What is Asatru?
Asatru is an ancient word that literally translates to “troth with the Aesir”. It is the term used to describe adherents to a religion that follows the old Norse pantheon of gods and honors the traditions of their European and Scandinavian Ancestors. It is a faith deeply rooted in ancestral traditions, as many feel the Gods themselves are actually our eldest ancestors. It is a faith that deeply follows traditional values like Wisdom, Honor, and Generosity. These values are largely missing from our host society, and in our opinion absolutely necessary for a spiritually fulfilling life…
Why A Norse tradition in this modern world?
Many of us were brought to our knowledge of the Norse Gods through our ancestry, while others came into the fold as friends and dear members of the community who found that our rituals filled a void in their spirituality or raised us up from the mundane existence we have had here in the modern world. We have found purpose in honoring the traditions of our ancestors, and embracing the beauty of the natural world around us. Through these focuses, we build our worth and gefrain (Reputation or Fame), and strengthen the bonds of community that make us a Folk.
The truth is, this world that we are living in is bereft of honor and spirituality, but by standing with our ancestral beliefs and their social code of honor, we can revive the pride and community spirit that made our folk the greatest community builders in the ancient world…
How Do We Relate To The Gods?
There are many folks who feel that our faith is always a matter of a direct and close personal relationship with the Gods. While I won’t deny that the Gods pay attention to those that worth themselves and have the ability to steer the folk and grow the numbers and improve the quality of their worship, I do not believe this type of personal interest from the Gods is the Norm. I believe that mentality goes hand in hand with the modern mentality that everyone is a “special little snowflake” and everyone should get a trophy. That simply does not fit into a worldview that requires ordeal and worthing to improve oneself. The gods do hear us when we reach out to them, but they hear us most often as a community rather than as individuals. It is for that reason that the focus is on community building and communal worship. These things bring more proverbial “metaphysical muscle” to bear on the side of our Gods and Faith, and as such have more weight and worth with the Gods. So, if you are the kind of person who believes that the Gods will come down from on high and help you find a parking space in NYC, you probably need to adjust your worldview. However, if you are the type of person who works to build real tangible accomplishments and improve the gefrain of the folk through successes, then you are right on track! Our voices are loudest and clearest in concert.
As Asatru is an ancestral faith, and one which believes in studying, honoring, and emulating our ancestors, the practice of ancestor veneration is absolutely inseparable from our faith. We believe in the folk soul, and that the luck and traits of our ancestors are passed along to future generations through this folk soul. This is one of the reasons you will tend to find “family names” within the folk. It is thought that by naming a child after an ancestor that the spirit of that ancestor will take a special interest in the child and help guide and support them in all of their endeavors. It is also likely that the child in question will inherit behaviors, skills, and luck from that ancestor. It is all about roots and connections, about tapping into the collective maegns of the entire family line to bring more worth and luck to the current generation. Our ancestors are like the Gods and wights in their ability to aid us in our quest to build worth and gefrain, but because they are family and will be directly affected by that gefrain and worth through the ancestral connection, they have a vested interest in helping us to succeed. It is not unlike the Christian concept of “guardian angels” except that those “angels” are our ancestors trying to help us build the family line!