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Back from the school run  ^_^  My Ancestry is more based in the South, but am I right that you're still in Northern Ireland? Is there someone there you could quiz as though I have relatives there I've quizzed, you might be better placed to find out. I'm happy to share Irish practices (you may know lots of this already, but as newer witches might read, so I'll go from basics and just ignore what you know already).  To explain above, fairy doctors were seen as different to Witches. Witches were seen as being given (mostly) evil powers by spirits, whereas Fairy Doctors were bestowed gifts by the people of the hills. One big difference seems to be that Witches sought power through their own will, whereas Fairy Doctors were chosen - either taken by the people of the hills, or having an encounter with them that resulted in gifts such as healing or the sight. However, I mention them because many techniques were similar. 

 

Off the top of my head, there are other practices and traditions that are Irish that I or my family use. I mention hag stones (also known as fairy stones, but as we don't speak the word fairy aloud, I tend to use the other name) above, but circles can be utilised in many forms. You can form a circle from materials - I had a willow one but it got damaged - and walk them through it to heal them. I'd stand it upright and literally get my son to step through. I think with this, it's useful to think about what you form the circle of and why you're doing it. So, just because a text says to use Ash, if you have a brilliant relationship with a particular tree and ask that tree to help, it's going to be more powerful than random ash wood. I use sunwise circles when casting for good luck or protection. If I draw a charm for good luck, I'd draw the circle sunwise for that.

Our May Eve traditions include decorating a tree with ribbons or bright pieces of cloth. Traditionally these trees did not have the rags removed and were hawthorn, but we don't always use hawthorn and our tradition takes them down on Samhain when we reach the dark half of the year. Needless to say, we tie things carefully to the tree so it isn't damaged and never tie plastic based material or anything like that. I wash my face in the dew for long lasting youth and we pick yellow flowers that we scatter on our door step for good luck and protection from negative energy or negative spirits or lesser unkind people of the hills (not used for strong entities, but for a more general minor protection).

We work a lot with holy waters, so dew, waters from wells or springs/streams, sea water and also the human water of spittle. Spittle mixed with dusts can make healing pastes, or sprayed across objects, people or animals to bless them or heal them. Spit can obviously also be used as a curse. Milk is also useful to utilise, the cream as mentioned above or types of milk, for example, Goat's milk in some healing spells. I love a great chamomile and goat's milk foot bath that can be used for tired, sore feet. 

 

Herbs were used a lot and there's quite a bit of lore surrounding it. To be honest, there's a lot of Irish/Welsh/Scottish/Breton lore that overlaps or is similar. Spoken charms can also be important and there are many recorded that you could research and try. They were often muttered repeatedly under the breath and were common in several situations including emergency ones (to stop bleeding etc.).

Burning twigs can often be used in healing, as can the ash that remains. Twigs and stems were used in divination, but one of my favourite things that I'm still working on is divining with birds or seeing/hearing their messages. Birds tend to have specific Celtic symbolism - so Blackbirds were liminal birds, often seen as messengers from the other side, able to cross the boundaries. Rhiannon's blackbirds were said to sing the dead back to life and sing the living into a trance so their soul could take flight. After Christianity came to Ireland, we also see the myth of St Kevin and the Blackbird where the Saint raises his palm to heaven and a blackbird lands on it. The bird nested upon it and the Saint kept his hand held up and open for the bird the entire time. Heaney wrote a poem about that story, but not much is known about the Saint as few records remain. There are several 'omens' relating to Blackbirds including seeing a nest by your house at the beginning of the year, or seeing two blackbirds together, meaning that you'll have good luck. They are occasionally seen as 'death omens' but I have found more (for me personally anyway) they bring a message from the Ancestors or remind me they are with me. Sometimes they mean change is coming to me and symbolise a hope, singing in the dawn after a darkness. The blackbird can impart mystic secrets and their feathers can be used in magic.  On a personal level, I find they are useful in relation to soul flight, to finding mystery, for connecting to spirits or ancestors, for emotional healing and esoteric wisdom. They also represent poetry and song (linking to the people of the hills) and that poetic inspiration we need. I also find Magpies represent this to me, but with a different energy, more of a power of voice feel. For dream work or the times when you need to open to dream-like association and symbols, I think blackbird feathers can work wonders.

