" landing" took place in the year 1633 when Hans Hansen stepped off of the ship " The Salt Mountain ", and onto the shores of what was then called Brookland, in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam. Now of course Brooklyn, New York. Like most from that time period he struggled to grow crops, and had to fight battles with the Native Americans. Through his efforts, and the efforts of his descendants, I today am partly the person that I am.
My family does not consist of great politicians, or the wealthy. They for the most part were just simple farmers who worked the land, and fought to make America a wonderful place to live and raise a family.When called to war, John B. Bergen, joined the Middlesex County Militia, and fought at the Battle of Princeton. His son, Jacob Isaac Bergen, enlisted in the same county militia during the War of 1812, but there is no record of him becoming engaged with the enemy. My father, Charles, was a Staff Sergeant during the Korean War. They were all good solid citizens, parents, and each in their own small way contributed to the building of our nation. I am very proud of each and every one of them.
Of my Norwegian descendants it is almost impossible to trace them. Patronymic naming in Norway during that period, and earlier, makes it very difficult to trace one' s descendants further back, unless they were someone prominent. I of course know that Han's Hansen's father was named Hans, but I have no idea what his last name was. For those who don't know Hans Hansen means literally Hans son of Hans. I sometimes wonder if his ancestors, and mine, were Viking raiders, or just simple farmers. I do know that whatever their names were they were a strong and hardy bunch who had to live through the little ice age, famine, the black plague, and wars, so that I, their descendant, could have a wonderful life of my own.
To thank my ancestors I perform a ritual every July 15th in their honor. This day has special meaning to me which is why I chose it to perform the ritual. Everyone should have their own special day to honor their ancestors. You could make it the birthdate of your first ancestor; the date of the first to come to the new world; or it could just be a day that has some special meaning in the lives of one of your ancestors. As long as the date has meaning to you, it is the right time to hold it.
On my altar to my ancestors, ( I have a picture of it on my Facebook page, The Temple of the Triad) , I have pictures of family members, personal belongings of those who have passed, books on my family's history, and other items that remind me of certain ancestors. For instance I have two dolls dressed in Norwegian traditional dress to represent my first two ancestors. This is one of the few rituals where if after I invite the Gods and Goddesses to the ritual they do not show, it is of little importance. This ritual is not about our beloved Asgardians, but of those who traversed Midgard. This ritual is an ancestral rite, and it is to them that all my honor is shown.
I will not write about what I say, or for that matter what you should say, because what I say during this ritual is very personal and is just between myself and my ancestors. Besides, I have no right to tell you what to say to your ancestors, or how to hold your rituals. Nor by the way does anyone else, despite what you will read in books. I will say this, however, as long as the words you use are your true feelings, and come straight from your heart, you will greatly honor those who came before you. They WILL hear you, and appreciate that you have not forgotten them. We should always keep in mind, not just on this day of honor, but on everyday of our lives, that our ancestors are watching us, and they expect us to act in honorable ways. We not only dishonor ourselves with acts of evil, but also dishonor our entire family line, and history with these acts. To honor our family, and our ancestors is not just an act of love, but a duty in my opinion that should never be taken lightly !
All Hail those who came before us !
All Hail our ancestors, one and all !
Next : Shape Changers !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !