Wikipedia explanation of Heathenism or Norse Religion


Jersay
#1
Ásatrú (Icelandic "Ćsir faith") is a new religious movement which is attempting to revive the pre-Christian Viking Age Norse religion as described in the Eddas.

Ásatrú was established in the 1960s and early 1970s in Iceland, by the Íslenska Ásatrúarfélagiđ an organization founded by Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson. Ásatrú was recognized as an official religion by the governments of Iceland (in 1973), Denmark (in 2003) and Norway. The United States government does not officially endorse or recognize any religious group; however, numerous Ásatrú groups have been granted nonprofit religious status going back to the 1970s.

While the term Ásatrú originally referred specifically to the Icelandic adherents of the religion, Germanic neopagan and reconstructionist groups widely identify themselves as Ásatrú, particularly in the USA. In this wider sense, the term Ásatrú is used synonymously with Germanic Neopaganism or Germanic Paganism, along with the terms Forn Sed, Odinism, Heithni, Heathenry and others

Ásatrú is an Old Norse term consisting of two parts. The first is Ása (genitive of Áss) referring to one of two families of gods in the myths. The second part, trú, literally means "troth" or "faith". Thus, Ásatrú means "faith in the Ćsir." The term is the Old Norse/Icelandic translation of Asetro, neologism coined in the context of 19th century romantic nationalism, first used by Edvard Grieg in his 1870 opera Olaf Trygvason. The use of the term Ásatrú for Germanic paganism preceding 19th century revivalist movements is an anachronism. Likewise, use of Ásatrú as a synonym of Germanic Neopaganism, while widespread in the USA, can be misleading. Groups identifying themselves as Ásatrú cover a wide political spectrum, ranging from left-wing environmentalist groups, New Agers, universalists, tribalists, reconstructionists, folkish groups and even neonazi (e.g. Artgemeinschaft) movements.

Members of the Íslenska Ásatrúarfélagiđ are somewhat unhappy with the semantic widening of the Icelandic term Ásatrú, and would prefer its usage to specifically apply only to reconstructed medieval Norse paganism.

Ásatrúar, sometimes used as a plural in English, is properly the genitive of Ásatrú.

Ásatrú originated as a second (or third) revival of Germanic paganism in the 1960s and early 1970s. The Íslenska Ásatrúarfélagiđ was founded on summer solstice, 1972, and was recognized as an official religion by the Icelandic government in 1973, largely due to the efforts of Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson. At about this time, in the United States, Stephen McNallen, a former U.S. Army Airborne Ranger, began publishing a newsletter titled The Runestone. He also formed an organization called the Asatru Free Assembly, later renamed the Ásatrú Folk Assembly which is still extant. Else Christensen's Odinism, which sometimes identified with the term Asatru, originated around the same period. An offshoot of McNallen's group is the Asatru Alliance, headed by Valgard Murray, publisher of the "Vor Tru" newsletter. The Asatru Alliance held its 25th annual "Althing" gathering in 2005.

Ásatrú organizations have memberships which span the entire political and spiritual spectrum. Many adherents are solitary practitioners who practice their religion alone with their family or a small local community, and are not involved with organized Ásatrú. Despite the wide divergance of beliefs and politics, the sole common denominator amongst adherents of Ásatrú is the goal of reconstructing and practicing the historical pre-Christian religion of the Eddas.

While Ásatrú is generally a tolerant religion, in the USA neo-nazis and advocates of white power are ostracized and shunned by most organizations.[1] The three largest American Ásatrú organizations specifically have denounced 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]

[edit]
Notes
↑ Gardell, Matthias (2003). Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism, p. 269-283, Duke University Press. ISBN 0822330717.
↑ The positions of the AA, the AFA and the Troth:
From the Asatru Alliance's Bylaws: "The Alliance is apolitical; it is not a front for, nor shall it promote any political views of the 'Right' or 'Left'. Our Sacred temples, groves and Moots shall remain free of any political manifestations." [1]
From the Asatru Folk Assembly's Bylaws: "The belief that spirituality and ancestral heritage are related has nothing to do with notions of superiority. Asatru is not an excuse to look down on, much less to hate, members of any other race. On the contrary, we recognize the uniqueness and the value of all the different pieces that make up the human mosaic." [2]
From the Troth's Bylaws: "Discrimination on the basis of race, gender, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation shall not be practiced by the Troth or any affiliated group, whether in membership decisions or in conducting any of its activities." [3]
↑ Gardell, p.276. Referring to Stephen McNallen, Valgard Murray and Edred Thorsson; the respective founders of the AFA, the AA and the Troth, which are the three largest Ásatrú groups in the USA.
[edit]
See also
Asatru Folk Assembly
Eldaring
Germanic Neopaganism
Heathenry
Íslenska Ásatrúarfélagiđ
Neopaganism
Reconstructionism
Stephen McNallen
Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson
Theodism
The Troth
Odinic Rite
Irminenschaft
[edit]
External links
[edit]
Neutral descriptions
Asatru (Germanic Paganism) - ReligionFacts
[edit]
Organizations
Iceland / Scandinavia
Ásatrúarfélagiđ Iceland (since 1972)
Ĺsatrufellesskapet Bifrost Norway (since 1996)
Sveriges Asatrosamfund Sweden (since 1994)
Asatrofćllesskabet Denmark (since 2003)
North America
Asatru Folk Assembly (since 1974, albeit the Asatru Free Assembly initially)
The Troth (since 1987)
Asatru Alliance (since 198
Germany
Eldaring (since 2000)
Australia
The Assembly of the Elder Troth (since 1990 ?)
Belgium
Asatrú-Werkgroep Traditie
The Netherlands
Het Rad
[edit]
Other links
HuginnHof Kindred (since 2005)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asatru (external - login to view)

Archaeological Sources
Many sites in Scandinavia have yielded valuable information about early Scandinavian culture. The oldest extant cultural example are in the form of petroglyphs or helleristninger [1]. These are usually divided into two categories according to age: "hunting-glyphs" and "agricultural-glyphs". The hunting glyphs are the oldest (ca. 9,000 -- 6,000 B.C.) and are predominantly found in Northern Scandinavia (Jämtland, Nord-Trřndelag and Nordland). These finds seem to indicate an existence primarily based on hunting and fishing. These motifs were gradually subsumed (ca. 4,000 -- 2,000 B.C.) by glyphs with more zoomorphic, or perhaps religious, themes. Animals were often illustrated from an "x-ray perspective" very similar to the Indigenous Australian petroglyphs. The glyphs from the most Southern region (Bohuslän) are later complemented with younger agricultural glyphs (ca. 2,300 -- 500 B.C.), which seem to depict an existence based more heavily on agriculture. These later motifs primarily depict ships, solar and lunar motifs, geometrical spirals and anthropomorphic beings, which seem to ideographically indicate the beginning of Norse religion.

