My Super Roots Pilgrimage


I’ve heard that the Maori of New Zealand claim the energy of their ancestors as a fountain upon which they float. People honor the dead every day around the world. Do I? I might, but where are they?

As an American hybrid with an unknown pedigree of laundry workers, farmers, and drunks, I surrendered such an idea as completely impossible, and thought to satisfy myself with stand in saints, Christian Bible characters, trees, and spirit guides, the usual catch as catch can entourage of spiritual wayfarers.

Then, my mother’s partner George uncovered the formidable roots of our historic family, Super Roots!

Rynold de Wynterwade, born before 1066, my 28th Great Grandfather, is noted in the Doomsday book. That’s a lot of great’s.

Joseph Lemeul Chester in “A Genealogical Memoir of the Wentworth Family of England” wrote that “Among all of the ancient families of the British Empire, there is none whose claim to antiquity is founded on a surer basis than that of the Wentworth’s.”

A solid line. No kidding. And not just the men…but names of the women as well, each born of wealth with names that carried their economic and social import.

Today, genealogy is the world’s number one hobby. There must be a reason for that. Many want to know. Where do we come from. Whose people are we?

Following a chance to teach InterPlay in the UK, my sister Val and I walked among the dead in places like the village of Wentworth (Wynterwade) and Alford where my people were born, married, bore children, lived and died.

Our pilgrimage bore witness to a mother lost to Alzheimer’s, our sister-journey, and my intuition that the simplest process of acknowledgment aligns us to time, space, and consequence, hunching that this opens the abundant fountain of ancestry on which our forebears arose.

Curious that this opportunity arose after India where I bowed at great holy places of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Gujarati Tribal Wisdom, and Gandhi and secretly sensed that by honoring those male religious founders could help in transferring spiritual authority for a day that will honor both male and female wisdom.

But, home from England a ghostly shadow accompanied me. What was this luggage, this consuming, heavy energy demanding integration alongside a new steely body sense of English strength (hopefully not a corset). Good news. Bad news.

I came home with stone minster kings and castle prisons for the poor in my skin. I think it is easier to bow to other people’s patriarchs than my own.

Ancestry gives super roots, for better and worse. Feeling into historic memory, place, and people is visceral and I am as always….too somatic for my own good.

I have just inherited a vast psychic estate.

Friends who inherit wealth report that their experience is not only mind-boggling, it changes everything. I just begin to sense the ways that this is true. For one thing, I’ll no longer underestimate the role that my family has played on the stage of the body politic.

For example: My mother is Lurley Katherine Wentworth and still dancing.

Robert Wentworth and Emma Woodhouse in the 1200’s were landowners (up to 89, 000 acres)  who walked among English royalty, wealth and power. see above

In 1636, William Wentworth and Susannah Carter departed Alford, England for a new England only to be banned with their teacher-comrades (John Wheelwright and Anne Marbury Hutchinson) for holding unorthodox beliefs (having a minds and theologies of their own).  William fought off death by angry Indians he had wished not to insult, but did by occupying their land.

Hiram Wentworth and Roxalina Stone from New Hampshire in the 1800’s joined a group to stop slavery in Missouri by moving west to live in an unspoiled Kansas, learn difficult crafts, run supplies to Denver in a wagon train, survive a deadly Indian attack, and practice faith until Hiram attracted attention as a healer.

My great grandmother, Elizabeth Stumph Hug’s Swabian German parents pushed down the Danube toward Croatia for the promise of land and formed a tight Lutheran enclave in a place where Hitler would one day rule. Did they know they had Judaism in their DNA?

I also inherit 20th century addictions alchemized by war and poverty to infect the family tree, rot or saw off branches of members and create loveless droughts, marital insanity, illegitimacy, and a darkness that could eat its own.

Wealth is heavy.
We fantasize it will make us free.
It’s just the opposite.
Abundance drops on us a bag of daunt, endless choice, servants instead of friends.
Imagine small gods killing anything with a single choice.
Imagine attachment to EVERY THING! No thing? Free?

Age 56. I am wealthy
beyond measure.
and oddly with little saved.
Gifted, I am.
Loved, I am.
Called, I am.
Educated, I am.
Married, I am.
Housed, I am.
Fed, I am.
Employed, I am.
Historied, I am.
American, I am.
Able to create, I am.
Surrounded by beauty and art, I am.

Because I am an inheritor.
I also inherit pain.
It is my privilege

to blah blah blah
hog space
run rampant
overeat, overspend
in a society conspiring
to enslave us in ‘greedoms’
7 sacred anti-freedoms
, greed, sloth,
, lust, envy, gluttony
that suck off of others.

My cup is full.
My pantry is full.
My house is full.
My heart is full.
My studio is full.
My imagination is full.
My story, song, and dance-full.
My connections-full.
My intellect-full.
My schedule-full
My communication-full.
My bodyspirit-
Full to tight.
Grouchy full.

Freedom invites the too full to lighten UP, the wealthy to weigh less.
Is this possible without Infinite Peace?

Are there different forms of freedom?
What is the freedom I seek?
Freedom from? Freedom to?

Source of Grace: Direct my wealth, power, and name to love freed and beauty abounding.


About Cynthia Winton-Henry

Cofounder of InterPlay, Executive Director of Body Wisdom, Inc, Spiritual Director, speaker, author at the Hidden Monastery. I produce events, write, coach, and share tools and practices that I've gleaned from listening to the wisdom of the body.
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3 Responses to My Super Roots Pilgrimage

  1. How wonderful to hear of your ancestry and your experiences searching for clues with your sister in England. I applaud your embrace of all your ancestors, the mighty and the weak, the wicked and the wretched, the wealthy and the poverty-stricken. Most of us Americans have such a hodgepodge in our family trees. I love the image of floating on the “fountain” of our ancestors. Thank you for sharing your journeys with me. It enriches mine.

  2. Thank you Sheila. And I applaud you!

  3. Dyck Dewid says:

    kind of like soaring in a glider, eyes closed, musing about time… maybe timelines, the word ‘unending’, historic & ancient impressions molding my acts- maybe holding me, reincarnations…

    By the way, if you’re trying to look like Jeeves in the pic you don’t have the proper expression.

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