Why Ancestor Worship is Important in Heathenism
“Hail to my ancestors, both known and unknown. Those of my line going all the way back to the beginning, on up to most recent of times. Both men and women, alfar and disir, whom previously had a human form. Those whom I know, as well as those I do not. Those also whom are the ancestors of all humans living now. All humans that have made the journey of life before my time, and now reside in the realm beyond the living. Hail to the ancestors of all! Hail also to the ancestors of my family line! Hail to the ones that guide me. Hail also to the ones that protect me.”
Heathenism is a religion that venerates the ancestors. But what most people don’t seem to consider regarding this is that:
“When we speak of ancestors most people automatically think of their blood ancestors. But an ancestor can be any predecessor or forerunner. Here we are using the word to mean any person whose existence or actions were responsible for bringing you to where you are today. At one time those people would almost always have been blood ancestors, but this is not necessarily true in our contemporary, mobile society. Hence there is many kinds of ancestors, many whom are not genetically related to you (at least not in any measurable way). In the greater scheme of things, since we all affect each other indirectly to some extent or another, “ancestors” can be said to include the entirety of the human race.” – Travels Through the Middle Earth the Path of the Saxon Pagan by Alaric Albertsson
Also an ancestor can be considered all life from the past since humans had to evolve from many forms of more simple life to get to the point we are at presently. Without all the ancestors, including the ones we are related to, as well as the ones we are not related to, and both the human and non-human ancestors, we would not exist or be where we are now. Ancestor worship means to give thanks to all of life that has allowed us to be here now, to know what we currently know, and to have the language, culture, and technology that we currently do. All this is thanks to the ancestors.