Have a burning question about Asatru and Germanic/Norse reconstructive paganism? Ask it here.
Do you “come from the land of the ice and snow, with the midnight sun, where the hotsprings blow?”… I love that song.
I come from the American South, but my parents are Icelandic, so sort of?
If you’re from south of the Mason-Dixon line, my guess is you weren’t brought up in the Asatru tradition…?
You are going to have to excuse me, but I have never even heard of asatru. How did you come across it and what made it so compelling to you that you said “this is what I believe?”
Thanks for taking the time to answer my question.
I was raised Asatru, actually. My parents became Asatru in the 70s when the modern movement was first getting started, so I’m part of the first generation of adults since then who have never been anything but.
For me, personally, I’ve chosen to stay Asatru because I believe very strongly in the moral ideals contained within the faith and because I personally feel a strong connection with my ancestors.
I was actually. My parents moved here from Iceland in the 80s. They were some of the first Asatruar in the US.
Have you had any spiritual experiences with your Deities that point to their existence for you?
How do you worship them?
This is the first time I’ve met a second generation neo-pagan (as far I know). Interesting…Do you view the gods as dieties, or as symbols, or maybe symbolic aspects of one god?
Asatruar generally don’t expect a lot of one-on-one interaction with their deities. For us, the gods are primarily concerned with running the Universe and combating chaotic forces that would harm the world rather than with specific mortal lives and concerns. The land-wight spirits and our dead ancestors generally fill that need, as they have specific reasons to be concerned with us. There are always exceptions. Personally, there was one instance in which I felt like I received divine aid directly from a god. I am particularly devoted to Tyr, who is the god of justice and righteous might, and a situation arose (it would be a rather long story, so I won’t tell the whole thing) in which I had to step in and defend my younger brother from someone who was going to hurt him. The attacker backed down, even though he could definitely have badly hurt me. I feel like because I was willing to put my safety on the line for my brother, Tyr aided me.
How do you worship them?
Modern Asatruar believe that we worship the gods best with our deeds, by being honorable and virtuous and competent, in the same way that children honor their parents by being well-behaved. Beyond that, we have a tradition of “gifting”, which is basically the idea that if someone gives you something, you should give them something in return as a token of friendship. This extends to the gods as well, so we have a ceremony called a blott. Traditionally, an animal that has been well cared for is sacrificed in honor of the god or gods who are the focus of the blott, and then the meat is ritually consumed by the participants. More commonly now, especially in the US, a horn of mead is passed around with everyone making a toast to the greatness of the specified god, after which a quantity of the mead is poured out as a libation.
In general, most Asatruar are hard polytheists, in that we believe that the gods are individual deities and not all facets of the same basic divine being or symbolic, etc. That’s probably one of the major divisions between us and the rest of the neo-paganisms, such as Wicca. There are a few Germanic pagan groups that see the gods more as Jungian archetypes, but it’s not really a common belief.
And what’s it like being Asatru in the South? seeing as how it makes up a big portion of the Bible Belt.
It’s interesting. lol Being any kind of non-Christian in the South can get pretty dicey when the subject of religion comes up. For instance, during my Jr. year in high school, there was a big flap about prayer in schools, as that’s when the state ruling came down that officially led school prayer was no longer allowed. Our school kept quietly allowing teachers to let a student to say a prayer outloud in the morning during homeroom. I had kept my religion pretty quiet up until that point because it just didn’t seem worth the hassle, but to point out the flaw in this system, I volunteered to say the prayer one morning and recited Sigdrifa’s prayer to the Aesir. Then when the teacher tried to make an issue out of it later, I told her that I was more than willing to talk to both the principle and the ACLU about it, and the matter was dropped. Right afterwards, it was announced that we would all be having a “moment of silence” in the morning.
Most Asatru feel bound by honor to defend themselves and their folk, so when someone tries to make an issue out of my religion, I try to deescalate the situation, but if they keep trying I have no qualms about taking appropriate action.
Re post #10:
Have you sacrificed any animals lately?
Is that legal in your state?
What are your views on the afterlife?
Have you ever heard of St.Boniface?
He lived in the 7th Century and wanted everyone to have the opportunity to know about and love Jesus and his Church. He became a missionary to the western part of Germany. Pope St. Gregory XI blessed him and sent him on this mission. Boniface preached with great success. He was gentle and kind. He was also a man of great courage. Once, to prove that the pagan gods were false, he did a bold thing. There was a certain huge oak tree called the “oak of Thor.” The pagans believed it was sacred to their gods. In front of a large crowd, Boniface struck the tree a few times with an axe. The big tree crashed. The pagans realized that their gods were false when nothing happened to Boniface.
He proved way back then that the pagan gods are powerless!
I visited my parent’s kindred for Midsummer in June, so that would have been the last time I participated in a blood blott. In that instance, it was a blott to Thor.
Is that legal in your state?
Yes. Ritual slaughter is always legal as long as it’s done humanely and the method of killing the animal in Asatru ritual slaughter is very quick relatively similar to what a farmer would do if he were killing one of his livestock for his own use. The only real difference is that an Asatruar dedicates the animals death to a god, goddess, or other divine being and reserves a little bit of the blood for ritual use. Generally, the reserved blood is asperged or sprinkled over the assembled group as a blessing and poured out in honor of the gods. Then the meat is butchered, cooked, and consumed, with portions being left out in a sacred place for the gods and the Earth.
What are your views on the afterlife?
Most Asatru believe that the soul has different parts. Part of your soul may remain in the land where you lived as a landwight. Part of your soul will be incorporated and reborn back into your line of descendants. Depending on how you lived your life, how you died, and whether you had a particular connection to a specific deity, the part of the soul that is most similar to what Christians seem to think of as the soul can go to one of several places. We believe that fallen warriors who have been honorable in life (soldiers, policemen, firemen, basically anyone who dies violently in pursuit of a good cause) will go to either Odinn’s hall Valhalla or the Freya’s realm Folkvangr. Interestingly, though Odinn is the chief god of war, Freya, the goddess of love and female fertility, gets the first pick of those who have been slain. Since I’m a devotee of Tyr, I hope to be taken into Tyr’s realm when I die. Those who have drowned go to the goddess Rann. Everyone else goes to Hel.
Hel is not like the Christian Hell. Essentially, in Hel, you are confronted with your true nature and the truth of your life in the mortal realm. If you were dishonest and dishonorable in life, you will not be able to justify or rationalize that to yourself or anyone else in Hel, and that’s what you will have to live with until the end of the world. If you were mostly good and honorable, then being in Hel is basically like a shadowy version of being alive. You will be able to commune with your ancestors and keep an eye on your descendants. We believe that our ancestors hear and respond to our prayers and that they can influence our luck and fate for good or bad.
All religions tend to spin stories to accommodate the position they wanted the audience to reach to begin with.
Modern Asatru don’t believe that the gods protect specific trees or shrines. They have better things to do. Those objects are there and are revered because many humans need a tangible focus to concentrate their minds on, much the same as Christians sometimes have a crucifix in their house or church. Would anyone stop believing in God because someone came in and broke up their crucifix? I have a god pole in my back yard. If someone came back and chopped it up, I would think they were rude and report them to the police for destroying property, I wouldn’t doubt my god for not striking that person dead. The god pole doesn’t have any power or significance beyond its role as a reminder and a focus for my devotion.
The Christian God did nothing to those who slew His Son in a horrific fashion. Are we to conclude that the Christian God is also powerless?
What about after the end of the world? What’s Asatru eschatology like?
He resurrected him _ that’s good enough for me!! Actually I think Herod did suffer a horrible death, and look what happened to Judas!!