Asatru Code v1.8.1


Original code ©2005 Ingeborg S. Nordén

(see version history for other contributors)


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Code Map



*       Introduction

*      Version History

*      Example:  My Asatru Code!

*      Variables (A-D, E-K, L-P, R-W)

*      Modifiers  (parentheses, > sign, < sign, @ sign, slash, question mark, exclamation point, dollar sign)







Ever since computer nerds began encoding relevant information about themselves in their E-mail signatures, other groups (hobby-related, geographical, and so forth) have produced their own parodies of the original concept. Religious and occult groups have also done this; I've seen a "Hebrew Geek Code" and a "Magic Code" on two unrelated websites. However, nobody has thought to create a variant specifically for followers of Asatru...until now.


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Version History


*      v0.5--Beta version: not all variables included; lengthy, serious descriptions for ratings.

*      v0.9--More variables suggested by Hrappr Normansson; rating descriptions shortened and re-worded; rating scale converted to Kinsey-style numeric format (0-6).

*      v1.0--Two new variables added; rating scale converted to typical Geek Code style (multiple pluses/minuses); Geek Code modifiers and shorthand added for some items.

*      v1.1--Rating scale converted back to numeric format used in 0.9; all points on scale defined for each variable. Two new variables added. Order of "patron deity involvement" and "tradition vs. innovation" scales reversed (so that higher numbers consistently mean more involvement).

*      v1.2--More variables suggested by Volmarr Wyrd; Geek Code modifiers and shorthand explained in more detail.

*      v1.3--Two new variables added; two variables' code-letters changed. (Magical involvement is now a simple "M"; exposure to modern Asatru-related books is now a simple "B".) Geek Code modifiers added to several existing categories. Order of last two points on alcohol-use scale reversed; some other rating descriptions rewritten.

*      v1.4--Three new variables added (two suggested by Stormsdottir and Volmarr Wyrd).

*      v1.5--Three subcategories added in the "cultural source" section; some choices have had code-letters changed, and all have been defined more clearly. Divination added as a distinct specialty in the "magical practice" section; some people use runes only to do readings, after all.  Descriptions for the "Folkish vs. Universalist" scale partially rewritten, because some low ratings sounded too similar. One new variable added (involvement with wights/"lesser" spirits).

*      v1.6--Two new variables added (attitude towards use of religious names; tolerance of others' non-Asatru faiths now distinct from eclecticism in personal practice). Some rating descriptions slightly reworded.

*      v1.7--Two more variables added (non-Germanic magical practices and multi-kindred organizations). Some descriptions of existing ratings rewritten for clarity; subcategories added to the "religious symbol display" variable.

*      v1.7.1--New modifier added (for "all of the above" in multiple-choice variables); new alphabet choice added to "non-magical familiarity with runes"; use vs. familiarity distinguished in both magic-related ratings.

*      v1.7.2--New sub-category (galdr) added to the "Germanic magical practices" section; some existing variables and categories clarified. "Patron deity involvement" ratings partially rewritten at upper levels (suggested by Marion Ingham).

*      v1.8--New variable (study of modern languages) suggested by Marion Ingham. New subcategory (dual/multiple traditions) added to the "identifier" variable; clarifications added at the upper end of the "eclecticism within Asatru" scale.

*      v1.8.1--Page map added for easier navigation to specific sections of the code; a few descriptions slightly reworded.



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Example: My Asatru Code!


Click on one of the variables (letter/number combinations) below to learn what I am describing.



-----Begin Asatru Code Block Here-----


Asatru Code v1.8.1

A2 Al1 Am1 An3 B5>6 CSV(L)/SP(L) Co5 Cr0<1(w) D3 E1 F1(2) G4 HFI*/MU*/PO*/RP* IAS/HE K2 L5>6 La6(da, de, en*, nb, nn, sv*) M4(d*$, g, r) Mn2+/3(h, k, t) N5(wa) Na3(4) Or3 (Verdandi Fellowship) P5(Freyr) R1(3) Ru5(e, y)/3(s) S2(h, r) T2(3) To3(5) W1(2)


-----End Asatru Code Block Here-------



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What the Letters Mean


General note on the variables: Ideally, I would have preferred to have a separate letter for each rating; but a logical, memorable connection between letters and what they stood for seemed more important to me. (The upper/lower-case distinction I've seen in some Geek Codes doesn't work well when I have 3-5 categories beginning with the same letter!)



Variables:  Section I (A-D)

A--Archetypal vs. literal existence of the gods




I am [insert your favorite Germanic god/dess here]. Call me an archetype again and I'll blow you to Niflheim!



I have personally seen and spoken with the gods, who are real individuals and very involved with human affairs.



The gods are real, distinct individuals but they seldom interact closely with humans.



I'm undecided about whether the gods are real or just symbolic.



I'm open to the idea of the gods being symbolic/part of the Germanic group mind, but still think that Asatru does teach some spiritual truths literally.



What do you mean, Frigg? Just admit you're worshiping the same Great Mother as everyone else has done for thousands of years!



All gods are just figments of the human imagination (but I still enjoy the stories and philosophy associated with Asatru).


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Up to Variables (Section I)




Al--Use of alcohol in ritual



Note to the typo-prone:  This variable is written "Al" (with a lower-case "l") before the numerical rating; unfortunately, I've seen several Asatru Code blocks which confused that letter "l" with the digit "1".



I never drink alcohol, not even in ritual settings. I refuse to attend a blot or sumbel unless my host provides an alcohol-free beverage.



