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Title: The Path of the Asatru
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Autumn_Heather
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(Date Posted:01/08/2009 06:27 AM)
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What is Asatru?

Trying to define Asatru can be rather like trying to nail jelly to a tree - whenever one is
convinced it has stuck it finds a way around the nail to land once more at your feet. The word
itself is easy enough - it was invented by Scandinavian antiquarians in the 1830's to describe the
ethical and religious leanings of their forebearers. Literally it means "True to the Aesir", one of
the families of gods and goddesses worshipped by the Vikings. But the concepts go back much
farther, and are indeed much broader than medieval Scandinavia.

Five thousand of years ago a people known as the Indo-Europeans swept out of central Asia
across steppe and sea in a wave of conquest, trade and exploration.. Asatru is essentially their
cultural legacy, now worldwide, wherever their descendants roamed. Scandinavia is simply the
last place this culture existed in it's purest form, untouched by the influx of Semitic and Oriental
religion and culture.

Asatru is a tribal or folk religion. As such, it shares much with other tribal traditions, including
those of the Native Americans. However, unlike nearly every other tribal religion, Asatru has a
written body of lore, the Poetic Edda, the Prose Edda and many, many sagas, all collected in
Iceland in the Middle Ages and preserved.

An Asatru Kindred, such as Ravenswood, is the modern expression of the tribe. It is not a church,
although there is a strong religious aspect. Legally, it is a religious order. It is not exactly a
family, although the members consider one another to be kin. It somewhat like a fraternity, such
as the Masonic Orders, where one is bound by oath to ones fellows. We have no dogma, or
formal creed, although we do have a set of shared beliefs. Perhaps the best way to think of
Asatru is as an ethic, as a philosophy or a way of life. This ethic is best expressed in the Nine
Noble Virtues.

Asatru places the highest value of human freedom and individuality. This is true in both secular
and religious matters, and is so strong that while we honor our gods and goddesses, we will
never grovel before them. The Shining Gods and Goddesses (the Aesir and the Vanir of
Scandinavian tradition) are models and inspirations: self-aware personifications of the forces of
nature and of life. They are our friends, but never will they be our masters, and we will never be
their slaves. We do not bow our heads before them, we do not bend the knee or surrender our
judgment or our sovereignty.

Asafolk view the gods in many different lights. There are those of us who nearly atheists,
believing the Gods and Goddesses to be manifestations of pure Nature, and preferring to trust in
their own might and judgment entirely. For these folks, Asatru provides a context for their culture
and it's continuity. Others are literalists, believing the Eddas and Sagas to be divinely inspired,
and believing the gods and goddesses to be literal physical entities. Most fall somewhere in the
middle: finding our roots in the culture and our spiritual path on the road with the Shining Gods
and Goddesses.

The cultural context that Asatru presents is indeed immense. Most of the holidays that we
celebrate were original with our ancestors. Yule trees were decorated to celebrate, and the
Ostara bunny left his eggs in the grass at the Vernal Equinox. Even the days of the week reflect
our heathen heritage: Sunna's Day, Moon's Day, Tiw's Day, Woden's Day, Thor's Day, Frigga's
Day ... Saturn's Day was a Roman addition. Our system of common law and jurisprudence has it's
roots in the Thing, a general meeting of the community. This system, which has survived in
America, Scandinavia and England is utterly unlike the Roman or Middle Eastern system of
judges without juries and commands by divine kings.

At it core, Asatru believes in human action. No waiting for the afterlife to be happy: you must
seize your happiness in the here and now! By heroic action you can take your life in your own
hands. You are indeed the "Captain of Your Fate" and the "Master of Your Soul".

The family is the pillar of Asatru. By tradition, people have been devoted to family, and rightly
so, for the family is the basis of all enduring social achievements. Where families are strong,
freedom is guaranteed. Where they are weak, tyranny flowers, and freedom dies.

Beyond the family is the community, not just other Asafolks, but the communities in which we
live and work. Asatru has no concept of doing good for the community merely for the sake of
doing good for the community. We believe that our deeds reflect our souls: to the extent that those
deeds build our family and our community we are spiritually healthy.

Our concepts of an afterlife are fully consistent with our other beliefs. Those who are worthy
travel to the realm of the gods, Asgard. Evildoers and oathbreakers are sent to Nifelhel, a realm
of cold and fog. There is also a persistent belief in reincarnation, usually, but not always, within
the family line. Thus do our ancestors live again through us. This has caused Asatru to sometimes
be described as a "Norse Shinto"; Shinto being the ancestor worship as currently practiced in
Japan. And indeed, there are many parallels.

Asatru is practiced in many ways. We celebrate the seasons with feasts and festivals, reviving
the original customs to the best of our abilities. We practice many crafts, from brewing to
weaving. We honor the gods and goddesses on their special days. We remember our ancestors
and the heroes whose lives stand as examples to us. But most of all, we attempt to live our lives
with honor, enriching our families and our communities

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Autumn_Heather
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RE:The Path of the Asatru
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 06:28 AM)

Kindred of Ravenswood
Statement of Beliefs

We believe that the Æsir and the Vanir are living Deities who came out of The Void
before the beginning of time, and have ruled the Nine Worlds since then, and will rule them
until The End of Time.

We believe that the Æsir and the Vanir are inherently Good, and that they always
support Good and oppose Evil, and that they always want humans to do what is Right.

We believe that the Æsir and the Vanir foster and value the individuality of each person,
and that each person should be proud of their good deeds and worthy ancestors.

We believe that Faith in the Æsir and the Vanir constitutes the Religion of Asatru, and
that Asatru is our religion and our only religion.

We believe that as adherents of Asatru, we have a personal relationship with each and all
of the Æsir and the Vanir, individually and collectively -- and that all of the Æsir and Vanir
are our friends.

We believe that everyone can and may have a similar personal relationship with any or all
of the Æsir and the Vanir, and that Asatru is freely open to anyone who wants to accept it.

We believe that religious beliefs should always be of free choice, and that each person
who chooses to adhere to Asatru should interpret it according to his or her own ideas, and
that no one ever has the right to force another to adopt any religious beliefs against that
person's will, or to try to harm those who do not agree with them, for any reason.

We believe that when we die our spirits will live on in Other Realms, eventually to be
reborn in this World, and that the best legacy we can leave for our descendents are our own
good names and deeds.

We believe that Asatru provides the best Way of Life for all who choose to follow it, and
that the best guideposts for this Way of Life are the Nine Noble Virtues: Courage, Truth,
Honor, Fidelity, Hospitality, Discipline, Industriousness, Self-reliance, and Perseverence.

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Autumn_Heather
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RE:The Path of the Asatru
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 06:30 AM)

THE NINE NOBLE VIRTUES OF ASATRU

COURAGE
By facing Iife's struggles with courage, we constantly extend our capabilities. Without courage, nothing else can be done!

TRUTH
Blind faith has no place in Asatru. No pie-in-the-sky; we must act in this world as we see it and as it really is rather than calmly wait for the next

HONOR
We must be true to what we are, and we insist on acting with nobility rather than baseness. Our standards must be banners held high in our hearts.

FIDELITY
We stand true to our faith and our values. Loyalty is the basis for all enduring human activity, and we hold it in the highest esteem.

HOSPITALITY
The isolation and loneliness of modern life is not necessary. The willingness to share what one has with ones' fellows, especially travelers, is a vital part of our way of life.

DISCIPLINE
We hold to the discipline necessary to fulfill our purpose. We stand willing to exercise the self-control and steadfastness necessary in these difficult times.

INDUSTRIOUSNESS
Let us dare to be all that we can be! Let us take risks and taste the richness of life. Passivity is for sheep. We refuse to be mere spectators in life.

SELF-RELIANCE
We depend on our own strength and character to achieve our goals. We seek only the freedom necessary to our quest, whatever it may be.

PERSEVERANCE
We hold to our path until its completion and are not ashamed to be strong. The cult of the anti-hero will find no support in us, and the gods we follow are not for the weak.

Cattle die, kinsmen die,
one day you yourself must die.
I know one thing that never dies:
the dead man's reputation.

Havamal - Sayings of the High One

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Hávamál

The Sayings of Hár

The numbers are in reference to stanzas in Hollander Translation

1
The man who stands at a strange threshold,
Should be cautious before he cross it,
Glance this way and that:
Who knows beforehand what foes may sit
Awaiting him in the hall?

2
Greetings to the host,
The guest has arrived,
In which seat shall he sit?
Rash is he who at unknown doors
Relies on his good luck,

3
Fire is needed by the newcomer
Whose knees are frozen numb;
Meat and clean linen a man needs
Who has fared across the fells,

4
Water, too, that he may wash before eating,
Handcloth's and a hearty welcome,
Courteous words, then courteous silence
That he may tell his tale,

5
Who travels widely needs his wits about him,
The stupid should stay at home:
The ignorant man is often laughed at
When he sits at meat with the sage,

6
Of his knowledge a man should never boast,
Rather be sparing of speech
When to his house a wiser comes:
Seldom do those who are silent Make mistakes;
mother wit Is ever a faithful friend,

7

A guest should be courteous
When he comes to the table
And sit in wary silence,
His ears attentive,
his eyes alert:
So he protects himself,

8
Fortunate is he who is favored in his lifetime
With praise and words of wisdom:
Evil counsel is often given
By those of evil heart,

9
Blessed is he who in his own lifetime
Is awarded praise and wit,
For ill counsel is often given
By mortal men to each other,

10
Better gear than good sense
A traveler cannot carry,
Better than riches for a wretched man,
Far from his own home,

11
Better gear than good sense
A traveler cannot carry,
A more tedious burden than too much drink
A traveler cannot carry,

12
Less good than belief would have it
Is mead for the sons of men:
A man knows less the more he drinks,
Becomes a befuddled fool,

13
I forget is the name men give the heron
Who hovers over the feast:
Fettered I was in his feathers that night,
When a guest in Gunnlod's court

14
Drunk I got, dead drunk,
When Fjalar the wise was with me:
Best is the banquet one looks back on after,
And remembers all that happened,

15
Silence becomes the Son of a prince,
To be silent but brave in battle:
It befits a man to be merry and glad
Until the day of his death,

16
The coward believes he will live forever
If he holds back in the battle,
But in old age he shall have no peace
Though spears have spared his limbs

17
When he meets friends, the fool gapes,
Is shy and sheepish at first,
Then he sips his mead and immediately
All know what an oaf he is,

18
He who has seen and suffered much,
And knows the ways of the world,
Who has traveled', can tell what spirit
Governs the men he meets,

19
Drink your mead, but in moderation,
Talk sense or be silent:
No man is called discourteous who goes
To bed at an early hour

20
A gluttonous man who guzzles away
Brings sorrow on himself:
At the table of the wise he is taunted often,
Mocked for his bloated belly,

21
The herd knows its homing time,
And leaves the grazing ground:
But the glutton never knows how much
His belly is able to hold,

22
An ill tempered, unhappy man
Ridicules all he hears,
Makes fun of others, refusing always
To see the faults in himself

23
Foolish is he who frets at night,
And lies awake to worry'
A weary man when morning comes,
He finds all as bad as before,

24
The fool thinks that those who laugh
At him are all his friends,
Unaware when he sits with wiser men
How ill they speak of him.

