I know this is primarily a forum with US and Canadian members, and something that has interested me is whether you feel your Pagan path is directed and influenced more from your ancestral heritage or the land you live on?
My own path is primarily Roman: I live in an area of Scotland which was the last Roman border before the Picts of the North, but I have Viking and Celtic ancestry yet feel that this (ancestry) has less of an influence on me. And although it's fair to say that the Celts were there first, the imprint the Romans made, and the gods who travelled with them, have had more of an influence on the feel of the land than anything else before or since (IMO).
So for me it's probably the land which informs my beliefs more than ancestry, but I appreciate that it might be totally different in the US and Canada - hence my asking :)
I would say that neither my current location nor heritage background have any major role in my path. However I do feel a connection with the earth and I feel it even more when I am in nature. I have been to every continent but Africa and Australia and the strongest place I felt a connection was in the deserts of the middle east and that is 1,000 of miles from my home. As far as heritage well I got a lot of family that practice Santeria in Puerto Rico. The slaves that got taken to Puerto Rico blended it with the Catholic Faith the Spanish brought with them. So I guess in short the answer for me is no.
Personal Choice to Survive
I must admit that the environmental impact of growing up in Chicago Illinois had much more inpact on my choice of spiritual path than my ancestry. I such a large city you quickly learn that exaggerating any kind of ethnicity can get you involved in conflicts that are hard to escape in a city of nine million residents. You also learn to be quick and adapt to the needs of others regardless of theier race, creed or religion.
Naturally this put me on an ecclectic path that often required personal adaptations to accomodate as may perspectives as possible without prejudice of exclusion. The only effect my prussian ancestry had is the one that demanded rigor and perservereance in any adaptation. Consequently I find myself in personal disaggrement even with my own germanic heritage which should have made me more Nordic than Wiccan and yet I connect more easily with magical disciplines in any form than I do with their ethic origin.
This is a very interesting topic to me. I can only tell if from my own subjective viewpoint, of course.
I grew up in Colorado. Not only am I adopted and don't really know my exact (but obviously European) ethnicity, my adoptive parents were pretty mixed up Euro-blood who didn't particularly align themselves with a country or culture.
By the time I was 8 or 10 I was obsessed with the British Isles, particularly Scotand. By the time I was 20 that hadn't really gone away at all, and in my 20s I moved to Scotland. It was also around that time that my Pagan beliefs begin to form themselves.
I felt intensely connected to the land there, and I think that is what really drew me in the first place. I also felt much more at home with the culture (the modern culture) than I ever have anywhere else. My career (Scottish traditional music) and my hobby (spending time in the countryside with my horses) were both also bound up with the land, with nature, and with culture and traditions.
Like any fish, by the time I'd been there 25 years, I no longer thought about water. I took the land, the culture, etc. sort of for granted. I did love it with aware appreciation, on one level, but I didn't realise how it would feel if I was somewhere else. I guess I thought that I had assimilated it as much as it had assimilated me, and that I would feel just as good anywhere.
I decided to move back to Colorado. I have spent the past four years feeling lost and sad and as if my guts had been ripped out. I feel very little connection to the land, in spite of trying to, and although I feel in contact with the deities I know and love, I have not even been able to raise an alter here. WTF? is about all I can say.
I'm new to this site ..I've been poking around .. getting familiar with features.. this topic caught my eye.. Thought I may have a interesting perspective on this.. as I was adopted too.. We sure have something in Common Kris..I knew little about my Bio Ancestry.. And my adoptive parents/family did not pratice any traditional ancestral traditions.. just typical American holiday stuff.. From the time I was old enough to comprehend what adoption is I was told I was adopted.. So all I had to rely on was my gut instincts what I felt drawn to.. this all came from within .. I enjoyed movies & Books about Ancient Greece.. English & Celtic type historical movies some Viking but there were not many movies or things I ran across related .. I often felt a strong pull to the British Isles.. and Celtic type spiritual things .. I liked being outside taking long walks in the countryside roads.. always felt drawn to green areas.. I also lived in an area in upstate NY that got a lot of snow..but didn't mind I liked to ice skate.. sled and was in ski club.. Later in life in my 40's I discovered the identity of my birth parents.. it turned out my mother is half Norwegian and my father was a family member on my adoptive fathers side.. which is of English, close to Wales & German Ancestry.. I have found I have a combination of both..My ancestry & land..Influence.. I have a hard time with hot weather.. I grew up in hot summers in NYS all my life.. but still hate it.. I can take the cold over the hot any day.. And I need to be near green countryside to feel the best..
Just had the after thought.. That I should share some advise I recently was told from .. A friend of mine that happens to be a medium.. felt it is along the same vein as this subject..she pointed out to me that .. .. Even though I do now know my ancestors.. and have put time and energy in researching / getting in touch with this fairly new discovery of what makes me ..I will not find all the answers of learning who I am in my ancestry.. ..that I need to get in touch with my spirit....following.. learning .. listening .. my inner voice intuitiveness ... meditation..going with what I naturally feel drawn to..going with what feels right to me..
@ Kris to me I believe you have done this by following your feelings and making the move to Scotland.. and knowing it is so right for you..
I was told by my friend that I have lived many lives.... and that a persons spirit in pasts lives is the same spirit.. despite the makeup of the DNA of the physical body it is placed in ... However in growing up and not knowing my ancestry.. I did feel and still do feel a strong pull to Celtic related things .. I was told my spirit was mostly Celtic..despite my DNA being half Norwegian... I believe the influence of land and ancestry which are important... in the physical realm.. has more to do with the mind.