Tag Archive | ancestors

I remember this day for my people. Blood of my blood

On Culloden field


May the dead lie peacefully here
May they know their lines carried on all over the world
May they know we remember them
May they know we still bear their names
May they know that through us they still live
May they know we remember their bravery
in the face of a well fed and well armed army
when you were hungry and armed with little more than swords
against cannons.
May they know we remember the sometimes foolish seeming cause
May they remember
May we remember
May we remember
May we remember

I remember the Stewarts of Appin
I remember the MacGregors
I remember the Livingstons
I remember the Robertsons
I remember my dead.
Kat Robb

A Hallows Prayer

A Hallows Prayer

I honour my ancestors

Both the ones I know about and those in the far past

I honour my ancestors

The warriors, the bards, the bakers, the wise women

I honour my ancestors

The pagan, the Christians, the earth lovers

I honour my ancestors

The writers, the artists, the explorers

I honour my ancestors

The farmers, the gardeners, the animal tenders

I honour my ancestors

The doctors, the healers, the herbalists

I honour my ancestors

The midwives, the nurses, the apothecaries

I honour my ancestors

Of moor and mountain

Of fjord and sea

Of meadow and fields

Of plains and plateaus

Of hills and vales

And valleys and glens

Of creek and brook

Of river and stream

Of fire and wind

I honour you.

I honour my ancestors

I am the sum of your lives

I am the sum of their loves

I am the end of my line.

I honour my ancestors

In memory, in blood, in the face I bear

I honour my ancestors

In the body I wear

I honour my ancestors

In the day

In the night

And in the between times.

I honour you.

Family research

I was playing on Ancestry.com the other day and found out all my great-aunts and my great grandmother went by different names before they emigrated to the U.S. My great grandmother was Halda in Sweden and became Hilda. My Great-Aunt Alla E. became Elsie. I bet the E was Elsa but I can’t find that yet. Hatta C became Hattie/Harriet C. I have no idea yet what the C stood for. Lillie D became Della L.


I wonder why they changed them and there is no one around to ask that I know of. My Great Grandpa Isaac doesn’t seem to have changed anything but his last name and so far I found 3 spelling of it.


Still having trouble finding my great grandpa Isaac because he had no middle name that I can find. I also know he came with a brother. Isaac took the last name of Sjoberg but his brother took Shoberg which from what my grandpa Carl said was their address. It means mountain by the sea. The guy at immigration didn’t get the name right and not knowing Isaac’s father means I don’t know what his real name was because Grandpa should have been Isaacson not Sjoberg.


Anyway it’s fun to look.

Strange doings of ancestors

Several years ago (like about 25? Give or take one or two.) after I started practicing I started to wonder if my grandmother would approve. She had taught me all the family “ways” while still attending our church every Sunday. As far as it looked she was a good Presbyterian until she started showing you how to talk to trees and whales and how to do “special” stitching etc.

The night before I was to go to a Thanksgiving dinner at my parent’s house I had a dream. It was my grandmother’s voice and all it said was to go upstairs and pull out the first drawer on the left of her chest of drawers and take what was on top and the dream ended.

At this point in time my mother was cheerfully telling everyone at the church I grew up in that I was now worshipping the devil and that she hoped to convert me back. She was so desperate that at my father’s funeral several years later she had the minister give an altar call because she knew all my pagan friends were coming. Presbyterians are not really big on altar calls especially at funerals. We know how that turned out.

When they closed my grandmother’s house after her death and Grandpa came to live with us a lot of her things came too. Mom did not get along with her mother. In fact, one of her curses at me was that I was just like her mother and never meant in a good way. So when Grandma’s things came Mom never touched them to even clean them out. They were moved in and there they sat. It’s why I didn’t find the crystal Grandma left me until after my Dad died and we cleaned out our house. I had to wait almost 30 years to get what she promised me but anyway. Mom wouldn’t even look for the things that Grandma had made clear were mine. Her set of blue willow ware, her crystal and her divination tools, when we found the willow ware in the house closing every piece was broken and the divination tools never surfaced at all.

This heavily carved small chest of drawers sat all alone in the upstairs hallway and no one was allowed near it.

Knowing that if I asked my mother for anything out of it I would get told ‘no’ no matter what the request was I excused myself to the upstairs bathroom and turned on the water and went to look in the chest. What was nestled in a hanky with Grandma’s initials? A tiny cauldron, it’s the most perfect little black cauldron. I slipped it in my pocket and went back down to finish dinner.

I learned two things. Grandma approved and that yet again Mom didn’t pay attention to me if I really didn’t want her to, that ‘please ignore me spells’ worked on her.

How I learned I could fly

The Spring of ’76 we were running Outdoor Ed camps for private schools all springs which led to a big discovery. On the north end of camp there were several flat boulders that held metates. (A metate is a grain or seed grinding stone, in this case acorn meal.) There were also holes that had been hollowed out as storage for acorns next to the grinding stones. Some boys from camp were playing where they shouldn’t have been in the ravine where one of the streams flowed through that was quite dense with brush. It was off limits due to rattlesnakes but they went there anyway and made a discovery. They found more metates and they also found pictographs and carving on some of the large stones above the creek.

