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Wayfarer
Thursday, December 1st, 2005, 10:54 PM
How appropriate to folk here is the term "Asatru" concerning the indigenous faith of the Germanic Folk?
Literally Asatru means belief or faith in the Aesir. It appears it also has a generic meaning applying to all the Gods in general, including the Vanir Gods as well as the Aesir Gods.

Yet by naming the faith after the Aesir, even if it does also include the Vanir, it can imply there is a tendency towards favouring the Aesir over the Vanir Gods.

Asatru isnt the standard name for Germanic Folk beliefs as there are other Heathens who call themselves by other names, who feel the term Asatru is not fitting.

Other terms that are used:

Heathen which means dweller on the heath. It also has a meaning of wildness. Unlike Asatru and other names it isnt a recently coined name. Other Germanic languages also have a form of the name. Although there is negative conotations to the word heathen, a result of judaeo christianity, i dont feel it is as negative as, for example Paganism. Personally i favour this name.

Forn Sed is a term used mostly in Scandinavian countries or variants of it. Meaning old or ancient customs. Although it is a Scandinavian word, Old English has Fyrnsidu which has the same meaning.

Theodism is another one i like. Its meaning is Folkish, coming from the Old English žéod meaning tribe or folk. Its related to Deutsch and Diets.

There are other names such as Odinism, Norse Tradition, Vanatru etc but i think they have too narrow a meaning.

I'd like to hear the opinions of what other folk here have on this matter.

CountBloodSpawn
Friday, December 2nd, 2005, 03:29 AM
I call myself heathen because I recognize all the nordic gods as either facets of the collective soul of our tribes and people or of the primordial elements, not just one tradition or a few of them

Blutwölfin
Friday, December 2nd, 2005, 12:06 PM
I call myself Įsatrśar sincee I belileve in the Norse Gods, the Ęsir. I also do believe in the Vanir, but they're not "my" Gods.

I don't call myself "Heathen" or "Pagan" for I have a specific faith, the faith of the Norse; "Heathen" or "Pagan" is too general; Wiccan people use this term and I really can't link myself with them.

By being an Įsatrśar I am automatically daticated to forn sišr, the ancient customs of my folk.

Theodism is not my faith for I don't feel any connection with the Anglo Saxon deities and customs.

Actually Įsatrś is a quite new word; it was first mentioned in 1885. The original term might have been something completely different.

Wayfarer
Saturday, December 3rd, 2005, 12:55 AM
I'm glad to see you have a great deal of clarity with your beliefs. Its very important to have a clear idea of what it is you believe in, otherwise it makes difficult to outwardly express your faith and it becomes nothing more than just a hobby or a fantasy.


I call myself Įsatrśar sincee I belileve in the Norse Gods, the Ęsir. I also do believe in the Vanir, but they're not "my" Gods.
Asatru would obviously fit those who are true to the Aesir like you have said.
What do you think of folk who worship both the Aesir and Vanir without any bias to either of the Gods yet still call themselfs Asatruar? Do you think it would still be correct?

The Vanir Gods are connected with fertility and the land and seas wheras the Aesir Gods with war. You say you believe in the Vanir but they arent your Gods, can you please elaborate a bit on what you mean by that?

Some people believe that the Aesir are above the Vanir in a hierarchy of sorts however tha Vanir are still Gods. Others might pick and choose their Gods in a Wiccan sort of way.

Some scholars believe the Vanir were pre indo-european Gods and the Aesir were IE Gods. Is this what you mean by them not being your Gods?

Leofric
Saturday, December 3rd, 2005, 02:49 AM
I often feel that, as a Christian, my opinion is unwelcome on topics like this; but words belong to all of us who use a language, and words about our people matter to all of us.

I don't like Asatru as a general term for the natural religion of Germanic people generally. I think Blutwölfin's use of the term is exemplary — it is a specific term that rightly applies to a specific set of beliefs.

