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Thread: The Nature of Asatru by Mark Puryear - Introduction

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    The Nature of Asatru by Mark Puryear - Introduction


    THE NATURE OF ASATRU
    by Mark Puryear

    INTRODUCTION


    What is Asatru? It is commonly defined as the indigenous religion of the Northern European peoples, namely the Teutonic branch of the Indo-European family. The word "Asatru" is translated "Faith in the Aesir", the Aesir being the highest clan or tribe of our deities. This faith was once celebrated as the primary religion by people as far east as Russia, as far west as America and as far north as Iceland. Relics of its existence have dated as far back as pre-historic times, making it the heritage of anyone of Nordic descent. It is a religion that reveres nature and ancestry, and values honor and nobility. We worship many gods and goddesses, each a representative of natural forces as well as the ideals we aspire to. All across the world Asatru has re-awakened after centuries of slumber. Its profound philosophy challenges us to live life to its fullest and to continue to better ourselves. This is combined with a straightforward system of ethics and morals, all of which has appealed to people of all walks of life, many of whom seek to reclaim their sacred birthright.

    I have been an "Asatruar" (practitioner of Asatru) for almost 20 years now, so I have seen just about all of the biases and misconceptions surrounding it. Although many of these are primarily derived from religious bigotry, much of the prejudice against the faith is due to a lack of understanding the true ideals behind it. A particular picture has been painted for the history of the ancient Teutons, especially after Scandinavians, so we are here to challenge this false imagery. I hope that, in the creation of this book I will be able to clear up many of the problems surrounding what is to us a sacred way of life, while, at the same time, teaching the general philosophic ideology that it is built upon.

    I will briefly explain now what will be presented in more detail throughout this book concerning what Asatru is not. It is not "devil worship". We fully understand and accept the concept of good and evil and choose to work for what is good and right. There are no cults of Loki or Aurboda (our male and female representatives of corruption and evil); those who will try to include them into our pantheon have clearly not read our records carefully. We do not partake in human sacrifices and we do not believe in the harming of innocents. Animal sacrifice may be practiced by some groups, which is perfectly acceptable, since it is well understood that sacrifice was merely a means of sanctifying one's good before it was slaughtered. This is similar to the Jewish method of koshering animals. Of course, some religious groups will always see us as "devil worshippers" because we do not worship their god, but we cannot concern ourselves with such religious intolerance.

    Asatru is not a religion of violence, strife and war. It is true that there is a warrior aspect to our faith, but certainly, as all people, we prefer peace to war, love over hate and harmony over discord, as did our ancestors. We are simply not hypocrites when it comes to the use of force. Some of the most warlike nations in the world are rules by followers of religions that claim to be peaceful and pacifist. Physical confrontation is sometimes inevitable, but always must be a last resort. What few realize is that the ideals of honorable combat of chivalry, where rules are imposed to maintain our humanity when we are at our least humane, have their foundation in the tenets and social mandates that Asatru is built upon:

    Asatru is not a "Viking" religion. Even though the most famous practitioners of the faith were the Vikings, their era represents a short timespan in the long existence of our religion, which has lasted for thousands of years. Because of false representations of the Vikings created by the church, it has been reported by some that Asatruar support rape and pillaging. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it is irresponsible of so-called 'educated' people to base their conclusions on what they see on television or in the movies. In many ancient Asatru societies rape was considered as bad or worse than murder and it was often punishable by death. Ancient laws tell us specifically that rape was never considered acceptable by our ancestors, nor was thievery for that matter. We cannot deny that the Vikings attacked and robbed churches in their time. This is historical fact. In their defense the so-called "Viking Age" must be looked at, for the most part, as a sort of war between the natives of Northern Europe and its Christian invaders, since it coincides with the violent introduction of Christianity into this region. Under Roman decrees the church was heavily taxing areas it controlled while non-Christian "heathens" were brutally attacked, tortured and murdered for practicing their ancestral ways. In response, the Vikings raided monasteries and the Christian villages near them, taking back what belonged to the natives there in the first place! Even so, there isn't any reason why Asatruar today would consider pillaging of any sort, just as a Christian today, in most cases, wouldn't stone someone to death for committing adultery.

    Asatru is not a "racist" religion. It is an ethnic religion, and there is an emphasis on heritage and ancestry, but this must not be misconstrued as racism. There are some hate groups out there who have perverted the ideals of our faith to meet their political agenda, but few religions are exempt from this. The Ku Klux Klan claims to be based on Christian teachings and Muslims all over the world try to separate themselves from the terrorists that threaten our safety. In considering the folkish values of Asatru the best comparisons would be those of Native Americans, the Hindus and the Oriental Shinto religion. All of these faiths represent an entire culture embodied by the ethnicity and nationality of their adherents. This does not imply any sort of hatred or disrespect towards other peoples or cultures. In fact, I have often found that respect for others and their cultures is much greater when one first learns to love themselves and their own.

    Asatru is not an exercise in anachronism. There are some out there who like to play "dress up" when attending ceremonies or festivals, which is fine, as long as it is not seen as the primary purpose in our observances. I believe that our ancestors were very progressive, with a sense of fashion and technology that continued to evolve throughout the ages. They did not wear clothes that befit a bygone era, and there aren't any records describing such a tendency. Of course, pageantry was known, as was mummery, so we wouldn't reject the idea of dressing up, it’s the purpose behind it that is important. We must be progressive and creative, not simply relying on the past for our practices. There is even evidence that the priesthood of ancient times had changing styles in their mode of dress for ceremonial purposes. The point is that our religion is an evolving ideal that advances with the ages and continues to move forward in our modern era. To focus mainly on the past is missing the point, since it is clear that our people have always forged ahead with the latest advancements in our civilizations. Although honoring our past is important, it should not keep us from looking towards the future. Our motto should be: "Hearts in the past, minds on the present, eyes on the future".

    Asatru is not dogmatic. Although certain methods of reconstruction are being developed which may help to bring this faith to a state similar to that which it had before its corruption by Christianity, it can never be stated that there is only "one true path to the gods". How people interpret our traditions is up to them. I think that most Asatruar appreciate this independence, this ability to live one's spiritual lives free from the mandates of a dictatorial hierarchy. No one can claim to be an "authority" on our path, since we have the freedom to accept or reject any ideal or tradition, so long as we remain within the boundaries of the overall principles. No two Asatruar will think alike, as it should be. Many of the ideas presented in this book may be subject to scrutiny, for my views may not be the same as others'. But my aim here is solely to help people understand the basic concepts of Asatru, in hopes of re-kindling the ancient fire in the hearts of our folk as we shine new light on this ancestral faith.