25
The fool thinks that those who laugh
At him are all his friends:
When he comes to the Thing and calls for support,
Few spokesmen he finds

26
The fool who fancies he is full of wisdom
While he sits by his hearth at home.
Quickly finds when questioned by others .
That he knows nothing at all.

27
The ignorant booby had best be silent
When he moves among other men,
No one will know what a nit-wit he is
Until he begins to talk;
No one knows less what a nit-wit he is
Than the man who talks too much.

28
To ask well, to answer rightly,
Are the marks of a wise man:
Men must speak of men's deeds,
What happens may not be hidden.

29
Wise is he not who is never silent,
Mouthing meaningless words:
A glib tongue that goes on chattering
Sings to its own harm.

30
A man among friends should not mock another:
Many believe the man
Who is not questioned to know much
And so he escapes their scorn.

31
The wise guest has his way of dealing
With those who taunt him at table:
He smiles through the meal,
not seeming to hear
The twaddle talked by his foes

32
The fastest friends may fall out
When they sit at the banquet-board:
It is, and shall be, a shameful thing
When guest quarrels with guest,

33
An early meal a man should take
Before he visits friends,
Lest, when he gets there,
he go hungry,
Afraid to ask for food.

34
To a false friend the footpath winds
Though his house be on the highway.
To a sure friend there is a short cut,
Though he live a long way off.

35
The tactful guest will take his leave Early,
not linger long:
He starts to stink who outstays his welcome
In a hall that is not his own.

36
A small hut of one's own is better,
A man is his master at home:
A couple of goats and a corded roof
Still are better than begging.

37
A small hut of one's own is better,
A man is his master at home:
His heart bleeds in the beggar who must
Ask at each meal for meat.

38
A wayfarer should not walk unarmed,
But have his weapons to hand:
He knows not when he may need a spear,
Or what menace meet on the road.

39
No man is so generous he will jib at accepting
A gift in return for a gift,
No man so rich that it really gives him
Pain to be repaid.

40
Once he has won wealth enough,
A man should not crave for more:
What he saves for friends, foes may take;
Hopes are often liars.

41
With presents friends should please each other,
With a shield or a costly coat:
Mutual giving makes for friendship
So long as life goes well,

42
A man should be loyal through life to friends,
And return gift for gift,
Laugh when they laugh,
but with lies repay
A false foe who lies.

43
A man should be loyal through life to friends,
To them and to friends of theirs,
But never shall a man make offer
Of friendship to his foes.

44
If you find a friend you fully trust
And wish for his good-will,
exchange thoughts,
exchange gifts,
Go often to his house.

45
If you deal with another you don't trust
But wish for his good-will,
Be fair in speech but false in thought
And give him lie for lie.

46
Even with one you ill-trust
And doubt what he means to do,
False words with fair smiles
May get you the gift you desire.

47
Young and alone on a long road,
Once I lost my way:
Rich I felt when I found a another;
Man rejoices in man.

48
The generous and bold have the best lives,
Are seldom beset by cares, 
But the base man sees bogies everywhere
And the miser pines for presents.

49
Two wooden stakes stood on the plain,
on them I hung my clothes:
Draped in linen, they looked well born,
But, naked, I was a nobody

50
The young fir that falls and rots
Having neither needles nor bark,
So is the fate of the friendless man:
Why should he live long?

51
Hotter than fire among false hearts burns
Friendship for five days,
But suddenly slackens when the sixth dawns:
Feeble their friendship then.

52
A kind word need not cost much,
The price of praise can be cheap:
With half a loaf and an empty cup
I found myself a friend,

53
Little a sand-grain, little a dew drop,
Little the minds of men:
All men are not equal in wisdom,
The half-wise are everywhere

54
It is best for man to be middle-wise,
Not over cunning and clever:
The learned man whose lore is deep
Is seldom happy at heart.

55
It is best for man to be middle-wise,
Not over cunning and clever:
The fairest life is led by those
Who are deft at all they do.

56
It is best for man to be middle-wise,
Not over cunning and clever:
No man is able to know his future,
So let him sleep in peace.

57
Brand Kindles Till they broun out,
Flame is quickened by flame:
One man from another is known by his speech
The simpleton by his silence.

58
Early shall he rise who has designs
On anothers land or life:
His prey escapes the prone wolf,
The sleeper is seldom victorious.

59
Early shall he rise who rules few servants,
And set to work at once:
Much is lost by the late sleeper,
Wealth is won by the swift,

60
A man should know how many logs
And strips of bark from the birch
To stock in autumn, that he may have enough
Wood for his winter fires.

61
Washed and fed,
one may fare to the Thing:
Though one's clothes be the worse for Wear,
None need be ashamed of his shoes or hose,
Nor of the horse he owns,
Although no thoroughbred.

62
As the eagle who comes to the ocean shore,
Sniffs and hangs her head,
Dumfounded is he who finds at the Thing
No supporters to plead his case.

63
It is safe to tell a secret to one,
Risky to tell it to two,
To tell it to three is thoughtless folly,
Everyone else will know.

64
Moderate at council should a man be,
Not brutal and over bearing:
Among the bold the bully will find
Others as bold as he.

65
Often words uttered to another
Have reaped an ill harvest:

66
Too early to many homes I came,
Too late, it seemed, to some;
The ale was finished or else un-brewed,

The unpopular cannot please.

67
Some would invite me to visit their homes,
But none thought I Had eaten a whole joint,
Just before with a friend who had two.

68
These things are thought the best:
Fire, the sight of the sun,
Good health with the gift to keep it,
And a life that avoids vice.

69
Not all sick men are utterly wretched:
Some are blessed with sons,
Some with friends,
some with riches,
Some with worthy works.

70
It is always better to be alive,
The living can keep a cow.
Fire, I saw, warming a wealthy man,
With a cold corpse at his door.

71
The halt can manage a horse,
the handless a flock,
The deaf be a doughty fighter,
To be blind is better than to burn on a pyre:
There is nothing the dead can do.

72
A son is a blessing, though born late
To a father no longer alive:
Stones would seldom stand by the highway
If sons did not set them there.

73
Two beat one, the tongue is head's bane,
Pockets of fur hide fists.

74
He welcomes the night who has enough provisions
Short are the sails of a ship,
Dangerous the dark in autumn,
The wind may veer within five days,
And many times in a month.

75
The half wit does not know that gold
Makes apes of many men:
One is rich, one is poor
There is no blame in that.

76
Cattle die, kindred die,
Every man is mortal:
But the good name never dies
Of one who has done well

77
Cattle die, kindred die,
Every man is mortal:
But I know one thing that never dies,
The glory of the great dead

78
Fields and flocks had Fitjung's sons,
Who now carry begging bowls:
Wealth may vanish in the wink of an eye,
Gold is the falsest of friends.

79
In the fool who acquires cattle and lands,
Or wins a woman's love,
His wisdom wanes with his waxing pride,
He sinks from sense to conceit.

80
Now is answered what you ask of the runes,
Graven by the gods,
Made by the All Father,
Sent by the powerful sage:
lt. is best for man to remain silent.

81
For these things give thanks at nightfall:
The day gone, a guttered torch,
A sword tested, the troth of a maid,
Ice crossed, ale drunk.

82
Hew wood in wind-time,
in fine weather sail,
Tell in the night-time tales to house-girls,
For too many eyes are open by day:
From a ship expect speed, from a shield, cover,
Keenness from a sword,
but a kiss from a girl.

83
Drink ale by the hearth, over ice glide,
Buy a stained sword, buy a starving mare
To fatten at home: and fatten the watch-dog.

84
No man should trust a maiden's words,
Nor what a woman speaks:
Spun on a wheel were women's hearts,
In their breasts was implanted caprice,

85
A snapping bow, a burning flame,
A grinning wolf, a grunting boar,
A raucous crow, a rootless tree,
A breaking wave, a boiling kettle,

86
A flying arrow, an ebbing tide,
A coiled adder, the ice of a night,
A bride's bed talk, a broad sword,
A bear's play, a prince' s children,

87
A witch' s welcome, the wit of a slave,
A sick calf, a corpse still fresh,

88
A brother's killer encountered upon
The highway a house half-burned,
A racing stallion who has wrenched a leg,
Are never safe: let no man trust them.

89
Trust not an acre early sown,
Nor praise a son too soon:
Weather rules the acre, wit the son,
Both are exposed to peril,

90
To love a woman whose ways are false
Is like sledding over slippery ice
With unshod horses out of control,
Badly trained two-year-olds,
Or drifting rudderless on a rough sea,
Or catching a reindeer with a crippled hand
On a thawing hillside: think not to do it.

91
Naked I may speak now for I know both:
Men are treacherous too
Fairest we speak when falsest we think:
many a maid is deceived.

92
Gallantly shall he speak and gifts bring
Who wishes for woman's love:
praise the features of the fair girl,
Who courts well will conquer.

93
Never reproach another for his love:
It happens often enough
That beauty ensnares with desire the wise
While the foolish remain unmoved.

