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Thread: What is Asatru?

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    What is Asatru?

    Well I was on a mailing list and recently replied to some opinions that seemed to stir up a lot of disagreement.

    Many people think of Asatru as "working with gods" especially the less folkish heathens (though they call themselves folkish sometimes?). To them the gods are real physical beings and the religion is about worshipping gods. They claim "Asatru means following the path of the Asa- if you don't believe worshipping the gods are central to the religion then you shouldn't call it Asatru".

    Frankly I felt these were foreign concepts in Asatru. We don't "worship" gods. I just felt that at its most basic level we recognize the gods as symbols of ancestors and our culture. And from there personally I see them as symbolizing forces of nature- real pyschic forces that can be tapped into- like energy, but not physical beings.

    To me Asatru means following the Aryo-Germanic path. The Aesir to me represent Germanic deities derived from an Aryan root, thus Aryo-Germanic. I associate Aeisir with Aryan and see it as a folk way, that is a culture and a philosophy of life. Concepts of gods and myths come only secondary to me as aspects of that culture, but not central to it. As I see it (and I've heard others say the same) Asatru is about connecting with our culture and living as Germanics and seeing the world the way our ancestors or our folk see it and honoring our ancestors. In fact as I've pointed out even the myths often reference ancestors (Elves being ancestors, even the gods being at once pyshic forces and also embodiements of ancestors).

    So how many people see Asatru as a folk way primarily based on reverence for ancestors, and how many see it as centering around the worship of gods?

    Interestingly most of the more racial people seem to shy away from God worship and the more inclusive seem to say things like "Well the gods choose people, who am I to question them?". Many people on the message board said things like "I am part Native American and part Germanic and I'm proud of all my heritage. And that's what being folkish is about is connecting to your heritage". I find that not to be true- Asatru is about connecting to a specific Aryo-Germanic heritage and conforming to those values and culture with some adaptation on the local and individual level. I have some Native American ancestory and I'm not ashamed of it but as Asatruar we do not seek to promote that ancestory but to emerse ourselves in a community and culture that is Germanic and to work toward a Germanic standard.

    Well we had some major clashes and I just gave up posting with this group. It seemed to me also the "god" based people seemed more scared of being called "racist" and more concerned with being politically correct. They also had values of submitting themselves to gods. I told them that to me this is "Norse Wicca" not Asatru. If you are drawn to the Gods and want to use a few Norse words and rituals but have a philosophy that is not typical of Asatru and more typical of Wicca then you are a Norse Wiccan. And why call yourself folkish when you have no interest in preserving your unique race, but want to celebrate the diversity of your genes? That seems like me calling myself Muslim but really practicing Christianity. It's like an attempt to destroy the religion from the inside out.

    When someone says to me "I'm a folkish Asatruar" I immediately think this person is of Germanic decent and wants to preserve his unique Germanic culture (inculding cultural values and philosophy some of which is modern some ancient) and wants to live in this world as a Germanic person. What I don't think is "oh ok this means this guy is interested in his family tree and was drawn to Asatru because he worships Norse gods".

    So anyway that was my question how many people see the religion in their way, or my way or something a bit different? In other words is the religion to you mainly about Norse gods or is it mainly about Norse culture and ancestor reverence and folkism.

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    i think for most people it is all of the above. I venerate ancestors and also worship the true gods of our people. Personally I prefer Odinist to Asatru but hey thats just me.

    My only advice is to do what YOU feel is right. and enjoy it.

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    I consider the emphasis on Asatru to be more about community and family therefore it is not so much about doing what you want, but what is best for the group/folk. At the same time personal gnosis should be left in the realm of the individual. Many others will disagree but in my own personal Asatru there is also not any such thing as a solitary practicer who is %100 Asatruar as you need to be tied to a community to really connect with that folk.

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    There are Many Points is your Post I agree with! But....There are several I disagree with.

    The very word "Asa-Tru", as I understand it means: "True to the Asa Gods, the Aesir". Without the Aesir, it becomes just a Cultural Club.

    But Asatru is a "Birth Right", as I see it. It is in Our Blood and Our Bones.
    It colors every part of my Life.
    And, the Northern Gods are certainly a Part of that, Ancestral Culture.
    They are the same Gods our Ancestors "Paid Homage to".
    In many respects, "We are Our Ancestors".
    Asatru is Not Open tofolks, not of Our Ancestry.

