For Everything There Is A Season

My followers may have noticed a distinct lack of posts of late, so I thought I would just take five minutes to explain why. First of all, I feel that much of what I wanted to share has been, and I am not inclined to “waffle on” for the sake of it! I am sure like me, you all have many other bloggers that you follow and they will suffice. But secondly; this is now the time of year when traditionally I go deep within myself, to reflect on what has happened during the year, what can be deduced and learned from those experiences and what will be my focus in the year ahead. With the darkening nights here in Highland Scotland, the desire to almost hibernate when one is able to follow one’s natural body rhythms is compelling indeed. In the summers we frolic in the endless daylight hours; indeed in the Orkney Isles, when the skies are clear, people at the golf club in Kirkwall start a round of golf at midnight on June 21st. But as the mellow Autumn dresses the flora and fauna in deep reds and golds and the light hints at taking leave of our presence, we too slow down and begin to prepare for the luxury of dark silky nights, velvet smooth air and to anticipate the first falls of crystal white snowflakes that deaden sound and bring peace and stillness to our landscape. We stock up with food and I spend August and September preserving nature’s harvest, bottling fruits, making jams, Christmas puddings and cakes and making sure that like squirrels, we may have good things to eat when the landscape around us also rests, producing nothing. For many millions, the understanding of, and co-operation with these natural rhythmic cycles of life has been broken and life becomes disjointed and dysfunctional in its relentless demands of them in work patterns which no longer follow the harmony which makes for healthy relationships between us, each other and our planet and larger solar system. All operates to cycles of time, which require times of production and times of rest in equal measure to keep us fit, physically, mentally and emotionally. We have become fractured from our own nature.

Coming from the countryside and spending most of my time in that environment I have retained and am acutely aware of the cycles of Nature and how we too are in harmony within ourselves, running to the same rhythms as Nature herself. And so in these months ahead, life for me slows and becomes more reflective and restful. It is also the time of year that I study my ancestry; and the wider lives and experiences of those who walked before me and are connected to me still in my DNA, in my inclinations and choices, likes and dislikes and so on. For the past 3 years winters I have been absorbed with incredible discoveries but this year I have surpassed them all. As I started last month again; I took my tree back from the 1600’s, through the 1500’s and beyond…deeper deeper into history, all the way back to 730 and my Viking ancestors. There are their names, tales of their voyages, disputes and discoveries…wives, children, siblings. I travel forward with them across the seas to Scotland where they become Kings of Scotland and nobility there, others travel to France where they settle and become Dukes of Normandy, intermarrying with other nobility, owning vast tracts of land and castles and in time entering royal circles themselves, producing Kings of England, Europe and even Russia.

I have also been doing far more deep study of Anglo-Saxon History and am absorbed in the historic documents, letters and material of the time; it may not be everyone’s cup of tea but for me ‘The Anglo Saxon Chronicles’, Bedes ‘Ecclesiastical History of the English People’ and ‘Rectitudines Singularum Personarum’ are fascinating stuff indeed! I have the added bonus that around this period [900-1200] most writing was in French which I am able to understand and translate adequately enough…unlike the Latin of the later period. So I am a well happy bunny and having the added link that I am researching famous names of the time, but who are also my relations is rather absorbing to say the least. William the Conqueror for example is my 30th Great Grandfather, King Henry 1st is my 29th Great Grandfather, King Canute was married to my 32nd great-aunt, who had also been married to King Ethelred the Unready before him, and produced King Edward 1st as their child, so suddenly the musty old history of school takes on a whole new dimension and is instantly more relevant, when you have great grandfathers and uncles/aunts who founded for example Tewksbury Abbey, Winchester Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral…and one who was the one who had the task of writing the Magna Carta…all comes alive. Many of them were the benefactors of abbeys, monasteries and great cathedrals all over Europe; Chartres, Reims,Cluny and so on; so perhaps I have inherited much of my ‘monastic’ spiritual character from those who walked a few years before me, since many of them seemed to retire from life after having their families and retreat into monasteries and nunneries to end their days peacefully. The 1300-1700’s are very familiar to me from past study; but this earlier time with the Vikings who morphed into the Normans who then morphed into England and Scotland from about 800 onwards, although the greatest take over of power was obviously around 1066…is a new one to me. And as I say being able to read their documents and charters etc in the original French certainly helps. Dont think Babel fish would be too adequate on Charter translations!
And so another quiet window opens to me within my reflection. I am given clues and detail about those who walked before me; what inspired them and drove them, what they saw and tried to achieve and in them I see the whole of human endeavour and its best and worst of traits.
How is it then that I may consider myself English or Scottish, when in reality I am all nations and all peoples…or an awful lot of them anyway. My matriarchal DNA does not match Europe at all…most of the people with my DNA live in India, yet there is not a scrap of Indian to be seen in me now. Before India it came from Iran, from Aleppo, through Afghanistan, through India across to Europe and eventually via the strange and compelling adventures of my ancestors…it arrived here in the United Kingdom and for the past 1000 years has been calling itself English, Scottish and later British. Through its travels it would have been Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and all manner of creeds and religions before those ones we know. Times, places, all religions true to those who followed them, all part of a larger truth that is not owned by any one of them, able to change through bodies, through geography, yet still I am intimately connected with all of them and all of you.
Here is my DNA test results:You belong to the Seafarers, haplogroup M, which emerged around 65,000 years ago in the regions between east Africa and the Persian Gulf. After only 5,000 years, a significant migration took the Seafarers to Sahul, a region including present-day Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania. The population did not migrate again for 20,000 years, when climate and advancements in transportation allowed the Seafarers to expand into the heartland of Asia. Today’s Indian population includes about 60% Seafarers.Seafarers are also found in eastern Eurasia, but are almost entirely absent from Europe.

Your ancient ancestors’ daily lives may have involved working with the native flora and fauna of India. They may have used oil from neem trees to treat disease, eaten figs from the same sort of tree that is believed to have shaded the Buddha, and lived in the same regions as Bengal tigers.

I watch the fighting in Aleppo; and Afghanistan, the troubles in Pakistan and India, the conflicts of ideologies and religions and am part of them all, for my blood runs through them all and there are millions of people who are related to me there still today-my ancestors sister, aunt, mother who did not get to travel like mine did but stayed where she was. My direct relation could be anyone of you, it could be the face ravaged I see from my screen in an African famine, or latest attack by a UK soldier in a war zone.

I cannot separate myself from you, no matter how much I may waste time trying. For we are all linked, the same blood and DNA pulses through our body systems, enough to relate us all to each other eventually.  The rhythms of our lives change and flux and wane, we are here but for a short while, and yet we are eternal. And so for me now I leave you with these thoughts and reflections until we reach Spring when I shall emerge again God willing as the new bud of life ready to bloom in the summer, harvest in the Autumn and die to reflection in the Winter to start the whole process again.


4 thoughts on “For Everything There Is A Season

  1. Cathy Mowery says:

    Wonderfully written. We have researched our genealogy too and I find we have several kings and such in common, including King Ethelred. It is amazing to think that so many descendants and generations are related to a common ancestor.

  2. That was very interesting, thanks for sharing it. And I agree, we are all linked. 🙂 Beautiful post.

  3. Religion4All says:

    I’ll miss your writings … and pray for a wonderful flowering of Divine inspiration through your time of contemplation :-). Peace and Love.

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