I never drink alcohol, not even in ritual settings. If I'm attending a blot or sumbel, I hope my host provides a non-alcoholic beverage--but if he doesn't, I'm willing to just raise/kiss the horn and pass it on.



I don't normally drink alcohol otherwise, but will do so in a ritual setting.



Alcohol (or the lack of it) at a ritual is no big deal to me; I can take it or leave it.



An Asatru ritual without beer or mead feels wrong, somehow--but I won't make a scene if my host doesn't serve any.



"Alcohol-free sumbel" is a contradiction in terms; I refuse to participate in such an insult to the gods.



"Alcohol-free sumbel" is a contradiction in terms, but I actually prevent such a travesty from happening: I brew my own beer or mead, and have enough stockpiled to last a year or two.


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Am--wearing of (non-religious) amber jewelry




I refuse to wear the stuff under any circumstances.



I wear a few amber items only on special occasions (rituals, historical re-enactments, etc.), but they aren't too huge or conspicuous.



I wear a few pieces of amber jewelry regularly, but they aren't too huge or conspicuous.



I own a modest collection of amber jewelry, including at least one large item which I wear regularly.



I own a modest collection of amber jewelry, including at least one large item which I remove only to bathe or sleep.



I own a sizable collection of amber jewelry, including at least two large items which I remove only if safety standards require it (before surgery, working on car batteries, etc.)



I own enough amber jewelry to open a rock shop, and wear at least a third of my collection unless safety standards require me to remove it.



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An--attitudes toward animal sacrifice




I'm a strict vegetarian and think that even "symbolic" animal sacrifice is wrong.



I'm a vegetarian, but wouldn't get upset if my godhi sacrificed animal-images made from dough.



I don't mind others serving meat at sacrificial feasts, as long as there's no killing/blood on site and I don't have to eat it myself.



I will eat meat at sacrificial feasts, as long as there's no killing/blood on site.



I wouldn't be bothered if my godhi sacrificed a live animal during a ritual, as long as he killed it properly.



I raise/hunt food animals myself, and sacrifice some of them to the gods from time to time.



Why stop at animals? I say we ought to start sacrificing Death Row criminals again!



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B--Exposure to modern books (not historical holy texts) about Asatru




You mean people are still writing serious books about the gods--not just comics or role-playing supplements?



I've read at least one of the following authors: Ralph Blum, D.J. Conway, or Ed Fitch. Not much else though...



I've read at least one of the following authors: Freya Aswynn, Kveldulf Gundarsson, or Edred Thorsson. I'm pretty sure that books by those other authors aren't worth my time.



I've read most books by the authors listed above, but have little access to scholarly works about Germanic religion or runes.



I've read a few modern scholarly books about runes and/or Germanic religion, and can generally tell when an occult book on those subjects is inaccurate. At least three of these names sound familiar to me: Bauschatz, Byock, de Vries, Dronke, Dumézil, Ellis-Davidson, Näsström, Rydberg, Simek, or Turville-Petre. I'm aware that the Grimm Brothers wrote serious books about Germanic belief--that they didn't just record fairy tales.



All of the names above are familiar to me; I can debate various authors' theories intelligently.



Here, let me show you the dissertation for my Scandinavian/Germanic Studies doctorate!


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C--Main source of cultural inspiration (3-letter code)



People who know the language of their "chosen culture" may add an (L) to this section if their vocabulary goes beyond a few religious terms, and could actually follow an old holy text. Example: A mostly Saxon-inspired Heathen who has studied Old English, understands the rune poems untranslated, etc. might rate himself CAS(L).


*      CAS--Anglo-Saxon England (distinctly Germanic, as opposed to Celtic, culture and religion in pre-Christian England)

*      CCG--Continental Germanic (various regions in present-day Germany, the Netherlands, etc.)

*      CEC--Eclectic (mixture of Germanic and non-Germanic elements)

*      CEG--East Germanic (pre-Christian "Gothic" in the strict historical sense)

*      CME--Migration Era Germanic (extremely early stage, few tribal differences)

*      CPG--Pan-Germanic (mixture of various Germanic elements, but none from cultures outside that group; users who identify with three or more specific cultures on this list should probably code themselves as CPG)

*      CSP--Scandinavia, Primitive Norse (pre-Viking Age; major linguistic differences, some cultural ones)

*      CSV--Scandinavia, Viking Age (classic "Norse")

*      COT--Specific Germanic culture and/or historical era not listed above (may be explained in parentheses after the rating)

*      CXX--Other (for those who primarily follow a non-Germanic tradition, but have some interest in Asatru)


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Co--time since conversion to Asatru




I've never actually converted to Asatru (and probably won't); still, the religion interests me and I get along reasonably well with Heathens.



I'm seriously considering conversion, but haven't formally done so yet.



I've converted very recently (one year ago or less).



I've been Asatru for 2-5 years.



I've been Asatru for 6-10 years.



I've been Asatru for 11 years or more, but was still raised in another religion.



Believe it or not, I was born and raised Heathen!



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Cr--Interest in/experience with period crafts



People with high ratings may add the following letters to indicate specific crafts.


*      b--brewing

*      c--cooking period dishes

*      h--horn work (for drinking or blowing)

*      j--jewelry

*      m--metalwork (other, including weapons)

*      t--textiles (sewing, weaving, and similar crafts)

*      w--woodwork (including rune carving)

*      o--other (may be specified in parentheses after the rating)



Different ratings in multiple categories are also allowed, for people who work in more than one material. Example: Cr(b)3/(w)1= "I've tried woodworking and failed miserably; on the other hand, I do brew mead tolerably well."