One of the problems I have with the term Asatru is, as you mentioned Wayfarer, the exclusion of the Vanir. According to Tacitus (for what his opinion is worth), the Angles primarily worshipped Nerthus two thousand years ago, and I think she is one of the Vanir (she certainly is not of the Ęsir, at any rate). So Asatru was not the faith of many of my ancestors.

Another problem I have with the term is its theocentrism. I suspect many of our ancestors didn't worship any gods, and yet still had deep religious convictions.

Another problem I have with the term is its modernity. I don't feel like it applies to any of my own non-Christian family members, since none of them would have used it.

A final problem I have with the term is its tendency toward misleading people into thinking of the faith as monolithic. They hear Asatru and think that the religion can be described as neatly as, say, Lutheranism. The religion in question is and was very diverse, with almost as many interpretations as practitioners. It is even more diverse a religion than Christianity or Islam. If there could be a name like Hinduism for it, then that might be appropriate — I suppose Theodism comes close (since Hinduism is the belief of the Indians and Theodism is the belief of the Teutons), but if Blutwölfin feels that name doesn't apply to her, then I have a hard time thinking of it as appropriate for a general term.

Personally, I tend to be kind of vague when naming the faith, using phrases like "our folk religion," or "our ancestral religion." In some ways, I like Hvešrungur's use of the term "folkway" even better, since the word religion is itself confusing for a lot of people in this too-secular age, and since religion is a Latin word.

For me, the primary importance of our ancestral religion is the fact that it was the religion of my ancestors (as it was of all of ours). I would like to find a word for it (of Germanic origin) that highlights the ancestral quality of the faith, a word that means "the faith of our ancestors." But of course, unless that word started getting used by others, it would be pointless for me to use it in communication.

Haldķs
Saturday, December 3rd, 2005, 03:35 AM
I'd lean towards saying that there is no "right term" that describes the indigenous faith of the Teutonic peoples, for heathenry has never been dogmatic. This is the wonderful thing about it. It allows you to accomodate your personal views and preferences.

There is constant change in nature, cycles of birth and death. Hence, it would be wrong to reject terms because they are fairly new, old but dubious, too narrow, or too wide. The most important thing is what describes your perspective best.

I prefer the word "Heathen" also. Fostering the heritage of the Aesir is certainly an important aspect but only one aspect in my world outlook.

Oskorei
Saturday, December 3rd, 2005, 09:42 AM
Good question, Wayfarer. Several important points have already been made, I agree with Leofrics criticism of the theocentric assumption, since much of the daily faith centered on "lesser gods", like giants, elves, "tomtar" (house-gods/house-protectors), ancestors, and so on (often those were also the ones to survive into our century).

Probably one just has to realize that our ancestors faith was polycentrist, and more open to personal interpretation than most of todays religions. Thus, every individual who accepts this faith will have a different emphasiz and maybe also a different name that describes his/her emphazis better. Personally I often use Asatru, but that is more based on routine and not a conscious choice.

Blutwölfin
Monday, December 5th, 2005, 12:14 PM
Asatru would obviously fit those who are true to the Aesir like you have said.
What do you think of folk who worship both the Aesir and Vanir without any bias to either of the Gods yet still call themselfs Asatruar? Do you think it would still be correct?

The translation of the word Įsatrś means "faith in the Ęsir", so it would obviously not fit to people who also worship the Vanir. Heišinn or Forn sišr might be the right term for those people.



The Vanir Gods are connected with fertility and the land and seas wheras the Aesir Gods with war. You say you believe in the Vanir but they arent your Gods, can you please elaborate a bit on what you mean by that?

Oh no, the Ęsir not just were the Gods of or with war while the Vanir are connected with nature and fertility. See for example Vali, Baldr, Vör or Vili - they were Ęsir, but not neccessarily connected with anything concerning war, but were Gods of nature, of spring and the light, of love and water and clouds.

The Ęsir are - for me - the highest norse Gods; most powerful, most helpful, most wise. I believe in the existence of the Vanir as well as in the existence of the Ęsir, but I just feel a less stronger connection with them. Maybe because they stand (IMHO) for some sort of "state" or "condition", while the Ęsir seem to be in constant movement, development.