    I am Folkish Asatru, I have recognized that for 16 years. I have been called "Racist and Racialist". I belong to 2 national Folkish Asatru Organizations. I work toward the Building of our Folk Culture.
    I've led & fed a Folkish Asatru Kindred, since 1994.

    Many Folkish Asatru believe that the Asa-Gods are physical beings.
    Many Folkish Asatru believe that the Aesir are our "Elder Kin", our Progenitors.
    Some Folkish Asatru believe that the Aesir are Archtypical Gods of Our Folk.
    Nearly all the Folkish Asatru I know believe that the Asa-Gods are "Real on some level".
    Folkish Asatru is not Monolithic. No one tells us what we must Believe.

    And, if you call yourself Asatru, you are saying you are "True, to the Asa-Gods", however you conceive Them.
    I do Not see how you can leave out the Aesir.

    Quote Originally Posted by rainman View Post
    Well I was on a mailing list and recently replied to some opinions that seemed to stir up a lot of disagreement.

    Many people think of Asatru as "working with gods" especially the less folkish heathens (though they call themselves folkish sometimes?). To them the gods are real physical beings and the religion is about worshipping gods. They claim "Asatru means following the path of the Asa- if you don't believe worshipping the gods are central to the religion then you shouldn't call it Asatru".

    Frankly I felt these were foreign concepts in Asatru. We don't "worship" gods. I just felt that at its most basic level we recognize the gods as symbols of ancestors and our culture. And from there personally I see them as symbolizing forces of nature- real pyschic forces that can be tapped into- like energy, but not physical beings.

    To me Asatru means following the Aryo-Germanic path. The Aesir to me represent Germanic deities derived from an Aryan root, thus Aryo-Germanic. I associate Aeisir with Aryan and see it as a folk way, that is a culture and a philosophy of life. Concepts of gods and myths come only secondary to me as aspects of that culture, but not central to it. As I see it (and I've heard others say the same) Asatru is about connecting with our culture and living as Germanics and seeing the world the way our ancestors or our folk see it and honoring our ancestors. In fact as I've pointed out even the myths often reference ancestors (Elves being ancestors, even the gods being at once pyshic forces and also embodiements of ancestors).

    So how many people see Asatru as a folk way primarily based on reverence for ancestors, and how many see it as centering around the worship of gods?

    <<SNIP>>>

    Well we had some major clashes and I just gave up posting with this group. It seemed to me also the "god" based people seemed more scared of being called "racist" and more concerned with being politically correct. They also had values of submitting themselves to gods. I told them that to me this is "Norse Wicca" not Asatru. If you are drawn to the Gods and want to use a few Norse words and rituals but have a philosophy that is not typical of Asatru and more typical of Wicca then you are a Norse Wiccan. And why call yourself folkish when you have no interest in preserving your unique race, but want to celebrate the diversity of your genes? That seems like me calling myself Muslim but really practicing Christianity. It's like an attempt to destroy the religion from the inside out.

    When someone says to me "I'm a folkish Asatruar" I immediately think this person is of Germanic decent and wants to preserve his unique Germanic culture (inculding cultural values and philosophy some of which is modern some ancient) and wants to live in this world as a Germanic person. What I don't think is "oh ok this means this guy is interested in his family tree and was drawn to Asatru because he worships Norse gods".

    So anyway that was my question how many people see the religion in their way, or my way or something a bit different? In other words is the religion to you mainly about Norse gods or is it mainly about Norse culture and ancestor reverence and folkism.
    I'm sorry, I did not mean that to come out Snarky.
    It is just that I believe it Strongly.

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    A recall an article I read once which concluded that Germanic Paganism was less practical and more ceremonial than, say, Celtic Paganism. It was noted that the average ancient Germanic dabbled little in the practicalities of the religion such as magick and healing - their form of worship being reserved for festivals mainly. So in that sense, Asatru may well have been more about community and heritage than personal communion with the gods and spirits. Other forms of Paganism, on the other hand, might have involved more occult-like practice.
    "If by being a racialist, you mean a man who despises a human being because he belongs to another race, or a man that believes one race is inherently superior to another in civilisation or capability of civilisation, then the answer is emphatically no." - Enoch Powell

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    I never left out the Aesir. Firstly the Aesir primarily are symbols of Germanic culture. it represents the Germanic race to me and thus the ethnic/ancestral aspect of the religion rather than representing say some guy on a mountain top who I pray to.