I couldn't weave, brew, make jewelry or carve my own runes even if I wanted to.



I've tried making ritual tools/garb before, but I'm terrible at it.



I've made simple ritual tools/garb before--they were OK but I'd never show them off at a gathering.



I can prepare a plain drinking horn, carve a simple rune set in wood, or stitch together a decent-looking tunic without people laughing at the results.



I can make at least one kind of ritual tool/garb well; people generally admire my creations. Local friends sometimes ask me to do custom work for them.



I can make many kinds of ritual tools and garb exceptionally well; people generally admire my creations. Friends contact me from hundreds of miles away to ask me for custom work.



Next to me, those dwarves who made Thor's hammer look like amateurs!  J



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D--Ritual dress




I perform/attend most Asatru rituals in the nude, even if no sexual activity is involved.



I perform/attend Asatru rituals in my everyday street clothes; anything else feels too much like a costume party. (Besides, the gods have seen me in jeans and a T-shirt dozens of times!)



I perform/attend Asatru rituals in modern clothes, but make extra-special effort to pick a "good" outfit for the occasion (similar to what an average Christian would wear to Sunday church services).



Whether I dress historically or not depends on my own moods; my ritual garb might not be 100% accurate, but I do wear some occasionally.



Sometimes I wear historical clothes for a ritual, sometimes not--it depends on what the coordinators expect. (If I'm the one leading the ritual, I might dress differently just to indicate that.)



I will wear historical clothes for rituals unless specifically forbidden to do so (by the coordinator, or by a written dress code in a public place).



What the Hel do you mean, I can't wear that in here?!?


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Variables:  Section II (E-K)

E--Eclecticism/mixed pantheons in personal practice



This variable rates only attitudes towards pantheon-mixing among people who claim to follow the Germanic gods; tolerance towards non-Germanic religions in other situations is rated separately.



I don't even believe that other pantheons exist, though I might be too polite to tell my Christian/Wiccan/Muslim neighbors that.



I refuse to mix deities even from different Germanic pantheons. (A strict Norse Heathen will not acknowledge Ostara or Nehalennia; a strict Anglo-Saxon Heathen will not acknowledge Loki or Idunn.) "Foreign" pantheons might exist, but I'd feel like a traitor even if I attended a Druidic circle or a Catholic Mass.



I accept any Germanic deity as a valid part of my religion. Other pantheons may well exist, but I'd feel like a traitor if I got involved with them. If a guest at my sumbel toasts Shiva or Cernunnos, he won't be invited back.



I accept any Germanic deity as a valid part of my religion. Other pantheons may well exist, but I'm not actively involved with them. If a guest at my sumbel toasts Shiva or Cernunnos, I feel somewhat uneasy but won't react too strongly.



I feel attracted to one or two non-Germanic deities, but my main focus is still on the Ćsir and Vanir. If a guest at my sumbel toasts Shiva or Cernunnos, I just might join in--though I try to keep rituals from different cultures separate. (A "multiple-trad" person who considers himself mostly Heathen probably belongs at this level.)



I acknowledge the gods of all cultures equally, but still try to keep rituals separate. I'd have no problem holding a Santeria ceremony on Monday, a Shinto one on Tuesday, and an Asatru one on Wednesday. (A "multiple-trad" person who doesn't consider himself mostly Heathen probably belongs at this level.)



Come over to my place for a Cthulhu-blot! (A full-fledged eclectic who sees Germanic and non-Germanic practices as interchangeable belongs at this level.)


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F--Folkish vs. Universalist attitudes




If aliens crash-landed their ship during my ritual, I'd let them join in. I figure the gods must have led them here for a reason!



I'm a bit skeptical about the idea of "tribe" or "folk soul". The Scandinavians/English/Germans haven't had a tribal society for a thousand years, at least; why emphasize that in the religion now?



Ancestry may attract some individual Heathens to Asatru; however, I see no inherent theological reason that this should be true most of the time.



Ancestry is probably important to the gods (there's got to be a reason for all those genealogies in the sagas).  Still, I wouldn't turn a Japanese guest away from a gathering, if he were truly interested and behaved himself.



I can't see why a Japanese-American would want to be Asatru, instead of Shinto or Buddhist. Let him spend a year or two looking for his own cultural roots; if that doesn't work, then we'll talk.



Asatru developed in Northern Europe; if your ancestors didn't live there, you have no business worshiping our gods! Oh, Great-Grandpa was English? Well, I'll take your word for it...



Sorry, you can't join my ritual without submitting DNA test results and a detailed family history!


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G--Attitude toward gays/lesbians/bisexuals in Asatru




We ought to round them all up and throw them in the bog, just like in old days!



LGB people have no legitimate place in Asatru, though I wouldn't go out of my way to punish or attack them.



LGB people are acceptable only if they take the "active" role sexually; the lore condemns "passive" roles as ergi (perversion).



"Don't ask, don't tell": LGB people are acceptable in Asatru as long as they are not actively promoting their sexuality.



I wouldn't mind inviting an LGB friend to a ritual, even if s/he were out of the closet.



I actively support pro-LGB causes, and would not mind blessing a non-heterosexual marriage in public.



When I was on the cover of Advocate Magazine last month, my kindred celebrated.


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H--hobbies (other than handicrafts) related to Asatru and/or older Germanic culture (two-letter code for each category)


Multiple hobbies can be separated by slashes if necessary; a Heathen who collects replica Viking artifacts and also enjoyed playing tafl might rate himself as HCO/TA. People who actually produce Heathen material in a given category may add a star to the appropriate letters; HMU* indicates someone who performs and/or composes Heathen music.


