Asatru FAQ by Wodansdag - Wodens Kindred: http://www.bcsupernet.com/users/wodan/outreach/index.htm
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
How do I join, or become part of Asatru...?
What is the difference between “Asatru” and “Odinism”?
Why are the years stated as being 2250 RE, 2251 RE...?
In “The Thirteenth Warrior”, there is a very moving prayer...
Are there “Holy” days of celebration and Feasting...?
If this was the religion of my pre-Christian Ancestors...?
What is Asatru's position concerning the attack on the WTC...?
I've sent several e-mails...How come no one has answered...?
How can I help?
Q. How do I join, or become part of the Asatru or Odinist Religion and movement?
A. There are several methods and steps, and many opinions on the matter. Actually anyone who self-professes to be a follower of the old pre-Christian gods of Europe, is considered to be a member of our Ancestral Religion, in the opinion of many Folk. Some believe that just being born into our European race, automatically includes an individual as a member of our Ancestral Religion, whether they know it or not. Some prefer a more specific indication of their participation, and join a formal Asatru or Odinist organization. There are various Asatru / Odinist groups to choose from, with varying degrees of participation and commitment. Still others believe that an individual wishing to become part of this ancient cause must participate in a Rite of Profession , performed by a recognized and experienced member of the Gothar (Asatru/Odinist Priests). In this sacred rite the individual confirms their absolute devotion to the old ways and gods in front of witnesses. One can also perform this Rite on him or her self, with the help of an Asatru or Odinist book on the subject. Most active members of Asatru wear a Thor's Hammer pendant around their neck to indicate to the world their commitment, belief, and heritage. They usually also own many books on the subject, which they have read thoroughly.
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Q. What is the difference between “Asatru” and “Odinism”?
A. Asatru is a specific name used by the ancient residents of Iceland and parts of Scandinavia (it literally means to be loyal to one's Ancestral gods). When Christianity began to make inroads in their country, many Icelanders adopted this name as a way to separate themselves from the Christians. These ancient residents of Iceland came from various locations in Northern and Western Europe, and are therefore our ancient cousins. In the late 1960's Asatru experienced a rebirth in Iceland, and has since become one of the two officially recognized religions of that country. At the same time (late '60s, early '70s) in both the U.S. and Europe many hearty souls were awakening to the ancient call of their Ancestral gods and goddesses. Some adopted the name Asatru to identify their beliefs, while others used the name Odinism . Many believe that the two names are interchangeable, while others disagree. It has been noted by some writers on the subject that Asatruar (followers of Asatru) seem to be more spiritually oriented, while Odinists seem to be more political in their activities. While this does hold true in some cases, it cannot be applied to all. There are several Odinist organizations that have no political interests, whatsoever. At the same time their are many Folk who go by the name Asatruar, and are very political. All of this said, it is true that a large number of Odinists believe that the various gods and goddesses of the Northern pantheon are simply representations of the various aspects of Nature. Whereas, most Asatruar believe that while this Nature-aspect is true, in another sense the gods are also real spiritual beings, with unique lives separate from this Earth (i.e. in Asgard). Generally speaking, Asatruar and Odinists work together, no matter the specific details of their individual beliefs, to further this Cause.
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Q. Why are the years stated as being 2250 RE, 2251 RE, 2252 RE, etc.?
A. Several decades ago some of the modern-day “founding” Asatruar and Odinists got together and decided that we needed our own Teutonic calendar system— one that would better reflect our Heathen beliefs. Why would we in Asatru/Odinism, they argued, follow a Christian-based calendar, when we are not followers of that foreign religion from the East? The Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, etc., have their own calendar system, so why not us? At the time of this decision the oldest Runic artifact discovered in Europe had been dated to 250 years before Christ. So they chose that date as the time when Odin revealed the Runes to our race (the beginning of this current Era), and counted that as year “0”, hence the “RE” stands for Runic Era. Since then there have been archeological discoveries that place some of the Runes in use by our Ancestors thousands of years earlier. However, for the sake of unity and solidarity the Asatruar and Odinists of today (most of them) have decided to adhere to this original date. It would serve no one if we were constantly changing the date, based on the latest archeological discovery.
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Q. In a recent movie, The Thirteenth Warrior , there is a very moving prayer said before battle. Does this prayer come from the writings of Asatru or Odinism?
A. No, the prayer used in the movie, The Thirteenth Warrior, comes from the imagination of the script writer. However it does reflect, in some ways, the feelings and motivations of our ancient, Ancestral Religion. The closest thing that we have to an ancient “Holy Book” (where similar words can be found), is the Poetic Edda , and more specifically, Havamal (the Sayings of Har), wherein Odin speaks directly to us, through the hand of some ancient cousin/writer. There are many ancient stories and Eddas, which form the basis of our Ancestral Religion. They are available today through various books and publications, however the exact prayer in The Thirteenth Warrior is not amongst them.
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Q. Are there “Holy” days of celebration and feasting that should be observed within Asatru / Odinism?
