Loud-mouthed liberal feminist. Anarchist knitter. Tequila-drinking artsy-smartsy fat chick. Bluesy folk-rock singer-songwriter. Rebel with too many causes. Quirky eclectic pagan poet. Paradoxical intuitive smartass. Sarcastic brainiac insomniac. You know, for starters.


Quo Virtus et Fata Vocant

For some reason today, my family motto is in my mind. I was thinking about it on the train this morning, and how much it resonated with me the moment I first read it. It's interesting, because some translations read "virtus" as virtue - but the word has a broad range and can mean anything from manliness to excellence to worth. Me, I like courage - in my mind, it includes all that other stuff. Some translations also read "fata" as destiny...my little pagan heart kinda digs on seeing it as the Fates. With my ties (no pun intended) to those lovely Weavers, it just comes together in a way that speaks to my deep self of Great Things. So, where courage and the Fates call....I thought this morning, suddenly, about what a great tattoo that would make, a meaningful one if not a particularly artsy one.

So, contemplating my family motto and the idea of adopting it as my personal motto and marking it permanently on my body....I come into the office and run my usual routine of checking my e-mail and looking at my website stats and all that good stuff. And, wouldn't you know, in that strange universe-is-connected way, someone had recently searched for my website using my family motto. So, suddenly, I was inspired to do some searching and found myself on a journey into my family history. Apparently, there are members of my family that believe that we're descended from one of William the Conqueror's brothers. Now....I've been looking for something to substantiate this (checking the Domesday book and various other sources), and the closest I can come is that William's mother went by Harlette de Falaise....and Falaise could phonetically warp into Folet, though I still think Foliot, the strain being traced in the Domesday book, is a bit of a stretch.

Needless to say, though, it's pretty certain the name is English by way of Normandy, with another connection back to Scandinavia.

It's fascinating to me to think about the lives of my ancestors....to wonder if they contemplated my existence the way I think about theirs. When my forefathers were raiding little French villages, and eventually settling there, did they think that thousands of years later, their progeny would be halfway around the world, with a new name and a radically different way of life?

The coat of arms for my family is a purple lion rampant on an argent shield. The heraldry information I found suggests that this connotes justice, courage, and sincerity. The idea that a bloodline, a family, could be represented by one symbol, could by extension be counted on to manifest those qualities.....it's a really interesting concept. I wonder what the world would be like if we still held to those symbols, those family traditions, and family honor. I wonder if those concepts would even be compatible with the kind of liberal values I hold in my lifestyle.

Meanwhile....I guess the lesson here for me is that I can't help it if I'm restless....I'm just holding up the family motto - where courage and the Fates call.


Anonymous said...

hehe hello there from a Foliot in France ;) my nephew posted this motto on my timeline, and googling it I found your blog. (this led me to uk national archives lol)
bye bye be well :-)

Anonymous said...

oh btw, oddly enough, my father used to tell me that we were "affiliated to william the conqueror"...

So there could really be some connection after all who knows ;)