*      HCO--collecting (but not making) objects related to Asatru/older Germanic culture

*      HFI--reading Asatru-related fiction; people who also write the stuff may add a star here.

*      HHR--historical re-enactment (e.g., the Society for Creative Anachronism) in a non-ritual context; people who have created or directed a re-enactment group may add a star here.

*      HIT--íţróttir (ancient-style athletic contests).

*      HMU--listening to Asatru-related music, regardless of style (traditional folk, black metal, etc.). People who actually perform or compose Heathen music may add a star here.

*      HPO--reading Asatru-related poetry by modern authors (not including older holy texts; may be in "traditional" Germanic styles or another one). People who actually write such poetry may add a star here.

*      HRP--role-playing games (AD&D, MUD/MUSH games online, etc.) which allow or encourage a "period" persona. (Sexual activity in costume is not included in this category!  J) People who have designed such games, or helped administrate them online, may add a star here.

*      HTA--tafl (a board game from the Viking Age)

*      HOT--any other non-craft hobby related to Asatru or older Germanic culture (may be explained in parentheses if necessary).

*      HNA--I haven't really tried doing any of these things, though I wouldn't mind doing so,

*      HXX--I think this category is a waste of time, and reinforces outsiders' impression that Asatru is for "Viking wannabes."


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I--identity/label for personal beliefs (two-letter code)



Heathens who use more than one "identifier" may separate them with slashes, listing them alphabetically.


*      IAS—Asatru

*      IEC--Eclectic pagan

*      IFS--Forn Siđr/Forn Sed ("Elder Way", historically accurate term used in Norse times and still common in Scandinavia)

*      IHD--Heiđni (strict Norse reconstructionist group)

*      IHE--Heathen (in the general sense of "Germanic pagan")

*      IMT--Multiple traditions (acceptance/practice of Heathenry in addition to a non-Germanic religion, but keeping rituals and pantheons separate)

*      IND--Norse Druid (ADF affiliate using the Norse pantheon)

*      INW--Norse Wiccan (Wiccan using the Norse pantheon and holiday-names)

*      IOD--Odinist (sometimes a generic term for European/UK Heathens; sometimes used for Odin-centered mysticism)

*      ISK--Skertru (specific, non-traditional group rejecting the Eddas in favor of new "revealed lore")

*      ITH--Theodish Belief (not necessarily Saxon-focused; theology and cultural inspiration are two different things here)

*      IVA--Vanatru (mainstream Heathen ritual and philosophy, but emphasizing the Vanir over the Ćsir)

*      IOG--other form of Germanic-centered religion not listed above (may be explained in parentheses)

*      IOT--other religion not including/acknowledging the Germanic deities, and not practiced in addition to Heathenry (may be explained in parentheses)

*      IXX--What I call myself is my own business and nobody else's!


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K--involvement with kindreds



For the ratings below, "kindred" is defined as a group of people who meet regularly to practice the Asatru religion, not necessarily with any family or marital ties to one another. The name of a specific kindred (in parentheses) may follow the numerical rating, if necessary. For example, K5 (Hammerstead) = "I am the leader of Hammerstead Kindred", etc.



I don't need anyone else with me, ever, to worship our gods...leave me alone!


I enjoy the freedom and privacy of being a solitary Heathen, most of the time. I'll attend group rituals if a close friend invites me, but I won't affiliate with the group formally.


I prefer worshiping alone, but will attend group rituals if a close friend invites me. I might even consider joining their group, if they still feel OK to me after a few meetings.


I am equally comfortable worshiping alone or in a kindred; I'll attend meetings open to the public even without a friend's referral, but let common sense decide whether I join their group or not.


I am an active member of a kindred (or being seriously considered for membership). I attend most meetings, pay dues if they're expected, and am willing to help arrange kindred events. Although I don't mind worshiping alone, I seldom do so.



I am the leader of a local kindred; other Heathens expect me to arrange meetings, weddings, holiday celebrations and the like. (Be honest--a roommate with a passing interest in Asatru and a cat named "Freya" don't count as a real kindred here!) As much as I'd like time to worship alone, it's hard to come by.



I lead a "flagship" kindred for a major Heathen organization (regional or national) generally recognized by the public. I would love to worship alone if my fans and/or detractors would just stop pestering me for an hour or two!


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Variables: Section III (L-P)



L--familiarity with the lore



For these ratings, the word "lore" is defined as historical texts significant to the Asatru religion ("mythology" and period accounts of Germanic religious practices).



Ummm, Thor? Wasn't that some Greek god?



Most of what I know about ancient Germanic religion comes from comic books and movies; I'm not sure whether or not that information is accurate.



I've heard of more gods than just Odin, Thor and Loki; I know that the "pop-culture" version of a myth is sometimes wrong, but haven't read the Eddas yet.



I've read the best-known passages in the Eddas and major sagas, but not much more of them.



I've read the Eddas and a few major sagas in translation, but I know them fairly well.



That's "Lore" with a capital L...and I've read most of it in the original language!



I have an advanced degree in Scandinavian/Germanic studies, and have published my own translation of the Poetic Edda which keeps the poetry intact.


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La--study of modern languages relevant to Asatru/Heathen scholarship



Note:  "Relevant to Asatru" does not necessarily mean "Germanic" here. Any modern language which has been used to write scholarly books on Germanic history (such as Dumézil using French) qualifies. So does one with many native speakers in the Asatru community (I have heard of kindreds forming in Italy and Brazil). The ratings below are meant to describe only overall fluency and breadth of study, not name specific languages learned. Users who want to give that detail may add the ISO code for their languages after the numerical rating. If they speak three or more languages, they may mark the strongest ones with a star (see my own code for an example).