I might be a bit strict with the terms, but since I've seen a lot of people soiling Norse faith with claiming being "Įsatrś", but actually are some sort of New Age Wiccans and people using the term "Heathen" while worshipping some Inka-Gods I want to stick to the right terms to describe what I am.

I am simply not a Heathen in the correct sense of the word. Heathen just means "someone who does not believe in Christianity". Yes, of course, I am not a Christian, but I'm also not a Muslim - and for the Christians a Muslim is a Heathen. I belileve in the faith of my ancestors (forn sišr), and I do it in a special way: I'm an Įsatrśar.

Nordbo
Friday, September 1st, 2006, 08:21 AM
Please be patient with my english, ok? :D
Just ask if there is something here that is not clear or if my english sucks :)
And.. this post became abit wierd I see:thumbup

There is ofcouse different ways to use our old "religion" today.

Example: You can worship the valious and guidelines of the ancient religion as a "guidebook" for the healthy indo-european nature.

From the spectre of Ęsirs and Vanir you can choose the once that fit you the most. Some of our forefathers could make smaller religious groups of worshipping Thor or Ty. Some worshipped Heimdallr and some Odin as idols.
Some took Thor as highest Idol.

The term Forn Sed requires in my view a practice of the custom.
They did not seperate the "religion" from "reality".
They could not question theire religion in the ways we can question juda-christianity today. For them the Ęsirs and the world in Yggdrasil was reality. It was theire story, theire own. Our story, our own :D

Gro Steinsland is a Norwegian expert on viking culture and theire customs.
She opens one of her book asking: What can we call this ancient custom?
She decides call it "Indo-european religion"

Perhaps our children could live up to the tag Forn Sed if we teach them right.
Religions worst enemy is Logic (Loke)
We are now living in a world of logic, science and culture mixing after 1000 years of christian rules and regulations. Sure, we are stained by that.
There is alot of christian valious and christian ways to view life in the germanic people and contries today.

It is very hard to get an understanding of how importaint the forn sed was.
It is also har to understand how the world of Yggdrasil affected their view on life and the world around them. The Ęsirs impact on our life before Christianity was very special.

To understand forn sed/åsatru/paganism you have to forget what you have learned from the christian-european way of religion. In my case the christian-norwegian way of religion.

Quoted from Varg Vikernes - The Ancient Religion: (http://www.burzum.org/eng/library/paganism01.shtml)


A lot of ethnic Europeans are reluctant to call themselves Pagans, although they would like to call themselves Pagans. The reason for that is amongst other things that: "There are so many dirty, filthy, ganja-smoking hippies who have taken use of the term" (to quote a friend of mine), and sensible people don't really want to be associated with such people.

In Norway I have been seen as a reason for people not to call themselves Pagans too, and some of the so-called Pagans in Norway have also campaigned against me to ostracize me and alienate me from the whole Pagan movement, but ironically the people who don't want to be associated with me are the same dirty, filthy, ganja-smoking free-love hippies who in turn scare others from calling themselves Pagans.

I guess nobody has the exclusive rights to the term, but we can do some research and find out more about what Paganism is and was really all about. The term "Pagan" derives according to some from Latin "paganus", that simply means villager. The English term "villain" is originally the same term: a person living in a village or in the countryside. People believe this term was used on the Pagans because Christianity came to the cities first, meaning the people living in the countryside still practiced the old religion for some time, before they too were converted to Christianity - and in the meanwhile were seen as villains.

The other theory is that Pagan derives from Greek "pagos", that means stone monument or menhir, a term used because the Pagans practiced their rites around stone monuments, like Stonehenge, Externsteine, the stone temples in Ancient Greece, the menhirs in Northern Europe and so forth. Yet we don't know what Pagan really derives from or what it means.

The other general term used in English is "Heathen". This is the name used by the Christians on the Pagans living in Northern Europe - in the heathery areas by the Atlantic Ocean. So it only means "a person living in a heathery area". That tells us even less about the Pagan religion than the term "Pagan".

