Deenagh: The Pictish Years Chapter Four – Family Bonds

There was one man in the village that Deenagh admired and respected above all others. He was called Duira Swift One, and he was sister to Maebh, of whom the people continued to talk about the actions of their warrior hero. Although Deenagh had been brought up as daughter to Duria and his mate with their other children, she knew that she was not born to them without anyone having told her so, but she played along with the part without question. It was only to her Tree Mother that Deenagh could
speak about her birth Mother, and because the Dryad held knowledge of Deenagh’s Ancestors, she was able to answer Deenagh’s questions, in particular, why the rest of the village needed to believe she was Duira’s daughter. The Dryad explained to Deenagh that Maebh was a great warrior, and that if it was known that Deenagh was her daughter, it would be expected that she too would become a warrior, the only role she would be required to fulfil, as she alone had this sought after warrior bloodline. Not only would Deenagh have to continue the bloodline of her warrior Mother, but she would also be required to have her own children, so the line could continue. This meant, as the Dryad simply put it to Deenagh, that she would have no freedom to choose her own path in life. Deenagh was aged around three years old when she had this conversation with her Tree Mother, and it was enough of a scare to the child to never mention her birth Mother to anyone, because to Deenagh, it was more important that she had the freedom to do as she pleased.

So it was that Deenagh lived with Duira and his family, but she was also an independent child, always active and out exploring her environment, the mountains and hills, the forests and woodland, the rivers and lakes that surrounded her village, and she loved her life. It was a happy time for a child in the village, because the battle of Anoc-Par that took place on the night of Deenagh’s birth, meant that the village lived in peace for many years to come, although the warriors continued to train in the ways
of battle.

As the child Deenagh grew up, to her, the whole village was her family, and she moved with ease among those she cared for the most. The Pictish people in these small clans operated like an extended family and it worked for them, ensuring a happy, healthy and productive community. The people
looked after each other and supported one another, offering help without question where it was needed. Life in the village was such that everyone bonded as a family unit, so although not everyone was blood related, their ties of kinship were as strong as any extended family.

However, it was with Duria that Deenagh felt most comfortable, and at ease in his company, especially when it was just the two of them. Duira was a great conversationalist, and Deenagh loved the debates they had because they both broadened their minds in the sharing of thoughts and ideas. To Duira, his surrogate daughter was an interesting human being, and they had a strong bond of friendship and trust, as well as the bond of the blood of his sister. Of course he knew Deenagh to be his sister’s daughter but could not speak about it with her, which was under the instructions of the Old Shaman. Despite this, Deenagh and Duira were especially close, and this was in part a result of the duty Duira felt to his sister, whom he missed terribly at times. Duria wanted to ensure that Deenagh was as well cared for as any of the children in the village, and he never wanted Deenagh to feel diminished in any way by not having Maebh in her life, nor indeed her blood Father, whom Duria had always disliked and his death was no loss in his opinion. Deenagh never felt she missed out on anything by not having
Maebh in her life, and as far as her blood Father was concerned, Deenagh barely gave him a thought. Naturally, she had asked her Tree Mother about him, and the Dryad simply put it that her Father was worthy only of the wrath her Mother’s revenge to end his life, and although Deenagh was young and could hardly understand what this meant, the feelings she got were of Maebh doing what was right, and that was enough for Deenagh, to stand by her Mother’s actions and trust in them, believing there to be a very good reason. So she never did want to know any more about this man who, to Deenagh, was merely a seed donor to facilitate the life that was nurtured inside Maebh, and Deenagh had no doubt whatsoever that her Mother loved her, and that was all she needed to know.

Deenagh sometimes helped Duira when he went on his trips into the woodland to choose wood for his workshop. These were trips he had normally made alone, but he didn’t discourage Deenagh from joining him when she asked because he enjoyed her company. Deenagh learnt much about spears and the ways of fighting with spears from Duira, because he was the village Master Spear maker, and Deenagh being curious, asked lots of questions. She was most interested in the materials used to make spears, the wood that was abundant surrounding their village, and she learned which were the strongest wood, the lightest, the most durable. She learned about the many different ways that spears were used, from hunting to attack and defence. Deenagh was able to help Duira choose branches and
pieces of wood that could be fashioned into whatever type of spear was needed. To Deenagh, Duira had a very important job because without his skills the village wouldn’t be able to hunt, or to defend their village from attack. Duira had many Apprentices and would’ve considered Deenagh to be taught this trade if she had asked, but he was aware that Deenagh was considered by the rest of the village to be in training for the Shamaness Apprentice.