My native language is good enough for the gods, and it's good enough for me! (Obviously, if I grew up speaking something other than English, a friend translated this code and invited me to rate myself.)



I've had to take a year of one foreign language in school, but that was so long ago I've forgotten all but a few words.



I can order a meal and read signs in one or two foreign languages, but that's about all.



I did fairly well in foreign-language classes at school but still can't read anything useful.



I can follow most written materials in one to three foreign languages.



I am bilingual in English and another modern Germanic language. I can read five or six more languages easily, and (could) use them actively in online forums.



I am fluent in multiple modern Germanic languages, and have lectured or taught in more than one. I (could) use most languages I know actively in online forums.


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M--attitude towards/experience with magic (Germanic techniques)



"Magic" is defined here as actual occult work (spells, divination, etc.) done in a serious context--not the "magic" associated with stage performance or fantasy role-playing games. People with high ratings may use additional letters to indicate magical techniques they have studied/used.


Like the Crafts rating, this one allows different scores in different sub-categories. Magical experience in non-Germanic traditions has a separate variable, listed after this one.


*      d--divination (spaework, rune readings, other forms of omen-taking based in Germanic tradition)

*      f--folk magic from any Germanic source (such as painting hex signs or using herbal charms for a non-medical problem)

*      g--galdr (chants/poetic spells based in Germanic tradition, including runic chants)

*      r--runes (written/inscribed runic talismans, for uses other than divination)

*      s--seidhr (for uses other than divination)

*      o--other Germanic magical technique not listed here (may be explained in parentheses)


People who know about multiple techniques but use only one or two regularly should mark their specialties with a star. Examples of multiple-category ratings:


*      Specialist with good knowledge in other areas--M4(d*$, r) = "I use Germanic-based divination techniques fairly often and even get paid to do so; I am very familiar with other uses of runes, but seldom carve talismans myself."

*      Different strengths in different categories--M4(r)/3(s) = "I'm more skilled with runes than an average Heathen, and use them fairly often. I may have read a few things about seidhr, and respect those who swear by it--but don't work with seidhr that much myself."




Magic--bah! Don't assume I believe in that junk just because I'm Heathen!



There might be something to that stuff, but I'd need more proof to believe it.



The magical aspects of Asatru don't interest me personally, even though I accept them as a valid part of the religion.



I've had my runes read/attended a seidhr session once in a blue moon, and think there's more to it than the skeptics realize. I still wouldn't study magic myself, on the other hand.



I do spellwork/readings for myself semi-regularly (at least once a month). I'm somewhat familiar with other Germanic magical techniques, even though I may not use them all.



I'm an expert in at least one Germanic magical technique, and perform spells/readings very regularly (at least once a week). I know much of the superstition and lore surrounding other types of magic, even though I may not use them.



Odin and Freyja could take lessons from me!  J


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Mn--attitude towards/experience with magic (non-Germanic techniques)



The same definition of "magic" applies here as for the preceding variable. Subcategories, specialties, and multiple ratings may apply as described above. Available subcategory choices:


*      a--astrology

*      c--channeling/trancework (other than seidhr)

*      d--divination/scrying (by methods not listed here)

*      e--eclectic magic (combining several methods/cultural sources in one spell)

*      f--folk magic from any non-Germanic source (e.g., hoodoo)

*      g--Goetia/demonology (most Enochian magicians would crosslist this category with the next one)

*      h--Hermetic/High Ceremonial magic (as practiced by the Golden Dawn et al.)

*      k--Traditional (non-Hermetic) Kabbalah; this would be rare among Heathens, but a convert from Judaism to Asatru might still know the system

*      l--alchemy

*      m--meditation outside a Heathen religious context

*      s--shamanism as practiced by foreign cultures (e.g., native American), or Michael Harner-style "generic core shamanism"

*      t--tarot (for divination, pathworking, etc.)

*      w--Wiccan-style ceremonial magic

*      y--yoga (includes related Eastern practices such as mantra chanting, chakra-based bodywork, etc.; this category applies only for people using yoga for spiritual reasons, not just as a form of exercise workout!)

*      o--other non-Germanic technique not listed here (may be clarified in parentheses)




I neither know nor care about magical techniques from any non-Germanic culture.



I know of several non-Germanic magical traditions, but not much about any of them--and definitely haven't tried working magic myself.



I'm vaguely familiar with at least one non-Germanic magical tradition, and might have trusted someone to do spells/readings for me long ago; but I still don't try to work magic myself.



I've studied at least one non-Germanic magical tradition, though not in depth; I may be slightly familiar with other, unrelated practices. I may have tried a foreign spell once, years ago--but haven't repeated the experiment since.



I've studied at least one non-Germanic magical tradition in detail, and have some minor experience with other, unrelated practices. I might use a foreign spell from time to time, but not on any regular basis.



I'm fairly well-read in the "conventional" occult, and know about two or three non-Germanic magical traditions in detail; others are moderately familiar to me. I use foreign magical methods frequently



I'm considered an expert in the "conventional" occult--I know four or more non-Germanic magical traditions in detail, and am reasonably familiar with several others. Foreign magical workings are a regular part of my spiritual practice, even though my religion might still be obviously Heathen.


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N--effect of the Internet on Asatru practice



People who have created websites may add (w) to this rating, (wa) if the site actually relates to Asatru.



I don't even have reliable access to a computer; a friend showed me a printout of this code and invited me to rate myself.



