This month, Pagan Families is talking about where babies come from – what us bloggers believe about souls, birth, and how they all fit together. For Heathens, it can get a bit complicated. Some believe in true reincarnation, where souls of those who have passed on are placed in unborn children (often in the same family line) to live again. Some believe that each new child is a completely new and unique being. I think my view fits somewhere in the middle.
In Heathenry, many believe that a persons actions and luck add up throughout their life, creating a energy and spirit unique to that person – this is their wyrd. Now while I do not believe that a person’s soul will come back, placed in another body, I do think that my grandfather who recently passed away will be able to pass his wyrd on to my brothers’ or cousins’ children. And so on it continues, as each successive generation continues to add to and shape the family wyrd with their choices and actions. This is how I see my ancestors as spirits to be honored, and also as the building blocks in my children’s spirits that will help guide them through life.
Before my oldest daughter was born, I spent a great deal of time meditating on her presence inside of me; trying to get a feel for who she was, the kind of person she would be. Since she was my first child, I spent lot of time thinking of what it meant to be a mother; the things my mother, her mother, and her mother had done and had to deal with. I thought a lot about my great grandmother Hattie, who died before I was born. I’d been hearing stories about her all my life. Her kindness, her gentle soul, her quiet nature and appreciation for all living things. No one has ever told me I remind them of her – I’m of the more impulsive, adventurous type. But when my grandma first came to visit my newborn baby in the hospital, she remarked that she had kind eyes, just like her mother Hattie.
I don’t believe my daughter is housing my great grandmother’s entire soul; but I do believe Grandma Hattie’s loving manor throughout her entire life shaped her wyrd, which has been passed on to my daughter. Many people have the same idea: just as we say that a baby has his grandpa’s nose or his daddy’s chin, often people will say that a child acts just like another relative that has passed away. I believe this is the family’s wyrd in action. My daughter, though seemingly born with a predisposition towards gentle actions and kind words, will have to continue making her own choices throughout her life; and the actions she takes will further shape our family’s wyrd, so that perhaps, a few generations from now, a little baby’s kind eyes will be recognized as belonging to my daughter.