Other noteworthy archaeological finds which may depict early Norse religion are the Iron Age bog bodies such as the Tollund Man, who may have been ritually sacrificed in a religious or cultic context.

Later, in the Pre-Viking and Viking age, there is material evidence which seems to indicate a growing sophistication in Norse religion, such as artifacts portraying the gripdjur (gripping-beast) motifs, interlacing art and jewelry, Mjollnir pendants and numerous weapons and bracteates with runic characters scratched or cast into them. The runes seem to have evolved from the earlier helleristninger, since they initially seemed to have a wholly ideographic usage. Runes later evolved into a script which was perhaps derived from a combination of Proto-Germanic language and Etruscan or Gothic writing. However, this origin has not been proven, and many runic origin theories have been advocated.

Many other ideographic and iconographic motifs which may portray the religious beliefs of the Pre-Viking and Viking Norse are depicted on runestones, which were usually erected as boundary markers or memorial stones. These memorial stones usually were not placed in proximity to a body, and many times there is an epitaph written in runes to memorialize a deceased relative. This practice continued well into the Christian era.

Like most ancient and medieval peoples, Norse society was divided into several classes and the early Norse practiced slavery in earnest. The majority of interments from the pagan period seem to derive primarily from the upper classes, however many recent excavations in medieval church yards have given a broader glimpse into the life of the common people.

[edit]
Literary Sources
Most, if not all, of the written material about the Norse religion are derived from written accounts far later than when the religion was practiced, and well into the Christian period. This is when the lines blurred between Norse pre-Christian religion and a demonized or romanticized Norse mythology. Norse religion was a cultural phenomenon, and like most pre-literate folk beliefs, the practitioners probably did not have a name for their religion, until they came into contact with outsiders or competitors. Therefore, the only titles bestowed upon Norse religion are the ones which were used to describe the religion in a competitive manner, usally in a very antagonistic context. Some of these terms were hedendom (Scandinavian), Heidentum (German), Heathenry (English) or Pagan (Latin). A more romanticized name for Norse religion is the medieval Icelandic term Forn Siđr or "Old Custom".

Whatever, the Norse religion was called by it's adherents, we only know of it from the manuscripts of medieval historians, most notably Snorri and Saxo. However, there is an extremely large corpus of written and comparative historical materials which have gone unstudied or ignored up until fairly recently, and the breadth of knowledge about this topic is growing exponentially.

[edit]
Worship
[edit]
Centres of faith

Gamla Uppsala, the centre of worship in Sweden until the temple was destroyed the late 11th century.The Germanic tribes rarely or never had temples in a modern sense. The Blót, the form of worship practiced by the ancient Germanic and Scandinavian people resembled that of the Celts and Balts : it could occur in sacred groves. It could also take place at home and/or at a simple altar of piled stones known as a "horgr". However, there seems to have been a few more important centres, such as Skiringsal, Lejre and Uppsala. Adam of Bremen claims that there was a temple in Uppsala (see Temple at Uppsala) with three wooden statues of Thor, Odin and Freyr.

[edit]
Priests
While a kind of priesthood seems to have existed, it never took on the professional and semi-hereditary character of the Celtic druidical class. This was because the shamanistic tradition was maintained by women, the Völvas. It is often said that the Germanic kingship evolved out of a priestly office. This priestly role of the king was in line with the general role of godi, who was the head of a kindred group of families (for this social structure, see norse clans), and who administered the sacrifices.

[edit]
Human sacrifice

Carl Larsson, "Midwinter Sacrifice", 1915: the sacrifice of King Domalde at Gamla Uppsala.A unique eye-witness account of Germanic human sacrifice survives in Ibn Fadlan's account of a Rus ship burial, where a slave-girl had volunteered to accompany her lord to the next world. More indirect accounts are given by Tacitus, Saxo Grammaticus and Adam von Bremen. The Heimskringla tells of Swedish King Aun who sacrificed nine of his sons in an effort to prolong his life until his subjects stopped him from killing his last son Egil. According to Adam of Bremen, the Swedish kings sacrificed male slaves every ninth year during the Yule sacrifices at the Temple at Uppsala. The Swedes had the right not only to elect kings but also to depose them, and both king Domalde and king Olof Trätälja are said to have been sacrificed after years of famine. Odin was associated with death by hanging, and a possible practice of Odinic sacrifice by strangling has some archeological support in the existence of bodies perfectly preserved by the acid of the Jutland (later taken over by Danish people) peatbogs, into which they were cast after having been strangled. An example is Tollund Man. However, we possess no written accounts that explicitly interpret the cause of these stranglings, which could obviously have other explanations.

[edit]
See also
Norse mythology
Germanic paganism
Germanic mythology
Ásatrú

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norse_religion (external - login to view)
 
Jersay
#2
So this is basically my religion
 
Jersay
#3
Norse or Scandinavian mythology comprises the pre-Christian religion, beliefs and legends of the Scandinavian people, including those who settled on Iceland, where the written sources for Norse mythology were assembled. It is the best-preserved version of the older common Germanic mythology, which also includes the closely related Anglo-Saxon mythology. Germanic mythology, in its turn, had evolved from an earlier Indo-European mythology.

Norse mythology is a collection of beliefs and stories shared by Northern Germanic tribes. It was not a revealed religion, in that it was not a truth handed down from the divine to the mortal (although it does have tales of normal persons learning the stories of the gods from a visit to or from the gods), and it had no scripture. The mythology was orally transmitted in the form of long, regular poetry. Oral transmission continued through the Viking Age, and our knowledge about it is mainly based on the Eddas and other medieval texts written down during and after Christianisation.

In Scandinavian folklore, these beliefs held on the longest, and in rural areas some traditions have been maintained until today. Others have recently been revived or reinvented as Germanic Neopaganism. The mythology also remains as an inspiration in literature (see Norse mythological influences on later literature) as well as on stage productions and movies.

Contents [hide]
1 Sources
2 Cosmology
2.1 Supernatural beings
2.2 Völuspá: the origin and end of the world
2.2.1 The beginning
2.2.2 The end times (Eschatological beliefs)
3 Kings and heroes
4 Norse worship
4.1 Centres of faith
4.2 Priests
4.3 Human sacrifice
5 Interactions with Christianity
6 Modern influences
7 See also
8 External links
9 Bibliography



[edit]
Sources
Most of this mythology was passed down orally, and much of it has been lost. However, some of it was captured and recorded by Christian scholars, particularly in the Eddas and the Heimskringla by Snorri Sturluson, who believed that pre-Christian deities were men and women rather than devils. There is also the Danish Gesta Danorum by Saxo Grammaticus, where, however, the Norse gods are strongly Euhemerized.

The Prose or Younger Edda was written in the early 13th century by Snorri Sturluson, who was a leading poet, chieftain, and diplomat in Iceland. It may be thought of primarily as a handbook for aspiring poets. It contains prose explications of traditional "kennings," or compressed metaphors found in poetry. These prose retellings make the various tales of the Norse gods systematic and coherent.