I've used the Internet once or twice, but not in a Heathen context.



I use the Internet occasionally, but rarely in a Heathen context; I might have the e-mail addresses of a few Asatru friends, if that counts.



I use the Internet fairly often--sometimes in a Heathen context, sometimes not. I've lurked in a few Asatru-related forums online (mailing lists, chat rooms, etc.)



I use the Internet fairly often, and usually in a Heathen context. I am a regular in at least one Asatru-related forum online, but only as an ordinary member (not a moderator/owner).



I use the Internet daily, and usually in a Heathen context. I moderate/own at least one Asatru-related forum online, and participate regularly in a few others. If I am affiliated with a local kindred, I have probably created their web site, discussion forums, etc.



I spend most of my waking hours net-surfing, creating, and/or moderating Heathen material online. I am probably a system administrator and own the server associated with a nationwide Asatru organization.


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Na--attitude towards assumption of religious names



"Religious name" is defined here as a name assumed specifically for religious reasons, or for use in a ritual context.



Heathens who assume religious names are either living in a fantasy world, or trying to hide some dishonorable motives. Legal name changes are no different--remember David Koresh? If I know a Henry Smith who converted to Asatru and now calls himself Haakon Thorsson, I insist on using the old name no matter what the situation.



Any Heathen who assumes a religious name had better have legal documents to prove that the change is official; I don't mind a Henry Smith becoming Haakon Thorsson, as long as he also uses his new name on his bank account, driver's license and Social Security card.



If a Heathen could get in trouble for using his real name in an Asatru context, and he isn't trying to commit a crime--I see nothing wrong with assuming a religious name unofficially. (Henry Smith writing a rune book under the pen name Haakon Thorsson is acceptable--if the only job Mr. Smith could get is at a Lutheran college, and if being exposed as a Heathen could cost him that job!)



The religious-name issue isn't that important to my Asatru practice, or to which Heathens I trust. If I know that Henry Smith converted and calls himself Haakon Thorsson at rituals, I won't assume he has something to hide without more substantial evidence. However, I'd feel skittish about addressing him as anything but "Henry Smith" in a non-Asatru context.



Heathens who assume religious names (legally or otherwise) usually have legitimate personal reasons for doing that--breaking away from a Christian past, or expressing closeness to their gods and ancestors. As long as a Heathen is honorable and in touch with the reality of present-day secular life, I'll call him by whatever name he chooses and won't question whether that's his "real" one.



Most Heathens who assume religious names (legally or otherwise) are doing the right thing--Odin himself has over two hundred names, after all. I may question the faith of an Asatru friend who keeps an obvious Biblical or non-Germanic name; yet I would probably shrug it off if he were an honest, decent human being.



Assuming a Germanic name should be a requirement of the Asatru religion, even if that name is never used outside ritual. If some other traditional religions have that rule--why not ours?



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Or--involvement with organizations


For the ratings below, "organization" is defined as a formally recognized Asatru religious organization, the equivalent of a denomination/synod in some Christian churches:  an umbrella group with which several kindreds claim affiliation. The name of a specific group (in parentheses) may follow the numerical rating, if necessary. For example, Or5 (Troth) = "I am a nationally prominent member of The Troth", etc.



Organized Heathenry is a terrible idea; I (and my kindred if I've joined one) hate the idea of strangers dictating how people should worship the gods.



I (or my kindred) will attend gatherings sponsored by larger organizations, but still value independence and privacy too much to actually affiliate with one.



Belonging to an organization might have better fringe benefits than a free magazine--but I'd still bide my time and shop around before I signed up.



I am technically listed as a member of an Asatru organization, but don't attend meetings or support them in any other way than paying dues (if they're expected). If there's an affiliated kindred in my area, I may attend their meetings also; however, I don't necessarily follow the "party line" to the letter.



I am an active member of an Asatru organization--voting for board members, coordinating meetings, editing newsletters and so on. Other members can count on me to follow the rules and beliefs of the organization closely.



I lead a regional or national Asatru organization (and may have actually founded it). Duties related to my position take up much of my spare time; other members count on me to follow rules and beliefs to the letter.



I lead an international Asatru organization (and may have actually founded it). Duties related to my position take up much of my spare time; members worldwide count on me to follow rules and beliefs to the letter.


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P--relationship with one or more patron deities



A patron's name, if needed, may follow the rating in parentheses; Heathens who feel equally attracted to two or three deities may list them all, with names separated by slashes. Example of a multiple-patron rating: P4 (Tyr/Odin) = "I feel especially close to both Tyr and Odin, but try to honor the rest of the pantheon equally."



I don't feel close to any Germanic deity.



I honor the Germanic pantheon (or that of a particular Germanic culture) as a whole; no one deity has seemed particularly important so far.



I focus on whichever deity seems to influence my life at the moment, but don't feel attracted to one more than others.



I feel somewhat attracted to _____, but I don't know if our relationship is that close!



I feel very close to _____, but otherwise try to honor the Ćsir and Vanir equally.



I'll deal with deities other than _____ in emergencies or at major festivals, but rarely do so otherwise.



You mean there are other deities besides _____?


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Variables:  Section IV (R-W)



R-- participation in formal rituals



For the ratings below, a "formal Asatru ritual" is defined as any activity arranged with intentions obviously related to the Asatru religion. A blot or sumbel is a "formal ritual"; so is a wedding or funeral led by an Asatru priest. Magical workings and prayers might count, if they're more involved than a quick "Hail Odin" over a beer.



Religious rituals aren't that important to me, even though I still believe the gods exist.



