5 days ago Asatru (sometimes called Odinism, Wodenism, Wotanism and religion from Norse mythology and pre-Christian Germanic religious practices. As the modern iteration of pre-Christian pagan worship, Ásatrú is a very young religion. And it’s less a single codified religion than a loose. Since Asatru is a modern remake, and Christianity has so many the worldview, beliefs and practices of the pre-Christian peoples of northwestern Europe.

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Asatru sometimes called OdinismWodenismWotanism and Odalism is an attempt to cobble together an actual religion from Norse mythology and pre- Christian Germanic religious practices. This is difficult to pull off, as the Norse mythslike other ancient texts, are incredibly spotty, contradictory, and prone to mistranslation just ask Wagnerand were written down hundreds of years after the events recounted in them allegedly happened insofar as they are even meant to be historical.

In Iceland the first Asatru temple is being built for worshipers to carry out their religious ritualsand it could be architecturally interesting. Two centuries from now, there might be an Asatru temple in every American town.

There is some question regarding how closely Odinists have actually managed to recreate these beliefs, and of whether Germanic mythology ever qualified as an organized religion as it is understood today.

Many Asatruar go to great lengths to link themselves with the past, such as taking on a Nordic “baptismal name” like Heimgest or Gunnar [4]. Presumably when there are more than a dozen Asatruar adatru known by these names, patronymics will be introduced. When more than four can actually agree on something, you get a group known as a “Black Metal” band kindred, which will then scream about Odin as if they have swallowed boiling grease.

According to the neo- Druid Isaac Bonewits, some practitioners of Asatru are “mesopagan,” meaning that they try to make their practice as close to the old form as possible with no intentional but some unintentional modern influences, while others are neopagan. If you really want to piss these people off, prechfistian them neopagans — within the community, this is often a snarl word used in the same way as ” cafeteria Catholic “, associated with Wiccans and other “fluffy” groups.

However, most neopagans accept them as a slightly kookier branch of the big neopagan tree.

Old Norse religion – Wikipedia

It’s worth noting that not a whole lot is really known about how the Norse people worshiped, so despite their hatred of the term, practitioners of this religion can be most aptly named neopagans.

Asatru believers usually follow three types of rituals, the “Fainings,” the Blot, and the Sumbel. The Blot is a sacrifice to the gods of Norse mythology; the Sumbel is a round of drinking involving oaths and toasts to each other.

Sumbel typically involves drinking, whereas blot traditionally meant a blood-sacrifice among the Old Norse, this was an animal ritually slaughtered and then consumed at a sacred feast. More common are fainings which involve non-blood offerings made to the gods usually in the form of alcohol.

In practice, there are rarely any characteristic differences between sumbels and fainings.

A lot of Asatruar are homebrewers because the mead sold in liquor stores is prechristisn garbage. Needless to say, Asatru worship services tend to end with everyone falling all over themselves drunk, [6] causing their priests to fall over themselves insisting that one does not need to get drunk to practice Asatru.

Like many other pagan religions, Asatru tends toward orthopraxy rather than orthodoxy: However, the Norse myths have much to impart in the way of life philosophy and advice, even beyond the classical heroic virtues of honor, loyalty, bravery, etc. Many Asatruar have made attempts to codify these teachings into a latter-day ethical system, yanking many tenets from dark places along the way. Wait, isn’t that just the Scout Astaru For an asattu more concise summary, the Asatru equivalent of the “greatest commandment in the law” would have to be the proscription of oath-breaking.


In Old Norse warrior society, breaking an oath of fealty prechrstian a very serious matter, and the myths make strong condemnation of oath-breakers. Unlike Christian ethics, Old Norse ethics were not commandments handed down from a God who had written them himself; prechritian were the gods in the least portrayed as perfect beings who followed these ethics to the letter. Indeed, they are portrayed as having no qualms with rapemurder, stealing, cheating, lying, backstabbing, breaking oaths or anything qsatru necessary to get themselves ahead; a chief example of this is the tactics used to fight the Aesir-Vanir War, a conflict around which much of Norse mythology revolves.

Prechristina, of course, whether or not a religion has a list of “Thou shalt nots” does not really have any bearing on the conduct of its followers, as discussed in the next section. In the United StatesAsatru has long had to contend with white supremacists and Neo-Nazis claiming the religion because it has ” Aryan ” cred and unlike Christianity did not originate among the Jews.

The Nazis the original ones, not the shaved head thugs today also used significant amounts of Norse symbolism in their propaganda, and placed the Nordic people at the tippy-top of their racial ladder.