    Now that we have thoroughly examined what Asatru is not, I'll continue explaining what it is. To me, it is a connection to life, to the living universe, which in itself is a truly empowering concept. Our gods and goddesses are our earliest ancestors, representing a continually evolving network of existence that spans throughout all of nature, with all of us taking part. I am the son of my fathers and the father of my sons, a part of a line, a bloodline that is metaphysically and significant and will continue to be for all time. The deities of our pantheon are an ancient source of inspiration who have always been there driving our people forward. Their stories give us something to aspire to, their wisdom guides us in all that we do. Even if we ignore them they are still there, and their blood still pumps in our veins. Even if we look at foreign cults for spiritual fulfillment, they are still there, watching over us as parents to their children. They give us our honor and our courage, our talents and our strengths, for we will always be one with them, as long as we exist.

    There are various interpretations of our myths regarding the existence of our gods and goddesses. Some see them as personifications of natural forces; others view them as paradigms, or models to live our lives by. Still others consider them to be actual beings living on another world or plane of existence. The latter are divided into two categories: the spiritualists and the materialists. The spiritualists maintain that the gods and goddesses are ethereal beings living on another plan or dimension of reality. The materialists claim that these deities, products of evolution, are actual living beings who reside on another world somewhere in our universe. Most people use logic and science to validate their respective beliefs, since many choose to accept a worldview they consider to be based on intelligence and a true desire for understanding. Anyone new to the faith must first seek out and find the interpretation that makes the most sense to them, so they may see the gods and goddesses in a way that inspires them and helps them to find the spiritual path that suits them.

    People today grow so sick of "religion", and with good reason. Religion without spirituality quickly stagnates so all that remains is an addiction to the mob. Religious groups try to feed this addiction by building huge places of worship and filling them with thousands of people, most of whom merely pay lip service to the faith out of fear of "eternal damnation". Then you have thousands of sects to choose from and each sect think all the other sects are doomed to this "eternal damnation", so, at the very least, there is constant bickering among them. Who needs that?

    The fact is that spiritual decay comes from a lack of a cultural identity for the faith itself. Why is this? Because indigenous religions were formed from the very core of our ancestral soul. They developed as we evolved through countless eons and are ingrained into the very fiber of our being. In ancient times the very word 'religion' did not exist, nor were there any distinctions between different faiths, other than the cultural identity. A person's religion was reflected by their very existence, by the way they looked and where they came from, for religion was culture! The faith was expressed in their laws, in their diet, in their modes of transportation, in all that they did and in every aspect of their lives. Ancient, organic religions encompass every facet of the human experience, and Asatru does this with a bold and direct approach. The god or goddess of love exists because love is a part of the human experience, as is war, agriculture, wealth, etc. Without such strong connection to the lives of our people and our ancestry a religion must have powerful tenets of subjugation to keep its followers humbled and silent.

    Christianity was forced upon Northern Europe with centuries of warfare, inquisitions and political manipulations. Even with the immense power to the Roman Empire behind them it still took over 500 years to convert all of the northern nations, and they never realized their goal of wiping out the ancient religions entirely. This book is living proof of that, as is the entire Asatru nation as it stands today. We mustn't hate Christians for this, for most do not even know about it and just want to live their lives as good people under the standards they were raised by. You may read essays and books from the Asatru community and think that many of us are vehemently anti-Christian. For the most part, when we are discussing the past atrocities committed by the church our words are not intended to blanket statements against all Christians, but are instead aimed at helping people to better understand the truth of what happened. In our search for the truth and our desire to uncover it we hope to show our folk, those who will listen, that we can be religious without all of the negative emotions usually associated with this. We will not proselytize, for our aim is to teach, not preach.

    Because of the attempt to completely destroy the ancient faiths many of our traditions have been left in shattered pieces collected by monks in the Middle Ages. Their reason for collecting the fragments was partly due to nationalism and partly to a propaganda method used by the church to explain why Europe had been heathen for thousands of years, contradicting the biblical idea that the Christian god had always ruled over our world. The concept of propaganda was that our gods and goddesses were ancient kings and queens who had tricked the ancients into worshipping them, for they were powerful magicians who became demons after their deaths.

    We are fortunate that such collections were made at all, for we could have lost all records of our faith forever. However, these records are greatly mutilated and tainted by Christian and Classical influence, so we have much work to do in reconstructing the religion. It is our duty to do this - to rebuild and re-establish the ancient customs in the best way imaginable. In doing so we are effectively re-creating an entire culture from the ground up. Because Asatru is an organic religion, grown from the social strata of Northern Europe, all aspects of the ancient culture must be rebuilt in order to fully embrace the Teutonic religious way of life. The separation of religion from culture has even caused Asatruar today to overlook many facets of our faith. Focusing on rituals and runes shows that the sacred way of life has been contained within temple walls for far too long. Now we must begin to see the sacred in all that we do, for we are a part of the world around us!

    Our method of reconstruction must involve every single fundamental of living culture. Such a basis, built upon "The Twelve Fundamentals", will allow us to turn over every stone and find all of the information we need for our revival, our Asatru Renaissance! These fundamentals are Lore/Theology, Pantheon, Nature, Diet, Law, Music, Dance, Combat, Ritual and Prayer, Folk and Ancestry, Arts and Crafts, and Magic. Every ancient civilization has manifested these fundamentals in one way or another. I have found them to be a potent tool in developing a foundation for our research so that we may reach our goal of a renewed faith. In order for us to have a religious revival we must have a cultural revival, for to the practitioner of an indigenous religion, they are one and the same!

    I have no doubt that Asatru can bring many answers for our people in their search for spiritual fulfillment. All that can be found elsewhere is no farther than your front door, so to speak. As we build communities and develop projects to serve our folk more people will realize the power of collective consciousness, and will find significance in their individual life. You are significant, you are valid, you are important. No matter what or who you are you belong to a family, a genetic line that is the lifeblood of your folk, celebrated through your cultural heritage. Once you recognize this perhaps you may consider taking your place among those proud men and women who honor their gods and goddesses, their ancestors, and their lands. Thank you.


    - Mark Puryear

    Source
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    The Nature of Asatru by Mark Puryear - Chapter I: Gods and Goddesses

    The Nature of Asatru
    by Mark Puryear



    Chapter 1: The Gods and Goddesses




    At the core of every faith are the deities that are worshipped or honored. Worship, in our view, denotes a reverence through celebration and respect. We pay tribute to our gods and goddesses as the parents of our folk, choosing to face them with bold and noble spirits. We will not submit ourselves before the divine, nor do we see them as our "masters", for we are kinsmen, related through an ancient bloodline with origins reaching back to the dawn of humanity. Their stories still live with us and speak to us as they did to our ancestors millenia ago. This continued survival is a testament to the strength and power of the folk-will, expressed through the vitality of the ancient customs themselves.