I perform/attend rituals for major holidays (Yule and Midsummer), weddings, and funerals. I might also do it in a serious personal emergency, but not otherwise.



I perform/attend one formal Asatru ritual per month, on average; I'll do so even without an obvious special occasion or emergency.



I perform/attend two formal Asatru rituals per month, on average (as defined above).



I perform/attend one formal Asatru ritual per week, on average (as defined above).



I perform/attend one formal Asatru ritual per day, on average (as defined above).



I arrange routine office work, medical appointments, and major family events around my daily religious schedule.


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Ru--familiarity with runes in a non-magical context



Experience with various futharks (runic alphabets) is indicated by an extra letter in parentheses:


*      a--Armanen (Guido von List's 18-letter variant)

*      e--Elder (Germanic, the basic 24-letter variant)

*      i--Standard International Futhark (modern extension of the Elder Futhark for writing various languages)

*      s--Anglo-Saxon (Old English, 28 to 33-letter variant)

*      y--Younger (Viking Age Scandinavian, 16-letter variant)


As in some other categories, multiple ratings are allowed for different alphabets. Example of a multiple-category rating: Ru3(e)/1(s) = "I have memorized the names, shapes, and order of the Elder Futhark runes--and can use them to write my native language with few problems. I still have trouble with the differences between Elder and Anglo-Saxon runes, however, when such a difference exists."



I usually can't tell one rune from another, unless it looks like a Roman letter.



I can recognize a few staves that don't look like Roman letters already, and might know their names.



I've memorized the futhark in order, know what the rune-names mean, and can write a few simple words.



I can read and write longer inscriptions in runes, if they're done in a modern language.



I have memorized more than one version of the futhark, and at least one of the traditional rune poems. I can puzzle out runic inscriptions in older languages.



I have memorized all of the traditional rune poems, and can write my own inscriptions in an ancient language.



Sometimes I need to remind myself that the English alphabet has 26 letters, and that "A" is the first one.  J


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S--wearing/displaying Asatru symbols (Thor's hammer, runic tattoos/jewelry, etc.)



Specific types of religious symbols may be indicated by extra letters:


*      a--animal imagery (boars for Freyr, wolves/ravens for Odin, etc.)

*      h--hammer

*      p--pictures/sculpted images of deities

*      s--swastika/sunwheel

*      v--valknut (intertwined triangles used as an emblem of Odin)

*      r--rune(s) (single staves and bind-runes both count here)

*      w--weapon imagery other than the hammer (bow for Ullr, spear for Odin, etc.)

*      o--other Heathen symbols not specified above (any other image/design with a specific Heathen meaning--e.g., a ship or bare footprint for Njord)




Displaying a symbol of my religion isn't important to me at all.


I wear Asatru symbols only for rituals, and even then I keep them very low-key.


I wear a small symbol in public, in a place where most people can't see it (for example, a hammer pendant under a shirt).


I wear a symbol openly in public, but nothing too huge or gaudy.


I wear several Asatru symbols in public, but they still don't attract too much attention.


I wear enough Asatru jewelry and/or tattoos to make crowds stare at me on the street.


My collection of symbols sets off metal detectors at the airport before I walk through!


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T--attitudes toward tradition vs. innovation




Of course Odin is real--but the Eddas describe him all wrong!


Tradition is much less important than doing what feels right; I improvise rituals off-the-cuff, and tend to visualize the gods in modern settings/garb. (For example: Odin wearing a dark-blue leather biking jacket, and riding a gray motorcycle.)


I include a few traditional elements for the sake of keeping an Asatru feel in my religion, but see no reason for enslaving myself to history. People and cultures change; the Norsemen didn't pretend to be cave-dwelling hunter/gatherers to honor their ancestors! As long as modern practices continue the basic idea behind older ones, my faith is legitimately Asatru.


I include traditional elements when they seem workable, yet I see nothing wrong with common innovations (hammer-hallowing sacred space, blessing modern occupational tools at "Charming of the Plow" ceremonies). Even if the lore never mentions those practices, they have still become part of Asatru today.


I try hard to keep my tools, words and actions historically accurate, though I don't mind a few innovations consistent with the lore. (No evidence for hammer-hallowing a sacred space in the hammer-hallowing at the ritual.) I will speak my native language in ritual, but use as many Germanic terms as possible (and compose period-style poetry if I can).


I perform all rituals entirely in an ancient language (Old Norse, Anglo-Saxon, etc.), with period tools and garb. I refuse to include any words, objects or actions which aren't attested in the lore. However, I still live my secular life in the 21st century C.E.


I have joined/formed an intentional community of Heathens, who live as close to my chosen culture's lifestyle as our location and resources allow: no electricity, period garb even outside ritual, making our own tools, growing or hunting our own food. I follow the lore in all aspects of my life, as long as it doesn't violate modern laws in my country (no human sacrifices, exposure of deformed children, etc.). Obviously, a less-traditional friend showed me a printout of this code and invited me to rate myself.


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To--Tolerance of non-Asatru religions (outside personal practice)



This variable is distinct from the "eclecticism/mixed pantheon" rating above: it measures acceptance of non-Asatru practices by others in their own rituals, as long as those "others" don't try to mix their beliefs with Asatru.



I go out of my way to harass members of non-Asatru religions even when I'm not provoked, and openly mock their beliefs whenever I can. If I'm online, several Christian/Wiccan/other non-Heathen forums have banned me as a troublemaker (and the regulars may have even notified my ISP). Offline, I may have gone to court for heckling or physically attacking street preachers.



