Asatru is a living religion, currently practiced by a growing number of people in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere. Asatru is separate from, and not connected to, any other religious faith (although there may be superficial similarities in some respects).
The word Asatru means Faith in the Aesir and the Vanir, who are best known to most people as the Gods and Goddesses of the Old Norse legends, although these same Deities were once worshiped by most of the peoples or pre-Christian Europe, and others as far east as India (they are the Deities of the Rig Veda). However, because the Old Norse legends provide the best knowledge of them, we usually refer to them by their Old Norse names -- Frigg and Odinn, Tyr and Zisa, Sif and Thorr, Freyja and Freyr, and so on. Traces remain in modern English: Tuesday means Tyr's day, Wednesday means Odinn's day, Thursday means Thorr's day, and Friday means either Frigg's day or Freyja's day (scholars debate which).
Asatru is open to everyone, and there are many different sorts of Asatruers (members of the Asatru Religion). Anyone who wants to join Asatru can do so -- regardless of gender, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, language, sexual orientation, or other divisive criteria. Asatru today is no more "European" than Christianity is "Jewish" or Islam is "Arabic" etc.
Asatruers often form local groups for the same reasons that people of other religions band together. These Asatru groups are sometimes called Hearths, or Kindreds, or other names. However, many Asatru believers live too far away from any of their coreligionists to be able to join such a group.
The Asatru Way of Life esteems: courage, honor, hospitality, independence (and liberty), individuality (with self-reliance and self-responsibility), industriousness (and perseverance), justice (including an innate sense of fairness and respect for others), loyalty (to family, friends, and the society of which one is a part), truthfulness, and a willingness to stand up for what is right.
An Asatru religious ceremony is called a Blot. (Note: Linguistically, the Old Norse word Blot means a blessing, and has nothing to do with blood.) Eight major Blots are celebrated by Asatruers each year. These are listed below, with the modern English name of each given first, followed by its Old Norse name in parenthesis, and the date -- although the usual practice is to hold the Blot on the nearest weekend.
Disfest (Disablot) 31 January
Ostara (Ostara) 21 March
May Eve (Valpurgis) 30 April
Midsummer (Midsumarsblot) 21 Jun
Freysfest (Freysblot) 31 July
Fallfest (Haustblot) 23 Sep
Winter Night (Vetrnaetr) 31 Oct
Yule (Jol) 21 December
Other Blots are held for special events, such as weddings, or on occasions such as the Feast of Vali (14 February). Besides the Blot, there is another kind of Asatru ceremony, called the Sumbel, which is a kind of formalized religious toasting. Sumbels are held whenever people want to hold them. There are also numerous social and cultural activities.
Asatru (also known as Odinism) is the ancient religion of the far north
lands; Germany, Norway, Sweden, Northern Great Britain, etc. The word comes
from the Icelandic language meaning "True to the Asa". The Asa are the Gods
known as the Aesir and the Vanir. Most of them are familiar, in name at
least, to many of us: Odin, Thor, Loki, Tyr, Baldur, Heimdall, Frigga, Freya,
Freyr, and others. The Aesir are primarily warrior gods, and generally
counted as higher than the Vanir. The Vanir are mostly fertility gods
and gods of riches, though they also fight. At one time the two races
of gods warred against each other. Finally a truce was held and
hostages exchanged/and peace was established, between the gods at least.
Asatru also is working to reestablish the tradition of family, kith
and kindred. Working together to help others and to make each other
strong. Many of todays religions tend to seperate people and to
emphasize the individual. "YOU" must be saved! "YOU" must save others,
so that "YOU" can gain a higher place in heaven. Etc. Asatru believes
that each person is dependant on others and that only by working
together can people truly live in harmony. This is not to say that
everyone does shares everything. One person may be the one to keep the
village supplied with wood while another keeps the sheep and another
bakes the loaves. One person may protect the other with his/her
knowledge of laws, another watching the children, and yet another
The Worlds that are held together and reached by the world tree,
Yggdrassil are also believed in. Asgard, Muspelheim, Vanaheim, Midgard
(our earthly realm), Svartelfheim, Lightelfheim, Jotunheim, Hel &
Nifelheim are the Nine worlds of the Odinist. These are realms of Gods,
humans, light elfs, dark elfs, dwarves, giants and others. These worlds
are connected by the world tree and can be reached via travelling the
branches, roots, limbs and trunks. Some are also connected via special
bridges such as Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge, that connects Midgard to
Asgard, realm of the Gods.
