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Asatru is religion dedicated to the gods of the norse pantheon. The religion's name is the combination of two words, Asa (Refering to the aesir) and Tru (Faith). It means "The faith in the asa-gods"


See the main article on Odinism.

History

Asatru or Ásatrú is an Icelandic word which is a translation of the Danish word "Asetro." Asetro was "first seen in 1885 in an article in the periodical "Fjallkonan". The next recorded instance was in "Heiðinn siður á Íslandi" ("Heathen traditions in Iceland.") by Ólafur Briem (Reykjavík, 1945)." It means "belief in the Asir," the Gods. "Asatru" is a combination of "Asa" which is the possessive case of the word Æsir (Aesir) and "Tru" which means belief or religion.

Throughout Scandinavia the religion is called Forn Siðr (which means the Ancient way or tradition), Forn sed (the Old custom), Nordisk sed (Nordic custom), or Hedensk sed (Pagan custom). Other names are Odinism, Heathenism, Germanic Heathenism, the Elder Troth, the Old Way, Asatro, Vor Si r (our way), Forn Si r (Ancient way), Forn sed (the old custom), Nordisk sed (Nordic custom), or Hedensk sed (Pagan custom), Odinism or Folkish Ásatrú.

The religion's origin is lost in antiquity. At its peak, it covered all of Northern Europe. Countries gradually converted to Christianity. In 1000 CE, Iceland became the second last Norse culture to convert. Their prime motivation was economic. Sweden was ruled by a Pagan king until 1085 CE.

Icelandic poet Gothi Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson promoted government recognition of Asatru as a legitimate religion; this status was granted in 1972. Since the early 1970's, the religion has been in a period of rapid growth in the former Norse countries, as well as in Europe and North America.

Asatru Beliefs

Asatru is the native central and northern European polytheistic religion. It is an ethnic religion. There are three races of Deities in the Norse pantheon. They are all regarded as living entities who are involved in human life: The Aesir: These are the Gods of the tribe or clan, representing Kingship, order, craft, etc.

The Vanir: These represent the fertility of the earth and forces of nature. They are associated with the clan.

The Jotuns: These are giants whom most of them are in a constant state of war with the Aesir. They represent Forces uncontrolled and foreign to the Aesir and Man. At the battle of Ragnarok, many of the Gods will die, the world will come to an end and be reborn. Specific Gods: Some of the more important are: Thor is the Thunderer, who wields Mjolnir, the divine Hammer. His chariot racing across the sky generates thunder. Thursday (Thor's Day) was named after him.

Odin is the one-eyed God; he gave up one of his eyes in order to drink from the Mimisbrunnr (The Well of Mimir). He is a magician. He learned the secrets of the runes (Northern European alphabet) by hanging himself on the tree Yggdrasil for nine nights.

Frey (a.k.a. Freyr) is the God of fertility, the weather and farming. He was born on the Winter Solstice, typically December 21. His father was Njord. Specific Goddesses: Some important ones are: Freya (aka Freyja) is the Goddess of love, beauty and sexuality, and perhaps a dozen other attributes. She leads the Valkyries who take the souls of slain soldiers to Valhall (Odin's great hall).She is also the sister of Frey.

Frigg is Odin's wife. Her name has been secularized to a slang term which refers to sexual intercourse. She is the patroness of the household and of married women.

Skadi is the Goddess of independence, death, hunting and skiing. Scandinavia was named after her; the English words shadow, skullduggery and shade came from her name.

Heimdall is the God with one ear, like Odin he gave up one of his ears in order to drink from the Well. He is the guardian of Bifrost and he stands ready to sound the horn that announces Rangnarok has come and he is believed to be the God who came to Midgard as Rig.

Tyr is the God with one hand. He lost his hand to the wolf Fenris sacrificing his hand so that Fenris would be bound. He is known to be the God of War, Victory and Justice.

Aegir is not a God but a Jotun. Not all Jotun's are necessarily against the Aesir. Same like Mimir and Aegir are somewhat friendly to the Gods as Skadi being the daughter of a giantess is also a Jotun who was married into the family of gods.

Njord is the Father of Frey and Freyja, he was at one time married to Skadi but they later parted due to distance.