Sorry, that's a long ramble about Blackbirds, but I thought it was still roughly relevant because really the most important part of Irish/Celtic Witchcraft, Druidism, Fairy Doctoring or Magic has always seemed to be that deep link with the land and the beings around you. Birds were a big part, as were other animals. Much of the Irish magic I know of was in reading the symbols given or listening to the spiritual advice being offered on which plants to work with. Another important part was story telling and folklore/myth, so those are well worth going through for Celtic practices. I keep a book where I record birds seen, what happens in the day etc. to work out what they mean to me as well as the prior reading. Hope this is useful in some way relating to Irish/Celtic practices. 

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I have been into ancestry since I was about 8, that was the age when many questions needed an answer and my all things supernatural go-to person adviced me to look into my ancestry.  She was incredible, I could call her anytime and she would explain everything to me.

Only issue was that back then it was very hard, no internet. All I knew was what my mom told me, she had a paper, from my her father's mother, where she wrote about her history. I finally discovered where my gifts came from - my grandma on my father's side, and also Icelandic roots on my mom's side, way back. So I am Norwegian/Swedish with old Icelandic roots.  Funny, as that had been my craft since the beginning. Traditional Scandinavian mixed with Icelandic craft. Let's just say that coincidence isn't a believable cause around here .

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Didn’t mean to post that in a public forum so, edited/deleted. 

Edited by ravengraey

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I have been researching my ancestry for many years. I don't feel drawn to practice the craft of my "ancient origins". I feel called to practice the craft of my recent ancestors. I recently discovered the possibility of Melungeon descent so I have been delving into that. 

Along the way I realized how connected I am to my Appalachian roots and have noticed all of the Appalachian Folk magic aspects I naturally incorporate into my daily life.

I am always trying to improve my ancestor work. That's the weakest area of my craft and I feel like this recent realization of how we are connected is a big push in the right direction. I am hoping to delve in deeper as the veil thins so to speak.

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On 3/27/2019 at 2:21 PM, AllSaintsDay said:

My grandpa was born and raised in Amish country in like the 1930's-40's. He had some very interesting ideas about witchcraft, namely that the practice pisses off God and results in severe physical disfigurement. Haha

Well, this most certainly cannot be true!  We are all the most beautiful Witches ever!

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On 8/27/2019 at 12:28 PM, Sagefire said:

She has nothing good to say about sites like Ancestry .com as the research used to build the databases is sketchy at best and they can be wildly inaccurate.

Hear, hear! Also beware of FindAGrave, which has been owned by Ancestry for quite a while. Use the photographs of the gravestones, sure, but most of the family information on those pages is based on the content of the various Ancestry trees and is wildly inaccurate (even as far as getting the dates from the stones wrong). The (one) FamilySearch tree is much better for research purposes, as people (like me) do a bit of policing on it--but verify the sources anyway. People on all genealogy sites have a tendency to assume that just because they found a Phidelia Lewis in a census record, that it's the same Phidelia Lewis from the decade before in a state far to the East, even if it isn't. Or that because Joseph Bassett's middle name is Newcomb, his grandfather must be Newcomb Bassett--even though Joseph's dad, with the same name as one of Newcomb's sons, was born in a different year and died in a different year than the son. Driveth me bonkers.

(Grandparents on both my sides--a great-grandparent on my dad's side--started doing genealogy way back when (pre-1940s), and then so did my parents and aunts/uncles, so much of my research is at the stage of brick walls, and I do quite a lot of non-related research when I'm in the mood. For my brick walls, I am using the triangulation tool over at GEDmatch to look over those barriers, but aside from finding a few relatives that i don't yet know where they're related (according to the paper tree), I haven't found much definitive, except for people I already know how they're related.)