"Odinist" is a modern term, so I won't even bother writing about that, but Įsatru ("belief in the Ęsir" or "faithful to the Ęsir") too is a term invented by Christians and in the Christian era. Instead of a belief in the Hebrew "God", they believed in the Ęsir, the Norse family of gods, so they were simply "believers in" or "faithful to" the Ęsir (that is plural from the Norse įss, that translates as "a source to divine utterance").

So what did the Pagans themselves use as a name for their religion? Well, why would they need a name for it, when it was the only religion they had and knew of? In Japan they didn't call their Shinto religion by a name either, not until they needed to be able to separate their native religion from the foreign Buddhism and Confucianism. So why should our forefathers name their only religion anything? What we call Paganism was to them simply their age-old traditions, customs and mysteries (secretive religious rites). In Scandinavia we have a name for the old magical practice that supports this claim. You might have heard of seiš, that is known as the ritual magic tradition of the Scandinavian women. Norse seiš, as a mere of word, has a meaning, and it is the same as Norwegian sed, that simply means "custom". So they called their magical customs nothing more than "the custom".

The spell casting in Ancient Scandinavia is known as galdr. This was the more masculine type of magic involving runes and incantations, so it should not surprise anybody when I say that galdr translates as "to crow" or "scream", and that it is understood as "incantation" or "magic song".

When they called their religious customs "the customs" and their magic songs "the magic songs" why should they have some fancy name for the rest of their religious traditions? There simply is no primordial name on the ancient religion. For that reason I have chosen to most often just call it "the ancient religion", as that is the most precise and accurate description I can come up with.

There is another meaning to the term Pagan, though, that I have not yet mentioned. It is also understood as a name of those who are not Jewish or who don't have a Jewish faith (id est any form of Chirstianity, Islam or Judaism). Because of that I feel comfortable using the term "Pagan" when describing myself (even though it reveals very little about my actual beliefs), because I am not a Jew and I don't have a Jewish faith either.

However, many of these "Pagans", who claim to have a Pagan faith, have built their faith on Christian interpretations of the ancient religion, and because of that actually believe not in the European gods, but in the European gods as the Christians see them. That is why I ridicule many of the so-called Pagans and feel that we don't have a common goal, because their religious practice is nothing but a mockery of the ancient religion and in fact looks more like some sort of perverted Christian faith, where the whole worldview and philosophy is thoroughly and absolutely Christian.Varg Vikernes has alot to say on the subject so here is something to read:)

He says alot of things I do not agree with, and alot of things i do agree with.

Links:
The writings of Varg Vikernes (http://www.burzum.org/eng/library/)

Tannhauser
Friday, September 17th, 2010, 02:05 AM
I too refer to myself as an Įsatrśar - while I recognize the Vanir - it is the Ęsirr to whom I rervere. I have no problem with the term Heathen nor with Forn Sišr - but do not and I repeat do not call me a pagan LOL.

Grimsteinr
Friday, September 17th, 2010, 03:50 PM
I too refer to myself as an Įsatrśar - while I recognize the Vanir - it is the Ęsirr to whom I rervere. I have no problem with the term Heathen nor with Forn Sišr - but do not and I repeat do not call me a pagan LOL.

I've been calling myself "Asatru" since the early 1990's.
I do pay Homage to the Aesir and to a lesser extent, the Vanir. Most Folk I know in our little Asatru Community are about the same way.
There is a growing, somewhat sparce Community in the USA, composed of several separate Germanic Heathen Groups. Some say Northern Heathen Groups. Wiccans are Pagans. We are not Wiccans

There are 2 Folkish Asatru Groups The 1st Folkish Asatru Group is The Asatru Alliance, a Group composed of associated Kindreds across the US. You can only be a member by being part of a Kindred, that has been represented at their yearly Althing, along with 18 to 25 Kindreds.
The other Folkish Group is the Asatru Folk Assembly, composed of several hundred individual members scattered across the US. They have a couple yearly gatherings, usually in California. They all use the term "Asatru". And everyone understands what it means in both Groups. There are minor variations in religious practice. But members of either Group would be comfortable at religious Ceremonies of the other.