The Poetic Edda (also known as the Elder Edda) was committed to writing about 50 years after the Prose Edda. It contains 29 long poems, of which 11 deal with the Germanic deities, the rest with legendary heroes like Sigurd the Volsung (the Siegfried of the German version Nibelungenlied). Although scholars think it was transcribed later than the other Edda, the language and poetic forms involved in the tales appear to have been composed centuries earlier than their transcription.

Besides these sources, there are surviving legends in Scandinavian folklore. Some of these can be corroborated with legends appearing in other Germanic literatures e.g. the tale related in the Anglo-Saxon Battle of Finnsburgh and the many allusions to mythological tales in Deor. When several partial references and tellings survive, scholars can deduce the underlying tale. Additionally, there are hundreds of place names in Scandinavia named after the gods.

A few runic inscriptions, such as the Rök Runestone and the Kvinneby amulet, make references to the mythology. There are also several runestones and image stones that depict scenes from Norse mythology, such as Thor's fishing trip, scenes from the Völsunga saga, Odin and Sleipnir, Odin being devoured by Fenrir, and Hyrrokkin riding to Baldr's funeral.

In Denmark, one image stone depicts Loki with curled dandy-like mustaches and lips that are sewn together and the British Gosforth cross shows several intriguing images. There are also smaller images, such as figurines depicting the god Odin (with one eye), Thor (with his hammer) and Freyr (with his erect phallus).

[edit]
Cosmology
Main article: Norse cosmology
In Norse mythology, the earth is represented as a flat disc. This disk is situated in the branches of the world tree, or Yggdrasil. Asgard, where the gods lived, was located at the centre of the disc, and could only be reached by walking across the rainbow (the Bifröst bridge). The Giants lived in an abode called Jötunheimr (giant realm).

A cold, dark abode called Niflheim was ruled by Hel, daughter of Loki. According to the Prose Edda this was the eventual dwelling-place of most of the dead. Located somewhere in the south was the fiery realm of Muspell, home of the fire giants.

Further otherworldly realms include Álfheim, home of the light-elves (ljósálfar), Svartálfaheim, home of the dark-elves. In between Asgard and Niflheim was Midgard, the world of men (see also Middle Earth).

The cosmology of Norse mythology also involves a strong element of duality: for example the night and the day have their own mythological counterparts Dagr/Skinfaxi and Nótt/Hrímfaxi, the sun and the chasing wolf Sol and Skoll, the moon and its chasing wolf Mani and Hati, and the total opposites of Niflheim and Muspell is the origin of the world. This might have reflected a deeper metaphysical belief in opposites as the foundation of the world.

[edit]
Supernatural beings

Thor often fought the giants.There are three "clans" of deities, the Ćsir, the Vanir, and the Iotnar (referred to as giants in this article). The distinction between Ćsir and Vanir is relative, for the two are said to have made peace, exchanged hostages, intermarried and reigned together after a prolonged war, which the Ćsir had finally won. Some gods belong in both camps. Some scholars have speculated that this tale symbolized the way the gods of invading Indo-European tribes supplanted older nature-deities of the aboriginal peoples, although it should be firmly noted that this is conjecture. Other authorities (compare Mircea Eliade and J.P. Mallory) consider the Ćsir/Vanir division to be simply the Norse expression of a general Indo-European division of divinities, parallel to that of Olympians and Titans in Greek mythology, and in parts of the Mahabharata.

The Ćsir and the Vanir are generally enemies with the Iotnar (singular Iotunn or Jotuns; Old English Eotenas or Entas). They are comparable to the Titans and Gigantes of Greek mythology and generally translated as "giants", although "trolls" and "demons" have been suggested as suitable alternatives. However, the Ćsir are descendants of Iotnar and both Ćsir and Vanir intermarry with them. Some of the giants are mentioned by name in the Eddas, and they seem to be representations of natural forces. There are two general types of giant: frost-giants and fire-giants. There were also elves and dwarfs, whose role is shadowy but who are generally thought to side with the gods.

In addition, there are many other supernatural beings: Fenrir the gigantic wolf, and Jörmungandr the sea-serpent (or "worm") that is coiled around the world. These two monsters are described as the progeny of Loki, the trickster-god, and a giant. More benevolent creatures are Hugin and Munin (thought and memory), the two ravens who keep Odin, the chief god, apprised of what is happening on earth, and Ratatosk, the squirrel which scampers in the branches of the world ash, Yggdrasil, which is central to the conception of this world.

Along with many other polytheistic religions, this mythology lacks the good-evil dualism of the Middle Eastern tradition. Thus, Loki is not primarily an adversary of the gods, though he is often portrayed in the stories as the nemesis to the protagonist Thor, and the giants are not so much fundamentally evil, as rude, boisterous, and uncivilized. The dualism that exists is not evil vs good, but order vs chaos. The gods represent order and structure whereas the giants and the monsters represent chaos and disorder.

[edit]
Völuspá: the origin and end of the world
The origin and eventual fate of the world are described in Völuspá ("The völva's prophecy" or "The sybil's prophecy"), one of the most striking poems in the Poetic Edda. These haunting verses contain one of the most vivid creation accounts in all of religious history and a representation of the eventual destruction of the world that is unique in its attention to detail.

In the Völuspá, Odin, the chief god of the Norse pantheon, has conjured up the spirit of a dead Völva (Shaman or sybil) and commanded this spirit to reveal the past and the future. She is reluctant: "What do you ask of me? Why tempt me?"; but since she is already dead, she shows no fear of Odin, and continually taunts him: "Well, would you know more?" But Odin insists: if he is to fulfil his function as king of the gods, he must possess all knowledge. Once the sybil has revealed the secrets of past and future, she falls back into oblivion: "I sink now".

[edit]
The beginning

The Norns spin the threads of fate at the foot of Yggdrasil, the tree of the world.In the beginning there was the world of ice Niflheim, and the world of fire Muspelheim, and between them was the Ginnungagap, a "grinning (or yawning) gap," in which nothing lived. In Ginnungagap, the fire and the ice met, and the fire of Muspelheim licked the ice shaping a primordial giant Ymir and a giant cow, Auđumbla whose milk fed Ymir. The cow licked the ice, creating the first god, Búri, who was the father of Borr, in turn the father of the first Ćsir, Odin, and his brothers Vili and Ve. Ymir was a hermaphrodite and alone procreated the race of giants. Then Borr's sons; Odin, Vili, and Ve; slaughtered Ymir and, from his body, created the world.

