Monday, December 25, 2006

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Religion But Were Afraid To Ask #1: What Is Asatru?

Since I have a myriad of Norse deities which star in the book that I'm currently writing, I was interested in finding out the answer to this question. With any religion, it's generally unwise to trust your first impressions. My first impressions of Asatru were negative for the very reason mentioned in the Wikipedia entry:
While Ásatrú is generally a tolerant religion, it is sometimes erroneously identified with neo-Nazi and "white power" organizations which also use Odinist symbols.
But as the entry proceeds to explain:
The three largest American Ásatrú organizations have specifically denounced any association with racist groups.[2] There is actually an antagonistic relationship between many neo-Nazis and the membership of most Ásatrú organizations in the USA, who view "national socialism as an unwanted totalitarian philosophy incompatible with freedom-loving Norse paganism".[3] The often problematic association comes from the fact that among neo-Nazis, there tend to be specifically 'white power' forms of Ásatrú and Odinism, which are viewed in such groups as being important attempts to retrace early segments of white european history, and they tend to be popular among those who view Christianity as a fundamentally Judaic religion.
As a religiously tolerant Qabalist-Buddhist-Neopagan myself, the more I read, the more I liked what I heard about Asatru. The Wikipedia entry is a fairly concise one and I recommend reading it. It provides several links to other places where you can find out more about this religion. If you feel a pull towards the Norse pantheon, Asatru may be the path for you in this lifetime.