A. Yes there are Blots, Feasts, and Sumbles* that should be celebrated, as was the custom of our ancient Ancestors. The Asatrú Calendar that follows will work for any given year. These are the dates observed by members of Wodan's Kindred and others of the Asatrú Community throughout Vinland and Europe. Some Feast Days may be observed on the nearest Saturday or Sunday to the actual observance. However, Ostara, Midyear, Winter Finding, and Mother Night, should be observed on the exact dates because of their solar alignments. Asatru is a pragmatic religion, that is without a doubt. If you cannot observe a particular Blot on the actual day, due to work, family obligations, etc., then move it to the nearest weekend— remembering that this move should be viewed as the exception, rather than the rule.
(Suggested readingby the Pagan Identity Movement is the Asatru Calander)
||Thorrablot (Sacred to Thorr)
||Feast of Vali (Sacred to Vali)
||High Feast of Ostara (Sacred to Ostara, Freya, Frigga)
||Sigrblot - First Day of Summer in old Calendar (Sacred to Odin)
||Frigga Blot (Sacred to Frigga)
||Midsummer (Sacred to Balder)
||Founder's Day (Remembrance of Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson and A. Rudd Mills)
||Freyfaxi - First Harvest Feast (Sacred to Freyr)
||Winter Finding - Second Harvest Feast (Sacred to Odin)
||Winter Nights - First Day of Winter in Old Calendar (Sacred to Freya and Ancestors)
||Feast of Ullr - Post Hunting Feast (Sacred to Ullr)
||Mother Night - Beginning of New Year (Sacred to Thorr, Freyr and Odin)
*To learn more about Blots, Feasts, and Sumbles, read “A Way of Wyrd” , available in the Catalog .
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Q. If this truly was the religion of my ancient pre-Christian European Ancestors, how come I've never heard of it before?
A. To put it quite simply, the Christian Church did everything within its power to completely and utterly destroy and remove our Ancestral Faith from the landscape of Europe, many centuries ago. The actions of such murderers as Charlemagne (revered by the Christians) who tricked and assassinated thousands of the Gothar (similar to the priesthood, but Heathen), under a flag of truce, were by themselves only partially effective. But when combined with the confiscation of lands, refusal to trade with, and outright warring on any Heathen tribe or nation, it becomes quite obvious why many descendants of the ancient Europeans have never heard of their Religious Birthright. Today most children in North America will learn of the Ancestral Faiths of ancient Greece, Rome, and even Japan, but not of Northern, Western, and Eastern Europe. There has been a deliberate and brutal attempt to quash any memory of this ancient Faith since about 1,000 AD. Unlike other cultures (Japan for instance, where their Ancestral Faith is highly respected), there was in Europe and North America (and there still is), an incessant mocking and belittling of our European Ancestral gods and Faith, in favor of the foreign god and religion from the east. But the reality that this web site exists (along with hundreds of others), the ever-growing list of published books on the subject, and the existence of thousands of Asatru/Odinist Kindreds across North America, Australia, and Europe, proves the staying power of our Ancestral Memory within the hearts and souls of our race. The fact that Asatru / Odinism is today the fastest growing religion amongst white inmates incarcerated within the U.S. State and Federal Prison Systems (according to a statement by the FBI in 1999), says a lot. So although you may have never heard of it before— you've heard of it now!
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Q. What is Asatru's position concerning the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?
A. September 12, 2001 CE . Based on the teachings of our Ancestral Religion, these were the acts of cowards and murderers. Declaring war on an enemy and openly engaging in battle is a natural and acceptable part of Asatru. However, the cowardly act of ambush and terrorism is the act of “murder”, according to the ancient Sagas and Eddas of our Folk, which is punishable by the declaration of the perpetrator(s) as “outlaw(s)”. Meaning that their own person(s) are now outside the protection of the law, and they can be killed without recompense to their relatives or descendants. In other words, unless some tremendous payment is made (by the terrorists) to compensate for the lives of the thousands killed in that despicable act (no such payment is imaginable!), the perpetrators (which may include their families, comrades, friends, well-wishers, etc.) must be hunted down and executed. Otherwise, everything and everyone involved remain in a perpetual state of imbalance (chaos), which can only lead to additional disaster for all concerned. The U.S. Government must act directly and decisively in this matter— as Odin says in Havamal: “Fall on your enemies straightway!”
The above answer is based strictly on the act of “ambush”, and does not take into account the politics or motives behind it. As always, we strive to keep our Ancestral Religion free of political bias and involvement. Some Asatruar and Odinists may not agree with our stance, and that is certainly understandable— we are not “sheep”!
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Q. I've sent you several e-mails with important questions. How come no one has answered me?
A. Due to changes within the Kindred, we are no longer able to answer individual e-mails. However, this web site remains as an introduction to Asatru and Odinism. Answers to questions not covered on this web site will have to be sought elsewhere. There are hundreds of books on the subject and hundreds of web sites. The serious investigator should be able to discover all they need to know through diligent and devoted research. Our Wodanesdag Press Catalog is still in business, and many of the answers sought may be available there through our books, etc.
to the top Q. How can I help?
A. If you find this site and its contents to be useful,
you can provide support by visiting our Catalog .
Or click here to learn more about us and our deeds.
to the top Suggested reading as a general introduction to Asatru / Odinism: the World Tree , by Edred Wodanson, published by Wodanesdag Press (see the catalog section of this WebSite).