The gods regulated the passage of the days and nights, as well as the seasons. The first human beings were Ask (ash) and Embla (elm), who were carved from wood and brought to life by the gods Odin, Hśnir/Vili, and Lóđurr/Vé. Sol is the goddess of the sun, a daughter of Mundilfari, and wife of Glen. Every day, she rides through the sky on her chariot, pulled by two horses named Alsvid and Arvak. This passage is known as Alfrodull, meaning "glory of elves," which in turn was a common kenning for the sun. Sol is chased during the day by Skoll, a wolf that wants to devour her. Solar eclipses signify that Skoll has almost caught up to her. It is fated that Skoll will eventually catch Sol and eat her; however, she will be replaced by her daughter. Sol's brother, the moon, Mani, is chased by Hati, another wolf. The earth is protected from the full heat of the sun by Svalin, who stands between the earth and Sol. In Norse belief, the sun did not give light, which instead emanated from the manes of Alsvid and Arvak.

The sybil describes the great ash tree Yggdrasil and the three norns (female symbols of inexorable fate; their names; Urđr (Urd), Verđandi (Verdandi), and Skuld; indicate the past, present, and future), who spin the threads of fate beneath it. She describes the primeval war between Ćsir and Vanir and the murder of Baldr. Then she turns her attention to the future.

[edit]
The end times (Eschatological beliefs)
Main article: Ragnarök
The Old Norse vision of the future is bleak. In the end, it was believed, the forces of evil and chaos will outnumber and overcome the divine and human guardians of good and order. Loki and his monstrous children will burst their bonds; the dead will sail from Niflheim to attack the living. Heimdall, the watchman of the gods, will summon the heavenly host with a blast on his horn. Then will ensue a final battle between order and chaos (Ragnarök), which the gods will lose, as is their fate. The gods, aware of this, will gather the finest warriors, the Einherjar, to fight on their side when the day comes, but in the end they will be powerless to prevent the world from descending into the chaos out of which it has once emerged; the gods and their world will be destroyed. Odin himself will be swallowed by Fenrir the wolf.

Still, there will be a few survivors, both human and divine, who will populate a new world, to start the cycle anew. Or so the sybil tells us; scholars are divided on the question whether this is a later addition to the myth that betrays Christian influence. If pre-Christian, the eschatology of the Völuspá may reflect an older Indo-European tradition related with the eschatology of Persian Zoroastrianism.

[edit]
Kings and heroes

The Ramsund carving depicting passages from the Völsunga sagaThe mythological literature relates the legends of heroes and kings, as well as supernatural creatures. These clan and kingdom founding figures possessed great importance as illustrations of proper action or national origins. The heroic literature may have fulfilled the same function as the national epic in other European literatures, or it may have been more nearly related to tribal identity. Many of the legendary figures probably existed, and generations of Scandinavian scholars have tried to extract history from myth in the sagas.

Sometimes the same hero resurfaces in several forms depending on which part of the Germanic world the epics survived such as Weyland/Völund and Siegfried/Sigurd, and probably Beowulf/Bödvar Bjarki. Other notable heroes are Hagbard, Starkad, Ragnar Lodbrok, Sigurd Ring, Ivar Vidfamne and Harald Hildetand. Notable are also the shieldmaidens who were "ordinary" women who had chosen the path of the warrior. These women function both as heroines and as obstacles to the heroic journey.

[edit]
Norse worship
Main articles: Norse paganism and Blót

[edit]
Centres of faith

Gamla Uppsala, the centre of worship in Sweden until the temple was destroyed the late 11th century.The Germanic tribes rarely or never had temples in a modern sense. The Blót, the form of worship practiced by the ancient Germanic and Scandinavian people resembled that of the Celts and Balts : it could occur in sacred groves. It could also take place at home and/or at a simple altar of piled stones known as a "horgr". However, there seems to have been a few more important centres, such as Skiringsal, Lejre and Uppsala. Adam of Bremen claims that there was a temple in Uppsala (see Temple at Uppsala) with three wooden statues of Thor, Odin and Freyr.

[edit]
Priests
While a kind of priesthood seems to have existed, it never took on the professional and semi-hereditary character of the Celtic druidical class. This was because the shamanistic tradition was maintained by women, the Völvas. It is often said that the Germanic kingship evolved out of a priestly office. This priestly role of the king was in line with the general role of godi, who was the head of a kindred group of families (for this social structure, see norse clans), and who administered the sacrifices.

[edit]
Human sacrifice

Carl Larsson, "Midwinter Sacrifice", 1915: the sacrifice of King Domalde at Gamla Uppsala.A unique eye-witness account of Germanic human sacrifice survives in Ibn Fadlan's account of a Rus ship burial, where a slave-girl had volunteered to accompany her lord to the next world. More indirect accounts are given by Tacitus, Saxo Grammaticus and Adam von Bremen.

It should be noted, however, that the Ibn Fadlan account is actually a burial ritual. Current understanding of Norse Mythology suggests an alterior motive to the Slave Girl's 'sacrifice'. It is believed that in Norse Mythology a woman who joined the corpse of a man on the funeral pyre would be that man's wife in the next world. For a slave girl to become the wife of a lord was an obvious increase in status. Although both religions are of the Indo-European tradition, the sacrifice described in the Ibn Fadlan account is not to be confused with the practice of Sutee.

The Heimskringla tells of Swedish King Aun who sacrificed nine of his sons in an effort to prolong his life until his subjects stopped him from killing his last son Egil. According to Adam of Bremen, the Swedish kings sacrificed male slaves every ninth year during the Yule sacrifices at the Temple at Uppsala. The Swedes had the right not only to elect kings but also to depose them, and both king Domalde and king Olof Trätälja are said to have been sacrificed after years of famine.

Odin was associated with death by hanging, and a possible practice of Odinic sacrifice by strangling has some archeological support in the existence of bodies perfectly preserved by the acid of the Jutland (later taken over by Danish people) peatbogs, into which they were cast after having been strangled. An example is Tollund Man. However, we possess no written accounts that explicitly interpret the cause of these stranglings, which could obviously have other explanations.

[edit]
Interactions with Christianity

An 1830 portrayal of Ansgar, a Christian missionary invited to Sweden by its king Björn at Hauge in 829.An important problem in interpreting this mythology is that often the closest accounts that we have to "pre-contact" times were written by Christians. The Younger Edda and the Heimskringla were written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century, over two hundred years after Iceland became Christianized. This results in Snorri's works carrying a large amount of Christian Euhemerism.

Virtually all of the saga literature came out of Iceland, a relatively small and remote island, and even in the climate of religious tolerance there, Snorri was guided by an essentially Christian viewpoint. The Heimskringla provides some interesting insights into this issue. Snorri introduces Odin as a mortal warlord in Asia who acquires magical powers, settles in Sweden, and becomes a demi-god following his death. Having undercut Odin's divinity, Snorri then provides the story of a pact of Swedish King Aun with Odin to prolong his life by sacrificing his sons. Later in the Heimskringla, Snorri records in detail how converts to Christianity such as Saint Olaf Haraldsson brutally converted Scandinavians to Christianity.


