Our ancestors are our legacy. We were born from them, and we are physically and metaphysically connected to them at all times. Their actions during life not only contributed to our luck and current reputations, but learning about their stories and choices help us to understand our own growth opportunities. From our ancestors, we learn what choices we want to or need to make in order to lead successful and fulfilled lives. In short, we are led by their examples, and the Heathen worldview places emphasis on respecting those examples.

One of the easiest ways to honor our ancestors is by creating shrines or altars dedicated to them within our homes. Start by finding photographs of deceased relatives, framing them, and setting them up on a shelf or table, then feel free to decorate. If photographs cannot be found, place items on the shelf or table that remind you of your ancestors, your country of origin (if relevant), your cultural or ethnic heritage (if relevant), or simply something that speaks to you as being appropriate. Feel free to also place such items alongside photographs, too. Food, liquid, crafted, or object-oriented offerings should be given to the ancestors to appease them, and remind them that you are grateful for their guidance and wish to show them respect. Calling upon your ancestors during ritual is also a powerful method of honoring them.

It should be noted that any ancestors who could be considered frith-breakers — people whose deeds, words, or choices could be considered reasons for an outcast status from the family — would not be considered worthy of veneration. This determination will be up to the individual Heathen. It is our responsibility to research our ancestry, deciding who is worthy of our veneration and who is not. Also, ancestor veneration does not necessarily have to refer to blood relatives only. In the case of adoption, for example, if one doesn’t know who their blood relatives were or doesn’t have the means to find out, researching and venerating one’s adopted family would be considered perfectly reasonable. It is also acceptable to turn to other influential humans that may have hugely impacted one’s life.