    Each deity in our pantheon has a specific duty or attribute within their family or clan. These attributes manifest to us as focal points for specific prayers or lessons we can learn from their lore. In all respects the gods and goddesses represent the higher ideal of mankind, which we must strive for as creatures of evolution. No matter who you are or what your station is in life you can and should always strive to be something better. That is the ultimate purpose of our existence, and the ultimate goal for Asatruar. To evolve mentally, physically and spiritually is the entire foundation of our religious motives. When we read the ancient tales we allow them to inspire us to reach for the divine, bringing us closer to our beloved gods and goddesses in this life and the next.

    The following is a list of some of the major deities of our faith. The primary focus here is to explain the philosophical ideology centered around the pantheon, so this list is by no means complete. I will be giving a brief explanation of their nature, followed by the lessons they teach us within the lore associated with themn. Simply serving as an introduction to our concept of divinity, this should begin the quest of familiarizing oneself with all of the gods and goddesses known to us. In your own discoveries you may find new lessons, and new bits of wisdom that will affect you in some way. Read their stories in the Eddas and elsewhere, then see how they speak to you.


    THE GODS

    The masculine paradigm of the ancient Teutons was unique among the peoples of the time in that it represents a balanced approach to the very image of manliness. Northern Europeans have always stood apart in their definition of masculinity, seeing it as a combination of heroism and benevolence. Machismo was utterly foreign to this ideal, since our ancestors placed a strong emphasis on nobility. The Teutonic hero was as kind as he was brave, a themse seen repeatedly in the muths and folklore. Nevertheless, it was manliness that was admired and always has been admired by our people. Limp-writed, flamboyant displays of femininity have no place in the hearts of our men, nor should women respect those who express them. Understanding, then living up to the ideal of manhood as displayed by our gods and heroes may help our folk in reclaiming their cultural identity. It should also begin a new appreciation for true family values; when men act like men- as providers, protectors and teachers, their roles as fathers should be highly acclaimed. For this model, we look to the gods to guide us on our path.

    Odin: Our highest god, known by many different names, if all All-Father: lord over the winds, god of wisdom, of ancient secrets and untold powers. With his brothers, Vili and Vem Odin created our people and our world. The reason he is worshipped as the highest god is because he represents the perfect balance of higher life. He is a warrior, willing to fight for what is right and honorable. He is a king, a noble and valiant leader of gods and men, always placing others' needs before his own. He is a magician, wise and intelligent, always seeking new knowledge and learning new secrets. Finally, he is a lover, kind and benevolent, gentle and caring. From a psychological perspective this is the very ideal of the well-rounded man.

    From Odin, we see the life of struggle for improvement directly, as stories of his adventures describe toil and sacrifices made to gain wisdom and experience. he hung on the World Tree, Yggdrasil, for nine nights without food or drink, wounded by his spear. Then he later gave his eye - all so he could continue to better himself for the sake of the worlds and his beloved children. He travels all the realms of existence in search of new ways to evolve, to continue learning the secrets of the universe, so that we may gain from his teachings.

    Odin's search for wisdom is not based simply on self-aggrandizement or personal accomplishment. The quest for the higher self is never subject to narcissism, which contradicts the very concept. When Odin journeys through the worlds he does so in the service of his folk: the eternal student is also the great teacher. All that he does he does for us, so that we in turn shall help those around us.

    Thor: Odin's son is the mighty champion of the gods, the most powerful warrior in all the worlds, and the protector of Midgard (another name for earth). In his own way, Thor represents an inner balance as well, for he is seen as both the fierce combatant and the loving friend. In one instant his menacing gaze could strike fear into the heart of almost any creature. In the next, his hearty laugh and warm disposition could move even the sternest of souls. His is the most ancient, most profound image of the Nordic warrior, which has lived through the age of Vikings, the era of knights, the time of muskateers, onward to todays soldiers. The Nordic warrior is not known for his savagery, but for his nobility. He will aid the weak, protect the downtrodden, even pay tribute to a fallen foe. It is true that gods of war are worshipped in the Asatru faith, but without them and their creed, combat would have been a much more brutal aspect than it does today.

    Thor protects those who cannot protect themselves, always fighting with honor for honor's sake. His powerful hammer has become the emblem of our religion. This mighty weapon he uses, on the one hand, to destroy the forces of chaos, then on the other, to sanctify all sorts of things with power, both within ourselves and within others. We must use our strengths wisely and beneficially, refraining from the destructive paths of tyranny and malevolence. Simply because one has power does not mean they should abuse it.
    Of course, the model of Thor is a heroic one, so he inspires us to be courageous as well as bold, and to always be vigilant against the forces of chaos that could do us harm. It is our duty to our people to fight against tyrants, bullies and criminals, a duty that Thor hold in the highest esteem.

    Balder: Where Thor stands above all the other gods in strength, Balder does so in kindness. He is the most beloved deity in our pantheon, the god who won the hearts of all creatures with his loving spirit. Although he too is a warrior, he has the most forgiving, most conciliatory disposition than all other beings. He teaches us to always consider physical force as a last resort, to display cooperation and compromise in the face of conflict. I believe that Balder is considered "the most beloved god" because he represents the highest ideals of civilization- compassion and kindness, which in turn should be considered the greatest virtues within our religious philosophy. It is easy for a warrior to forget their humanity in the face of an enemy, easy to give in to anger and rage when frustrated by an opponent. It is the paradigm of Balder that keeps our hearts in check when we might lose control of ourselves.
    To make peace, to forgive, to express love to others, these are all ideas associated with Balder. All living things, even those among the forces of chaos, adore him for this. Only Loki and Aurboda were hateful enough to lack sympathy for his death, which Loki ultimately caused. Balder is our god of justice as settler of disputes, promoter of harmony. His son, Forseti, inherited this position from his father after he was slain. The peacemaker is a duty well-loved by all, for everyone prefers peace and harmony over conflict and strife.

    Frey: He is the god of fertility and virility. His status among the gods includes all aspects of male sexuality and reproduction. Often depicted naked, with an erect penis, Frey is the incarnation of vigorous sexual strength. As a representative of the creative energies he rules over the harvest, the nature-artists known as Alfar, and the cycles of life. He reminds us that we are still natural beings, as much a part of the world around us as any other creature. It is foolish of us to try to separate ourselves from nature, to think we are somehow above it or to think that is is there for us to exploit in any way we choose. As natural beings we should never be ashamed of our sexuality, for it is as much a part of our existence as breathing.

    We should not confuse Frey's role as the god of sexuality and fertility with that of a god of hedonism. There is no Nordic equivalent to Bacchus or Dionysus, no orgiastic cults associated with our ancient faith. Although we do not subscribe to puritanical suppression of natural sexual urges, our people have always recognized a personal responsibility towards honor and dignity in our affairs between men and women. Such responsibilities, which will be discussed in detail later, are a part of Frey's role as well.

