According to family legend, my earliest immigrant ancestor, Honora O’Flynn, was an Irish princess born in the late 1600s, kidnapped from the coast as a young woman and traded for a sack of tobacco to become the wife of an English man, William Logsdon.
My daughter Maddie was certainly impressed with the Irish princess part. Not so excited about knowing that her ancestor was swapped for tobacco.
Honora O’Flynn was a vivacious, spirited, red-headed Catholic whose piety was responsible for introducing Catholicism into the Logsdon-Durbin clan over 400 years ago (if you’re curious about the power of Honora’s influence, consider my grandmother, Melba Madonna Durbin Schneider. She and my grandfather attended daily mass until they could no longer drive).
I like to imagine that Honora’s resilience and tenacity live on in me and in my children. I’m sure her strength has been one of the factors in our daughter Bridget pulling through 4 open heart surgeries so far (I also credit Bridget’s namesake, the Goddess/Saint of healing, poetry and smithcraft, whose name means “resilient strength”).
Do you ever consider how the blood that runs through your veins connects you to your past…and to your future?
For me, ancestry is a palpable experience.
When I visited the west coast of Ireland for the first time last year, I felt I had come home.
Maybe it was my Celtic ancestors from both parental lines: O’Flynns, Johnstons, Walshes, Doyles, McDonalds and Greenes….
or maybe was just the sense of rooted-ness that pervades rural Ireland…the sense that the land exists in a time outside of time. That I could reach into my future and seek some wisdom to guide my present steps.
I’m returning to Ireland this summer with a small group of seekers to spend a week immersed in poetry, song and ritual, connecting with land, sea and sky via treks to ancient sacred sites.
I’d love for you to join us in Ireland this July!
If you’d like to Dance on the Edge and Answer Your Soul’s Call for Expansion in western Ireland this year, enroll by Tuesday, May 18!