One gruesome form of execution occurred during the christianisation of Norway. King Olaf Trygvasson had male völvas (sejdmen) tied and left on a skerry at ebb.In Iceland, trying to avert civil war, the Icelandic parliament voted in Christianity, but tolerated heathenry in the privacy of one's home. Sweden, on the other hand, had a series of civil wars in the 11th century, which ended with the burning of the Temple at Uppsala. In England, on the other hand, Christianization occurred earlier and sporadically, rarely by force. Conversion by coercion was sporadic throughout the areas where Norse gods had been worshipped. However, the conversion did not happen overnight. Christian clergy did their utmost to teach the populace that the Norse gods were demons, but their success was limited and the gods never became evil in the popular mind in most of Scandinavia.

Two centrally located and far from isolated settlements can illustrate how long the Christianization took. Archaeological studies of graves at the Swedish island of Lovön have shown that the Christianisation took 150-200 years, and this was a location close to the kings and bishops. Likewise in the bustling trading town of Bergen, many runic inscriptions have been found from the 13th century, among the Bryggen inscriptions. One of them says may Thor receive you, may Odin own you, and a second one is a galdra which says I carve curing runes, I carve salvaging runes, once against the elves, twice against the trolls, thrice against the thurs. The second one also mentions the dangerous Valkyrie Skögul.

Otherwise there are few accounts from the 14th] to the 18th century, but the clergy, such as Olaus Magnus (1555) wrote about the difficulties of extinguishing the old beliefs. The story related in Ţrymskviđa appears to have been unusually resilient, like the romantic story of Hagbard and Signy, and versions of both were recorded in the 17th century and as late as the 19th century. In the 19th and early 20th century Swedish folklorists documented what commoners believed, and what surfaced were many surviving traditions of the gods of Norse mythology. However, the traditions were by then far from the cohesive system of Snorri's accounts. Most gods had been forgotten and only the hunting Odin and the giant-slaying Thor figure in numerous legends. Freya is mentioned a few times and Baldr only survives in legends about place names.

Other elements of Norse mythology survived without being perceived as such, especially concerning supernatural beings in Scandinavian folklore. Moreover, the Norse belief in destiny has been very firm until modern times. Since the Christian hell resembled the abode of the dead in Norse mythology one of the names was borrowed from the old faith, Helvíti i.e. Hel's punishment. Some elements of the Yule traditions were preserved, such as the Swedish tradition of slaughtering the pig at Christmas (Christmas ham), which originally was part of the sacrifice to Freyr.

[edit]
Modern influences
Day Origin
Monday Moon's day
Tuesday Tyr's (Tiw's) day
Wednesday Odin's (Woden's) day
Thursday Thor's day
Friday Frigg's or Freya's day
Sunday Sun's day
The Germanic gods have left traces in modern vocabulary. An example of this is some of the names of the days of the week: modelled after the names of the days of the week in Latin (named after Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn), the names for Tuesday through to Friday were replaced with Germanic equivalents of the Roman gods. In English, Saturn was not replaced, while Saturday is named after the sabbath in German, and is called "washing day" in Scandinavia.

There are also possibilites that the names of several days had other germanic origins, but these were lost due to corruption of speech or these names being mistaken for cognates in latin. These days are possibly:

Saturday - Sutr's Day: Saturday is the end of the week, while Sutr is the fire-demon who will herald Ragnarok
Monday - Muninn's Day: Muninn is one of Odin's two raven aspects (see Hugin and Munin)
Friday - Friggya's Day: after the goddess Friggya (Also called Frigg, or Fria)
Norse mythology also influenced Richard Wagner's use of literary themes from it to compose the four operas that comprise Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).

More recent have been attempts in both Europe and the United States to revive the old Germanic religion as Germanic Neopaganism, variously under the names of Ásatrú, Odinism, Forn Sed or Heathenry. In Iceland Ásatrú was recognized by the state as an official religion in 1973, which legalized its marriage, child-naming and other ceremonies. It is also an official and legal religion in all the Nordic countries, though it is still fairly new.

Norse mythology has also left a lot of influences in popular culture, in literature and modern fiction, and particularly in fantasy role-playing games.

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy was admitted by its author to be heavily influenced by the myths of the Northern Europeans. As that work became popular, elements of its fantasy world moved steadily into popular perceptions of the fantasy genre. In nearly any modern fantasy novel today can be found such Norse creatures as elves, dwarves, and frost giants.

[edit]
See also
Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Norse mythologySpelling of names in Norse mythology often varies depending on the nationality of the source material. For more information see Old Norse orthography.

Alliterative verse
Numbers in Norse mythology
Tollund Man
[edit]
External links
heimskringla.no.
Dedicated to Norse mythology. Detailed re-tellings of the old Norse sagas.
A collection of most of the standard texts in (generally) comprehensible English translation
Nordische Götter - Götter-Portal (German)
Sacred-Texts.com - More source materials
Timeless Myths - Norse Mythology - Information and tales from Norse and Germanic literatures
Jörmungrund: Skálda- & vísnatal Norrśns Miđaldkveđskapar [Index of Old Norse/Icelandic Skaldic Poetry] (in Icelandic)
Project Runeberg - a Nordic equivalent to Project Gutenberg
Norse Gods, Goddesses, Giants, Dwarves and Wights
CyberSamurai Encyclopedia of Norse Mythology
 
Jersay
#4
Germanic neopaganism is the modern revival of historical Germanic paganism.

Reconstructions of the Germanic pagan traditions began in the 19th century Romantic movement. Later in the 1960s, various Neopagan groups emerged, who based their beliefs on the pre-Christian Germanic faiths.

The terms Ásatrú ("Ćsir faith"), Odinism, Forn Sed ("Old custom", Anglo-Saxon fyrnsidu), Heathenry (from the Old Norse heiđinn), Germanic Heathenry,[1][2] Theodism and other terms are used as descriptors for those who adhere to the belief system encompassed by the term Germanic neopaganism. Use of terminology varies by region as well as intent, much like religious denominations in other religions.

Contents [hide]
1 Terminology
1.1 Ásatrú
1.2 Heathenry
1.3 Odinism
1.4 Forn Siđr
1.5 Theodism
2 History
3 Distribution of adherents
4 Factions
5 Tenets
6 Rites
7 Artistic output and influence
8 Symbolism
9 List of organizations
10 Notes
11 References
12 See also
13 External links



[edit]
Terminology
[edit]
Ásatrú
Ásatrú is an Old Norse compound derived from Ása, the genitive of Áss, which refers to the Aesir, (one of the two families of gods in Norse mythology, the other being the Vanir), and Trú, literally "troth" or "faith". Thus, Ásatrú is the "Ćsir's faith." The term is the Old Norse/Icelandic translation of Asetro, a neologism coined in the context of 19th century romantic nationalism, used by Edvard Grieg in his 1870 opera Olaf Trygvason. The Icelandic form of the word is first recorded in 1945 in Heiđinn siđur á Íslandi ("Heathen traditions in Iceland") by Ólafur Briem. Ásatrúar, sometimes used as a plural in English, is properly the genitive of Ásatrú.