94
Never reproach the plight of another,
For it happens to many men:
Strong desire may stupefy heroes,
Dull the wits of the wise

95
The mind alone knows what is near the heart,
Each is his own judge:
The worst sickness for a wise man
Is to crave what he cannot enjoy.

96
So I learned when I sat in the reeds,
Hoping to have my desire:
Lovely was the flesh of that fair girl,
But nothing I hoped for happened.

97
I saw on a bed Billing's daughter,
Sun white, asleep:
No greater delight I longed for then
Than to lie in her lovely arms.

98
"Come" Odhinn, after nightfall
If you wish for a meeting with me:
All would be lost if anyone saw us
And learned that we were lovers."

99
Afire with longing"; I left her then,
Deceived by her soft words:

I thought my wooing had won the maid,
That I would have my way.

100
After nightfall I hurried back,
But the warriors were all awake,
Lights were burning, blazing torches:
So false proved the path

101
Towards daybreak back I came
The guards were sound asleep:
I found then that the fair woman
Had tied a bitch to her bed.

102
Many a girl when one gets to know her
Proves to be fickle and false:
That treacherous maiden taught me a lesson,
The crafty woman covered me with shame";
That was all I got from her.

103
Let a man with his guests be glad and merry,
Modest a man should be";
But talk well if he intends to be wise
And expects praise from men:
Fimbul fambi is the fool called ";
Unable to open his mouth.

104
Fruitless my errand, had I been silent
When I came to Suttung's courts:
With spirited words I spoke to my profit
In the hall of the aged giant.

105
Rati had gnawed a narrow passage,
Chewed a channel through stone,
A path around the roads of giants:
I was like to lose my head

106
Gunnlod sat me in the golden seat,
Poured me precious mead:
Ill reward she had from me for that,
For her proud and passionate heart,
Her brooding foreboding spirit.

107
What I won from her I have well used:
I have waxed in wisdom since I came back,
bringing to Asgard Odrerir,
the sacred draught.

108
Hardly would I have come home alive
From the garth of the grim troll,
Had Gunnlod not helped me, the good woman,
Who wrapped her arms around me.

109
The following day the Frost Giants came,
Walked into Har's hall To ask for Har's advice:
Had Bolverk they asked, come back to his friends,
Or had he been slain by Suttung?

110
Odhinn, they said, swore an oath on his ring:
Who from now on will trust him?
By fraud at the feast he befuddled Suttung
And brought grief to Gunnlod.

111
It is time to sing in the seat of the wise,
Of what at Urd's Well I saw in silence,
saw and thought on.
Long I listened to men
Runes heard spoken, (counsels revealed.)
At Har's hall, In Har's hall:
There I heard this.

112
Loddfafnir, listen to my counsel:
You will fare well if you follow it,
It will help you much if you heed it.
Never rise at night unless you need to spy
Or to ease yourself in the outhouse.

113
Shun a woman, wise in magic,
Her bed and her embraces:

114
If she cast a spell, you will care no longer
To meet and speak with men,
Desire no food, desire no pleasure,
In sorrow fall asleep.

115
Never seduce anothers wife,
Never make her your mistress.

116
If you must journey to mountains and firths,
Take food and fodder with you.

117
Never open your heart to an evil man
When fortune does not favour you:
From an evil man, if you make him your friend,
You will get evil for good.

118
I saw a warrior wounded fatally
By the words of an evil woman
Her cunning tongue caused his death,
Though what she alleged was a lie.

119
If you know a friend you can fully trust,
Go often to his house
Grass and brambles grow quickly
Upon the untrodden track.

120
With a good man it is good to talk,
Make him your fast friend:
But waste no words on a witless oaf,
Nor sit with a senseless ape.

121
Cherish those near you, never be
The first to break with a friend:
Care eats him who can no longer
Open his heart to another.

122
An evil man, if you make him your friend,
Will give you evil for good:

123
A good man, if you make him your friend";
Will praise you in every place,

124
Affection is mutual when men can open
All their heart to each other:
He whose words are always fair
Is untrue and not to be trusted.

125
Bandy no speech with a bad man:
Often the better is beaten
In a word fight by the worse.

126
Be not a cobbler nor a carver of shafts,
Except it be for yourself:
If a shoe fit ill or a shaft be crooked";
The maker gets curses and kicks.

127
If aware that another is wicked, say so:
Make no truce or treaty with foes.

128
Never share in the shamefully gotten,
But allow yourself what is lawful.

129
Never lift your eyes and look up in battle,
Lest the heroes enchant you,
who can change warriors
Suddenly into hogs,

130
With a good woman, if you wish to enjoy
Her words and her good will,
Pledge her fairly and be faithful to it:
Enjoy the good you are given,

131
Be not over wary, but wary enough,
First, of the foaming ale,
Second, of a woman wed to another,
Third, of the tricks of thieves.

132
Mock not the traveler met On the road,
Nor maliciously laugh at the guest:

133
The sitters in the hall seldom know
The kin of the new-comer:
The best man is marred by faults,
The worst is not without worth.

134
Never laugh at the old when they offer counsel,
Often their words are wise:
From shriveled skin, from scraggy things

That hand among the hides
And move amid the guts,
Clear words often come.

135
Scoff not at guests nor to the gate chase them,
But relieve the lonely and wretched,

136
Heavy the beam above the door;
Hang a horse-shoe On it
Against ill-luck, lest it should suddenly
Crash and crush your guests.

137
Medicines exist against many evils:
Earth against drunkenness, heather against worms
Oak against costiveness, corn against sorcery,
Spurred rye against rupture, runes against bales
The moon against feuds, fire against sickness,
Earth makes harmless the floods.

138
Wounded I hung on a wind-swept gallows
For nine long nights,
Pierced by a spear, pledged to Odhinn,
Offered, myself to myself
The wisest know not from whence spring
The roots of that ancient rood

139
They gave me no bread,
They gave me no mead,
I looked down;
with a loud cry
I took up runes;
from that tree I fell.

140
Nine lays of power
I learned from the famous Bolthor, Bestla' s father:
He poured me a draught of precious mead,
Mixed with magic Odrerir.

141
Waxed and throve well;
Word from word gave words to me,
Deed from deed gave deeds to me,

142
Runes you will find, and readable staves,
Very strong staves,
Very stout staves,
Staves that Bolthor stained,
Made by mighty powers,
Graven by the prophetic god,

143
For the gods by Odhinn, for the elves by Dain,
By Dvalin, too, for the dwarves,
By Asvid for the hateful giants,
And some I carved myself:
Thund, before man was made, scratched them,
Who rose first, fell thereafter

144
Know how to cut them, know how to read them,
Know how to stain them, know how to prove them,
Know how to evoke them, know how to score them,
Know how to send them"; know how to send them,

145
Better not to ask than to over-pledge
As a gift that demands a gift";
Better not to send than to slay too many,

146
The first charm I know is unknown to rulers
Or any of human kind;
Help it is named,
for help it can give In hours of sorrow and anguish.

147
I know a second that the sons of men
Must learn who wish to be leeches.

148
I know a third: in the thick of battle,
If my need be great enough,
It will blunt the edges of enemy swords,
Their weapons will make no wounds.

149
I know a fourth:
it will free me quickly
If foes should bind me fast
With strong chains, a chant that makes Fetters spring from the feet,
Bonds burst from the hands.

150
I know a fifth: no flying arrow,
Aimed to bring harm to men,
Flies too fast for my fingers to catch it
And hold it in mid-air.

151
I know a sixth:
it will save me if a man
Cut runes on a sapling' s Roots
With intent to harm; it turns the spell;
The hater is harmed, not me.

152
I know a seventh:
If I see the hall
Ablaze around my bench mates,
Though hot the flames, they shall feel nothing,
If I choose to chant the spell.

153
I know an eighth:
that all are glad of,
Most useful to men:
If hate fester in the heart of a warrior,
It will soon calm and cure him.

154
I know a ninth:
when need I have
To shelter my ship on the flood,
The wind it calms, the waves it smoothes
And puts the sea to sleep,

155
I know a tenth:
if troublesome ghosts
Ride the rafters aloft,
I can work it so they wander astray,
Unable to find their forms,
Unable to find their homes.

156
I know an eleventh:
when I lead to battle Old comrades in-arms,
I have only to chant it behind my shield,
And unwounded they go to war,
Unwounded they come from war,
Unscathed wherever they are.

157
I know a twelfth:
If a tree bear
A man hanged in a halter,
I can carve and stain strong runes
That will cause the corpse to speak,
Reply to whatever I ask.

158
I know a thirteenth
if I throw a cup Of water over a warrior,
He shall not fall in the fiercest battle,
Nor sink beneath the sword,

159
I know a fourteenth, that few know:
If I tell a troop of warriors
About the high ones, elves and gods,
I can name them one by one.
(Few can the nit-wit name.)

160
I know a fifteenth,
that first Thjodrerir
Sang before Delling's doors,
Giving power to gods, prowess to elves,
Fore-sight to Hroptatyr Odhinn,

161
I know a sixteenth:
if I see a girl
With whom it would please me to play,
I can turn her thoughts, can touch the heart
Of any white armed woman.

162
I know a seventeenth:
if I sing it,
the young Girl will be slow to forsake me.

163
To learn to sing them, Loddfafnir,
Will take you a long time,
Though helpful they are if you understand them,
Useful if you use them,
Needful if you need them.

164
I know an eighteenth that I never tell
To maiden or wife of man,
A secret I hide from all
Except the love who lies in my arms,
Or else my own sister.

