Archive | January, 2015

What’s the role of women in Ásatrú?

Published January 22, 2015

Pre-Christian Germanic culture held women in high esteem, and contemporary Ásatrú does as well. Historically, women were equal before the law in terms of rights; they could own property, act as witnesses in legal disputes, and divorce their husbands. Indeed, in many ways women were placed above men; they were considered to be the ones who ran the household, which is why the symbolic passing of the keys to the wife was so significant; it marked her as the one who was in charge. Women warriors were also not unknown, and modern archaeology leads us to believe female warriors were even […]

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What sort of rituals does Ásatrú have?

Published January 15, 2015

There are two main rituals in Ásatrú; blót (pronounced bloat) and sumbl (pronounced soom-bull). Blót is an offering to the Gods (or ancestors, or spirits). It can be anything, from an animal sacrifice (rarely practiced in modern times), something more symbolic (like a straw animal, or one made out of dough), items of value (like coins), things that took skill to create (artwork, weapons, tools, etc.), and the like. The thing being offered is destroyed or damaged, in order to make sure that it cannot be recovered and thereby taken away from the Gods. The central idea of the blót is that an offering […]

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Does Ásatrú believe in sin?

Published January 8, 2015

There is no concept of “sin” in Ásatrú, in the Christian sense of a transgression of some divine law that can be washed away by forgiveness, or acceptance of some dogmatic concept. We believe that wrongs committed are committed against individuals, and it is up to the individual (or their relatives or friends) to see to it that wrongs are set right. This concept applies to the Gods as well; for every wrong it is possible to regain balance by the payment of what is known as shild or weregeld. This need not necessarily be money; it could well be hard work, […]

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What happens after we die?

Published January 1, 2015

The Asatru conception of the afterlife is complex. The existence of a soul that survives the death of the body is taken as a given, but what happens to that soul can take a few different paths. The most well-known fate for the dead is Valhalla, Odin’s hall in Asgard where the souls of those who have been chosen in battle fight all day, and those who fall are raised every day and feast all night, drinking mead and eating pork. But this destination is only for a very few, those warriors who fall in battle after being chosen by Odin and […]

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