Irminsul Ęttir

Gamlinginn on the Religion of Asatru

Asatru is a living religion, currently practiced by a growing number of people in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere. Asatru is separate from, and not connected to, any other religious faith (although there may be superficial similarities in some respects).

The word Asatru means Faith in the Aesir and the Vanir, who are best known to most people as the Gods and Goddesses of the Old Norse legends, although these same Deities were once worshiped by most of the peoples or pre-Christian Europe, and others as far east as India (they are the Deities of the Rig Veda). However, because the Old Norse legends provide the best knowledge of them, we usually refer to them by their Old Norse names -- Frigg and Odinn, Tyr and Zisa, Sif and Thorr, Freyja and Freyr, and so on. Traces remain in modern English: Tuesday means Tyr's day, Wednesday means Odinn's day, Thursday means Thorr's day, and Friday means either Frigg's day or Freyja's day (scholars debate which).

Asatru is open to everyone, and there are many different sorts of Asatruers (members of the Asatru Religion). Anyone who wants to join Asatru can do so -- regardless of gender, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, language, sexual orientation, or other divisive criteria. Asatru today is no more "European" than Christianity is "Jewish" or Islam is "Arabic" etc.

Asatruers often form local groups for the same reasons that people of other religions band together. These Asatru groups are sometimes called Hearths, or Kindreds, or other names. However, many Asatru believers live too far away from any of their coreligionists to be able to join such a group.

The Asatru Way of Life esteems: courage, honor, hospitality, independence (and liberty), individuality (with self-reliance and self-responsibility), industriousness (and perseverance), justice (including an innate sense of fairness and respect for others), loyalty (to family, friends, and the society of which one is a part), truthfulness, and a willingness to stand up for what is right.

An Asatru religious ceremony is called a Blot. Eight major Blots are celebrated by Asatruers each year. These are listed below, with the modern English name of each given first, followed by its Old Norse name in parenthesis, and the date -- although the usual practice is to hold the Blot on the nearest weekend.
Disfest (Disablot)
31 January
Ostara (Ostara)
21 March
May Eve (Valpurgis)
30 April
Midsummer (Midsumarsblot)
21 June
Freysfest (Freysblot)
31 July
Fallfest (Haustblot)
23 September
Winter Night (Vetrnaetr)
31 October
Yule (Jol)
21 December
Other Blots are held for special events, such as weddings, or on occasions such as the Feast of Vali (14 February). Besides the Blot, there is another kind of Asatru ceremony, called the Sumbel, which is a kind of formalized religious toasting. Sumbels are held whenever people want to hold them.

There are also numerous social and cultural activities.

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