165
The Wise One has spoken words in the hall,
Needful for men to know,
Unneedful for trolls to know:
Hail to the speaker,
Hail to the knower,
Joy to him who has understood,
Delight to those who have listened.
(W H Auden & P B Taylor Translation.)
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RE:The Path of the Asatru
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 06:31 AM)

An Asatru Calendar
  • Mother Night of Yule - Traditionally held on the evening before the Winter's Solstice, Mother's Night is a time when the world between the living and the dead are very thin. It is a time to celebrate family, exchange gifts, and look with wonder to the year ahead. The 12 days of Yule are a time to remember our past, and tell the stories of our people.
  • Yule - Celebrated on New Year's Eve - it is a time to ring in the new year, and to make oaths concerning the year ahead.
  • Thorrablot - Traditionally held in the middle of January, originally to make a show of strength against possible starvation (Thorrablot means starvation time blot, more or less), it has become a blot dedicated to Thorr.
  • Feast of Vali - Held around Valentine's Day in mid February, this blot celebrates the actions of the younger Gods, particularly Vali. Ravenswood Kindred celebrates its founding on this feast.
  • Oestara - Held on the Vernal Equinox, Oestara is a time to welcome Spring with colored eggs, fertility symbols, and related festivities. The name comes from an ancient Germanic Goddess of Spring. We traditionally greet the Sun with drawn steel on this day.
  • Walburga - Held on May Eve, this is a celebration of fertility magic and psychic powers. Dedicated to Odin and Walburga, another German Goddess - of magic in this instance, we traditionally celebrate with home brewed May Wine and a bonfire.
  • Midsummer - Held on the Summer Solstice, Midsummer is a celebration of the peak of Summer's power, and an acknowledgment of its' mortality. Bonfire's are another tradition for this blot, as is a special blot to Balder and his wife Nanna.
  • Thingstide - Ravenswood holds its' annual Thing in late July. It includes a blot to Tyr, God of justice and war, as well as a business meeting.
  • Freyfaxi - Held in mid August, Freyfaxi is a Frey's blot, where we celebrate the first (wheat) harvest.
  • Winter's Finding - Held on the Autumnal Equinox, Winter's Finding is a celebration of the first stirrings of Winter, in which Ravenswood remembers and re-enacts the three ordeals of Odin to prepare ourselves for the coming season.
  • Winter Nights - Held in late October, Winter Nights is traditionally a Disablot, and a celebration of the last (corn, i.e.. maize) harvest. At this time we remember the departed matriarchs and other female ancestors in our line. We believe this time to mark the beginning of the thinning of the walls between the living and dead which reaches its' peak at Yule.
  • Feast of the Einherjar - In mid November, with the bite of Winter beginning in earnest, we offer a toast to the departed warriors who will issue forth from Valhalla on the last day to fight the Fenris wolf, and the Jotun hoards - it will be REALLY cold then!

2254 RUNIC ERA CALENDAR
FEAST DAYS AND DAYS OF OBSERVANCE



This Asatru Calendar has been prepared to aid members of the Asatru Faith properly schedule Feast Days and days of mandatory ritual observance. Some Feast Days may be observed on the nearest Saturday to the actual observance. However, the High Feast days of Ostara, Midyear, Winter Finding, and Yule must be observed on the listed dates because of their solar significance.


SNOWMOON/JANUARY

Snowmoon 3, Charming of the Plow: This is the date of an agricultural ritual performed in Northern Europe from ancient times. Grains and cakes were offered for the soil’s fertility, and the Sky Father and Earth Mother were invoked to that end. Meditate upon your dependence on the soil, and crumble upon the earth a piece of bread as you call upon Odin, Frigga and the Land Spirits to heal the Earth and keep it from harm.

Snowmoon 9, Day of Remembrance for Raud the Strong: Raud was a landowner in Norway who was put to death by (St.) Olaf Tryggvason for his loyalty to Asatru by having a snake forced down his throat. Rauds lands were then confiscated in the name of the king and his monks. Raise a horn in honor of Raud and all of his kinsmen who gave their lives, rather then submit to the enforced love of the kristjan empire.

Snowmoon 17, Thorrablot: This holiday began the Old Norse month of Snorri. It is still observed in Iceland with parties and a mid-winter feast. It is of course sacred to Thorr and the ancient Icelandic Winter Spirit of Thorri. On this day we should perform blot to Thorr and invite the mighty Asaman to the feast.


HORNING/FEBRUARY

Horning 2, Barri: This is the day we celebrate the wooing by Ingvi Freyr of the maiden Gerd, a symbolic marriage of the Vanir God of Fertility with the Mother Earth. It is a festival of fertility, the planted seed and the plowed furrow. For those of you who garden, this is the time to plant seeds indoors, to later be transplanted in the summer garden.

Horning 9, Day of Remembrance for Eyvind Kinnrifi: Olaf tortured him to death by placing a bowl of red-hot embers on his stomach until his body burst open. Eyvind’s crime was a steadfast loyalty to the Old Gods. A good day to reflect on kristjan kindness.

Horning 14, Feast of Vali: This feast originally celebrated the death of Hothr at the hands of Vali. This late winter festival relates to the triumphant return of the light of the sun over the dark days of winter. Today it is traditional celebration of the family. A time for the customary exchange of cards and gifts with loved ones. It is also a time for the renewal of marriage vows and an occasion for marriages.


LENTING/MARCH

Lenting 9, Day of Remembrance for Oliver the Martyr: He was an adherent of Asatru who persisted in organizing underground sacrifices to the Gods and Goddesses despite decrees by St Olaf the Lawbreaker forbidding such activities. Betrayed by an informer, he was killed by Olaf’s men while preparing for the Spring sacrifice in the village of Maerin Norway. Many other men whose names are lost to us were also killed, mutilated, or exiled for taking part in such sacrifices.

Lenting 20, High Feast of Ostara: This is the Spring Equinox. The end of Winter and the beginning of the season of rebirth. Today we honor Frigga, Freya and Nerthus with blot and feast. Pour a libation of mead onto the Earth; celebrate the rebirth of nature, Asatru, and the new hopes of our Folk.

Lenting 28, Ragnar Lodbrok Day: Ragnar was one of the legends most famous Vikings. On this day in Runic Year 1145 he raided Paris. It just happened to be Easter Sunday. Today toast Ragnar and read from his Saga.


OSTARA/APRIL

Ostara 9, Day of Remembrance for Jarl Hakon of Norway: As ruler of the western part of the realm, Hakon restored the worship of the Old Gods and cast out the alien religion. In the process, the common folk regained political liberties which were erased under the kristjan yoke, and the flame of our Troth burned brighter in an era of gathering gloom. It may be that Hakon’s defense of our ancestral ways helped encourage the survival of our traditions in Iceland, where they eventually became the seeds of modern day Asatru. On this day reflect on how the actions of the individual can impact world events and the future of Odinn’s Nation.

Ostara 17, Sigrblot/Sumarsdag: Today we celebrate the first day of Summer in the Old Icelandic calendar. In Iceland it had strong agricultural overtones, but elsewhere in the Nordic world, it was a time to sacrifice to Odinn for victory in the summer voyages and battles.

Ostara 23, Yggdrasil Day: On this day we realize the great significance that the World Tree plays in our culture, heritage, and native spirituality. It is from the World Tree that we came, and it shelters and nurtures the Asatru today, and will offer refuge to the Folk come Ragnarok. Trees are the lungs as well as the soul of Midgard. Plant a tree today, nurture it, and protect it. In this act the Folk must abide.

Ostara 30, Walburg: this is better known as Walpurgisnacht or May Eve. Walberg is a goddess of our folk combining some of the traits of Her better-known peers. Reflect on this day on Freya, Hel, and Frigga as the repository of the glorious dead, and you will have an idea of Wulburg’s nature. On this day pour a horn of mead upon the earth in memory of our heroes.


MERRYMOON/MAY

Merrymoon 1, May Day: The first of May is a time of great celebration all across Europe, as the fields get greener and the flowers decorate the landscape with colorful confusion. Freya turns her kindly face to us after the night of Walburg. Celebrate the birth of Spring and the gifts of Freya on this day.

Merrymoon 9, Day of Remembrance for Guthroth: One of the upland minor kings. Guthroth had to the audacity to make a speech opposing the policies of Olaf Tryggvason, who at the time was busy killing people who did not want to become kristjans. For exercising his Gods given rights to worship his tribal Gods, Guthroth was captured and his tongue was cut out. Use your tongue for the Gods today! Sing their praises and recite some heroic poetry, tell someone of the Gods glory, and call a kinsman to keep in touch.

Merrymoon 15, Frigga Blot: Today we rejoice in the warmth and splendor of Spring. A traditional time for a Kindred campout, perform blot to honor the AllMother and thank Her for the health and vitality of the Family, Kindred and Tribe.


MIDYEAR/JUNE

Midyear 8, Lindisfarne Day: On this day in the year 1043 Runic Era (793 CE) three Viking ships raided the Isle of Lindisfarne, officially opening what is the Viking Age. Toast these brave warriors who began the noble resistance of the alien invasion of the Northlands and sought rightful revenge for the slaughter of the Saxons by Charlamange.

Midyear 9, Day of Remembrance for Sigurd the Volsung: He is the model Germanic hero. His wooing of the Valkyrie Brynhild, the winning of the treasure of the Nibelungs, and the constant theme of Odinic initiation that weaves itself throughout his story are priceless parts of our Asatru heritage, that provide endless material for contemplation and inspiration for action.

Midyear 19, Asatru Alliance Founding Day: On this date 2238 R.E. seven Kindreds of the former Asatru Free Assembly joined together by ratifying a set of By Laws to preserve and continue to promote the cause of the AFA and Asatru in Vinland. On this day reflect on just what YOU can do to preserve our Folk Ways.

Midyear 20, Midsummer: This is the longest day and the shortest night of the year: Now Sunna begins its ling decline, sliding into the darkness which will culminate six months from now at Yule. Identifying the sun with the brightness of Baldur, we celebrate in honor of both. Hold blot to Baldur and High Feast. This was the traditional time for holding the AlThing in ancient times.


HAYMOON/JULY

Haymoon 4, Founder’s Day: On this day we honor the unselfish personal sacrifice and unswerving dedication to our Folk exemplified by the founders of modern era Asatru, H. Rud Mills of Australia, Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson and Thorsteinn Guthjonson of Iceland. On this day reflect on just what YOU can do to promote the growth of our ancestral religion and protect our sacred heritage and traditions.