Use of Ásatrú for Germanic paganism preceding 19th century revivalist movements is therefore an anachronism. Likewise, use of Ásatrú as a synonym of Germanic Neopaganism, while widespread in the USA, can be misleading. Organizations self-describing as Ásatrú cover a wide spectrum, including left-wing or alternative New Age, tribalist or reconstructionist, folkish, and neonazi (e.g. Artgemeinschaft) movements. In the strict sense, the term refers to reconstructed medieval Norse or Icelandic paganism and in particular to the Íslenska Ásatrúarfélagiđ.

[edit]
Heathenry
Heathen (Old English hćđen, Old Norse heiđinn) was coined as a translation of Latin paganus, in the Christian sense of "non-Abrahamic faith". In Icelandic Sagas, the terms heiđni and kristni (Heathenry and Christianity) are used to parallel each other, as straightforward descriptions of the older and newer faiths. Historically, the term was influenced by Gothic *haiţi, appearing as haiţno in Ulfilas' bible as translating gunē Hellēnis, "Greek (i.e. gentile) woman" of Mark 7:26, probably with an original meaning "dwelling on the heath", but it was also suggested that it was chosen because of its similarity to Greek ethne "gentile" or even that it is not related to "heath" at all, but rather a loan from Armenian hethanos, itself loaned from Greek ethnos. Some Germanic Neopagans narrow the sense of the word to Germanic paganism in particular, and prefer it over pagan as a self-designation.

[edit]
Odinism
The term Odinism was coined by Orestes Brownson in 1848, in his book A revival of Odinism, or the old Scandinavian heathenism. The term was re-introduced in the late 1930s by Alexander Rud Mills in Australia with his First Anglecyn Church of Odin and his book The Call of Our ancient Nordic Religion. In the 1960s and early 1970s, Else Christensen's Odinist Study Group and later with the Odinist Fellowship brought the term into usage in North America. In the UK, the Odinic Rite has specificallay identified themselves as "Odinists" since the 1970s, and is the longest running group to do so. Odinists do not necessarily focus on the worship of Odin and most honour the full pantheon. The term Odinism is often dropped in favor of Ásatrú or Heathenry, although many will use these terms interchangably. Despite a general decline in the use of the term its use is on the increase amongst incarcerated adherents.

[edit]
Forn Siđr
Old Norse Forn Siđr, Anglo-Saxon Fyrnsidu and its modern Scandinavian analogues Forn Sed, all meaning "Old Custom", is used as a term for pre-Christian Germanic culture in general, and for Germanic neopaganism in particular, mostly by groups in Scandinavia. Old Norse forn "old" is cognate to Sanskrit purana, English far. Old Norse siđr "custom" (not to be confused with sīđr "late"), Anglo-Saxon sidu, seodu "custom", cognate to Greek ethos, in the sense of "traditional law, way of life, proper behaviour". In meaning, the term corresponds exactly to Sanskrit sanātana dharma, the native term for Hinduism. In contradistinction to Ásatrú, inn forni siđr is actually attested in Old Norse, contrasting with inn nýi siđr "the new custom", and similarly Heiđinn siđr, contrasting with Kristinn siđr, and í fornum siđ "in old (heathen) times" [1].

[edit]
Theodism
Theodism, or Ţéodisc Geléafa seeks to reconstruct the beliefs and practices of the Anglo-Saxon tribes which settled in England. ţéodisc is the adjective of ţéod "people, tribe", cognate to deutsch. As it evolved, the Theodish community moved past simply Anglo-Saxon forms and other Germanic tribal groups were also being reconstituted; Theodism, in this larger sense, now encompass groups practicing tribal beliefs from Scandinavia and the Continent, following in the model set forth by the Anglo Saxon theods founded in the 1970s. Theodish aetts include, Norman, Frisian, Angle, Saxon, Jutish, Gothic, Alemannic, Swedish, and Danish tribal cultures; in this wider sence, Theodism thus becomes synonymous with other terms generically for Germanic Neopaganism, such as Asatru and Forn Sed.

[edit]
History
The first modern attempt at revival of ancient Germanic religion took place in the 19th Century during the late Romantic Period amidst a general resurgence of interest in traditional Germanic culture, in particular in connection with romantic nationalism in Scandinavia and the related Viking revival in Victorian era Britain. The last traditional pagan sacrifices in Scandinavia, at Trollkyrka, appear to date to about this time.

Organized Germanic pagan or occult groups such as the Germanische Glaubens-Gemeinschaft emerged in Germany in the early 20th century. Several early members of the Nazi Party were part of the Thule Society, a study group for German antiquity. The connections of this movement to historical Germanic paganism are tenuous at best, with its emphasis lying on the esoteric as taught by the likes of Julius Evola, Guido von List or Karl Maria Willigut. While occult elements played an important role in the formative phase of Nazism, and of the SS in particular (Nazi use of runes has its origin in these early times), after his rise to power, Adolf Hitler discouraged such pursuits, to the disappointment of Nazi mysticists like Rudolf Hess and Alfred Rosenberg, and Neopagan societies were even exposed to some amount of persecution, with at least one member of List's Armanenschaft killed in a concentration camp, although Heinrich Himmler remained actively interested in Ariosophy and related concepts throughout the war, incorporating the Ahnenerbe into the SS in 1940.

A second revival began in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Ásatrú was recognized as an official religion by the Icelandic government in 1973, largely due to the efforts of Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson.

At about the same time, Else Christensen began publishing "The Odinist" newsletter in Canada. In the United States, Stephen McNallen, a former U.S. Army officer, began publishing a newsletter titled "The Runestone". He also formed an organization called the Asatru Free Assembly, later renamed the Ásatrú Folk Assembly (AFA) [2], which held annual "Althing" meetings. These early societies went through a series of reformations and splits in 1987/88, resulting in the Ásatrú Alliance [3], an offshoot of the AFA headed by Valgard Murray, publisher of the "Vor Tru" newsletter. In 1987 the Ring of Troth (now just called the Troth) was founded by former members of the AFA. [4]. In the United States, the most prevalent form of Heathen organization is in small groups called Kindreds, sometimes also known as a Hearths, Garths or Steads.