The next day one of the women from the Cahuilla tribe was coming to visit so we showed her the boys find and it promptly went off limits again while the local tribe came to investigate. They decided that it would be kept secret because it was on protected private land. What we didn’t know was that within a year the camp would close but that is a whole ‘nother tale.

Knowing it was off limits to the greater world didn’t mean it was off limits to the staff and we fascinated as was the D, anthropologist/storyteller/ shaman for the tribe and ran their tribal museum at the time, and she would come up just to visit. She continued to do this through the summer and since she was in her 80’s we asked her to always take one of us with her as they weren’t in an easy place to get to and we were afraid she’d fall. They were down a really steep hillside.

The site consisted of an upright slab with red handprints and drawings of deer in red and other small drawings. This stone was a pretty large slab facing the south into the sun. On a slab facing east was the only carving and it was of a very large snake. And just below that was a sort of cave made by two smaller upright stone and a very large stone that laid across the two small upright stones which made a cave of about 5 ft deep and at one end it was about 2 ½ feet tall and then sloped down lower toward the back. It had been totally blackened from fire on the inside and had a nasty feeling to it. One of those places you instinctively know not to go in but D, our anthropologist from the tribe was totally enthralled with it. G, R and I wanted no part of it and we were her usual escorts. The cave at some point had had a fire in it so intense that it cracked one of the large side rocks that held the stone above.

D had come up to visit and was doing workshops with the girls at the north stones and showing how acorns were ground and prepared for eating and after lunch some of us who were her big fans would get her talking and telling stories. That day, she kept wanting to go down to the cave but none of us were free at the time and wouldn’t be until later and she said she would wait. We shouldn’t have believed her.

That summer the Asst Camp Director, R and I had started reading Carlos Castaneda’s books and they were the topic of much discussion among us and with D who wasn’t sure about them. So we were already primed toward the kind of events that were about to occur.

Around 3 pm I noticed D had disappeared from the stones. I could see that area from Arts and Crafts and got a really intense feeling of something awful happening and took off to find R and G who also had the same feeling and were already moving in the direction of the road and we took off running for the cave and found D almost to the area on the road above. And she told us to come along, she was going with or without us and that we were being stupid. She had decided to go by the creek and climb up from there and so we went with her. We spent some time sitting below the large upright slab talking about the various symbols. D’s theory was that it was a coming of age spot for girls of the tribe that were using the site as a summer camping area. That makes a lot of sense from the size of the handprints on the rock. All seemed normal and I think we all felt like we had been a little nuts for jumping to a conclusion.

We were all looking at the stone when D disappeared around the back side of the cave and crawled in the smaller end. This can’t have been easy because she was elderly and not a small woman but she said she felt compelled to sit inside the cave. Once she had gotten herself in there she started to feel intense pressure on her chest and to have trouble breathing. So she yelled and got our attention and of course we dove for the larger size entrance just behind us. The three of us tried to get her to come out. R even tried to pull her out, he was a fairly big guy and he couldn’t get her to move. She said she couldn’t and wouldn’t move but she thought she was having a heart attack and couldn’t get her breath and that she was having intense feelings of evil from whomever the last man to use it was and that he was really pissed.

While she was relating this to us the three of us found out we could not move. It felt like someone was pinning us to the earth. I remember trying to force myself to my feet so that I could run and I just couldn’t move. It was one of scariest and weird sensations I’ve ever felt. Like my legs had been cemented to the earth. Later G and R said they had felt the same way. I finally broke free and started to run up the hill and down the road for main camp to get help. The other two still couldn’t move not could D.

G and R said it was one of the strangest things they had ever seen. They told me I was off the ground going up the hillside. I don’t remember that, I just remember running like hell and how difficult it seemed to move at first. The farther I got away the easier it was to run. As I reached Main Camp my boss was running to the camp van with the keys to come and get us. They had been eating dinner when she said she felt me yelling for her to come to us. I hadn’t even started to yell at that point I was running too hard.

I jumped in the moving van and we hauled down the road to above the site. Somehow after I broke free D had too and R and G were helping her up the hillside when we got there. I don’t remember how we got the van turned around but we did and hauled ass to camp where we had an ambulance already on the way from the forest station.

They got D down to the hospital to be treated for what everyonewas sure was a heart attack. She had all the symptoms. We got an anxiously awaited phone call from D a few hours later. Could she come back to camp in the morning, the hospital says there is nothing wrong with her??!!

They had told her after she had a completely normal EKG that her heart showed no signs of trauma nor did any of her blood work. So they let her go home and told her to take it easy for a few days so of course she wanted to come back to camp.

I don’t think any of us ever went near the cave after that for the rest of the summer. Not even D wanted to do it. She said she had had enough of whoever had been there before. We’d go see the pictographs and I went and drew them. Still have my sketchbook but no way was I ever going in that cave again.