land of Avalon, to warm myself by the fireplace with a hot Whiskey again while outside the Irish rain comes lashing down, to walk again among the Stones in Brittany. I love my life in the Rhine Valley where the Goddesses Matrona guard the land and I love to return to my roots in the dark land of the Northern plains. But I miss the Sea. I hear the wind and the harps calling me, I smell the fires and I feel the Stones in my blood.

Snoqualmie Falls

Path up the Tor, Glastonbury

Hathor's Temple in Dendera

My Mum and I in Matrona's Temple in Nettersheim

The haven that is my Mum's garden in the North.

This is only my part of the whole picture. It is for my partner to tell his own story, if he wants to do that. So when our child is born, where will she feel is her home? Where has her soul come from? What will I teach her? Who will she be?

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