Forseti is the God of law. He resides in Glitnir (Shining Halls) he is the Son of Balder and he resolves all disputes between the gods.

Other Entities Other Deities are Balder, Bragi, Loki, Ran, Ull and Vidar.

Followers of Asatru also honor the Landvaettir (land spirits) of the forest, earth and streams.

Ethics

Asatruars follow Nine Noble Virtues: Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Industriousness, Self-Reliance and Perseverance. The family is greatly valued and honored. They reject any form of discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation

Origins of the Human Race

Three brothers, Odin, Vili, and Ve created people from two trees and gave them the names Ask and Embla. One deity, Rig visited the earth and established the social classes intermingling with the Europeans and thus those of central and northern European descent have lineage to Rig and a link to the Aesir.

Origin of the Cosmos

A poem Voluspa (Prophecy of the Seeress) contains an Asatru story of the creation of the universe. Between Muspelheim (The Land of Fire) and Niflheim the Land of Ice was an empty space called Ginnungigap. The fire and ice moved towards each other; when they collided, the universe came into being. Odin, Vili and Ve later created the world from the body of a giant that they had slain.

After death: Those who die in battle will be carried to Valhalla by the Valkyries. There they will eat Saehrimnir (a pig that is daily slaughtered and resurrected) with the Gods. The Goddess Hela (who's name has been borrowed by Christians) rules over dishonorable people (oath breakers) and those who die ingloriously of old age. Niflhel is the the abode for all others.

The End of the World

The end of the world: Ragnarok (a.k.a. Ragnarøkkr, Ragnarøk, Ragnarok; literally the fate of the Gods) is the anticipated apocalypse. It involves a great battle between the Gods and the Jötnar -- a race of giants with superhuman strength. Unlike Revelation in the Christian Scriptures, prophecies of Ragnarök are very specific: the events leading up to the battle, the timing of the battle, who will kill whom, etc. are all known. Wolves will eat the sun and moon. The stars will stop shining. Mountains will fall; trees will be uprooted; "Fumes will reek and flames will burst, scorching the sky with fire. The earth will sink into the sea." Most of the Gods will die. Only one woman and one man, Lifthrasir and Lif, will survive. Their offspring will eventually repopulate the world and live in peace.


See Also

References

Chadwick, H. M. The Cult of Othin. Cambridge, 1899.

Coulter, James Hjuka. Germanic Heathenry. 2003. ISBN 1410765857

Gundarsson, Kvedulf. Our Troth. 2006. ISBN 1419635980

Hollander, Lee M. The Poetic Edda. Austin, 1986. ISBN 0292764995

Mirabello, Mark. The Odin Brotherhood. 5th edition. Oxford, England, 2003. ISBN 1869928717

Mortensen, Karl. A Handbook of Norse Mythology. 2003. ISBN 048643219X

Paxson, Diana L. Essential Asatru. 2006. ISBN 0806527080

Puryear, Mark. The Nature of Asatru. 2006. ISBN 0595389643

Viktor Rydberg's "Teutonic Mythology: Gods and Goddesses of the Northland" e-book

Shetler, Greg. Living Asatru. 2003. ISBN 1591099110

Storyteller, Ragnar. Odin's Return. Payson,Arizona, 1995. (pdf. file of a novella based on the Odin Brotherhood story)

Sturluson, Snorri. Ynglinga Saga.

Sturluson, Snorri. Prose Edda. Mineola, New York, 2006. ISBN 0486451518

Teachings of the Odin Brotherhood Portland, nd. pdf file

This Is Odinism. 1974. ISBN 095046130X

Titchenell, Elsa-Brita. The Masks of Odin: Wisdom of the Ancient Norse

Wodanson, Edred. Asatru-The Hidden Fortress. Parksville, BC, Canada, 2005.

Yeowell, John. Book of Blots. 1991. ISBN 0950461350

Odin Rite Flyer

The Library of Odinism and Asatru (pdf. files)

Exernal Links

Some Videos on Asatru/Odinism

Asatru Library (German)

Asatru Art (german)

Odinism/Asatru Library (pdf files)

List of Some Asatru/Odinist Organizations in the World

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