    Frey's lesson is to embrace our human nature, as well as to accept certain limitations. Semitic religions have taught us to reject the most valuable aspects of life! There is nothing wrong or shameful about sexuality, only in acts that bring harm to you, to others, or to your family and folk. We must cast off the shackles of artificial doctrines that would deny us one of our most basic needs! Without a natural, healthy sexual idealism for the folk perversions arise that leave many trapped in the self-imposed lifestyles of degenerate behaviour. Even among the most liberal of people there is still a need for some shred of respectability, which is innate within us all.

    Njord: Father of Frey and Freya, he is the god of wealth, prosperity and commerce. As stated before, Asatru recognizes and celebrates all aspects of the human experience. Because of this there is no disdain towards wealth or the wealthy found in our traditions. In fact, almost every ancient tale from Northern Europe glorifies the noble class in one way or another. Why is this? Because Asatru religion is based on the natural evolutionary competition where all must strive and struggle to be the best they can be. With such a philosophy must be combined the strict mandates of generosity and hospitality that were the hallmarks of Nordic civilization.

    Today, a lot of emphasis is placed on equality among all, which isn't necessarily a bad thing in most cases. We simply must not take this too far and forget that we are supposed to work towards excellence, to essentially become better than others. Such a desire to rise above should not be combined with guilt for our achievements, for we earned them and deserve rewards for them!

    Often times we can recognize nobility through actions more than wealth, for anyone can be noble. If we toil for our improvement eventually we will succeed, for those who will continue to move forward in spite of difficulty or opposition will always profit from this. So Njord teaches us to work hard, persevere, educate ourselves and tru to be as successful as we can be, so we can become benefactors among our folk. This shouldn't be regarded as some sort of "cult" philosophy, where we would want to siphon money from other Asatruar. It is simply a decree that success, coupled with generosity is honorable, even encouraged within our ancient customs. We do not see money as "the root of all evil", but we do not accept greed in any of its forms. Such a vice is known in our ancient records to incur the wrath of the gods, since those who are miserly care little for the needs of their family and folk.

    Hod: He is probably the most misunderstood of all the gods, and is indeed the most unlucky. First of all, the idea that he was ever believed to be blind, a concept developed in the Christian era from a mainstream misconception, is false and should be ignored. The stories tell us that Loki tricked Hod into killing his own brother, Balder, which in turn condemned him to die. Some have taken this slaying, together with Hod's supposed blindness, as a sign that he was some sort of "dark god", worshipped by the sinister among our ancestors. However, such thiunking defies what we know from our sources and undermines the tragedy of this saddest of tales.
    From his youth to the moment of his death, Hod had to deal with one misfortunate after another, telling us that even gods can have bad luck. But Hod accepts his faith, even in the end when he had to die at the hand of his other brother, Odin's newborn son, Vali. Thus, Hod's lesson is that no matter who we are we are bound to face adversity at some point in our lifetime. The amount of misfortunes one faces is no measure of a man; it is rather how he faces them that is important. Because of Hod's noble spirit in the face of struggle he shall return with Balder after Ragnarok, the great conflagration, to rebuild the worlds.

    Tyr: The best known story relating one of Tyr's adventures is the binding of Fenris wolf, Loki's monstrous son who became so large and savage, he began to threaten the world order. Many interpret this binding as the restraining of chaotic forces by those of order and good. In order for the wolf to be bound, Tyr had to sacrifice his right hand so that the honor of the gods would not be forsaken as they tricked the wolf into letting them fetter him. Therefore, Tyr is viewed as a martyr-god, he who gave up his own hand to protect the worlds. As the god of war such a sacrifice was indeed significant, for lack of a hand is a great loss for one in combat.

    From this it is obvious to see that Tyr's lesson is one of bravery and a willingness to do whatever it takes for the safety of one's people. It takes a supreme amount of love and loyalty for one to give up life or limb for those they are devoted to. Anyone who would make the ultimate sacrifice should be honored and revered by their folk as true heroes, given a place among ancestors before them who have done the same. Peace cannot be maintained without war, which is why it is the war god who must bind the wolf. An admiration for heroism is a sign of true appreciation for those who would fight and die for their land and people. Such sacrifices must not just be left up to soldiers either, for any of us can play our part in the welfare of our nations. We simply must be bold enough to do this!

    Heimdall: Once, the guardian of the worlds, Heimdall came down to Midgard to bless our gentic lines with his essence and to bring culture to our people. It is believed that all of our earliest industries and technologies came to us from the gods through Heimdall. He taught our ancestors how to pray, how to grow crops, how to make and use fire, how to bake, to craft and forge, spin and weave, read and write, and gave them the knowledge of the runes- ancient secrets and symbols used in various ways.

    As the great Teutonic culture-bringer, Heimdall teaches us the sanctity of our heritage. There is nothing more valuable, more sacred than the ancestral ways and genetic inheritance passed down to us through countless ages. Not only do they connect us to who we are, they give us our place in eternity, as the middle point beween that which has been and that which will be. Patriotism doesn't even come close in matters of importance, for borders come and go, while our cultural, ethnic birthright is eternal! How can we take pride in being American or Canadian or German or English, etc. if we cannot first be proud of who we are genetically? Geographic distinctions are man-made and artificial, whereas your bloodline was given to you by nature, and for us Asatruar, by the gods and goddesses of our people! This heritage, above all else, is what makes you special. We should not allow the perversion of this natural tendency towards your folk, which has manifested, for some, as ignorant bigotry, turn us away from a legacy that has existed for centuries, which we should be proud of.

    In celebrating our ancient faith we honor Heimdall as the god who taught it to us in the first place. As he established the earliest customs, so must we continue teaching them to our children, encouraging them to teach it to their children, and so on. An understanding of the importance of the cultural identity may bring new life into the hearts of many who feel lost in the cultureless morass of self-centered consumerism.

    Ull: Originally, he was one of the Alfar, lesser demigods in close relations to the higher deities. His mother is Sif and his father Egil-Orvandil, both well respected member of the Alfar clans. Through a series of adventures with his half-brother, Svipdag, Ull managed to build an outstanding reputation of heroism, leading to his adoption among the major gods. At one point, during a period when Odin was exiled from Asgard, Ull was elected to act in his stead as the highest god. Fortune continued to smile on his family as Svipdag married Freya, thus becoming a higher god himself, and Sif, after Egil died, married Thor, becoming a goddess.

    Ull's life story tells us that nothing is unachievable for those willing to strive and struggle. He inspires us to reach for our dreams, to never settle for second best, and to never lose sight of our goals. Sometimes the road of ambition is a long, difficult path to follow, but in the end its rewards are tremendous. If a young demigod can attain the position of highest of all the gods, certainly we can achieve anything we set our minds to. As with Ull, we only need the support of others, a strong heart, an oppurtunity and we can do anything!


