Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Folkish and Universalist Asatru

Hail Everyone! A very special welcome to my new Followers!

I decided today to write a blog about one of the most sensitive issues that I have discovered during my explorations in Norse Paganism: Universalism and Folkish Asatru. To tackle this issue, each paragraph will be dedicated to exploring one type of Asatru. I hope you find this enjoyable and educational.

Folkish Asatru is defined as those who believe that to be Asatru you must share a genetic, ancestral link to the Gods of the North. These groups often exclude various other groups of people, and are accused [understandably] of racism and homophobia (which I will be exploring in my next blog post). Major groups that exhibit this type of thinking include the Asatru Folk Assembly and the Asatru Alliance here in the United States. Most Folkish Heathens take issue with Wicca, and with those who worship deities of cultures they share no relation to. Often, we see Folkish Asatru/Odinism characterized by those who were incarcerated, and in those who are also related to White Supremacy. Let me clarify- I believe these are certainly on the fringe of the community, and thus should not be used to color the entire community. Folkish thought is certainly not without merit, albeit a little extreme. They are working to instil pride in their ancestors and ancestry, something that I believe is extremely important- to be proud of where you came from is to truly be proud of yourself. I also believe that they create exceedingly close, almost family style connections inside of their Kindreds, because of the attitudes that they exhibit.

Universalist Asatru is characterized by a policy of [sometimes total] acceptence of those who wish to practice the ways of the Northern Tradition. Groups of this nature believe that any who feel the call of the Aesir can worship them. The most influential Universalist Asatru group is certainly The Troth, created after a rift formed which destroyed the Asatru Free Assembly. Universalist groups are generally accepting of homosexuals and those of different race. They are working to create a larger community, and are working in many ways for a more widespread revival of the Northern Traditions.

Where do I fit in? I most certainly would be counted among Universalists. Although I have primarily Germanic and Anglo-Saxon heritage, I also have Native American roots. I do not agree that spirituality can/should be constrained by your blood- we are all more than the sum of our parts.Especially here in America, there is hardly one person who is of 100% pure ancestry, so we should also reflect that in our spiritual lives. I do find something interesting about worshipping the Gods that my ancestors most assuredly worshipped, and I think that finding Norse Paganism has helped me develop a stronger connection to my ancestors. However, I maintained a long and fruitful relationship with the Hellenic deities, to whom I have no lineage.

While this blog has not lived up to what I wanted it to be, I certainly hope it has helped you all understand these two schools of thought, and also helped you examine your feelings on this issue. I will be writing 2 more blogs soon, excluding the Esbat in September written about Sif. I hope you are truly enjoying these posts!

Until next time,

Friday, August 7, 2009


Hail Everyone!

I just wanted to post a little note: due to the circumstances surrounding my busy move, I missed the Full Moon for Nerthus, so the next ritual posting will be about Sif in September. Also, I may be absent for a short time, as I will have limited access to the computer.

Until next time,

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Hail Everyone!

Today, I celebrated Freyfaxi with my first major ritual with the Norse pantheon. In this blog, I will explain shortly what the holiday means (to me), and my interesting ritual experiences. I am sorry if this blog gets semi-unorganized but I tend to get swept up in ecstatic ritual experiences. Also, I apologize if I get swept up in any personal anecdotes.

Freyfaxi is a celebration of the first harvest of crops. It is the day where we pay tribute to the Vanir (Freyr especially) as the Gods of earthen fertility and agriculture. To many Heathens (myself included), it is also a day to honor Thor (as bringer of the rains) and his wife Sif (who has associations with wheat/grain, as portrayed through her hair). According to Our Troth, Freyfaxi also marked the transition from war time to survival time (because people were more focused on surviving through the winter than disputes), so Odin is worth honoring as well. Normal traditions include dedicating the first sheaf of grain to the Gods, as well as performing a blot to the landvaettir and Gods.

To me, being a suburbanite, the harvest is slightly detached from my thoughts during the normal flow of life, so I take Freyfaxi as a way of thinking about how agriculture and farmers provide for life as we know it. Given that my ancestors were involved in agriculture, I pour out an offering to my Alfar and Disir.

Another way I honor the concept of harvest is to reflect on my year, and see how my actions have culminated. This year was certainly a large year of labor and change for me, on all levels. Breaking down my Hellenic concepts (which were enforced by years of practice) was certainly a labor, but I am glad to see that I am continually learning and loving what I discover about Norse Paganism. I also labored (when it truly counted :P) to graduate from high school- something I am so proud of. I cannot stress how important it is to reflect and see where your past actions have gotten you- doing so allows you to realize behaviors which need to be changed, and also which decisions were pivotal in deciding your destiny.

My ritual was adopted from the one presented in Our Troth, though I had to tweak it for solitary practice (and that I don't like to strictly script my rituals). It was pouring rain here all day, and it severely put a stopper in my plans for starting ritual. My ritual space is down the street at a sediment pond that has woods all around it, and with the Flash Flood and Severe Thunderstorm warnings, I didn't want to be that far from my house. However, I held out faith that I would get a chance, eventually giving in and taking advantage of what I thought would be the lightest rain that I would get today. I trekked down to my ritual space, and started to set up my altar on a stone by the pond. Suddenly, a raven landed in the tree above my head and crowed extremely loudly. For some reason, I knew it was the sign to start.

As I began my ritual, performing the Hammer Rite to ward my space, the sun started to come out. By the time I had finished the Hammer Rite, there was absolutely no rain left. It was so abrupt and "coincidental" it made me giggle. I read a poetic composition provided by the Troth's ritual outline, and felt such an amazing presence inside of my space. Caught in the moment, I decided to seriously deviate my Wiccan ritual structure- instead of invoking the Goddess and God, I decided to invoke the Aesir and Vanir separately. While this does not seem major for a reconstructionist, it is a major movement for someone with a decade of Wicca in them. I can't truly explain how it felt after I invoked them- the hair on the back of my neck stood and I got a shiver on my spine when I felt that presence. It was something I had truly been missing for quite some time. I did three rounds of offerings (Freyr, Thor+Sif, Odin) with each one having its own energy involved. I decided to meditate for awhile in my ritual. Initially, I was just going to reflect on my year's harvest, but this time I decided to name each God and thank them for something as well- each time I did it, I got some impression that it was truly heard and appreciated (something that had been missing before also).

After I came out of my normal meditation, I took 10 minutes just to observe nature and saw some interesting symbolism in a few things that happened. Firstly, a spider of a rather large size crawled up to me with sort of an aggressive air about himself. I interpreted that as needing to face my fears, and be unafraid to confront those who get aggressive with me (the Noble Virtues of Courage). Another thing- a dying moth was fighting to get out of the grass shortly off of my meditation area. I picked it up, and literally watched helplessly as it died. Initially, I wondered why I was meant to see it, but finally I realized the moth was echoing the Virtue of Perseverance. Many other things happened, some of which I am unable to put into words, others which I can only describe as feeling intense energies in varying degrees.

It was certainly a ritual experience to remember for me. I cannot wait for further ritual interaction with the Gods of the Northern Tradition- they are certainly a robust group! I hope this blog was entertaining and interesting for you! Happy Freyfaxi, and the next blog I am posting ought to be about my Full Moon ritual to Nerthus.

Until next time,