Asatru: Misconceptions and Resources


I could not find where to specifically ask a question, so I apologize if this winds up attached to someones blog. So I have been Shaman for a long time, but an atheist one. I did not believe in any gods or goddesses. The last few years Odin and Freya have been appearing to me. I started to believe in them and wanted to identify with their tradition.

My husband practices what is called Asatru, but he prefers to be called heathen. I found out why, when researching our faith every American Asatru network was connected to neo nazisim and the most hateful practices.

I am so upset and I feel like I am losing my faith. My husband swears those people are not part of actual Asatru, and that this is why most followers of Asatru now just call themselves Norse Pagans or Heathens. The Odin and Freya I am familiar with were the most loving beings I’ve ever encountered and I feel like a whole that was filled is being emptied. As the mass American belief in this is so horrible I don’t know how to find what the information I need. I am scared that the whole belief might be like this and I just didn’t realize. I hope it’s not true, because for the first time in my life I felt fulfilled and at peace, and then I went to research it and everything changed. I’ve been told repeatedly by my husband that what I do, healing people, healing nature, communing with spirits and following the example of Odin and Freya is what the religious followers actually do and the other people just perverted and poisoned it, but the problem is is that I cannot find ANY information on the old ways, which is what we both practice. I will never ever associate myself with neo nazism, even if it means losing my religion, but I hope my husband is right. That those people perverted it and what they do has nothing in common with true Asatru. Sorry for how long this is, this has been really hard on me. Any help would be wonderfully welcomed.

Your husband is correct – as with any religion there are always going to be those who are fanatics, or who just completely misuse or misinterpret things and go off on their own crazy path, and in that sense these NeoNazi groups that you’ve come across are about as legitimately Asatru as the Westboro Baptist Church is Christian… which is to say not at all (regardless of what they might claim to be). Also, even though certain religions may be more popular with those who might identify as white supremacists, that does not mean that the religions themselves are racist, or promote racism in any way. Not sure why your searches are only turning up those sorts of resources but they are definitely not the norm by any stretch, and in fact there is very little in the lore that supports any sort of racism, or hatred such as those groups espouse. It’s unfortunate as well, that the media often picks up on these types of groups, which makes it seem that they are all like that, when in truth it’s only a very small representation, and not a very accurate one at that.

There are a small number of groups that take a more “folkish” view of things – in that they feel that one must have Norse or Germanic blood in order to practice Asatru. They consider it more of a tribal religion, related to one’s own culture, rather than a more open religion that can be practiced by anyone. Again though – this is not how the majority of those who practice see the religion at all, and while in a technical sense these folkish groups are often referred to as being racist, it’s not anywhere near on the same scale as the violent NeoNazi groups. It’s also not a case where they feel being a particular skin color is better or worse than anyone else, it’s a matter of feeling that the religion is tied to one’s ancestry, and thus closed to “outsiders”.

As far as practices and beliefs, as well as general history of the Norse culture and customs, Gods and Goddess, etc… I would suggest picking the following:

As far as online resources there’s:

Definitely can be a bit upsetting when you think that what you’ve been called to may not quite be what it seemed, but in this case you really don’t have anything to worry about.  🙂

* you can also check our previous post on Norse Paganism in general.

Freyja?


Hello, I am having trouble finding information specificly on having Freyja as a patron goddess. I have always considered myself agnostic, but I looked up symbols I have been dreaming about my whole life (boars, wolves, a woman, the word ‘vala’ which turns out to be another word for völva) and they led directly to Freyja. Unfortunately, the little bit of information I can find about her is extremely sparce and redundant. – Candis

The Nordic equivalent of a “patron” would be Fulltrua, and Freyja is very “popular” in this role. There’s a fair bit of others’ UPG out there, as well as lore-based information. Most introduction-to-Heathenry books will have a page or two on her at least. First check out the Poetic and Prose Eddur. It’s best to familiarise yourself with the entire mythology to get a good idea of her anyway, but there are particular tales in which she features such as Hyndluljóð. You might like to pick up one of those introduction books as well; Essential Asatru is a popular one.

Our Troth vol. I has a good 18-19 pages on Freyja, and is a great text for those interested in Heathenry beyond the basic introduction. You can find it here and here. There is also a quarterly publication that is done by The Troth and the Spring ’02 edition is focused entirely on Freyja. You can find it though the following…  in either printed or PDF format.

There’s also a book called “Freyja, Lady, Vanadis” which you can find here and here that is well-reviewed by Heathen reviewers whose opinions I respect. I haven’t read it myself, but feel comfortable mentioning it based on those reviews. Once you’ve ploughed through the Eddur I’d recommend that for further study.

I hope that helped 🙂

Sacred Moments #2


Today’s devotional is a sonnet by an Odinswoman we know. Many thanks to her for allowing us to post it here.

 

Gallows Load

Burnished gallows set with red
Caress the fevered, empty mind
Of man who hangs bloodied and blind
To reach for wisdom, not for bread.

I think to hang there in his stead
And wonder if I dare to bind
My destiny to be his kind
And follow where he never lead.

To ride my orlog like a steed,
If I could dare to take the plunge
Into the noiseless emptiness
That calls me with its baseless need,
Of wisdom’s touch and daring’s lunge
To aid with endless lovingness.

       ~ by Deoridhe Grimsdottir

Norse Paganism


Anonymous asked: I’ve been interested in Norse mythology for a long time, and feel that Norse paganism may be the path for me, but I have no clue where to start. Is it anything like Wicca, or is it completely different and if so where do I find more information on it?

Completely different! It’s polytheistic rather than ditheistic, its rituals are much more simple and centre around the sharing of offerings (often in the form of alcohol such as mead), and there’s a much greater cultural depth to it* because it is a religion with a historical basis – although even the most hard reconstructionist forms of it will necessarily be different from the palaeo-Paganisms.

We recommend the books “Essential Asatru” by Diana S Paxson and “True Hearth” by James Allen Chisholm to start with, and “Our Troth” I and II if Heathenry looks like the thing for you. Also the books of Hilda Ellis Davidson, particularly “Gods and Myths of Northern Europe”.

Most of all there are the Eddas and Sagas, many of which you can read in older translations online. The ethical system is mostly related to what one might consider the honourable action to take, and based on the advice of the Havamal. (Some Heathens shorten it down to “the Nine Noble Virtues” – but not all of this list of virtues are particularly stressed in the Havamal, and some particularly important ones are left out… not to mention such a list is not particularly “reconstructionist” so many Heathens don’t have much time for it and just use the Havamal and so forth as their guide when they need it.)

Here are some more links for you:

Viking Answer Lady

Ravenbok

DIY Ritual Kit

That’s all for now, but this may be edited later to add a little more. Good luck!

*Not to say Wicca doesn’t have depth – it does, but it’s less cultural and more related to its ritual and Mysteries.