Short version: blood doesn’t count. What matters is spiritual connection.
You have many ancestors and they had many different belief systems. You aren’t heathen because your ancestors were heathen. That way of thinking disrespects both your ancestors and your path.
You are not your ancestors. You can’t be them, you can’t think like them, your culture doesn’t give you the same way of being in the world they had.
Whatever your spirituality, you have chosen it. You are not impelled by your ancestors or your ethnicity to choose a particular path. The spiritual world is limitless. Your job is to explore for yourself, not to blindly follow someone else’s path.
The material presented in this video is considerably more nuanced than this simple summary. I was particularly taken by the argument that if you believe in reincarnation, each time you reincarnate in a new body you have a different set of ancestors. If those new ancestors took precedence over your own spiritual history, then you would be making the material world superior to the spiritual world.
The only way out of this dilemma is to conceptualize your spiritual path as being continuous from life to life. It’s in your subconscious, not in your blood.
This video is basically a rebuttal of the 19th century idea that ancestor worship is connected to bloodlines. In the ancient world it was not about biology. It was about connections.
Those we call ancestors would be our adopted parents, as we see in Romans who followed the family cult of their adopted father. They would include the person for whom we are named, because that was a very Germanic way of conceptualizing reincarnation. They would include our cultural heroes (and gods) regardless of our blood connection to them. And they would include all who are well-disposed to us, by any connection we find meaningful. Basically, anyone in the spirit world who might be well-disposed toward you.
Our ancestors were looking for ways to extend and strengthen their social network and relationships. They wanted allies, not purity of blood.
- Arith Härger, “Ancestral Worship Exclusively About Blood-Line?“, YouTube (Aug. 25, 2019).
- Arith Härger, “Cult of the Ancestors – Honouring the Dead“, YouTube (Oct. 3, 2018).
Revised Nov. 4, 2019 to add link.