For many years now, the solstices and equinoxes have been a part of my seasonal reverence and celebration. Christmas and other religious holidays have nothing for me. During these years the needle prick of guilt has always been present. The old lore of paganism in the British Isles and Northern Europe is long and rich. The drums of the Celts, the glowing bonfires, the celebration of deep night and the return of the sun have always pulled me in, but the knowledge that these are the people from whom my oppressors emerged has been a knife I have not been able to remove from my heart.
I have always known that my ancestry carries white folk among those in the Spirit World. Every African American does. It is the legacy of Slavery and White Supremacy. It is what is. Like many, I do not speak of it, have let it lie dormant in my spirit and mind. To embrace those ancestors would be a betrayal of the the ones in chains on the oceans and the ones whose bones decorate the way to Oklahoma. So I have marked the longest night with a mixture of reverence and conflict.
When I had my DNA parsed, the more than 20% of Northern European and British Isle blood shook me up. The rest was no surpise--West and Central Africa, and American Indian with a tiny amount of Southeast Asian. The number of white folks sitting in my family tree was bothering me.
So I've done what the old ways teach. I've sat with the disturbance and looked for what it has to teach me. Recently, I came across the Facebook page of Luisah Teish, the author and great teacher of African Spirituality. Through this connection I found a series of youtube videos on ancestor reverence and fell into them head first. Her words held the wisdom I needed.
Winter Solstice is sacred for me. Feeling guilt or anger for the white skin of those ancestors does not serve the balance and it does not serve the growth of my soul. So tonight I honor the dark and its secrets revealed. I honor the old ones, all of them within me and their wounds which I am healing with the love I give away in the world. Tonight my fireplace will crackle with sacred fire, all ancestors will be fed and honored, a Celtic chant will be sung and drummed. I will keep my path, this night a part of it, which is for me and no one else, and tonight I will no longer be ashamed of the peoples from whom I come.