The Odinic Rite is very similar, in practice to Folkish Asatru. They were founded in England and many of their members are there. They do have satellite Hearths in other Countries. They likewise Worship, pay Homage to the Aesir and to a somewhat lesser extent the Vanir. Some members of the 2 major Asatru Groups are also members of the Odinic Rite. It is acceptable.
All 3 Groups use similar Blot and Sumbel for their Religious Ceremonies, with various spellings of the words. Also all are very Folkish.

The Theodish are Tribal, in structure. They were begun by a man named Garman Lord. There are several separate Theods in the USA. Their practices vary a bit from Theod to Theod. They generally follow the Anglo-Saxon or Norman Tribal structure, with an Aethling or King elected as their Leader, upon whom rests the Luck, or Good Fortune of the Theod. They do not tend to mix very well with the Asatru Community, because of their strict Tribal Ways. Some of the Theods require a period of "Thralldom" as a way to join their numbers, wherein the Thrall is required to serve the needs of the Aethling and other members. I think they admit and accept non-Folk members through adoption or marriage. I'm not positive though.
There are sometimes major squabbles between a couple of Theods.

There is another large Heathen Group, in the USA, that admits nearly anyone who wants to pay Homage to the Heathen Gods, however they percieve them. This is "The Troth", formerly "Ring of Troth". They have previously had very few requirements for membership, or belief. They are Definitely Not Folkish. They readily admit non-white members. One of their Stewards is a Black man. In general, outside their Liberality, their Religious practices are very similar to the rest of Asatru. It's thesame Blot & Sumbel. You won't find many Folkish Asatru at their Gatherings.

But, All of these groups, across the USA, pay Homage or Worship the Aesir and Vanir. They are just as likely to do a Blot in Honor of Freyr or Freyja, Heimdal, Nerthus or Njord, as to Odin, Thor, Frigga, Tyr, Forseti, or Bragi.They in general mostly follow a Seasonal Calendar. And we All know what "Asatru" means.

There are Kindreds in most, Hearths in others, that gather each month, as a Group, in a living room, or out on a Hill, around a table, a large stone or a cairn, to Lift their Drinking Horns of Mead, to Honor the Aesir and Vanir.
And then, to share a Feast or a supper, afterwards.
I've met a couple hundred, over the years, and shared a Horn with them.
I make good Mead as do many of them.

And, if you are in the US, you can find a Group to join and share with. They are nearly everywhere. It might be a couple hours drive, each way. My Kinsmen do it each month. The Way is not exactly free........You might be required to study a bit, to learn what it's all about.
But, in the end, it's well worth the effort.:thumbup

Landers
Friday, September 17th, 2010, 03:54 PM
WHY DO WE CALL IT ODINISM? Odinism, By Any Other Name… (http://www.oocities.com/odinistlibrary/OLArticles/Articles/Odinismbyanyothername.htm)

Fyrgenholt
Friday, September 17th, 2010, 04:00 PM
In relation to myself I use the term Fyrnsidu or 'the old ways' as I do not believe either Asatru or Odinism to be appropriate. I don't mind 'heathen', although I do not use it, and I dissassociate from the term 'pagan' as it makes me think of new-agers, Wiccans and similar groups.

Landers
Friday, September 17th, 2010, 04:13 PM
In relation to myself I use the term Fyrnsidu or 'the old ways' as I do not believe either Asatru or Odinism to be appropriate. I don't mind 'heathen', although I do not use it, and I dissassociate from the term 'pagan' as it makes me think of new-agers, Wiccans and similar groups.


This is Old English? I have not heard this term. Do you have a dictioary or website? I use Wordcraft by Pollington and http://www.gutenberg.org/files/31543/31543-h/files/dict_dg.html#letter_F - where I can only find http://www.gutenberg.org/files/31543/31543-h/files/dict_dg.html#word_englisc

fyrnsęgen f. old saying, ancient tradition, An 1491.
fyrnsynn f. sin of old times, Jul 347.

