What is

Asatru?

 

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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 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 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.

 

Gamlinginn

Created by Chandonn and Jordsvin

all works used by permission of the authors

last modified 07/19/2003