Back for Thor: how Iceland is reconnecting with its pagan past | World news | The Guardian

There is also a strong contingent that takes a “folkish” stance, in which people can only worship the gods their ancestors worshipped though this is seldom explained what this means to a person whose parents come from far-flung parts of the worldor alternatively, the asafru pertaining to the culture in which they were raised.

Notably, this is not the case in Europe ; although there is a contingent of racist pagans there e. This does not mean that most Asatruar are racist. The overall religion has split into three main camps, with the militantly racist and antiracist sides proclaiming “oaths” and “curses” against each other and the folkish [14] caught in the middle not wanting to have anything to do with either side.

Indeed, it seems to be one of those religions disproportionately favored by disgruntled ex-Mormons, strongest in UtahArizonaand Idahoand — not surprisingly — weakest in states like Minnesota and North Dakotawhich are full of people who would not need to make up “baptismal names” if they converted, because their actual first names would do the job admirably. This can be partially attributed to the fact prechristkan for many of them, it is not necessary to profess Asatru in order to engage in many Norse pagan rites, as their cultural heritage lies in countries that never made a very clean break with Norse paganism and adopted a highly syncretic form of Christianity that maintained many of the old pagan customs; Swedenfor example, where pgechristian sacrifices continued in some places as late as the 19 th century, and such pagan fixtures as the Yule Goat are still widely seen.

Although it is much loved among racists, there is nothing in Asatru, either moral or historical, which explicitly supports racism. Even the historic Norse had no problems dealing with people of other races.

That said, there is no explicit condemnation of racism, either, and the rather loose doctrines allow the religion to easily be twisted to suit Neo-Nazis. Thanks to the Third Prechristixnthis link is strong and will not easily go away.

Although the larger Asatru organizations in the U. Such organizations, thus, serve as a gathering place for sundry racist creeps and thugs, who enjoy the numerous Norse tales of Berserks, warand mighty gods dashing around spearing faces and vaginasas well as the invented racist moral codes. Anti-racist pagans use the nithing pole an impaled horse head as a curse against racism in the name of Norse deities.


Inwhite supremacist and alleged- terrorist Jeremy Christian was accused of killing two people in Portland, Oregon.

There is some dispute as asafru whether the religion should be called “Asatru” or “Odinism,” but prominent priests under both banners do not consider there to be very sharp differences between the two terms at present. There ;rechristian historically qsatru division in the use of the terms, based on political and racial emphasis versus religious emphasis.

The term “Odinist” was first used as a self-descriptor by Alexander Rud Mills, an Australian Nazi sympathizer who founded an Odinist church in The name was carried on by Else Christensen and her Odinist Fellowship; Christensen’s newsletter, The Odinistcontained more Liberty Lobby -esque political content than religious content.

The term “Asatru” was coined in Iceland in the early s. Since Christensen’s death and the dissolution of her Odinist Fellowship, this division is not so pronounced. The Odinic Rite, which describes itself as “Odinist,” has no historic association with either Mills or Christensen and is more religious than political, but was founded before the term “Asatru” became popular.

The white supremacist David Lanerecognizing that “Odinism” is now used primarily by non-racist groups, and realizing that Wotanthe German name for Odin asztru, Wotanis an English backronym for “Will Of The Aryan Nation,” advocated the use of the term Wotanism for an explicitly racist version of Asatru.

For example, Lane himself was a supporter of polygamywhich cannot be conclusively stated to have existed as an institution in pagan Scandinavia. Edred Thorsson real name of Stephen Flowersan occultist who at one point called himself Asatru, tried dodging the name issue entirely by calling his organization the “Ring of Troth. Even disregarding the American racist element, Asatruar prechristiian more toward political conservatism than other pagan groups.

There are several possible reasons for this:. In recent years, a few Asatruar have been elected to public lrechristian on center-right tickets.

Neopaganism in Scandinavia

Inan Asatru priest, Sigurjon Thordarson, was elected to the Althing national parliament of Precchristian inserving for four years as a member of the Liberal Party. Halloran is a traditionalist conservative campaigning primarily against redevelopment of his neighborhood.

The Norsemen were just about as violent as their contemporaries, but they prfchristian and did also have friendly relations and there is no evidence of outright racism in the written sources — which also meant, if the relations were not friendly, that prdchristian were equal-opportunity robbers and killers.

Why the accused Portland killer and others see Vinland as an inspiration. The Prose Edda also says that Asgard, the Norse analogue of heaven, was just another name for Troy, the mythical city best known for being obliterated in the Trojan War.

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