DNA research is useful only insofar as you can identify which side of the family a match is on. Each chromosome is like two sides of a zipper, and if you forget that mom is on the pink side and dad is on the blue side (so to speak), you might think they're related because they have the same range of little zipper things. But they're not actually, because they're on opposite sides of the zipper. And the farther back you go, the harder it is to remember that. That's where most of the inaccuracies crop up--because people forget. 

Oh, and the Adoption Registry has some quality non-DNA resources, for those of you who are or have someone adopted in your family, or who do research for anyone with the same.

I could prattle on for hours...

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Do any of the rest of you, when you're following your paper trails, commune with books/records in archives? When I do so, i have an uncanny knack of pulling a book off the shelf that contains exactly what I'm looking for. I never really thought before that it could be ancestor spirits guiding my hand, but...??

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According to records and family memory, my more recent ancestors all came from around southern England, also Ireland and Wales. All of that was some generations ago, my most recent ancestor to come to this country was a great-grandfather. A few years ago I did some professional research volunteering for Indigenous people where I live, to do with Indigenous language place names and meanings. I got a much greater sense of meaning in this country, but also of my displacement, a sense that I do not "belong" here but that I "belong" in England or Wales somewhere. I experience my personal identity fundamentally as being part of a diaspora of that place, and more like an accidental tenant of this place (maybe even a little bit of an unwilling hostile invader). Because of colouring in some of my family members which is sometimes called "Black Irish" I believe that further back, some of my ancestors were Italian. (I love Italy too, as you can tell by my username I really get into stories of Italian mythology, and could potentially see myself living there... in my dreams.) But apart from that I don't really have any reason to believe that my ancestors come anywhere else except the UK. My appearance at least, is very typically Anglo-Celtic. I'm your basic English-looking man.

It's exciting for me that my ancestors come from there. I've always been in love with english language and I have a degree in english(es), I would like to learn more languages of that place like Welsh or Cornish or Irish Gaelic. I've read "Ulysses" and I really relate to Joyce's idea of challenges to the Imperial English center, but I think that I am also a very English person. I like to read about places around there and looking at pictures of old yews and ancient art. I love imagining that some of my ancestors could have been really ancient British people, some of the first modern humans to live there, I like to imagine that they were living right among fairies. I relate very much to that place and stories of fairies. I'm getting to a point in my life where I live more with the fairies than with flesh and blood people.

Edited by Moly
clarity

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So this topic got me thinking... has anyone here tried to do spirital geneaology?  By that, I mean actually contacting their known ancestors by journeying or other methods and actually speaking to them and getting it straight from the horse's mouth as it were? I have begun a relationship of sorts with an eight greats grandfather who was sent over here to the colonies from England in 1744 as a convict and ever since I was a kid I have been keenly interested in him and his story from his life as a chimney sweep to his indenture in Virginia and subsequent mysterious marriage and death on the frontier. I have contacted him twice in shamanic journies and have been shown some very vivid images of his life. One time I had to cut the whole thing short, because my head felt very heavy and full and I almost felt sick. He didn't feel negative, there was just "too much" of him. I have had soooo many weird synchroncities with many ancestors throughout my life, but especially this guy.

Another time I got in contact with a great grandmother whom I had never met but whom my mom was close to who told me her favorite flower was the sunflower. Weirdly enough, I got a glimpse of a yellow house with yellow and white awnings which I always had a weird deja vu memory of but had never seen in real life and could nevetr really place. Then I saw that same house in some old family photos. It was her house!

Does anyone have any experience with doing this? Would it by any worse or less accurate than the dubious DNA tests or possibly bogus Ancestry.com records? Thoughts?

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I like your idea Freydis, why not ask my ancestors to step forward and claim a lost child.  

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I converse with my ancestors frequently. I practice what I call ancestral witchcraft. As a Genealogist I have found it helps me a lot! 

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