The second word people will recognize, the first one not so common.
Kith: friends and acquaintances
These are the abbreviated definitions from Webster and the like. In most of modern society, these terms will fit well enough. I happen to disagree with – have a much more expressive definition for the second one. My definition is more in line with historical means for the word and for the meaning of the word in cognizant members of my modern community.
Let’s start with kin. I have a mother and a father. I have 11 (I think) living aunts and uncles and both sides of the family being Catholic, I have a metric shit ton (45 or so) of first cousins. I think without going any further, I have you convinced that I have a HUGE swath of available kin. People I am related to by blood. These are people who I nominally know and for the most part get along with at family reunions, weddings and the like. Mostly decent people, all families have that uncle, that cousin… but we do ok in that regard.
Kith, I stated I have a more archaic definition. This definition is people who have no blood loyalty to you or you to them; but that you claim as kin. In the days of yore, a knight would swear such allegiance to his lord, although often it was not reciprocal. A family might swear such an allegiance to a child of friends who were killed. Two warriors might become blood brothers as testament to their loyalty to one another. If you look back at history, you can find innumerable examples of this type of thing. If this is an honest commitment, this is often a much stronger bond.
Think about it. A bond of blood takes no energy. You have this bond DESPITE what you may desire. An oath taken is a sacred bond, it is a bond that must be maintained and worked. It is also a bond that you have personally committed to and the resulting loss of honor is much larger if you break it. As I mentioned, those in my modern preparedness / conservative community should get this. We are people who often are derided by kin for our unwillingness to play the party line of mediocrity and bending to the easy path. We often are forced to band together with people who become our kith, just to have the opportunity to protect our kin.
I know many of you are asking, where is he going with this? I can tell you, Dawn had a grasp of kith simply from her life and experiences growing up in several mixed households. She has a true blood sister, a technical half-brother, a no blood relation brother and for a few year had a sister the same way. They were all her siblings. No half, no step, just siblings. In her adult life, she had a child of no blood relation. This little girl was her child in every way except genetics.
I did not have this exposure and I questioned Dawn on the dynamics. She showed me by example more than she explained it to me. I am fairly dense at times, but I learned this lesson and I learned it well. Dawn was the first person who I recognized as kith. She was my awakening moment. Before that, I was not worthy of being anyone’s kith or they mine. Now, I can tell you, I have 4 kids who are in no way at all related to me, who are my kith. I also have 4 kids that are related to me by marriage, that are my kith. These are my children whether they like it or not. Most of them know and happily accept.
Outside of that, there are people in my life who are equally my kith. My best friend of over 35 years, he is my brother. He knows the code we live by. I have some other friends, local to me now. They also know the code. They are my kith and I am theirs.
Without being overly dramatic, people YOU and only YOU are in charge of who enters your life. You are in charge of who stays in your life. You are in charge of what type of friend you are to those who would have you as kith. You choose your kith and they choose you.
I will ask a few questions here. Do you know the original meaning of a voluntary blood bonding? Do you know the reason one NEVER broke a blood oath?
Becoming a blood brother was the symbolic statement of sharing the same blood. He who strikes you, now causes me to bleed as well. He who is your enemy is now my enemy. We may not prevail, but we will fight and if need be, we will die together. If I am somehow spared death and you are not, I will not stop until you are avenged.
Perhaps this helps you to know why the word kith has been adjusted and has dropped out of common parlance. Perhaps this helps you to understand why in antiquity, anyone who broke a blood oath was killed by the witnesses to the oath. The forsaken were avenged by society. They had to be or society crumbled. Perhaps you will now also understand why I do not accept accolades for my actions with Dawn. It was not just the right thing to do. It was the ONLY thing to do.
She was, is and always will be Kith.