I'm visibly annoyed whenever non-Asatru acquaintances begin discussing their religion, and often get into heated arguments as a result. I'd stop short of physical violence or any activity that could land me in legal trouble, though.



I'm mildly upset whenever non-Asatru acquaintances begin discussing their religion, and occasionally turn social chats into theological debates (whether or not I'd meant to do that). Even when religion isn't mentioned or displayed openly, I tend to act cold and aloof around people whom I know aren't Heathen. When guests at an Asatru gathering tell crude jokes about other religions, chances are good that I'll join in--but I won't repeat them to the general public.



I'm fairly neutral towards members of other religions, as long as they treat me respectfully and don't try to proselytize. If they go too far (preaching repeatedly to me after I've politely asked them to stop), I may get upset and defend myself--though not with physical violence.



I have a few good friends who practice other religions, and enjoy discussing their beliefs occasionally; online, I may be a regular in one or more interfaith discussion forums. As long as no one forces their beliefs on me in some extreme way--such as yanking a disabled person from a wheelchair for an unwanted "faith healing"--I can get along well with almost anyone.



I occasionally feel closer to my non-Heathen friends than my Heathen ones; hearing people belittle Christians, Wiccans, or other "outsiders" in an Asatru setting often upsets me. I've sometimes joined an argument to defend a non-Heathen whose beliefs are being mocked--online or off. Only extreme fanatical behavior by people in "outside" religions disturbs me; even then, I usually write off the fanatics as bad examples of whichever faith they claim to practice.



I have made a point of befriending people with as many different belief systems as possible; even though I myself may be devoutly Heathen, I think every religion includes at least some ideas worth pondering. Interfaith discussions have helped me learn to accept other people's beliefs and question some assumptions that the Asatru community has made. Only extreme fanatical behavior by people in "outside" religions disturbs me; even then, I usually write off the fanatics as bad examples of whichever faith they claim to practice.


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W--involvement with wights/"lesser" spirits


For this rating, the term "wight" is defined as a supernatural being (such as personal ancestors, house-guardians and nature-spirits) whose power and status rank below those of the gods.



I don't like the idea of a hundred minor beings distracting me from the gods. The lore may say that elves, ghosts, and such exist--but they aren't really an active part of my religion.



I acknowledge the ancestors and the house-ghosts at a few major festivals, and might honor a nature spirit if I visited an extremely important holy site (e.g., Gamla Uppsala or Thingvellir). Otherwise, the wights seldom hear from me.



I have left offerings for the ghost of a close relative or a house-guardian occasionally, even when the place and time weren't that special--but it hasn't really become a habit.



I know a few distant ancestral ghosts and/or local nature spirits extremely well, and acknowledge them regularly (once a week or so). The gods still come first for me, though...


I have a shrine set up (complete with appropriate images) for my ancestors and/or the house-guardian, and make offerings there daily. I usually bring a gift for the nature spirits when I visit wild places outdoors, and try to leave their "homes" neat and clean afterwards.


My ancestors and the local spirits actually feel more real--closer to my daily life--than the gods themselves. I honor several of them daily, and keep multiple shrines at home (ancestors in the house, a gnome in the garden, etc.)



Not only do the wights feel closer to me than the gods--dozens of them seem to inhabit my house and neighborhood, and I treat most of them as good friends (except the pesky one who steals socks from the dryer!).


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Code Modifiers


Like the original Geek Code, the Asatru Code uses symbols to give more accurate information about someone's rating in a category. The following modifier symbols may appear in the Asatru Code:




I usually fit the description for an X1 rating, but my opinions/practices can vary as far as X3. (Example: R1(3) = "I may do rituals as often as twice a month, if I have the time and money; otherwise I seldom do them.")


Note:  This interpretation applies only to numbers in parentheses with no other words nearby; if a set of parentheses contains letters or a word, it usually means "more specific information here".  For instance, the "P5(Freyr)" rating in my own code specifies which deity is my patron.


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I fit the description for an X1 rating, but want to qualify for X3. (Example: L1>3 = "Just give me a decent translation of the Eddas, and I'm willing to study my butt off!")


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I used to qualify for an X3 rating, but now qualify for an X1. (Example: R1<3 = "I've almost given up participating in formal Asatru rituals, even though I used to do them about twice a month.")


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[email protected]

My opinions/practices related to X vary so much, I can't even give a definite range of ratings. (Example: [email protected] = "I'm aware of the Folkish/Universalist split, but don't know where I stand myself.")


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More than one interest applies to me in this category; used with those that offer multiple sub-categories. (Example: CSV/AS(L) = "My Asatru practices draw mostly on Viking Age Scandinavia, but I acknowledge some Anglo-Saxon influence and have even studied Old English.")


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I never even heard of X, so how can I have an opinion about it? (Example: Ru? = "Runes? What are THOSE?")


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X really isn't an issue in my life or my religious practices; why should I have an opinion about it?!? (Example:  !K = "There is no kindred near my area; I'm a solitary Heathen because I have no other choice. ")


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I'm getting paid because of my involvement with X. (Example: B4$ = "I write/review scholarly books on Germanic religion and collect royalties for doing it.")


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All of the available subcategories in X apply to me, and have roughly the same rating. (Example: Mn3+ = "I've dabbled in every non-Germanic magical technique listed here, but wouldn't do it on a regular basis now.") This could be combined with the XA/B modifier, if only one or two exceptions have a different rating. (Example: M3+/5(r) = "I'm darn good at runecraft and carve talismans regularly; I accept other Germanic magical practices as valid and have had people do non-runic spells, but not studied them in-depth myself.")


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