Haymoon 9 - Day of Remembrance for Unn the Deep Minded: Unn was a powerful figure from the Laxdaela Saga who emigrated to Scotland to avoid the hostility of King Harald Finehair. She established dynasties in the Orkney and Faroe Islands by carefully marrying off her grand daughters. As a settler in Iceland she continued to exhibit all those traits which were her hallmark-strong will, a determination to control, dignity, and a noble character. In the last days of her life, she established a mighty line choosing one of her grandsons as her heir. She died during his wedding celebration, presumable accomplishing her goals and worked out her orlog here in Midgard. She received a typical Nordic ship burial, surrounded by her treasure and her reputation for great deeds.

Haymoon 29 - Stikklestad Day: Olaf the Lawbreaker (“St. Olaf”) was killed at the battle of Stikklestad on this date in the year 1280 R.E. Olaf acquired a reputation for killing, maiming, and exiling his fellow Norwegians who would not convert to Christianity, and for carrying an army with him in violation of the law to help him accomplish his oppression. Today honor the Asatru martyrs who died rather then submit to gray slavery. Also honor the warriors who brought justice to the Lawbreaker.


HARVEST/AUGUST

Harvest 9 - Day of Remembrance for Radbod: On this date we honor Radbod a king of Frisia what was an early target kristjan missionaries. Just before his baptism ceremony, he asked the clergy what fate his befallen ancestors who died loyal to Asatru. The missionaries replied that Radbod’s Heathen ancestors were burning in Hell-to which the king replied: “Then I will rather live there with my ancestors than go to heaven with a parcel of beggars.” The baptism was cancelled, the aliens expelled, and Frisia remained free. Drink a horn this day in memory of Radbod.

Harvest 21 - Freyfaxi: Freyfaxi marked the time of the harvest in ancient Iceland. Today the Asatru observe this date as a celebration of their harvest with blot to Freyr and a grand Feast from the gardens and the fields..


SHEDDING/SEPTEMBER

Shedding 9 - Day of Remembrance for Herman of the Cherusci: Few mortals have privileged to serve our Folk as did Herman, a leader of the tribe called the Cherusci. We he defeated Varus’ three Roman Legions in 9 C.E. he blocked our amalgamation into the Mediterranean morass. Herman was very aware of his duties not only as a member of his tribe but also as an Asaman - indeed the two were probably inseparable with him. Shedding is the ideal time to give him praise, because the crucial battle for which he is remembered was fought during this month.

Shedding 22 - Winter Finding: The Fall Equinox; Summer and Winter balance for a moment and the cold, old man wins - for now. Brace yourself for longer nights and the onset, eventually, of the cold and darkness of Winter. Do blot to Odin for inspiration to get through your personal lean times, whenever they may strike. This is the traditional time for Fall Fest and the Second Harvest Feast.


HUNTING/OCTOBER

Hunting 8 - Day of Remembrance for Erik the Red: Praise the stalwart founder of Greenland, and father of Leif, the founder of Vinland. Erik remained loyal to Thor even when his wife left the Gods and refused to sleep with her Heathen husband. Pause in memory of Erik today; drink a toast to his honor. No doubt he gets enough warmth in Har’s Hall to make up for his wife’s coldness.

Hunting 9 - Day of Remembrance for Leif Erikson: this is a day that even the U.S. Government admits who should dedicate to the man who beat Columbus to the shores of Vinland by over 500 years. Don’t let it slide quietly - write your local newspapers and share the word of the Norse colonies with neighbors and friends.

Hunting 16 - Winter Nights/Vetrablot: In the Old Icelandic Calendar, winter begins on the Satyrday between Hunting 11th and 17th. Winter Nights celebrates the bounty of the harvest and honors Freya and the fertility and protective spirits called Disir, that She leads (often the Disir are seen as our female ancestors). Give glory to Freya and pour a libation of ale, milk, or mead into the soil an offering to the Disir and the Earth itself.


FOGMOON/NOVEMBER

Fogmoon 9 - Day of Remembrance for Queen Sigrith of Sweden: When Olaf the Lawbreaker had been king of Norway for three years, he asked Queen Sigrith of Sweden to marry him. She agreed, but when he insisted that she give up her ancestral Gods Sigrith replied, “I do not mean to abandon the faith I have led, and my kinsmen before me. Nor shall I object to your belief in the god you prefer.” As usual Heathen tolerance was met with kristjan imprecations and a blow to the face. The wedding was off - depriving Olaf of political power that could have sped the christianization of Scandinavia. As it were, history tells us that the Heathens held on for over 300 more years in the Northlands. Hail Sigrith, defender of Asatru, and women of stubborn virtue!

Fogmoon 11 - Feast of the Einherjar: The chosen heroes who sit in Odin’s Hall are the Einherjar. Today we honor those dead kin who gave their lives for Family and Folk. If you have friends or family who died in battle, visit their graves today, if that is not possible, drink a libation in their memory.

Fogmoon 25 - Feast of Ullr: The Feast of Ullr is to celebrate the Hunt and to gain personal luck needed for success. Weapons are dedicated on this day to Ullr, God of the Bow. If your hunting arms were blessed by the luck of the God of the Hunt, your family and tribe shared the bounty with a Blot and Feast to Ullr.


YULE/DECEMBER

Yule 9 - Day of Remembrance for Egil Skallagrimsson: Odin was his God, and the blood of berserks and shape-shifters ran in his family. His lust for gold and for fames was insatiable. Yet the same man was passionately moved by the love of his friends and generously opened handed to those who found his favor. The same brain that seethed with war-fury also composed skaldic poetry capable of calming angry kings. Can it be by accident that Egil worshipped Odin, the great solver of paradoxes and riddles? Indeed all Asafolk - but especially those who follow the one-eyed God of battle and magic - can learn much from the life of this amazing man.

Yule 20 - Mother Night: As the night before the Winter Solstice, this is the time when the New Year is born. We honor the beginning of Sunnas return and the breaking of Winter’s spell. This is a time to honor Thor and Freyr, celebrate by Blot, Sumbel, and High Feast. Burn a Yule Log and jump the flames for luck and purification.

Yule 31 - Twelfth Night: This culminates the traditional twelve days of Yule. Each day of which is a month of the preceding year in miniature. Reflect on the past year. Take stock and lay a course for the future. Make New Years resolutions in the old way by swearing your oath on Freyr’s boar or on your Hammer.
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RE:The Path of the Asatru
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 06:32 AM)

The Tools of Asatru Ceremonies

This is a short and by no means exhaustive look at the tools and regalia of an Asatru ceremony.

The Ve
The Ve is the area set aside for an Asatru blot. Ideally the Ve is outside - open to the sky, and preferably with a good view to the North. At need, however, the Asatru ceremony may be held indoors as well.

The Harrow or Horg
The harrow is the Asatru altar - typically made of stone, and found outside. Many harrows are made of dry laid stones, some even simply a pile of such stones. In rare cases the stones may be mortared together for permanence. It is raised and consecrated before use, and blessed every time a
blot is celebrated. An indoor altar is oftimes called a stalli, and usually made of wood.

The Horn
The drinking horn is a central part of the Asatru faith. Usually made from a cow's horn, and often beautifully decorated, the horn is used to make offerings to our deities and raise a toast during
sumble. Follow the link above to see my simple instructions for rendering a horn suitable for drinking.

The Hammer
Central to the preparation of the sacred space in which our ceremonies are celebrated is the hammer. Symbolizing Mjollnir, the hammer of Asa-Thorr, it is used to define and sanctify the Ve and harrow. Most hammers used for this purpose are symmetrical on both faces (like a drilling or sledge hammer - no pein, two faces). Another use of the hammer to consecrate an object, or to bless a bride with fertility magic.

The Ring
Upon the harrow will be found a ring on which to take and administer oaths. In olden times this ring was an essential feature of any heathen altar, and it was the responsibility of the godhi to wear it at all formal functions. Both open and closed rings may be used for an oath ring - but many people prefer a closed ring for it symbolism of continuity. Ravenswood uses an open ring - but that is a matter for oathed members to understand.

The Bowl
The wooden bowl upon the harrow is used to contain the offerings from the blot, that they may be available for use in blessings, and to hold them for later gifting to the Earth. These may be decorated or plain, and ideally hand made.

The Blot-Tine
Upon the harrow will also be found a a twig. used to asperge the harrow and celebrants during the blot. Typically an evergreen twig is used, but a branch from a deciduous tree is fine as well.

The Hunting or Signal Horn
A horn with a trumpet or trombone mouthpiece is used to signal the beginning of blot and sumble. It is symbolic of the Gjallarhorn of the God Heimdall that will signal the end of time.

Sumble

The ancient and holy rite of Sumble is, for all intents and purposes, a formal series of toasts. This rite was so widespread that it survives to this day in such places as wedding traditions, award ceremonies, banquets, as well as around the Thanksgiving dinner table.

This rite is one the most loved in today's practice of Asatru. A horn is passed from participant to participant, who raise a toast in their turn. It is a moment when each person has the attention of all gathered, to honor a favorite ancestor, a patron deity, share a special bit of news, or announce a noble intention.

