O Andraste, Protector of the People, I call to You
Around Christmastime, my neighbor knocked on my door and told me that he’d gotten two extra DNA kits in the mail from 23andMe, and asked if I wanted one. I said sure, and on a whim I decided to register the kit, set up an account, and send in a spit sample. Made sure to follow the instructions and all of that.
I got my results back, and they are as follows.
This confirms what I found when I dug through my Ancestry family tree, that some sides of the family have been in the Americas since colonization began, almost, and other sides come much later. “Broadly Southern European” probably refers to my mother’s Czechoslovakian ancestors, of whom she is excessively proud. Finnish was a surprise to me at least, but I can suspect based on my general knowledge of history how that came about.
What is conspicuously absent based on all the crap my mother used to tell me when I was a kid, is Native American. She had this whole story that my father’s mother had an affair with a Native American and my father is the result, ergo I would also be Native American. Except I was white, and I soon figured my father’s persistent redness was sunburn and hard work out in the oilfield, not the mark of an illicit love affair with a non-white person (if she were right, there would be all kinds of benefits attached around this that she really, really wanted).
The weight of evidence is NOT on her side.
And there’s something else, too, that I think may lead me to understand why Andred chose me and adopted me. She is not a universal goddess, the way Isis or the Wiccan Goddess figure might be. She seems to have always been considered a “closer to home” protector of a certain group of people, in antiquity the Iceni tribe that inhabited southern Britain. There is even a forest in that region called Andredes Weald, “the forest of Andred.” Now it’s argued that this refers to “this forest is near a region the Romans called Anderida which is now Pevensey”, but I think there’s something else at play here, too. If you’ve been around a bit, you might guess what that is. There is even a story, I’m not sure how apocryphal, that captured enemies were sacrificed in this forest to Andred Herself.
I have, as far as I understand it, genetic evidence of my British ancestry, and it goes into the column suggesting ties to this region, hence why I was adopted, perhaps long before I was ever aware of it or had the capacity to be so. In American Gods, the gods followed their people into new lands, and a new “version” of them spawned there in that new soil, as opposed to the “original” native version that developed in a people’s original land. I’m not sure how much of that is actually at play, but I don’t think gods are in any way limited by geography. Instead, their only limitation is their personal interests, and this is why not all gods call all people, or can serve all people.