What is Asatru?
That can be answered by, both what it is, and is not. Asatru means in old Norse: 'true to the Aesir Gods'.
The term Gods is from a totally different stream of understanding than common thought.
The Aesir are an ancient tribe of remarkable individuals from a variety of peoples, cultures and tribes including the Vanir.
This assembly is known and honoured primarily by the ancient Scandinavian, Norse and Germanic peoples including of course also more modernly in these territories, as well as the new lands of Iceland, Greenland and Vinland/NorthAmerica.
The Aesir are not worshipped or groveled to, nor met on bent knees. Does not offer the security or ease of soft minded faith. The Aesir are not a group of mystical beings living on some mountain or cloud. They are not immortal, nor perfect. They lived and breathed the same as you or I.
Understanding and striving towards our own divinity and living that, is what is meant by being ‘True’. This is our Religion.
The main way in which Asatru people live, is in the study of our history which is sometimes called myth. We ponder the lessons within the life stories of our forebears and incorporate this accumulated wisdom into our lives. In lifelong service to our families and communities, we strive and achieve their advancement physically, mentally and spiritually. The whole world looks to Scandinavia for how well society functions there at almost every level. Compassion and kindness being a surprising hallmark characteristic. This guides all decisions for good and sometimes not so good. Kindness should not be mistaken for weakness, and some take advantage of their kind hosts.
A nature based cultural spirituality or religion and recognizing many worlds that exist throughout the world tree; Yggdrasil. This world is known as Midgard, the middle world. The Aesir reside geographically in one of the uppermost worlds called Asgard.
Understanding of a life after Midgard is one of location and merit. We are not as concerned with life after death as we are with living a full and useful life here in Midgard. Our religion is a matter of everyday life, we live our religion, incorporating it into everything we do.
It does offer an opportunity to be closer to nature in the practice of age old traditions.
Some of these divine archetypal beings are:
Frigga - Knowledgeable in the arts of marriage and childbirth and is the patron of the household and of married women. She is the only other one allowed to sit in Odin's Seat from which she can see all of the Nine Worlds. Mother of many of the Aesir, Odin in her husband.
Freya - Skilled above all in love and sensuality, she wears a falcon shape cloak, and the necklace Brisingamen and rides in her cat drawn chariot. Freya receives half the fallen heroes from the battlefield to her hall, there to spend the afterlife. Sister to Frey, Her husband is Od the lost, she is of the Vanir.
Balder – Most beautiful of the Aesir. Through the manipulation of jealous Loki, Baldur’s blind brother Hoder unintentionally killed him. Son of Frigga & Odin, Father of two boys, Husband to Nanna.
Nanna – Beatiful and kind, Archetypal nurturing mother, mourning widow. Mother of two boys, Wife to Baldur.
Frey – Associated with abundance, he brings fertility and prosperity to the land. Brother to Freya, he is of the Vanir.
Loki – Trickster, mischief maker, creator and solver of problems. Blood-btother to Odin, Father of Fenris Wolf, Hela, Sleipnir and others, he is of the Jotuns.
Tyr – Associated with battle and justice. A fine example of a warrior, who courageously protects others at great cost to himself. His willingly let his hand be bitten off by Fenris wolf, in order to successfully bind this one of many monstrous proginy of Loki.
Njord – Associated with the Sea. Father of Frey & Freya.
Thor – Thor the Thunderer, Red-bearded, huge of appetite, and incredibly strong, wields the magic hammer Mjollnir and defends the Aesir. Husband to Sif, Father of two boys.
Odin - Wisest of all, skilled in magic. Odin hung nine days on the World Tree to win the secret of the runes, and traded one of his eyes to drink of Mimirs well of wisdom. Odin receives slain warriors in his hall Val-Hall (Valhalla), where they prepare for the final battle of Ragnarok. Known as the AllFather, he is father of many of the Aesir, and husband to Frigga
The word “Rune” means “secret” or “mystery”. This translation is comparable in various dialects such as: Old Norse (run) Old High German (runa), Old English (run), and Gothic (runa).
Proto-Indo-European “reu” = to roar and to wisper. This connects it to vocal use.
The developers of the runes as a writing system were also the keepers of other intellectual and spiritual information, so it is not surprising that the runes represent both an alphabet and a vocal communication connected to mysteries and esoteric lore.
The oldest runic system is the Elder Futhark, consists of twentyfour stave characters, beginning possibly as early as 200 B.C.E. The oldest inscription found to date is the Meldorf brooch, from about 50 C.E.
As early as 450 C.E. an extended twentyeight stave character futhorc developed in Anglo-Saxon and Frisian areas.
The Elder Futhark continued till around 800 C.E. it was systematically reformed into the Younger Futhark consisting of sixteen stave characters.