The format that we usually follow is this -

  • The Sumble is formally opened by the Godhi.
  • The first round of toasts is offered to the Gods, the Aesir and Vanir (The Godhi's toast is offered to the Allfather).
  • The second round is offered to the ancestors, heroes, or family members.
  • The third round is an open round.
  • The remainder of the Sumble is varied depending upon the will of those gathered.
  • The Sumble is formally closed.
Sumble Notes
  • A very large horn is often used, to allow the horn to pass among the group without the need for frequent refilling.
  • In some kindreds, the participants drink from their own horns, and the leader of the sumble- or their designee, usually called the "Valkyrie"- walks around and pours from the horn or pitcher into their horns. It is considered the height of rudeness to drink from a shared horn when ill.
  • Most often, beer or ale is used for Sumble, but sometimes mead, wine or some other beverage is used. The less alcoholic beer is perhaps preferred to minimize the possibility of drunkeness - in keeping with the teachings of the Havamal. "Serious" drinking - if that occurs at a celebration, it is after the Sumble is over.
  • When children are present, a secondary horn filled with a non-alcoholic beverage is kept handy.
The Blot - The Principle
Religious Observance of Asatru

The Blot is the principle religious observance of the religion of Asatru. It is, at its heart, an offering service. Blots fall into four basic types -

  •  Seasonal Blots celebrate the cycle of the year. Principle blots of this type are Yule, Oestara, Walburga, Midsummer, Winter's Finding, and Winter Nights.
  • Deity Specific Blots celebrate the power and wonder of individual deites or classes of deities. Examples of this type are The Feast of Vali, Thorrablot, Tyrsblot, Freyfaxi, and Disablot.
  • Ancestral Blots celebrate the honor and memory of ancestors and other inspirational (deceased) humans. Examples of these might be - The Feast of the Einherjar and memorials such as a blot to remember Lindisfarne Day.
  • Personal Blessings celebrate both the rites of passage such as births, funeral services, and weddings - as well as addressing the needs of Asatruar, such as asking for assistance in finding employment or inspiration on a craft project,
Anatomy of a Blot
The blot can be as simple as offering a drop of ale to the house wights, or a complex and moving ceremonial event. In the list below, I will categorize the elements most often present in a blot of Ravenswood. Please bear in mind that the essential thing is the offering.
  • Preparation of sacred space - The Hammer Working is usually performed to sanctify the area, and create an atmosphere of sanctity.
  • Reading - A portion of the Eddas, Sagas, or Mythology of our people is read or recited, to remind us of our past, as well as to build an understanding of the lore which forms the foundation of our practice.
  • The Rede - A statement of the purpose of the blot.
  • The Invocation - A call to the subject of the blot, inviting their presence.
  • The Offering - A libation of sacred drink to the deity to which the blot is dedicated.
  • The Blessing - The symbolic asperging of the attendees, demonstrating the return gift from the deity invoked.
  • The Leaving - A formal leave taking, clearly delineating the end of the rite.
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RE:The Path of the Asatru
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 06:33 AM)

Landtaking - A sacred part of our heritage
by Gunther Hrafngrim

When Asatruar move into a new place, or assume ownership of some land, it is traditional for them to do some form of "landtaking" ceremony to claim the land, and to make it suitable for our work.

Our landtaking rites have always included the following things -
1. Carrying fire around the property line (Sunwise, of course) - oftimes a candle or kerosene lantern. We always do these things at night, so this serves a practical purpose as well. We say or sing something appropriate while we make the journey around the property - such as "I claim this land for my family and my kin. May the Gods of my people watch over and bless this place, and may the landwights make us welcome."

2. Hammer sign at the cardinal points, on the edge of the property. Although hammer signing is of debatable antiquity, it has become deeply ingrained in Asatru practice. Of course, return to the center (roughly) of the property, or to where your harrow will be, and complete the signing
(above and below...).

3. A VERY formal offering to the local land wights. After all, you will be living with these folk, and digging up their land when you build. While many bits of advice have been given recently on suitable offerings, I'll contribute a couple ideas - If in the Americas, tobacco is very good; milk
is a must, as is beer;  and finally, bury nine 'precious' coins on the property (such as copper pennies, silver dimes, etc. - none of the recent copper on zinc coins!).

4. If you've been practicing Asatru religiously (I couldn't resist!), you will undoubtedly have attracted a host of 'traditional' or old world house spirits, yarthkins, and other house and home wights. Like many folk, I offer to these beings regularly. I always invite those well-meaning spirits who've attached themselves to our household to join us in the move to the new home. When you move out of your current dwelling, be sure to not only invite those who are joining you, but make a final offering to those who will stay behind, that they will send on your way with good luck. We always leave a half dollar on a window sill in the house or apartment, too.

5. After all this, we hold a formal dedication of the new harrow, even if it is only a single stone (Often the land is purchased before you actually move, as in your case, and your permanent harrow may not move right away). This way, there is something tied to the old ways that is "built" on the property, for the landwights to 'attach' themselves to. This is also a good time to formally name the property.

6. Finally, celebrate a blot. If the appropriate seasonal blot can be held, so much the better, but an all-gods blot is good too.

Lastly, a word about some of the omens you mights see during this process-

  • Something BIG stomping around the periphery  - something out there is a trifle uncomfortable with your activities. You will have to deal with this in some manner! (Either placate or trounce this critter - spiritually, of course)
  • Celestial events (lightning, tornados, etc.). If good (you have to figure this out!), the Gods are pleased. If 'bad' you may need to do...something?!!
  • Animals. Obviously, ravens, crows, elk, pigs, deer, cows, wolves, happy dogs (vs unhappy), swans, and cats are good. Others may be good signs, dependent upon your individual relationship with them. Insects are inescapable, most places, so bring the OFF! and forget interpreting their voracity as some kind of sign.
  • Other stuff. Keep an eye open during the land taking. Many times important knowledge will come to you during this process, and really help you integrate into the land. A good land taking is the best way to make sure you get off to a good start with your new (spiritual) neighbors.
An All-God's Blot
A Blót of Ravenswood

1. Hallowing
The hammer working is performed, to ward the stead and make it holy:
The speaker (or other chosen individual) takes up the hammer and makes a hammer sign (An inverted "T") toward the North, saying - "Hammer in the North, Hold and Hallow this Holy Stead!" The process is repeated to the East, South, West, Above, and Below - making the necessary changes to the wording, of course. If no hammer is available, use a fist, staff, or

2. Reading
A verse from Hávamál is recited (from the Poetic Edda.)

3. Rede
The speaker faces the assembled folk (If anyone else is present) and says:
"We are here today to give honor to the Æsir and the Vanir; to the gods and goddesses of our Folk."

(If the celebrant is alone, face North and say:"I am here today to give honor to the Æsir and the Vanir; to the gods and goddesses of my Folk.")

4. Call
The speaker faces North and says:
"Mighty Ones in Asgard: Shining Gods and Goddesses of the Folk: we call upon you in all your names to be with us here today!"

5. Loading
Again facing north, the speaker fills the horn with ale and continues, holding aloft the horn and says:
"We give you this ale, blended with the might and main of our deeds. Take well with our gifts, but not as from thralls, for we have no master, but as from free men and as a sign of our kinship and fellowship."

(Again, if alone, substitute these or similar words: "I give you this ale, blended with the might and main of my deeds. Take well with my gift, but not as from thralls, for I have no master, but as from one who is truly free, and as a sign of our kinship and fellowship.")

6. Drinking
The speaker passes the horn in turn to each true man and woman present, who drinks to the shining gods and goddesses of the folk. The speaker drinks last (Or if alone - first!), making the sign of the hammer over the horn with the hands before drinking.

7. Blessing
After all have made offering, the speaker goes to the harrow and pours the remaining liquid into the blessing bowl, making the Sign of the Hammer over the bowl. He or she then dips the bough into the liquid and circles the harrow, saying:
"The blessings of our Gods and Goddesses hallow and hold this holy stead."
The speaker now sprinkles the gathered folk with the these words: "The blessings of the Gods and Goddesses of our folk be upon you."

8. Giving
The speaker now removes the bowl from the harrow, and moving to the north of the harrow, pours out the contents onto the ground, saying:
"To the Gods and Goddesses of our folk!"

9. Leaving
The speaker returns to his original position south of the harrow facing the assembled folk. (If alone, face North). He or she says:
"Thus the work is once again wrought, and gifts have been given, each to the other, as it must always be. May it strengthen our folk to trust in the might and main of Asgard!"

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RE:The Path of the Asatru
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 06:33 AM)

Vahalla And Valkyries

Category:(Ancient Beliefs) Created:(8/5/2002 8:42:00 AM) Viewed (205 times)

Valhalla [val-hal-ah] - ("Hall of the Slain") Valhalla is one of Odin's halls in Asgard, where those who have fallen in battle, the Einherjar, go after death. (The other great hall is Vingolf.) It has five hundred and forty doors. Behind each door is a room for 800 warriors. The hall is roofed rafters of huge shining spear shafts and tiles of golden shields. Here the warriors gather to prepare for the final battle and the end of the world, Ragnarok. Each day the Odin's cook boils the flesh of a boar in a great kettle The boar's flesh suffices for all the warriors. The boar is resurrected each evening to be cooked again the next morning. The warriors spend their days fighting and killing each other, to be revived at night for feasting and drinking four different kinds of mead and ale.

Valkyrja, Valkyries pl. valkyrjur. ON - ("Chooser of the Fallen" i.e., the slain). Disir sent by Odin into battle to select those who would go to Valhalla, lead by Freya. They are sometimes referred to as "shield-maidens" or "corpse-goddesses". They have raven and swan forms, and are sometimes seen by men as the Aurora Borealiis, flickering light caused by reflections on their armor. They choose among the slain and bring fertility to the earth. The Valkyries also serve as Odin'sm messengers and servants. "Hrist and Mist I desire should bring me a horn, Skeggjöld and Skögul, Hildr and Thrûdr, Hlökk and Herfjötur, Göll and Geirahöd, Rándgridr and Reginleif. These serve ale to the Einheriar. Gunnr and Róta and the youngest norn, called Skuld, always ride to choose who shall be slain and to govern the killings." Other Valkyrie include Brynhildr, Sigrún, Kára, Sigdrifa, Sváva, Hildeberg, Hildegund, Kreimhildr and Göndul and the other two norns, Urdhr and Verdhandi. See also Dis, Disir.