    If I worship the moon as "mani" the Germanic God and someone else worships the moon as "luna" the Italian goddess- I see the moon as real. I see "mani" as a representation of our culture, ancestory and world view but outside of that only being a symbol of real natural forces. Those forces are universal. The cultural context is not. Aesir gods are symbols of forces that exist everywhere and in everyone to some degree. What makes them uniquely Germanic is the cultural context we view them from. We call them "Aesir" we have our own stories and myth that suround them and we draw them as reflections of our own ancestors/people. In that context Aesir more than anything represents heritage.

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    Have it Your Own Way..........

    Quote Originally Posted by rainman View Post
    I never left out the Aesir. Firstly the Aesir primarily are symbols of Germanic culture. it represents the Germanic race to me and thus the ethnic/ancestral aspect of the religion rather than representing say some guy on a mountain top who I pray to.

    If I worship the moon as "mani" the Germanic God and someone else worships the moon as "luna" the Italian goddess- I see the moon as real. I see "mani" as a representation of our culture, ancestory and world view but outside of that only being a symbol of real natural forces. Those forces are universal. The cultural context is not. Aesir gods are symbols of forces that exist everywhere and in everyone to some degree. What makes them uniquely Germanic is the cultural context we view them from. We call them "Aesir" we have our own stories and myth that suround them and we draw them as reflections of our own ancestors/people. In that context Aesir more than anything represents heritage.
    If that's the way you choose to view the Aesir & Vanir........Have it your Own Way.Call yourself Asatru if you choose to. Worship any way you choose to.

    I don't know how much face to face experience you have in the Heathen Community.

    But, over the years, I have stood Blot and sat at Sumbel with several hundred
    Asatrur, of several varieties, who view Asatru differently than you do.
    I have sat at many campfires, discussing the Nature of Our Gods, at many Folk Moots and Organizational Althings.
    I was speaking from this collection of experience in voicing my opinions that there is a wide variety, in the Way Folkish Asatrur View and Relate to the Aesir.
    Absolutely, our Germanic Cultural Context is the Lens through which we view Our Lives and the Natural Forces around us.
    For some Folks these Natural Forces are certainly seen as the Aesir & Vanir.
    But some, many Folks, see the Aesir as more than that. If you do not, I'm not faulting you. I'm only saying , "There are other Ways than Yours."

    Have Fun.

    Hail the Northern Gods! Hail the Germanic Folk!

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    I realize that. I think that is a problem- groups need to define what they believe in.

    But taking basically a Christian religion and replacing Yahweh with odin is so far from Asatru as to be absurd in my opinion. From what I've read historically for instance the pre-Christian Germanics did not believe in bowing down to a god and worshipping him like a slave/master relationship. There was no word for "religion" even. There was simply the worldview and customs of your people. Life and customs did not revolve around a god or gods- that was just an aspect of it. Most of these beliefs of a god centered religion and "worshipping" these gods is really a judeo-Christian ideal. Then when you take it a step further- that there is no ethnic basis to Asatru as the Gods are the ultimate authority and we just slaves to them and the gods choose who they want to affect- now we are in the realm of not being folkish at all.

    Yet I have people telling me they are folkish Asatruar and believe these things that are more rooted in Christianity and multiculturalism than anything pre-Christian Germanic tradition or folkish. I guess though anyone can call themselves Asatru as there isn't any clear definition to it.

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    I'm not arguing about it

    As I said earlier, you are entitled to your opinions and Beliefs.
    You are right,... We do not bow our heads or bend our knees.
    We do not "Worship". We pay Homage to our Elder Kin.
    I'm not saying you are wrong or in error, in any way.
    I'm simply saying there are several other ways to look at it.
    And, that's all I need to say about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rainman View Post
    From what I've read historically for instance the pre-Christian Germanics did not believe in bowing down to a god and worshipping him like a slave/master relationship.
    Nor do modern Germanics believe this. Acknowledgement of the gods should be seen as a method of observing the spiritual forces that play upon our material existence, rather than any kind of worship. The gods have never been beyond ridicule or reprisal. They have many of the same flaws as man, but their wisdom in certain areas is undebateable. They are our teachers. We do not worship teachers, but if we want to learn, we listen when they speak and thank them when they finish. Asatru, above all, is a lifelong class that the smart Germanic opts to partake in.

    Quote Originally Posted by rainman View Post
    There was no word for "religion" even.
    Indeed. Because the reality of spirit was so widely known that the belief system had no opponents that would justify the requirement for a term such as "religion".
    "If by being a racialist, you mean a man who despises a human being because he belongs to another race, or a man that believes one race is inherently superior to another in civilisation or capability of civilisation, then the answer is emphatically no." - Enoch Powell

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