Ancestral Hearth Culture

Today I got back my genetic testing results from 23 and Me. Aside from some deeply relieving genetic disease probability results, and one slightly scary one, I’ve learned that despite an Irish name on my mother’s side and a Scottish one on my dad’s, I am in fact… French!

This is interesting because I knew my dad’s grandfather was French–but because I’m female, I only receive maternal haplogroup results. And my mother’s family identifies strongly as German! What a mystery.

Anyway, getting to hearth culture, I was quite drawn to the Gaulish culture initially, but drew back after discovering how few solid records there are of the Gaulish Celts and after identifying my patron not as Taranis but as Manannan Mac Lir. Now that I know my ancestors were Gauls, though, I’ll make an effort to learn more about that particular culture, even though I feel the Irish hearth culture is where I belong.

Have any of you come across this in your own work? I want to honor my ancestors but sharing a pantheon with them, but I don’t want to give up my pantheon of choice. My solution? Honor both!

If you’re curious, I belong to haplogroup H6a1.

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3 thoughts on “Ancestral Hearth Culture

  1. My mom’s family was very Irish American, and my dad’s family was Shoshone and Irish, so I always thought I’d end up firmly and only with the Gael Kin. Instead I find myself drawn to Roman practices and the Gael Kin feels very chilly and not at all like “home”.

    I tell myself that it’s okay that I honor my Ancestors in a Roman way instead of in a Celtic way because the important thing is that I honor them in a way that is authentic for me.

  2. Being ‘French’ doesn’t necessarily mean being a Gaul. The Franks were originally a Germanic tribe who moved into the area after the collapse of Roman authority. No doubt some of the Gaullish blood became intermingled with the Frankish blood, but overall French DNA is probably more Germanic than Celtic.

    • This is an excellent point, especially considering how much I AND 23andMe simplified the data. What my genetic results show is that my DNA markers place me in the middle (on a graph) of a series of mostly French markers — in that same area, there are also Norwegian markers, German, and English, all very near to mine. I was simply closer to a French concentration. And of course, given that this is my maternal line only, there’s half my DNA unaccounted for.

      Ultimately I think it shakes out that we choose our hearth culture; it doesn’t necessarily choose us. And, like our DNA, it ends up being a blend of many cultures.

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