A fundamental tenet of Reconstructionist Heathenism is that we should honor our ancestors and practice traditions in line with our genetic heritage.
On the face of it, this seems a fairly reasonable suggestion. What’s always confused me, though, is why so many people then proceed to focus on just one aspect of their own ancestry, and one short period of history at that. And while we’re at it, why is this so often treated as a commandment and not just a helpful suggestion?
When I think of “my heritage” there are many different periods that come to mind. My immediate ancestors were Australian for several generations on both sides and my Australianness is something that I, predictably, feel much more connected to since having left that great land. Beyond that, there is much of history that I cannot help but find fascinating.
The Viking age has always caught my attention, for sure, but then so has the Renaissance. So has the stuff that came before the Viking age. More recently I find myself returning, again and again, to the period that came before iron, before bronze even before agriculture.
Honor your ancestors? Absolutely. Why not? But honor all of them, all the way back, from those within memory to the beginning of time.
This gives us a lot more tradition to play with.