    THE GODDESSES

    As the gods epitomize the ideals of manly virtue, the goddesses exemplify all that can be expressed through feminine nobility. Beauty, motherhood, sensuality, nurturing, all that women are and can be is represented through the female divine principle. SInce there are no goddesses among the patriarchal, monotheist religions, this principle has been missing from the lives of many. The ancient Northern Europeans maintained a profound respect for goddesses and women that was unparalleled anywhere else. No other cultures in the world put more of an emphasis on honoring women than the Teutons and Celts; a social element well noted by foreign observers. In fact, Europeans are the only ones known to have had established matriarchies, where noble queens ruled. Even today, the only countries that fully embrace the concept of women's rights are either European or are strongly influenced by European values. The goddesses inspire our women to be strong, independent, and noble, without compromising their femininity. They are to be vital members of oru Asatru nation, standing beside our men as equals, valued for their roles among our people.

    FRIGGA: The wife of Odin and queen of Asgard, she is identical to Jord or Nerthus, our Mother Earth. This title is connected to both her husband's creation of Midgard and her clan's position in the pantheon, for she is one of the Vanir, the nature deities. She is our All-Mother, Odin's female counterpart representing motherhood, childbirth, and the revered roles of women in the home. She is the incarnation of the female creative force, highly honored by our folk. Where Odin is Father Sky, she is our bounteous earth, bringing forth the rewards of life and plenty for those who will work for them.

    Frigga's lesson commands resdect for her powers of creation. With soaring populations and rampant industrialism we have abused our earth for far too long. It is our duty as Asatruar, as people living on this planet, to do our part in protecting our environment. Our faith originates in a strong connection to the land and to the forces of nature. Religion and nature must never be seperated, for we must never believe that we are somehow above natural law. With all of our money, with all of our technology, we are still children of our Mother Earth, whose powers we have only begun to understand. The balance of her ecosystems is fragile and sacred, not to be toyed with by the selfish or greedy. Those who will treat her with respect, who will toil for her gifts, may reap the rewards of her bounty without raping her.

    FREYA: She is our goddess of love, fertility, fecundity, and female sexuality- the counterpart to her brother, Frey. Like Frigga, she represents motherhood and childbirth, the woman's powers of creation. The most beautiful of all the goddeses, women pray to her for help in all matters. She is married to Od-Svipdag, and once travelled all the worlds searching for him when he was in exile. Her tears, the tears of a woman's love, became gold, serving as compensation for an insult her husband had made against the gods.

    Before the coming of Christianity our women had the freedom to live their lives in any way they chose. Some even became warriors, joining men in battle on land or at sea. Still others became mighty rulers. At the same time, traditional female roles were admired by all, having an equally important status as men's duties. No matter what her class, the housewife, named after Freya (Husfreyja, G. Hausfrau) was highly respected in her home and community. She wore the keys to the house around her waist as a symbol of her authority. From this, a competition of sots would have existed, where women would work to have the most well-kept home in their tribe or clan. There was nothing subservient about the position at all, until foreign belief systems were introduced, diminishing the place of the "lady of the house" considerably.

    Freya teaches us to love women, for women to love who they are and for men to love them for it. In order for a man to have respect for a woman, she must first have respect for herself, and vice versa. For feminists to condemn or devalue traditional roles for women is to betray some of the most valued aspects of femininity, essentially giving in to the patriarchal view that these roles are not as important as men's. Women are naturally caretakers and nurturers, so the idea of motherhood should be considered the most significant for women in our society. But this does not mean that we would chain our women to the idea, just as we wouldn't hold our men to any preconceived notion about what should be important to them. There is power in promotion, and it is important for us to promote the idea of family and kinship to all our people.

    Remember, the same forces that enslaved women enslaved all of us, men and women, to their crude doctrine. Reactionary disgust towards a foreign paradigm is natural, but should not get in the way of our developing a position, productive outlook towards these traditional roles. New trends must be created and promoted where natural roles are respected and valued by everyone, while at the same time continuing the work for women's freedom and equality. If all aspects of femininity are not given equal value, those women who do not meet current standards, who choose to adopt traditional roles, are not treated with as much respect, essentially, as their more "progressive" constituents. Such a devaluation is part of the reason European populations are steadily declining, leading us towards our extinction.

    NANNA: Daughter of the moon-god, Mani, she is Balder's devoted wife. The love she has for her husband is thought to exceed any love ever known. When she saw him being carried to his funeral pyre, after he had been slain, she immediately died from a broken heart. Now, she lives with him in the Underworld, preparing the children of the renewal for their duties after ragnarok. Her eternal love reaches even beyond the boundaries of life and death. It is generally accepted that, from her devotion to her husband, Nanna represents fidelity and loyalty. However, her name means "The Brave", which denotes her feminine strength as well. Her loyalty could never be confused as submission, even though Christian doctrine tried to convince women that this is exactly what this means! We can therefore consider her to be the goddes of equal marriages as well. Modern Europeans are only reclaiming their heritage when re-establishing the idea of equality between husband and wife, where we are partners in our relationship.

    Nanna's death not only represents her devotion as a wife, it is also signifies how much Balder deserved such affection. We should strive to love our spouses, or mates with all the passions we can muster, while continuously earning their passionate love. Imagine how strong a love could be for a wife to actually die from seeing her dead husband. If we only earn a fraction of such faithfulness we could build relationships to last a lifetime!

    SKADI: If there is any doubt about the existence of the ancient model of the strong Nordic woman, one only needs to read the lore on Skadi. She is the mighty goddess of the hunt, who seems to manifest all of the freedoms women held in ancient Northern Europe. She was allowed to choose her own husband (which was unheard of elsewhere at the time), hunts the wild mountain ranges near Thrymheim, her home, and once even challenged all of the gods and goddesses of Asgard! Early nobles proudly traced their ancestry through her, and it is thought that Scandinavia (Skadinauja) was named after her.

    She is the daughter of Volund-Thjazi, and was extremely upset when she learned that the gods had killed him. She adoned herself with arms and armor, walked up to the Bifrost Bridge to Asgard, then demanded compensation for the slaying. In doing so she was following the sacred duties of kinship, which commands that we seek reparation for any harms done to ourselves or our family. Obviously, given her attire, she was well prepared to fight, which surely would have led to her death. But the gods and goddesses chose to make amends by allowing her to choose a husband among them by the sight of his feet, which in effect would give her the rank of an Asynja, or goddess of the Aesir. Also, she was made to laugh by Loki, alleviating her sorrow, and Volund was honored by having his eyes cast up into the heavens by Thor to become stars.

    When Skadi made her choice of a husband, thinking that she had spotted the feet of Balder, who she wanted, it was Njord who became her spouse. Even in her marriage to him she exemplifies her independent nature. Her home is in the mountains, which Njord cannot stand to reside in; his home is near the ocean, which she cannot bear. So they live separately, although they are presumably still married.

