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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.

Heathen Ancestor Worship

Only a very small amount of human DNA is human, meaning all animals and all living creatures on the Earth are also our ancestors. Even the space bacteria that started life on earth are our ancestors. All the animals that came before humans are our ancestors. Ancestors are also the humans of all ancient cultures who figured out how to survive as humans on the earth and then later on overcame that level, of being hunter-gatherers surviving to the level of developing complex human cultures once humans started to settle as farmers. All ancient humans are our ancestors as well as all ancient life. All of anyone’s line are the strongest lifeforms that overcome the struggle to survive long enough to reproduce. They represent the strength of uruz. They are the ones smart enough to have developed all human knowledge and culture we now have. All this is what it means to worship the ancestors, honoring that which they have given to us going back to the beginning of time from the space bacteria that formed life here to our direct family line to all that lays in between this. This heritage that the ancestors give us going all the way back to those space bacteria to what we have now, this is othala. Primal consciousness (fire) is fehu. The order of the runes represent the development and evolution of all life from the simplest to the most advanced. Life develops as a ladder taking steps higher and higher each laid down by those we came before.

Hail to the ancestors, the givers of prosperity, knowledge, culture, and the spiritual protectors of their offspring. Hail the Alfar and Disir!