There are many myths and legends, many gods and races, many demons and
evil spirits, many worlds, many rituals and forms of magic. All in all,
Asatru is a rich and vibrant religion and way of life.
Less than a thousand years ago, the elders of Iceland made a fateful
decision. Under political pressure from Christian Europe, and faced
with the need for trade, the Allthing declared Iceland to be an
officially Christian country. Within a few short centuries the last
remnants of Nordic Paganism, which once stretched through all of
Northern Europe were thought dead. However, Iceland was a tolerant
country and the myths stories, and legends of Pagan times were left
unburnt to kindle the fires of belief in later generations. Under
pressure from the famous poet, Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson, Iceland once
again recognized Nordic Paganism as a legitimate and legal religion. A
restoration of our ancient faith is likewise in full bloom in America.
This ancient Pagan religion was known as Asatru, an old Norse word
which means Troth (loyalty) to the Gods, and modern Asatru is nothing
less than the complete revival of the ancient Norse Pagan religion.
Asatru recognizes many familiar Gods and Goddesses. Thor is the
Thunderer, the wielder of the divine Hammer Mjolnir. the thunder is the
sound of his chariot, the rain his gift that allows the crops to
prosper. Odin, the Allfather, is the God who gifted mankind with a
divine nature. He is the One eyed God, who traded his eye for wisdom,
and hung on the world tree to learn the mysteries of magic and the
runes. Odin receives slain warriors in his hall, where they prepare for
the final battle of Ragnarok. Frey is a God of peace and plenty who is
King of the Elves and brings fertility and prosperity to the land. But
a religion without Goddesses is halfway to atheism. The most well known
Goddess of our faith is Freya, who wears the sacred necklace
Brisingamen and rides in her cat drawn chariot. She is the Goddess of
love and beauty, but she is also a fierce Goddess of battle and takes
half the battle-slain to her. Frigg is Odin's wife, and she shares in
his leadership of the Gods. She is the only other deity allowed to sit
in Odin's Seat from which she can see all of the Nine Worlds, and is
the patron of the household and of married women. Living alone in the
icy wastes, Skadi is a Goddess of strong independence and a patron of
hunting and of skiing. Other Gods and Goddesses are worshipped by the
Asatru, including Tyr, Balder, Eir, Gefjion, and many others.
Our religion does not concern itself solely with the Gods and
Goddesses. We seek the old mysteries of the land, and honor the
Landvaettir (land spirits) who dwell in the trees and rocks and are
tied to the land and waters. We also honor our ancestors, both those
who have gone to the other worlds, and those such as the Disir, who
remain connected to Middle Earth in order to watch over and protect
We of the Asatru believe that the goal of living is to lead a
worthwhile and useful life, and we reject both the decaying fabric of
modern culture as well as the phony moralisms of those who would plunge
us back to the dark ages. Our values are based on individual liberty,
tempered with responsibility, as outlined in the Nine Noble Virtues:
Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality,
Industriousness, Self-Reliance, and Perseverance. In keeping with this
independent spirit, we reject religious hierarchy and dogma, even as we
respect learned teachers and the ways of our faith.
No individual can stand alone without kinsmen and we believe strongly
in the power and importance of the family. A strong religious community
is also very important to us and we gather into groups, known as
kindreds, to worship our Gods.
While we do not believe any religion is for everyone, the Asatru
welcome anyone to our faith who is sincerely interested in pursuing the
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