    Loki played a major role int he death of her father, a fact that Skadi never loses sight of. In the end, after Loki is banished from Asgard for his treachery and bound by the entrails of his own evil son, she is the one who places the serpent over his face, which will drip burning venom on his face until Ragnarok, causing him much pain and suffering. In all respects Skadi is the embodiment of the strong, free-willed woman, standing equal to many of the gods in might and bravery.

    URD: There is a late tradition where Loki's half-black, half-pale daughter rules the Underworld under the name Hel. The idea is based on a Christian misconception purposely devised to make the Teutonic eschatology and cosmology match that of the Bible. His daughter's real name is Leikin, who only watches over the realm of the damned as Hel's slave. The true Hel is, in fact, our goddess of fate, of that-which-is, the benevolent deity concerned with matters of life and death, Urd. She is the highest of the Norns, powerful maidens directly linked to all sentient beings as their guardians or the creators of their destiny. Her sisters, Verdandi and Skuld, help her weave the web of wyrd, a symbol of synchronicity and the relationship between all life in the universe.

    To our ancestors, no power was greater than that of Fate. It is possible that it was personified as a mighty deity (Metod) worshipped by the gods and goddesses, with Urd as his representative. Today there are many, caught up in the ideals of individualism, who do not believe in fate simply because they feel they can control their own destiny. Such a belief is based on a lack of understanding of what fate is. All we can "control" in life is our own choices, how we choose to live and deal with what life has to offer. Everything else is fate. Let's consider an example:

    You see a carrot laying on a table, then decide you want to eat the carrot, so you move towards it. Here you are controlling your choice, your decision that you want that carrot. But then, I run up, grab the carrot and take off with it. Of course you could say I'm just being a jerk, but nevertheless, you do not have the carrot, even though it was your decision to get it. This is fate. You cannot control your destiny because you cannot control your environment or those around you. This is why, in Asatru, the concept is represented by a web, with each thread, a thread of fate, signifying the life of an individual. When two threads meet this is the overlapping of two lives: our relationships with oen another. As we live out our existence Urd creates our threads of fate from her sacred well, feeds them to her sister Verdandi who weaves them into web, the lives or fates of others, then Skuld cuts them, deciding our time to die.

    Urd's lesson is to accept life on life's terms. We may not be able to control our environment, but we can control how we deal with it. We will make our decisions, trying to make the best of any situation, and hope that Fortune will shine down on our endeavors. No matter what the outcome we must face our ups and downs with dignity. Most problems human beings face are based on our perception of hour things should be, rather than how they are. Developing an acceptance of what happens is a mark of the highly evolved person. This is not to say that we do not try to fix wrongs, or that we live passively, waiting for fate to lead our way, it is simply a decree that things happen for a reason. This is why Urd is not that goddess of that-which-was or the "past" as it is commonly defined, but rther of that-which-is, the way things are and the circumstances that have led up to them. When bad things happen we learn from our mistakes, or demand compensation when we are wronged, or fight against those who oppress us. Fixating on the past changes nothing.

    SIF: Although the most noteworthy story about Sif is Loki's cutting of her hair, which led to the great artists' competition, it is not here that we look for the wisdom of her lore. There is a tale where she appears under a different name, Kraka, where she is the step-mother of Svipdag-Erik. Freya was once betrayed by her maidservant, Aurbodam and placed in the hands of the Jotuns, the children of chaos. There she was guarded by a large clan of powerful Jotun warriors under the leadership of Beli, a mighty chieftain. Sif enticed her stepson to recue the goddess, which was indeed a perilous quest. So perilous, in fact, that Svipdag believed his stepmother was trying to lead him to his death. But Sif knew the decrees of the Norns well, and knew that Svipdag would achieve his goals. When Ull, her son, decided to join in the adventure, she asked Svipdag to watch over his brother, which he readily agreed to do. This began what could be called the greatest hero-saga known in the Teutonic lore. Ull gained the greatest of glories, as we have seen, and Svipdag, also known as Od, became Freya's husband and a god himself.

    From this story we can see Sif's lesson as one of shrewd, stern wisdom, where one may have to go againstr the wishes of those they love or care for for the greater good. Svipdag believed she had malicious intent in her urges for the adventures he would face because he felt that they were beyond his means. But Sif knew better, and did what she felt was right for her stepson. Sometimes we have to do what's best, even if it isn't necessarily popular. Had she not been bold enough to incite Svipdag, he would have missed out on the highest honors. Those who will stand their ground on such matters, no matter what stands in their way, are the people we want as leaders among our folk.

    GROA: Sif is Svipdag's stepmother, Groa is his mother, both wives of Egil-Orvandil. When Svipdag suspected ill-will in Sif's demands that he seek our Freya, he went to his mother's grave to call upon her aid. Before her death she had told her son to visit her cairn if he was ever in need of her help. Rather than supporting Svipdag's suspicions against Sif, she sang songs over him that would strengthen his heart and his abilities, so he would be victorious.

    In another story Groa sang songs of healing over Thor to help him remove a piece of Hrugnir's hone that got lodged into his skull when they duelled. During the adventure Thor came across Groa's husband, who had been missing. When he tells Groa of this she is so happy she forgets the chants needed to heal him. So the hone remains in Thor's head to this day.

    Groa is the selfless goddess willing to help those in need. Though this couild probably be said of any of the gods or goddesses, it is she who stands out in such matter, it is she who Thor goes to for assistance above all others. She teaches us to always be ready to give aid when it is needed, as well as accept assistance ourselves. Not even the gods are so stubborn or arrogant to think that they can do anything and everything by themselves. Whenever they need help, they are quick to ask for it, and are quick to give it in return. This is the very idea of a tribe, or clan, or family, or community- when one drops the load, the other picks it up. Such a concept was once imperative for the survival of any group of people, for without a communal effort many tasks are simply not possible.

    IDUN: She is the goddess of youth, whose golden apples rejuvenate the gods and keep them immortal. The best known tale about her is when she was taken by Volund-Thjazi, then subsequently "rescued" by Loki, who had been involved in her kidnapping in the first place. There is evidence in our records which tells us that Idun was Volund's sister, as well as his lover. Such incestuous relationships are common in the ancient lore, but has always, even by our ancestors, been treated as a unique, and somewhat shocking trait of the divine. Perhaps it was considered necessary to keep the fivine blood within their family, although it has been stated that this is a relic of the earliest symbolism when they were viewed merely as forces of nature.

