We have our real ancestors–blood relations, going all the way back to single-celled organisms if we go back far enough.
But there are also those now dead whom we admire for their exemplary qualities: their courage, their intelligence, their wisdom. While they won’t have followed an Atheopagan path (as we’re just getting started), they still loom large in our memories.
I think of these “Noble Ancestors” as the equivalent of Atheopagan “saints”: they were once real people, and they exemplify various qualities we admire. In fact, I have been known to refer to “Saint Carl (Sagan)”, “Saint Galileo”, “Saint Nelson (Mandela)”, “Saint Stephen (Hawking)”, “Saint Charles (Darwin)” etc., with tongue firmly planted in cheek, but serious about the respect I feel for these historical figures.
Of course, who these figures are varies from person to person. We are certainly not going to have an Atheopagan pantheon of “saints”–you have to choose your own, if you so choose! But I know of a number of Atheopagans who honor such figures on their Focuses, and contemplate their examples as a part of their practices.
Reflecting on these “saints” helps us to understand: we CAN live exemplary lives. We can be brave, and kind, and honest, and curious, and joyous, and critically thinking, and committed to the truth. These extraordinary humans were, nonetheless, just human. Their examples reveal the extent of the possible, and illumine the way forward to a better world.
So think about it. If this concept resonates for you, consider putting an image of your Noble Ancestor(s) on your Focus. In fact, you can even buy Saints of Science Prayer Candles! (There are several sources for these, so shop around).