Friday, March 20, 2015

The Family Tree

Verse 137 of Hávamál reads:
I trow I hung on that windy Tree
nine whole days and nights,
stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,
myself to mine own self given,
high on that Tree of which none hath heard
from what roots it rises to heaven.

My people come from Northern European stock. I have always considered myself Austrian/German, and figured we were fairly unimportant farmers throughout history, as such things go. My Great-Great Grandfather, Jeremiah Rassbach, moved to Wisconsin from Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. Rumor has it he was Pennsylvania Dutch (Lutherans, Mennonites or Amish). Rumor has it he married a Native American, and that's why he moved from the relatively settled East to the wild Midwest. Rumors abound. There are a number named Roßbach in Germany and Austria, and spellings vary. However, chances are my people are from somewhere in that area.

My mother's side is a mix: Norwegian and English. My Grandmother was from the Pope family, and all I know is that John C. Pope came from the UK somewhere. My Grandfather is something of a mystery, but I believe he's Norwegian by way of North Dakota.

So: English, Norwegian, German, and a smattering of other ancestors in there. I am large, I contain multitudes.

It's not surprising that, in addition to Gnosticism, Protestantism, and Catholicism, I'm fascinated by Norse religion and Mythology. The dour old gods of the Norse, Saxons, Angles, and others hold an appeal not matched by the Gods of other cultures.

I'm not heathen. I don't worship the old gods in the sense of "I dedicate myself to Thor! Bring on the beer and the fighting!" That being said, though, I do pay them a bit of reverence as ancestors. Their influence is written through my families. I use the runes as my primary source of divination, and often as the magic of this world. I am fascinated by those stories of the old world, the travelers, the raiders, the conquerors who spanned the globe, from the New World to the rivers of Russia and the halls of Constantinople.

I am sure that, as time goes on, I'll delve more into this subject.

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