In 1976 Garman Lord formed the Witan Theod, the first aett within the Theodish community, as an apostasy of Seax Wicca; striving to cleave to a more organic and accurate reconstruction of Anglo-Saxon religiosity. Shortly thereafter, Ealdoraed Lord founded the Moody Hill Theod in the same area of upstate New York, Watertown. Unlike the other major Heathen organization of the time in America, the Asatru Free Assembly, which concentrated on the Viking Age, Theodism was focused on Anglo Saxon lore, beliefs, and all its attendant social structures, particularly the concept of thew (customary law). Theodism was founded strictly to be a reconstructionist “retro-heathen” belief, now known as Theodish Belief, theodisic Geleafa or simply Ţéodism. The Angelseaxisce Ealdriht was a confederation promoting Anglo-Saxon Theodish Heathenry from 1996 to 2004, founded by Swain and Eric Wodening and Winifred Hodge. Since the Anglo-Saxon society was based on sacral kingship, American Theodist Neopagans saw it necessary to elect an Aetheling; this position, king of Winland Rice has been occupied by one Garman since 1995 [5]. Theodism now encompass groups practicing tribal beliefs from Scandinavia and the Continent, in addition to following in the model set forth by the early Anglo Saxon peoples. Theodism places emphasis on oaths and allegiance between members.

The Odinic Rite was established in England in 1972, and in the 1990s expanded to include chapters in Germany (1995) [6], Australia (1995) [7] and North America (1997) [8].

In Germany, Nazism was replaced with Neo-Nazi currents after World War II, with the Artgemeinschaft operating from 1951. A non-political revival began in the wake of the New Age movement, with the Heidnische Gemeinschaft (HG) founded by Géza von Neményi in 1985. Von Neményi in 1991 re-activated the Germanische Glaubens-Gemeinschaft (GGG) and split off the HG. The movement further diversified during the 1990s: In 1997 the Nornirs Ćtt was founded as part of the neopagan network Rabenclan and in 2000 the by-now largest group, the Eldaring, inspired by the US Troth. Hostility between factions remains pronounced in Germany, with even Nornirs Ćtt and Rabenclan, two expressedly anti-racist organizations, discontinuing their collaboration in 2005.

In the 1990s and 2000s, a variety of Scandinavian associations and networks have formed. Swedish Sveriges Asatrosamfund (since 1994), Norwegian Ĺsatrufellesskapet Bifrost in Norway (1996) and Foreningen Forn Sed (1999), recognized by the Norwegian government as a religious society, allowing them to perform "legally binding civil ceremonies" (i. e. marriages), Danish Forn Siđr (1999) and Swedish Nätverket Gimle (2001), an informal community for individual heathens, primarily living in Sweden with no connection to any formal organisation, and Nätverket Forn Sed (2004), a network consisting of local groups (blotlag) from all over the country. It was recently founded by members from other Forn Sed societies. The network is against racism, sexism and homophobia.

[edit]
Distribution of adherents
Today, Germanic Neopaganism is practiced primarily in Scandinavia, Germany, Britain, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Small communities are also found in many other countries, mostly in Western Europe (Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal) and Russia.

The number of adherents worldwide is unknown, partly because of the lack of a clear definition separating Asatru from related currents. Those organised in some sort of organization number perhaps several hundred in North America, about 700 in Iceland, and a few hundred in both Scandinavia and Germany, with smaller groups scattered world wide, adding to a total of a few thousands.

As of 2001, the City University of New York estimated that some 140,000 people in the USA self-identify as "Pagan" [9] (excluding Wiccan (134,000), New Age (68,000), Druid (33,000), Spiritualist (116,000) and aboriginal religions (4,000)). The total number of Neopagans worldwide is estimated at roughly one million [10] [11], of which about a third each are located in the UK, the USA, and over the rest of the world.
Celtic Neopaganism is more widespread than Germanic traditions in the UK, so that including individuals not organized in societies, the worldwide number of people identifying in some way with Asatru or Germanic Neopaganism may range at roughly a hundred thousand.

[edit]
Factions
Besides the Norse/Germanic mythology at its core, Heathenry has regional varieties of emphasis, often from the subjective interpretations of influential local practitioners. Thus, in Germany and the USA, some movements have racial, white supremacy or Neo-Nazi ideologies, while in Iceland, on the other hand, Ásatrú has left wing associations.

Some Neopagan organizations in Germany in particular have a relationship to Ariosophy, Occultism and Neo-Nazi ideology, such as the Armanen-Orden in the tradition of Karl Maria Willigut. Other organizations, like the re-founded Germanische Glaubens-Gemeinschaft or Odinic Rite are not clear in their associations, while the Rabenclan has a reputation of anti-Nazi criticism in German Neopaganism. In the USA, notably Else Christensen's Odinist Fellowship was influenced by National Socialism, while other organizations emphatically reject any such leanings. The official policy of the more liberal Troth takes no stance towards ethnicity or race, although their members are allowed to believe anything they choose.

A simplistic description of the various factions in North American Asatru [12], are: Universalist, Tribalist and Folkish Asatru. Universalist Asatruar practice a cultural and moral relativism to the point of syncretism, while Folkish Asatruar emphasize Northern European heritage and ancestry for the adherents of Asatru. Tribalist Asatruar take the middle approach between these two perspectives, and emphasizes Germanic cultural identity and history without an emphasis on heritage or ethnicity. However, these division semantics are seen as increasingly redundant and irrelevant as the movement grows. Membership overlaps in groups which were formerly solely "folkish" like the Asatru Folk Assembly and groups which were solely "universalist" like The Troth, brings into question the adequacy of this paradigm.

Mattias Gardell, reader for religious history at the University of Stockholm, distinguishes "militant racist", "ethnic" and "nonracist" groups, in North America in particular. In the militant racist position, Asatru is an expression of the "Aryan racial soul". The ethnic position is that of "tribalism", ethnocentric but opposed to the militant racist position. According to Gardell, the militant racist faction has grown significantly in North America during the early 2000s estimating that as of 2005 it accounts for 40 to 50 percent of North American Odinists or Asatruers with the other two factions at close to 30% each.[citation needed]

Ásatrú also has connections with the black metal subculture, notably the infamous Varg Vikernes who was responsible for the burning of several Christian churches in the 1980s and 1990s in Norway, in an attempt to restore Norway to its pagan roots.

[edit]
Tenets
Germanic Neopagan organizations generally favor democratic and republican forms of church government, as inspired by the parliamentary Things of the Viking era and subsequent parliamentary systems of Britain and the Scandinavian countries. They promote individual rights and freedom of speech reminiscent of the free jarls of Norse saga.

Solitary practice, or practice in small circles of friends or family is common. Neopagan societies have been formed since the 1970s, but most take the role of a loose federation and do not require committed membership comparable to a church. Consequently, there is no central authority, and associations remain in a state of fluidity as factions form and break up again.

Germanic Neopaganism is primarily bound together by common symbological and social concepts. Personal character and virtue is emphasized: truthfulness, self-reliance, and hospitality are important moral distinctions, underpinning an especially cherished notion of honour.

Heathenry notably lacks any discussion of redemption, salvation, or perfection, as well as their conceptual precursors. Although some adherents theorize an afterlife that involves a kind of rough justice, the Heathen moral system parts ways with other religions in its' egoist foundations. Heathenry does not formalize restraint on individual behavior. For example, it is inimical to lists of wholesale injunctions against specific behaviors.