Fyrgenholt
Friday, September 17th, 2010, 04:31 PM
This is Old English? I have not heard htis term. Do you have a dictioary or website? I use Wordcraft by Pollington and http://www.gutenberg.org/files/31543/31543-h/files/dict_dg.html#letter_F - where I can only find

fyrnsęgen f. old saying, ancient tradition, An 1491.
fyrnsynn f. sin of old times, Jul 347.

In regards to this thread I used the term Fyrnsidu as it was referenced in the original post, none the less I do use such a term regularly. Fyrnsidu is certainly a recognised term and I have certainly read translations into modern English before, however right now I can't seem to find one referenced in a means adequite. :| None the less, it translates as much the same as Fyrnsęgen in Pollington's Wordcraft.

This, taken from Wikipedia (not refereneced):


Old Norse Forn Sišr, Anglo-Saxon Fyrnsidu and its modern Scandinavian analogues Forn Sed, all meaning "old custom", is used as a term for pre-Christian Germanic culture in general, and for Germanic Neopaganism in particular, mostly by groups in Scandinavia. Old Norse forn "old" is cognate to Sanskrit purana, English (be)fore and far. Old Norse sišr "custom", Anglo-Saxon sidu, seodu "custom", cognate to Greek ethos, in the sense of "traditional law, way of life, proper behaviour". In meaning, the term corresponds closely to Sanskrit sanātana dharma, a term coined as a "native" equivalent of Hinduism in Hindu revivalism. In contradistinction to Įsatrś, inn forni sišr is actually attested in Old Norse, contrasting with inn nżi sišr "the new custom", and similarly Heišinn sišr, contrasting with Kristinn sišr, and ķ fornum siš "in old (heathen) times". Forn Sišr is also the name of the largest Danish pagan society, which since 2003 is recognized as a religion by the Danish government (meaning they have the right to conduct weddings, etc.)

velvet
Friday, September 17th, 2010, 04:42 PM
fyrnsęgen f. old saying, ancient tradition, An 1491.
fyrnsynn f. sin of old times, Jul 347.

sżnn means "obvious, evident", -> somewhat "sense", not "sin".

Although I've never seen the spelling version "sidu" before, it is sišr, German "Sitte", English "custom". So Fyrnsidu/Fyrnsišr/Fornsišr means "customs of old" (fyrn in Old Norse means temporal: before, spatial: in front of, before).

Since original Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse are relatively close I dare giving this info, the different spelling is entirely possible there, as the u in the end positions of words were pretty common in a lot of ancient tongues, also in old high German, f.e. diu = die (female "the").

Adalheid Friunt
Saturday, September 18th, 2010, 12:29 AM
Personally, I'm partial to continental history and such. So I'm thinking a name in Old High German may be appropriate for me. Maybe something along the lines of "Diutisksitu"? ("Duitisk" = German, "situ" = custom, way.)

I'm no linguist, though, so I'm clueless as to whether I put that together correctly.

Der Polarwolf
Monday, August 8th, 2011, 03:46 PM
I just call myself a heathen. This may upset some people, but whenever I think of the word "Asatru", I think of a bunch a liberal, neo-hippies who smoke marijuana and continously whine about "fascists" and "nazis".

Thorwald
Friday, August 12th, 2011, 12:07 PM
I just call myself Heathen as well. I'm not beholden to any particular sect or group. I like looking at all of Germanic polytheism, in all times and places.

Whereas "Asatru" seems to be used by those looking specifically at late Viking Age Iceland. And as someone above said, it increasingly comes across a neo-religion populated by Wiccans with a Norse fetish.

Black Talon
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011, 11:52 PM
I am a tribalist and an Odinist. My folk honor the Elder Kin (the Gods) in a very natural manner, seeking the roots of our people in deep-time.

The doctrines of the Odin Brotherhood are very similar to our own.