Heathen Ethics, Part 8: Your Ancestors, My Ancestors

beautiful-tree-photography20--photographs-of-pleasing-trees-photography-heat---photography-w7gusmcpAn idea struck me earlier today, and ever since that moment it has been struggling to eat it’s way out of my brain.  So, let’s get it out so we can look it!

While those who embrace Folkism and those who reject Folkism disagree on a lot of things, there are a handful of things that both schools of thought agree on.  One of them is the importance of ancestry and one’s own ancestors.  It forms a philosophical backbone for just about every flavor of Heathenry, and even the most pro-synchretic, non-Folkish Norse Polytheist in the world is going to look at a Heathen cross-eyed if they declare ancestor veneration/worship to be optional or (even worse) irrelevant.  It’s one of the most primal conceits of our faith, regardless of denomination, and it’s importance cannot be overstated.

It is not as widely acknowledged, but certainly not thought of as contentious, that all people should learn about, embrace, and venerate their ancestral roots regardless of whether those people are Heathen or not.  Ancestry is sacred, and not just when one is Heathen.  While there are those who feel that a lack of Germanic, Icelandic, Scandinavian, and/or Norwegian ancestry bars one from making a meaningful spiritual connection to the worship practices and Gods of those cultures, only those who truly count themselves as racist would malign the ancestry of another.

And now I get to the original idea that has persisted all day; if the above is true, wouldn’t it follow that racial slurs of any kind are the worst sort of speech that a true Heathen may utter?  This is not simply some permutation of a so-called “political correct agenda”*; this is an idea born of serious consideration and thought

To insult, malign, or demean the ancestry of another is to insult every father and mother within their line.  It is to castigate there ancestry by it’s nature and by no other standard than it’s mere existence.  It is showing contempt for a person’s heritage that to suggest, regardless of ancestral deeds or merit, that it is lesser just for not being your own.  That’s the closest thing to Heathen blasphemy that I can conceive of.

Each person’s ancestry is something sacred.  Which is a pretty amazing thing; each of us have the sacredness of our own family line.  No matter how weak or sickly the most recent branches of our tree may have become, there is a point where it pulls back into a mighty and stout root that reaches back further than recorded history can fathom.  To spread bile towards the the ancestry of another, even in passing, is to stain one’s own sacredness.   Imagine how hard it would be for an outsider, looking upon your words and deeds, to truly believe in the hollowedness you purport to hold ancestry within when another’s can be casually and callously dismissed.  Also, think what it must say of your own assessment of your ancestors if you need to malign those of another person; if you truly think you ancestry is great, you need never speak ill of the roots of another.

Ancestry, if sacred, is always sacred.  When it’s my ancestors.  Your ancestors.  Their ancestors.  Anyone’s ancestors.  Everyone’s ancestors.

In so many mystical traditions, we affirm that words have power.  If so, remember the words you say of another; they reflect more of you than of the other.


*I do have an agenda, mind you.  It’s just that it’s “Drink coffee”, “Don’t Run out of Coffee”, and “Anyone who hurts my family should be missing ribs and/or spleens”.

EDIT 3/25/2014: I have a bad habit of leaving questions in my essays where they don’t really fit most of the time.  At the suggestion of my wife(my better half by far), I’ve polished those sentences so they read more clearly and easily.  The meaning is the same; it just reads and flows a bit easier.

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