    Some sources tell us that when idun was with Volund she changed her appearance, as well as her disposition. She began to delight in guile, to take on the same characteristics as her vengeful lover, who hated the gods for rejecting his gifts in the artists' competition between Ivaldi's and Mimir's sons (Voldung, Egil, and Slagfin versus Sindri and Brokk). This loving, beautiful goddess became an evil witch, a myrk-rider as they were known. She began to take part in acts meant to destroy the gods' creations, which she had been previously promoted. Namely, this was the first Fimbulwinter, an Ice Age that would annihilate all life. While she is gone from Asgard the destructive powers begin to dominate as the gods and goddesses grow old. Fortunately this Fimbulwinter was reversed before it was too late, but a second, finaly great Ice Age is prophecied to appear right before Ragnarok, which will signal the end of the world.
    Several factors came into play which caused the first Fimbulwinter to end: Voldung-Thjazi, who had been conjuring the terrible ice storms, is killed; all of the captive deities of vegetation are returned to their rightful places, and new powers arise to fend off the forces of chaos. But how is Idun allowed to regain her status after she has helped in an attempt to destroy creation? Obviously she has compensated for this in some way, which is her lesson to us. In our lives we will make some bad choices or wrong decisions, some more than others. This is just a simple fact of life. Our gods and goddesses do not expect us to be perfect, nor do they expect us to grovel before them when we make a mistake. When we err we do our best to make up for it, then try not to do it again, simple as that. There is no crime that can not be compensated for, no transgression that can not be repaired. Sometimes one might even be made to placate for a crime with their life. In ancient times, the idea of capital punishment was based on the concept that, by taking one's life, they had suffered for their infraction and could therefore face the possibility of being rewarded with a blessed afterlife. However, even murder could be recompensed by means other than execution. Most likely, it simply depended on the status of the victime and/or the demands of their family.

    NAT: (Night) She has been called "The Mother of the Gods", which designates her position in her family rather than any sort of royal title. Her bloodline reaches into all of the divine clans- Aesir, Vanir, Alfar and the Jotuns. With Delling she had the son Dag, a high Alf prince, lord of the day; with Anar-Fjorgynn (Hoenir) she had Frigga, a Vanir-goddess who married Odin and had the Aesir sons Thor, Balder and Hod; with Naglfari-Mani (Lodur) she had Njord, the Vanir-prince who sired Frey, Freya and several other goddesses with his sister, Frigga. Nat herself is a dis (goddess) of the higher Jotun clan (which will be explained below) that was spawned from Ymir's, the chaos being's, armpits. Thus, all of the most ancient tribes have some relation to her.

    Above all, Nat is a representative of order as our patroness of night. Our ancestors actually reckoned time by nights, rather than by days, for Night is Day's mother. She teaches us to work for the order, the universal order that flows in its natural progression, opposing the chaos that would bring all things to ruin. In all of existence everything moves through the never-ending cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. All of nature exists in some way or another as an adaptation to this cycle, as a part of the process of evolution. We can further our development by understanding and working for the natural order, constantly toiling in the face of adversity. By living our lives honorably, focusing always on bettering ourselves, we can use these ideals to our advantage, while paying tribute to Mother Night.

    All of the gods and goddesses have some sort of benefit to present to us in one way or another. Some of their lessons are easy to find, while others are more obscure. We have a long way to go in piecing together the ancient fragments left to us from our lore. You can be sure, those who have seen some tales they do not recognize, that all of the above information has been well researched and can be verified. I simply want to give these ancient archetypes a proper introduction without going into a loty of detail or repsenting all kinds of complicated research. However, these stories are valid and should be recognized for their worth to our people. Eventually, we will have a new Edda that will have all of our ancient tales given in their proper form (at least as close as we can get to it) so everyone will know and understand the full body of our lore.


    THE DIVINE CLANS

    Besides personal descriptions of each deity, it is important to describe the purpose behind each of the divine families as they are understood in our religion. Each clan has a part to play in the natural order, and each work more or less harmoniously with the others towards maintaining it. Without one clan the others would be lost, for each meet a particular need within creation. The needs met are related to the dispositions of the deities involved, as we shall see.

    AESIR: The Aesir have the role of protecting the worlds, which is why all of them are warriors or gods of war. This is also why they are honored as the highest deities, for they represent the perfect ideal of heroism, which all men have admired since the dawn of time. Many Vanir deities are adopted into the Asa-clan as they began to take one more warlike aspects, though they still maintained their status as vanagods or goddesses. The fact is, we need protectors more than anything. It may not seem like it in our modern world, but without heroes defending our people from threats, both foreign and domestic, our entire idea of civilization would break down. As much as we long for a peaceful world, there will always be crime and war. If we do not have those that are prepared to fight against criminals or foreign enemies we are certainly vulnerable to attack. Soldiers, policemen, even firefighters play the same roles as the Aesir in protecting our folk, and should be honored as such.

    VANIR: The second highest group of gods and goddesses are the regulators of the natural order, who see to it that all of the processes of creation are maintained. The cycles of time, rising and setting of the sun and moon, the ebb and flow of the ocean, the growth of crops, all of these occur under the authority of the Vanir. Thus they are our nature-deities, more so than they are gods and goddesses of war. Of course, in the Aesir and Vanir clans these attributes of war-deities and nature-deities are interchangeable, some simply stand our more than others. The Vanir will certainly fight to protect the order if need be, and the Aesir may represent some forces of nature, but in normal circumstances these are the duties they perform.

    The Vanir teach us to revere nature in its many forms. Asatruar do not look for "miracles" in burning bushes or divine magic, we see the power of nature for what it is, as the miracle that it is. When we stand in awe of the sunrise, when we are moved by a mountain landscape, when we find joy in the forests or ravines or oceans we are experiencing the religious inspiration of the Vanir

    ALFAR: They are the great nature-artists who, under the patronage of Frey as their leader, are in charge of the actual work required to keep the natural order going. They decorate the worlds with vegetation and create wondrous artifacts for the gods and goddesses, to aid them in their duties. The gods may have created Midgard, but it was the Alfar who adorned it with flowers and birds and all sorts of living things. To me, these Teutonic demigods represent the scientific basis of our faith, for they seem to be the earliest conception of men and women of higher learning. Some of their inventions, such as chess games that play by themselves or flying machines are technologies that we take for granted today. All of our stories can be interpreted through science: from the creation of life by fire (energy) and ice (matter), to the evolutionary theories on the possibilities of gods actually existing, to the renewal of life from destruction (Ragnarok).

    Some of the Alfar, such as Delling, Dag and Sunna work particularly in the duties of bringing light to the worlds, and as such are called Elves, and Dokkalfar, Dark-Elves, are designated thus because they are picture as living in deep, underground realms where they mind for ores to make their creations with. All of the Alfar teach us the value of hard work, of the importance for us all to fo our part in the duties needed to keep our civilizations moving forward, with respect to our earth and the universe around us.

    JOTUNS: There are two divisions of the Jotun clan: one monstrous and evil, the other noble and good. Both were descended from Ymir- the former through Thrudgelmir whon was born of his father's feet, the latter through Mimir and Bestla who were born in his armpits. The idea is that the arms were considered more valuable appendages than the feet.