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RE:The Path of the Asatru
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 06:34 AM)

Völuspá-The Song of the Sybil


Heidi men call me when their homes I visit,
A far seeing Volva, wise in talismans.
Caster of spells, cunning in magic.
To wicked women welcome always.
Arm rings and necklaces, Odhinn you gave me
To learn my lore, to learn my magic:
Wider and wider through all worlds I see.
Outside I sat by myself when you came,
Terror of the gods, and gazed in my eyes.
What do you ask of me? Why tempt me?
Odhinn, I know where your eye is concealed,
Hidden away in the well of Mimir:
Mimir each morning his mead drinks
From Valfather's pledge. Well would you know more?
Of Heimdal too and his horn I know.
Hidden under the holy tree
Down on it pours a precious stream from Valfather's pledge
Well would you know more?
Silence I ask of the sacred folk,
Silence of the kith and kin of Heimdal:
At your will Valfather, I shall well relate
The old songs of men I remember best.
I tell of giants from times forgotten.
Those who fed me in former days:
Nine worlds I can reckon, nine roots of the tree.
The wonderful ash, way under the ground
When Ymir lived long ago
Was no sand or sea, no surging waves.
Nowhere was there earth nor heaven above.
Bur a grinning gap and grass nowhere.
The sons of Bur then built up the lands.
Moulded in magnificence middle-Earth:
Sun stared from the south on the stones of their hall,
From the ground there sprouted green leeks.
Sun turned from the south, sister of Moon,
Her right arm rested on the rim of Heaven;
She had no inkling where her hall was,
Nor Moon a notion of what might he had,
The planets knew not where their places were.
The high gods gathered in council
In their hall of judgement. all the rulers:
To Night and to Nightfall their names gave,
The Morning they named and the Mid-Day,
Mid-Winter, Mid-Summer, for the assigning of years.
At Ida's Field the Aesir met:
Temple and altar they timbered and raised,
Set up a forge to smithy treasures,
Tongs they fashioned and tools wrought;
Played chess in the court and cheerful were;
Gold they lacked not, the gleaming metal
Then came three, the Thurs maidens,
Rejoicing in their strength, from Giant-home.
The high Gods gathered in council.
In their hall of judgement: Who of the dwarves
Should mould man by master craft
From Brimir's blood and Blain' s limbs?
Motsognir was their mighty ruler,
Greatest of dwarves, and Durin after him :
The dwarves did as Durin directed,
Many man forms made from the earth.
Nyi and Nidi, Nordri, Sudri, Austri and Vestri, Althjof, Dvalin, Bivor,
Bavor Bombur, Nori, An and Anar, Ai, Mjodvitnir, Veignr and Gandalf,
Vindalf, Thorin, Thror and Thrain, Thekkur, Litur, Vitur, Nar and Nyradur,
Fili, Kili, Fundin, Nali Hefti, Vili, Hanar, Sviur, Billing, Bruni, Bildur,
and Buri, Frar, Hornbori Fraegur, Loni, Aurvangur, Jari, Eikinskjaldi:
(All Durin's folk I have duly named,)
I must tell of the dwarves in Dvalin' s host;
Like lions they were in Lofar's time:
In Juravale's marsh they made their dwelling,
From their Stone hall set out on journeys,
There was Draupnir and Dolgthrasir, Har, Haugspori, Hlevangur, Gloi, Dori,
Ori, Dufur, Andvari, Skirvir, Virvir Skafidur, Ai, Alf and Yngvi,
Eikinskjaldi, Fjalar and Frosti, Finn and Ginnar: Men will remember while
men live
The long line of Lofar's forbears.
Then from the host three came,
Great, merciful, from the God's home:
Ash and Elm on earth they found,
Faint, feeble, with no fate assigned them
Breath they had not, nor blood nor senses,
Nor language possessed, nor life-hue:
Odhinn gave them breath, Haenir senses,
Blood and life hue Lothur gave.
I know an ash tree, named Yggdrasil:
Sparkling showers are shed on its leaves
That drip dew, into the dales below,
By Urd's well it waves evergreen,
Stands over that still pool,
Near it a bower whence now there come
The Fate Maidens, first Urd,
Then Verdandi, the second
Skuld ,third of the Norns: scorer of runes,
The laws that determine the lives of men
They fixed forever and their fate sealed.
The first war in the world I well remember,
When Gullveig was spitted on spear-points
And burned in the hall of. the high god:
Thrice burned, thrice reborn,
Often laid low, she lives yet,
The gods hastened to their hall of judgement,
Sat in council to discover who
Had tainted all the air with corruption
And Odhinn's maid offered to the giants,
At the host Odhinn hurled his spear
In the first world-battle; broken was the plankwall
Of the gods fortress: the fierce Vanes
Caused war to occur in the fields.
The gods hastened to their hall of judgement,
Sat in council to discover who
Had tainted all the air with corruption
And Odhinn's maid offered to the giants.
One Thorr felled in his fierce rage;
Seldom he sits when of such he hears:
Oaths were broken, binding vows,
Solemn agreements sworn between them.
Valkyries I saw, coming from afar,
Eagerly riding to aid the Goths;
Skuld bore one shield, Skogul another
Gunn, Hild, Gondul and Spearskogul:
Duly have I named the daughters of Odhinn,
The valiant riders the Valkyries.
Baldur I saw the bleeding God,
His fate still hidden, Odhinn's Son:
Tall on the plain a plant grew,
A slender marvel, the mistletoe.
From that fair shrub, shot by Hodur,
Flew the fatal dart that felled the god, .
But Baldur' s brother was born soon after:
Though one night old, Odhinn's Son
Took a vow to avenge that death.
His hands he washed not nor his hair combed .
Till Baldur's bane was borne to the pyre:,
Deadly the bow drawn by Vali,
The strong string of stretched gut,
But Frigga wept in Fensalir
For the woe of Valhalla. Well, would you know more?
I see one in bonds by the boiling springs;
Like Loki he looks, loathsome to view:
There Sigyn sits, sad by her husband,
In woe by her man. Well would you know more?
From the east through Venom Valley runs
Over jagged rocks the River Gruesome.
North, in Darkdale, stands the dwelling place
Of Sindri's kin, covered with gold;
A hall also in Everfrost,
The banquet hall of Brimir the giant.
A third I see, that no sunlight reaches,
On Dead Man's Shore: the doors face northward,
Through its smoke vent venom drips,
Serpent skins enskein that hall.
Men wade there tormented by the stream,
Vile murderers, men forsworn
And artful seducers of other mens wives:
Nidhogg sucks blood from the bodies of the dead
The wolf rends them. Well, would you know more?
In the east dwells a crone, in Ironwood:
The brood of Fenris are bred there
Wolf-monsters, one of whom
Eventually shall devour the sun.
The giants watchman, joyful Eggthur
Sits on his howe and harps well:
The red cock, called All-Knower
Boldly crows from Birdwood.
Goldencomb to the gods crows
Who wakes the warriors in Valhalla:
A soot red hen also calls
From Hel's hall, deep under the ground.
Loud howls Garm before Gnipahellir,
Bursting his fetters, Fenris runs:
Further in the future afar I behold
The twilight of the gods who gave victory.
Brother shall strike brother and both fall,
Sisters' sons defiled with incest;
Evil be on earth, an age of. whoredom,
Of sharp sword-play and shields clashing,
A wind-age, a wolf-age till the world ruins:
No man to another shall mercy show.
The waters are troubled, the waves surge up:
Announcing now the knell of Fate,
Heimdal winds his horn aloft,
On Hel's road all men tremble
Yggdrasil trembles, the towering ash
Groans in woe; the wolf is loose:
Odhinn speaks with the head of Mimir
Before he is swallowed by Surt's kin.
From the east drives Hrym, lifts up his shield
The squamous serpent squirms with rage
The great worm with the waves contending
The pale-beaked eagle pecks at the dead,
Shouting for joy: the ship Naglfar
Sails out from the east, at its helm Loki
With the children of darkness, the doom-bringers
Offspring of monsters, allies of the wolf,
All who Byleists's brother follow.
What of the gods? What of the elves?
Gianthome groans the gods are in council
The dwarves grieve before their door of stone,
Masters of walls. Well, would you know more?
Surt with the bane of branches comes
From the south, on his sword the sun of the Valgods,
Crags topple, the crone falls headlong,
Men tread Hel's road, the Heavens split open.
A further woe falls upon Hlin
As Odhinn comes forth to fight the wolf;
The killer of Beli battles with Surt:
Now shall fall Frigga's beloved.
Now valiant comes Valfather's son,
Vidar, to vie with Valdyr in battle,
Plunges his sword into he son of Hvedrung,
Avenging his father with a fell thrust.
Now the son of Hlodyn and Odhinn comes
To fight with Fenris; fiercest of warriors
He mauls in his rage all Middle-Earth;
Men in fear all flee their homesteads;
Nine paces back steps Bur's son
Retreats from the worm of taunts unafraid.
Now death is the portion of doomed men,
Red with blood the buildings of gods,
The sun turns black in the summer after,
Winds whine. Well, would know more?
Earth sinks in the sea, the sun turns black,
Cast down from Heaven are the hot stars,
Fumes reek, into flames burst,
The sky itself is scorched with fire.
I see Earth rising a second time
Out of the foam, fair and green;
Down from the fells fish to capture,
Wings the eagle; waters flow.
At lda's Field the Aesir meet:
They remember the worm of Middle-Earth,
Ponder again the great twilight
And the ancient runes of the high god
Boards shall be found of a beauty to wonder at,
Boards of gold in the grass long after,
The chess boards they owned in the olden days,
Unsown acres shall harvests bear,
Evil be abolished, Baldur return
And Hropt's hall with Hod rebuild,
Wise gods. Well, would you know more?
Haenir shall wield the wand of prophecy,
The sons two brothers set up their dwelling
In wide Windhome. Well, would you know more?
Fairer than sunlight, I see a hall
A hall thatched with gold in Gimle:
Kind Lords shall live there in delight for ever.
Now rides the Strong One to Rainbow Door,
Powerful from heaven, the All-Ruler:
From the depths below a drake comes flying
The dark dragon from Darkfell,
Bears on his opinions the bodies of men,
Soars overhead I sink now.

(W H Auden & P B Taylor Translation)

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RE:The Path of the Asatru
(Date Posted:01/08/2009 06:36 AM)

History:

Asatru is frequently regarded as one of the Neopagan family of religions. That family includes Wicca, Celtic Druidism, and re-creations of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and other ancient Pagan religions. However, many Asatruers prefer the term "Heathen" to "Neopagan" and look upon their tradition as "not just a branch on the Neopagan tree" but as a separate tree.  Unlike Wicca, which has gradually evolved into many different traditions, the reconstruction of Asatru has been based on the surviving historical record. Its followers have maintained it as closely as possible to the original religion of the Norse people.