Duira was simply one of those people that Deenagh never tired of seeing or being around because he was a patient and kind man, and there was always the possibility of learning something new. He treated Deenagh as an adult from an early age, when he realised that he could speak with her on an almost equal level. This didn’t surprise him in the least because he could see his sister in this young child, and Maebh was intelligent beyond her years, and as brother and sister, they often had many similar deep conversations. Deenagh loved that Duria treated her with the same level of respect as the adults gave each other, not considering for a moment that she might be too young to be told certain things, like the way Deenagh saw some of the children being children long after they should, in her opinion. It didn’t occur to Deenagh that some adults felt their children should be allowed to remain young for as long as they could because they would grow up soon enough. However, with Duira she was treated as an adult, and he spoke with her in a way that was engaging for both of them, to fully and openly discuss and debate a range of topics. It was with Duira that Deenagh explored the ideas of belief and faith, the Spirituality they as a people lived, and the possibility of the differing beliefs of others beyond their village. They had very intelligent conversations at times, with both going away separately, and no doubt pondering over some of the things they discussed, to continue with these conversations the next time they met, to expand on ideas they may have had following their debates. Deenagh respected Duira, and she thought of him to be the wisest man in the village. She told him so many times, but Duira was a humble man, and didn’t accept that he was very wise, but Deenagh knew he was. She was honoured to have Duria as her friend, as he had told her that once, that he considered her a good friend. Deenagh had never forgotten this as it had affected her on an emotional level, because that was exactly how she felt about Duira. He was her best human friend in the whole of Anoc-Par and beyond. Duira was also the first Father she had in her life, the one who showed her that it could be just as important to have a Father figure, and not an actual blood Father. In Deenagh’s case her blood Father was probably one of two parts of the most vital of her existence, yet equally the most insignificant of her entire lifetimes.

Duira and his mate supported their surrogate daughter with her desire for her own dwelling and when Deenagh was around ten years old, she had a place she could call her own. It was filled with wood from the various trees and plants hanging to dry, and Deenagh felt such pride in her home where she felt protected and safe. She was indeed a very happy child, with the freedom to roam, on the whole, as she pleased, and that was all that she thought about at the time, her next trip into the woodlands or her treks in the mountains. The village clans folk considered Deenagh to be blessed by
the Goddess, and because of this she was allowed the freedom to explore her environment alone, and as they saw it, she would be kept safe from harm. Life was simpler in alot of ways back then, as there was less judgement and more freedom of expression, in whatever form it took. It was always encouraged to simply be yourself, because by being yourself, the mind, heart, body and Spirit could work as one, and therefore would result in a much happier human being. It was not compulsory for everyone to mate and be Handfasted with someone from the opposite gender, as it was common for same gender couples to live together in a Handfasted union, and they may or may not chose to be surrogate parents to children of their own, or children of the village. It was more important for village
life to be happy and harmonious, and at the heart of every village was the Shaman or Shamaness who could see when a couple were in love, and thereby that positive energy would only radiate outwards and ensure a happier living environment for everyone, so love would be encouraged where it showed itself, in whatever form it took.

My name is Deenagh Jackson and the process of my writing has helped me understand my own Pagan beliefs in this modern day, while also helping me to connect with my Ancestors of old.

The Deenagh series of books which I started writing almost 2 years ago are about the main character Deenagh who can remember her past lives and each book tells the story of the lifetimes she has lived and the lessons learned, with her Spiritual beliefs at the heart which are important to Deenagh.
This is the first time I have shared my stories outside my close circle of friends, but as a wise man once told me “a stranger is a friend yet to be”, so feel free to contact me by email 
Brightest Blessings, Deenagh