Comparison of the Nine Noble Virtues of modern heathenry, which are loosely based on the Havamal can be contrasted with the Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments. Such a comparison shows that it is not the actual behaviour (such as "thou shalt not steal") which are prescribed, but rather an emphasis on character traits, such as "truth", "self reliance" and "honour". It is left to the individual to figure out that stealing in most contexts will be in violation of such ideals. Consequently, some actions which other religions condemn wholesale, may be considered virtues in Heathenry, as long as they are carried out shrewdly and in accord with personal honour, both in the eyes of the individual and the community. Individual pride is one such example.

Germanic paganism reveres the natural environment in principle; but, unlike some nature-oriented Neopagan movements, Germanic Neopaganism opposes neither technology nor its material rewards. More mystical currents of Heathenry may be critical of industrialization or modern society, but even such criticism will focus on decadence, lack of virtue or balance, rather than being a radical criticism of technology itself.

Wyrd is a concept of fatalism or determinism, similar to some Graeco-Roman concepts of destiny, and sometimes personified analogous to the Moirae (see Norns).

[edit]
Rites
Blót is the term for the historical Norse sacrifice in honour of the gods, usually focusing on one of the gods in the pantheon. Asatru blóts are often celebrated outdoors in nature, the celebrants sometimes clad in home-made Viking Age attire. A blót may be highly formalized, but the underlying intent resembles inviting and having an honored guest or family member in for dinner. Food and drink may be offered. Most of this will be consumed by the participants, and some of the drink will be poured out onto the soil as a libation. Home-brewed mead as the "Germanic" drink par excellance is popular.
Sumbel (also spelled symbel) is a Norse and Anglo-Saxon drinking rite in which an intoxicating drink (usually mead or ale) is passed around an assembled table. At each passing of the drink, participants make a short speech, usually following the pattern of "Toast-Boast-Oath", see Bragarfull. The Toast honors some mentor, revered relative, or favorite god of the participant. The Boast is an opportunity for the participant to honour himself in terms of some good work accomplished. The Oath is a promise to carry out some good work in the future. Participants are not required to say anything and may simply pass the drink along. Oaths made during Sumbel are considered binding upon the individuals making them. Another common pattern is to toast to a god or virtue, then a hero or ancestor, and the final round being either open, or else given to either a boast or an oath.
Seid and Spae are forms of "sorcery" or "witchcraft", the latter having some aspects of prophecy and shamanism. In the US, this widely misunderstood term is used to describe the practices of a minority of Neopagans; in particular, Diana Paxson and her group Hrafnar, who practice what they call "oracular seid". In the UK, seidr relies less on formal ritual and more on direct relationships with landwights and ancestors. Jan Fries traces seid as an inspiration for his "seething" shamanic technique, though he is less concerned with precise historical reconstruction. The berserkergangr may be described as a sort of religious ecstasy, associated with Odin.
[edit]
Artistic output and influence
Originally grown out of 19th century Romanticism, the Viking revival had associations with the Gothic novel and Romantic art such as the Pre-Raphaelites or the art nouveau. Also of note is the influence of Richard Wagner's "Ring Cycle." Artistic taste of adherents are often related to the High Fantasy genre based on Germanic mythology. New Age currents are another influence, although not necessarily related. These elements may blend with traditional Germanic folklore.

In literature, there have been several novels published by Heathens, particularly Diana Paxson and Kveldulf Gundarsson under the name Stephen Grundy, both drawing on the Volsunga Saga and Nibelungenlied for inspiration.
Neofolk music in particular, counts Germanic paganism as one of its largest and most obvious influences. Many of the instruments used are traditional and the music is largely acoustic, with Heathen themes.
The Black metal genre at the time of its formation in 1980s Norway was deeply anti-Christian, and had a stated goal of removing the influence of Christianity and other non-Scandinavian religions from Norwegian culture and to effect a return to the nation's Norse roots. The genre continues to be centered on Pagan (Pagan metal) or Satanic imagery, anti-Christian lyrics and occult themes. Often, there are also traits of White supremacy movements, particularly in the National Socialist black metal subgenre. Other subgenres of heavy metal with Neopagan connections include Viking metal and Folk metal.
[edit]
Symbolism
Popular symbols of Asatru/Germanic Neopaganism are the Valknut, Mjollnir, the Irminsul, Yggdrasil and various other historical Germanic symbols. Depictions of Odin and Germanic deities are also common. Runes are popular, in particular the Odal, Tyr and Algiz runes. The Odinic Rite additionally claims the Fylfot (Swastika) as an "ancient Odinist symbol". The Black Sun is a symbol used by Neonazi, occult and esoteric groups in sometimes related currents. Additionally, Armenan variants of historic runes, such as the "Gibor rune" and isolated uses of the "Sig" rune indicate a Von Listian and, subsequently, a possible Third Reich influence .

[edit]
List of organizations
With the frequent renaming, merging and splitting of organizations, it is difficult to give a clear picture; the list below, sorted geographically, includes associations with a certain amount of structure and stability.

Iceland / Scandinavia
Ásatrúarfélagiđ Iceland (since 1972)
Ĺsatrufellesskapet Bifrost Norway (since 1996)
Foreningen Forn Sed Norway (since 1999)
Nätverket Gimle (since 2001)
Nätverket Forn Sed Sweden (since 2004)
Sveriges Asatrosamfund Sweden (since 1994)
Britain
Association of Polytheist Traditions (since 2004) Democratic organisation including Heathens, Romans and others.
Odinic Rite (since 1973) International Org.

Asatru Folk Assembly (since 1994)
The Troth (since 1987)
Asatru Alliance (since 198
Germany
Eldaring (since 2000)
Germanische Glaubens-Gemeinschaft (1907-1964, reactivated 1991)
Nornirs Ćt (since 1997)
Ţéodisc or Theodish Groups
Normannii Thiud & Reik Norman Reconstructionism
Miercinga Ríce Anglo-Saxon Heathenry
Sahsisk Thiod Saxon Theodish Belief
Neo-Heathen Groups
Irminen-Gesellschaft
Heathen Front

So, 140,000 Heathen followers in America alone. Ah hahaha.
 
Said1
#5
Cool.
 
Jersay
#6
Yes, so 140,000 Americans + the extra. I am sure heathenism has several hundred thousand followers. I will take over the world with a new Viking army.

But first i have to train them.

ITN, do you want to train my Viking soldiers. I will pay you roasted boar.
 
Said1
#7
Can you read Runes or anything useful?
 
Jersay
#8
Actually a little bit. I read a bit in runes and I wrote some at the most five worded sentences but i lost the boklet I had on the rune formation and haveto print it out again.
 
Said1
#9
I tried to learn how to read Runes, but it was just to hard. I dabble in Tarot cards, but for personal use, not divination. For the most part....sometimes I need new shoes.
 
Jersay
#10


It is hard agreed. But it is very useful if you can master it. Which i haven't yet.
 

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