    Many noble characters came from the higher Jotun clan, including Nat, Mimir's daughter, the Norns, Grid, Gunnlod, Aegir, Sigyn, etc. We cannot simply dismiss the Jotuns as entirely evil or chaotic. Their roles always seem to have something to do with the primal age of creation, when all the worlds and all life was coming into being. Indeed, all Jotuns represent, in some way or another, the primordial past.

    Tales of giants who lived on the earth before men came to replace them have been told in almost every civilization, almost every religion in the world. Even the Bible has its story of David and Goliath. It is likely that these stories represent the actual invasion of homo sapiens as they overcame their predecessors, earlier forms of humanity such as Neanderthals. I will not consider here exactly who these ancestors were, I will only point out that this is yet another example of when myth and science overlap.

    There is a certain degree of personal empowerment that comes with a relationship with divinity, a feeling known by religious people for centuries. No other faith will have a more profound impact on your life or your spirit than the one developed through your own heritage, by your own folk. Asatru is based entirely on the improvement of the self and of the folk. Our gods and goddesses are out there, watching down on us, trying to help us as we take each step towards joining them in our next life. We only need to hear their voices again and to embrace them as our ancestors did so long ago. Once they have become an important part in all of our lives we may begin to work towards reclaiming our sacred birthright, then we will start the path towards our destiny.

    Source
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    Book: The Nature of Ásatrú by Mark Puryear

    Quote Originally Posted by The Norroena Society Newsletter
    Friday, March 24th, 2006

    It is with extreme enthusiasm that I would like to announce to you that the first original publication of the newly re-established Norroena Society is now available for purchase! "The Nature of Ásatrú" by Mark Puryear is a philosophic look at the ancient, indigenous religion of Northern Europe, focusing on the positive, ethical, standards of the Ásatrú belief system.

    This book totals 276 pages with Twelve Chapters which respectfully focus on The Gods & Goddesses, Wyrd, Morality, Pleasure, The Warrior, Marriage and Children, The Land, Folk, and Today's Religion. There are also two Appendixes— The Role of Women in Ásatrú, by Katia Puryear, and an original translation of The Hávamál, by Mark Puryear. Last but certainly not least, a complete A-Z Catalog of Terms, which not only provides the roles & definitions of almost every Ásatrú term and deity, but also their etymology and pronunciation guide. A definite must have for the curious, the newbie, and the experienced Ásatrúar alike!

    This book can be purchased a number of ways, whichever is most convenient for you.

    On the following link:

    http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/b...=0-595-38964-3

    At ANY major bookstore worldwide, by requesting ISBN number 0-595-38964-3 be ordered for you (usually requires a wait of 2-3 weeks depending on where you are located).

    In the next few weeks, this title will also be loaded into the databases of WWW.AMAZON.COM, WWW.BN.COM (Barnes & Noble), and www.booksamillion.com . When the book shows up will simply depend on the next time that these websites refresh their databases, which they tend to do once to twice per week on average.

    Our hope is that you thoroughly enjoy this publication and that our hard work was well worth the effort. Please do not hesitate contacting us if you have any questions at: info@norroena.org .

    Hail the Gods and Goddesses!

    Katia Puryear
    http://www.norroena.org
    I've allready sent my money order out to buy this. I know the author and his wife, very good folk. The book's introduction and first chapter can be read via the Norroena Society website if anyone is interested the links are posted below:

    Intro: http://www.norroena.org/NatureAsatru/intro.html

    Chapter One: http://www.norroena.org/NatureAsatru/chapter1.html

    Enjoy.
    E-mail: odalist@gmail.com
    AOL IM: Blood Und Soil

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    Re: Book: The Nature of Ásatrú by Mark Puryear

    I second this recommendation with my full heart. They author and his wife are very good folk, and they have put together a very good work here. It is applicable both for those new to the folkway and those a little more advanced. In its viewpoints and reasoning, the book is very agreeable, and I am proud to have a copy of this book on my shelf. Really, it is well worth spending your dollars/pounds/euros on this one!

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    Re: Book: The Nature of Ásatrú by Mark Puryear

    Any chance of a bibliography being posted???

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    Re: Book: The Nature of Ásatrú by Mark Puryear

    This book has recently arrived.

    I wonder if anyone can speak about Norroena.

    carl


    2006

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    Re: Book: The Nature of Ásatrú by Mark Puryear

    Does anyone actually know where Havamal came from? A rune stone perhaps? If so which one from where??

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    Re: Book: The Nature of Ásatrú by Mark Puryear

    The Havamal is not an homogenous text but consists of some five or six separate stylistic sections and perhaps (probably) put together by an early collector. Much of it is thought to have come from Norway I understand , possibly in the tenth century.The sole source, I believe, is the famous Codex Regius found originally in Iceland and now returned to Iceland again.


    Whilst Mark Puryear's book (above) is very interesting and creative, there are aspects of its clarifying which may cause some alarm. The best way to consider this is to read through the final "catalog of terms". Gullweig , for example, is identified as evil and is then considered to become firstly Aurboda and then , when exiled, Angerboda - the mother of Fenrir by Loki! This clarification may not be "universally accepted".


    Equally, it is strange to see Frigga appearing as the mother of the Vanir twins Frey & Freyja. Understandable perhaps if Frigga is indeed to be Mother Earth ( Jord), mother of Thor (by Odinn) and also married to the Vanir god Njord , honoured father of Holy Frey and Freyja.

    This I see as somewhat demanding mythology. I would be interested in any further observations.

    Carl

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    Thumbs Up The Nature of Asatru by Mark Puryear

    It is with extreme enthusiasm that I would like to announce
    that the first original publication of the newly re-established
    Norroena Society is now available for purchase! "The Nature of
    Ásatrú" by Mark Puryear is a philosophic look at the ancient,
    indigenous religion of Northern Europe, focusing on the positive,
    ethical, standards of the Ásatrú belief system.

    This book totals 276 pages with Twelve Chapters which respectfully
    focus on The Gods & Goddesses, Wyrd, Morality, Pleasure, The
    Warrior, Marriage and Children, The Land, Folk, and Today's
    Religion. There are also two Appendixes— The Role of Women in
    Ásatrú, by Katia Puryear, and an original translation of The
    Hávamál, by Mark Puryear. Last but certainly not least, a complete A-
    Z Catalog of Terms, which not only provides the roles & definitions
    of almost every Ásatrú term and deity, but also their etymology and
    pronunciation guide. A definite must have for the curious, the
    newbie, and the experienced Ásatrúar alike!

    This book can be purchased through Amazon.com :

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/059...Fencoding=UTF8


    Our hope is that you thoroughly enjoy this publication and that our
    hard work was well worth the effort. Please do not hesitate
    contacting us if you have any questions!

    Hail the Gods and Goddesses!

    Katia Puryear
    The Norroena Society
    http://www.norroena.org

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    Re: The Nature of Asatru by Mark Puryear - Introduction

    The rest of the book can be purchased through The Norroena Society or through Amazon.com for anyone interested

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