[Young Heathens Page]
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 it may be superficially
similar 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 tile Old Norse legends. although
these same Deities were once worshiped by most of the peoples of 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
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
co-religionists 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
May Eve (Valpurgis) 30 April
Freysfest (Freysblot) 31 July
Winter Night (Vetrnaetr) 31
Ostara (Ostara) 21 March
Midsummer (Midsumarsblot) 21 June
Fallfest (Haustblot) 23 September
October 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.
all works used by permission of the authors