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

Throughout Scandinavia the religion is called Forn Siðr (which means the Ancient way or tradition), Forn sed (the Old custom), Nordisk sed (Nordic custom), or Hedensk sed (Pagan custom). Other names are:

Norse Heathenism, Germanic Heathenism, the Elder Troth, the Old Way, Asetro, Vor Si r (our way), Forn Si r (Ancient way), Forn sed (the old custom), Nordisk sed (Nordic custom), or Hedensk sed (Pagan custom), Odinism or Folkish Ásatrú.

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

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

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Corruption of Asatru:

It is not unknown for otherwise decent religions to become corrupted by incorporating racist, sexist, anti-semitic, and homophobic beliefs. For example:

bullet The Christian Identity movement is one wing of the Christian religion which has adsorbed such beliefs.
bullet During the early part of the 20th Century, The National Socialist Party in Germany under Adolf Hitler attempted to pervert Asatru by grafting parts of the religion onto the Nazi racist beliefs. This blasphemy died by the end of World War II, although some neo-Nazi groups -- largely in the U.S. -- are now attempting to continue the practice.

This type of activity is in no way related to the restoration of Asatru as a legitimate Heathen religion. There is a very strong anti-racist, anti-Nazi stance among national Asatru groups in the Scandinavian countries. This is also found in almost all Asatru groups in English speaking countries. They typically have a clear rejection of racism written into their constitutions. Unfortunately, some anti-racism groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (in its Megiddo report) have mistakenly accused the entire religion of racism.

Many people are exposed to the name "Asatru" through role playing games, such as Mage: The Ascension. Unfortunately, the Asatru of these games bear little resemblance to the real religion.

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Asatru Beliefs:

bullet Asatru is a polytheistic religion. There are three races of Deities in the Norse pantheon. They are all regarded as living entities who are involved in human life:
bullet The Aesir: These are the Gods of the tribe or clan, representing Kingship, order, craft, etc.
bullet The Vanir: These represent the fertility of the earth and forces of nature. They are associated with the clan but are not part of it.
bullet The Jotnar: These are giants who are in a constant state of war with the Aesir. They represent chaos and destruction. At the battle of Ragnarok, many of the Gods will die, the world will come to an end and be reborn.
bullet Specific Gods: Some of the more important are:
bullet Thor is the Thunderer, who wields Mjolnir, the divine Hammer. His chariot racing across the sky generates thunder. Thursday (Thor's Day) was named after him.
bullet Odin is the one-eyed God; he gave up one of his eyes in order to drink from the Fount of Wisdom. He is a magician and wise one. He learned the secrets of the runes (Northern European alphabet) by hanging himself on the tree Yggdrasil for nine nights.
bullet Frey is the God of Yule (born on the Winter Solstice, typically December 21). He is a God of peace and plenty who brings fertility and prosperity. His father was Njord.
bullet Specific Goddesses: Some important ones are:
bullet Freya (aka Freyja) is the Goddess of love, beauty and sexuality, and perhaps a dozen other attributes. She leads the Valkyries who take the souls of slain soldiers to Valhalla (Odin's great hall). 
bullet Frigg is Odin's wife. Her name has been secularized to a slang term which refers to sexual intercourse.  She is the patroness of the household and of married women.
bullet Skadi is the Goddess of independence, death, hunting and skiing. Scandinavia was named after her; the English words shadow, skullduggery and shade came from her name.
bullet Ostara, is a Goddess of fertility who is celebrated at the time of the Spring equinox. She was known by the Saxons as Eostre, the Goddess of Spring, from whom we have derived the word Easter. Ostara's symbols are the hare and the egg.
bullet Other Entities Other Deities are Aegir, Balder, Bragi, Forseti, Heimdall, Hel, Loki, Njord, Ran, Tyr, Ull and Vithar. Followers of Asatru also honor the Landvaettir (land spirits) of the forest, earth and streams.
bullet Life Values: Asatruars in North America have created a list of Nine Noble Virtues: Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Industriousness, Self-Reliance and Perseverance. The family is greatly valued and honored. They reject any form of discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, language, nationality, race, sexual orientation, or "other divisive criteria".
bullet Origins: Humanity is literally descended from the Gods. Three brothers, Odin, Vili, and Ve created people from two trees and gave them the names Ask and Embla. One deity, Rig visited the earth and established the social classes.
bullet Od: This is the gift of ecstasy provided to humans by the Gods. It is what separates humanity from other animals, and is our eternal link with the Gods.
bullet Creation Story: A poem Voluspa (Prophecy of the Seeress) contains an Asatru story of the creation of the universe. Between Muspelheim (The Land of Fire) and Niflheim the Land of Ice was an empty space called Ginnungigap. The fire and ice moved towards each other; when they collided, the universe came into being. Odin, Vili and Ve later created the world from the body of a giant that they had slain.
bullet After death: Those who die in battle will be carried to Valhalla by the Valkyries. There they will eat Särimner (a pig that is daily slaughtered and resurrected) with the Gods. Some, but not all, Asatruars believe that those who have lived a very evil and treacherous life go to Hifhel, (a.k.a Hiflhel). This is a place of torment. The remainder go to Hel, a place of calmness and peace, from which the name of the Christian Hell was derived. However, Hel is much closer to the Christian view of Heaven than to its concept of Hell.

Asatru Rituals and Practices:

bullet Their local religious communities are called Kindreds, Hearths, or Garths. Male priests are called Gothi; priestesses are Gythia
bullet The Blot: (pronounced "bloats") This is their most common religious ritual; it is a sacrifice to the Gods. In olden days, as with almost all ancient religions, an animal was consecrated to the deities and then slaughtered. This was not seen as a bribe or as a method of capturing the power of the dying animal. It is simply the way in which the ancient Norse shared their bounty with a gift to the Gods. Currently, the animal sacrifice has been replaced by the offer of beer, juice or mead. Afterwards, those present are either sprinkled with the liquid, or drink it in sequence.
bullet The Sumbel: This is a ritual drinking celebration, in which a horn filled with a drink is passed around the group. Each person delivers a greeting; a toast to the Gods, ancient heroes, or one's ancestors; or a story, song or poem. He or she then drinks from the horn.
bullet Profession or Adoption: This is the act of making a commitment to Asatru to the exclusion of other faiths, by solemnly giving an oath of allegiance and kinship to the Gods of Asgard, the Aesir and Vanir. It is a simple ceremony usually done in the presence of a Gothi or Gythia and the rest of the Kindred, Hearth or Garth. It is taken on an oath ring or some other sacred object.

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Seasonal Days of Celebration

In common with most Neo-Pagan faiths, their main holy days are:

bullet Summer Finding, at the spring equinox, typically March 21. This is dedicated to Ostara.
bullet Winter Finding, at the fall equinox, typically September 21
bullet Midsummer, at the summer solstice, typically June 21
bullet Yule, which starts on the winter solstice (typically December 21) on the Mother Night of Yule. It lasts for 12 days or more. This is the most important day of the year. Many Norse symbols have been adsorbed by the Christian celebration of Christmas: evergreen trees, Yule logs, holly, etc.

Many also celebrate days between the solstices and equinoxes. Various traditions within Asatru observe them on different dates:

bullet The Charming of the Plow on February 1st weekend, a celebration of Freya and the Disir
bullet Merry-Moon on May 1st weekend, celebration of spring dedicated to Njord and Nerthus.
bullet Harvest or Freyfaxi on August 1st weekend, the first harvest and celebration of Frey and his horse
bullet Fogmoon on November 1st weekend, a celebration of war-dead and Ragnarok Dedicated to Odin and Freya.

Asatruars in North America observe Einherjar, held annually on November 11. Thisi coincides with Armistice or Veterans Day. It honors those who have been killed in battle and have joined Odon's warriors in Valhalla. Some groups hold a feast on the 9th of each month to honor Norse heroes. Other groups hold rituals at full moons. Additional days are celebrated at other times during the year by different traditions.

References and further information:

  1. "Assembly of the Elder Troth," at: http://www.aetaustralia.org/arvaaushist.htm
  2. For a list of Asatru home pages, consult Yahoo at:
    http://www.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Religion/
  3. The Irminsul Ættir Asatru Page has an enormous amount of information online at: http://www.irminsul.org/ Included is a brief description of Asatru, news, a world-wide contact map, sources of material, etc. A very inclusive site.
  4. The Midhnott Sol (Midnight Sun) Kindred have an extensive web site at: http://www.waywyrd.com/midhnott_sol/ It includes material on Grimms' Teutonic mythology and fairy tales, Leidstjarna: Journal of the Northern Star, public domain texts and much additional information.
  5. The Troth, which is perhaps the largest Asatru group in North America, maintains a home page at: http://www.thetroth.org  They list Asatru events, have an on-line membership application form, and describe a new Asatru boy scout troop in Utah!
  6. Jordsvin's Norse Heathen web site contains extensive information and many links on "Norse Religion, Rune work, Seidhr (Norse 'shamanism,' very roughly speaking...), and much more!" See: http://members.aol.com/jordsvin/kindred/kindred.htm 
  7. Raven Online is the home page of the Raven Kindred Association. They publish a periodical Asatru Today. Subscription is $17.50 per year. They also publish the book Ravenbok. Much of the above information was taken from this site. See http://www.webcom.com/~lstead/
  8. The Asatru Alliance of Independent Kindrids is a free association of local groups, called "kindrids". They publish a magazine Vor Tru and have a FAQ section, many articles and links to other Asatru groups. See: www.jcave.com/%7Eeagle
  9. Dr. Jenny Blain from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax NS Canada has made available Two (about to be three) anthropological papers on Asatru. They can be downloaded at: http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Lofts/2171/files.html
  10. There are Asatru groups in Ottawa, Canada; Uppsala, Sweden; and in at least the following states of the US: AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, MI, MO, NE, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, VA, WA and WI. See the Raven Online web site for addresses. Other Asatru groups are found throughout Scandinavia.
  11. An excellent book on Asatru is: Kveldulfr Gundarsson, "Teutonic Religion," Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN.
  12. "Asatru," The Magickal Melting Pot, at: http://www.magickalmeltingpot.com/
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