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Asatru & Heathenry

             Asatru & Heathenry


Asatru

þingvellir in Iceland is a natural shrine of outstanding natural beauty. Many of the most momentous events of Icelandic history took place at Thingvellir, where Alþingi was founded in 930 and continued to assemble every summer until 1798. Thing or Ting and þing in Icelandic is a legistlative assembly in Scandinavian countries. For 868 years every summer, chieftains, landed farmers and ordinary men and women from all parts of Iceland left their homes and villages and headed towards Thingvellir for the annual fortnight long meeting which would start on the first Thursday in the eleventh week of each summer.

The Parliamentary Plains or þingvellir

The assembly site was the area including the Lögberg (the Law Rock) and the Law Council, where the Alþing performed its duties. Lögberg, the Law Rock, was the focal point of the Alþing and a natural platform for holding speeches. The Lawspeaker, a kind of chairman of the assembly elected for three years at a time, recited the law of the land. Before the law was written down he was expected to recite it from memory on the Law Rock over the course of three summers, along with the complete assembly procedures every summer.The trip on horseback could take up to 17 days from the eastern part of the country. Upon arrival, people set camp and temporary booths to hold meetings and trade. The plains of Þingvellir turned into a bustling open-air mart with huge crowds milling about among tents, booths, rocks, sheep and horses.

Reconstructions of the Germanic pagan traditions began during the early part of the 19th century within what was coined then as the Romantic Movement[1] Varying sources suggests that the wording Asatru or Ásatrú is taken from the Old Norse language, derived from the Danish word Asetro. This it seems came out in an article in 1885 in the periodical "Fjallkonan". Other claims suggest that 'Asatru' has its origins in the late 19th/early 20th century C.E. This primarily derives from the assertion that the Nazi-affiliated "Thule Society" incorporated, or at least was similar to, more recent 'Asatru' ideals and beliefs. This is unproven, and the evidence is against such an association since the term itself is of much more recent provenance, and the Thule Society does not even vaguely resemble any modern northern European reconstructed faith system in any way, ideologically or otherwise.

Other than that dubious idea, people sometimes attempt to use shoddy points of 'evidence' directly derived from nationalist propaganda common in the 19th century within northern Europe; again, this is not a real connection nor a viable lineage with modern 'Asatru'. The next recorded instance was in "Heiðinn siður á Íslandi" by Ólafur Briem (Reykjavík, 1945). The title means  "Heathen traditions in Iceland ."Throughout Scandinavia the religion is known as Forn Siðr (which means the Ancient way or tradition), Forn sed[2] (the Old custom), Nordisk sed(Nordic custom), or Hedensk sed[3]  (Heathen custom). The religion's origin is lost in antiquity. At its peak, it covered all of Northern Europe . In 1000 CE, Iceland became the second last Norse culture to convert to Christianity. Their prime motivation was economic. Ásatrúarmaður (plural Ásatrúarmenn) is the Icelandic term used to identify those who practice Ásatrú. English speakers have coined the term Ásatrúar as a plural form, however it is properly the genitive of Ásatrú. Some Scandinavians have adopted the similar Asatroere (with the normal forms Asetroende/Asatroende, meaning "believers in the gods").

The Íslenska Ásatrúarfélagið 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."Vor siður" was the original naming by the Icelandic heathen group but the name Asatruarfélag came about because of an a essay written by Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, now the current Icelandic President. Ásatrúarfelagið is a religious organisation for those who believe in the Icelandic/Nordic folklore, the spirits and entities the folklore represents, in addition to gods and other beings from the Nordic pantheism. The purpose of the organisation is to keep alive the old traditions, beliefs and ways and restore the Ancient Way to its former glory, reclaim our cultural heritage and honour the ways of the old Nordic Gods. Ásatrúarfelagið is recognised by the Icelandic government as a religious organisation.

About membership: According to Icelandic law, only those foreigners' 16 years or older, who have legal residence in Iceland can register themselves into any Icelandic religious organisation.

Our address is:

Ásatrúarfélagið
Síðumúli 15,
108 Reykjavík
Iceland
Tel.: (+354) 561 - 8633
E-mail:
http://www.asatru.is/


GERMANIC SPIRITUALITY by Bil Linzie

"Germanic heathenry is under fire from within. Although it is a growing religion, most converts are coming from other religion, and with them, usually unknowingly, they are bringing with them baggage from their former religions which becomes entangled into Germanic cosmology which is eroding that cosmology until it is indistinguishable from any of the hundreds of generic New Age "mixed bags" pre-packaged and readily available at local bookstores. First this article looks at significant changes which have been accepted, at least partially, into Germanic cosmology, proposes guidelines for investigating the Germanic worldview, and then seeks to put these alterations into a proper perspective as foreignisms which are, in essence, removable. This article then opts to look at the genesis of some of accumulated baggage, identify and label it, and set much of it into perspective so that the modern heathen can choose whether to incorporate some of the superfluous borrowings into local kindred gatherings being fully knowledgeable of where the concepts came from. Lastly, this article looks at Germanic spirituality as being independent of these borrowings and worth pursuing without any need of support from other world class religions."

See: http://www.northvegr.org/northern/book/spirituality.pdf


Stephen McNallen born October 15, 1948 in Breckenridge, Texas was a former US Army Ranger as well as a folkish character who promoted the bloodline variant of Asatru within the United States deep south during the 1970s. McNallen published a newsletter titled The Runestone independently of the Íslenska Ásatrúarfélagið in the USA. He also formed an organization called the Asatru Free Assembly, later reorganised as the Ásatrú Folk Assembly which is still extant. Because of the white Europeans only exclusions within the AFA,  a major rift ensued by those who considered themselves Universalists within the United States. As a consequence of this and by the very nature of sects, variants of Asatru emerged within Asatru USA which to this day still remains fragmented. These so called folkish/racial volkish factions within Asatru have attracted white supremacist movements into their ranks. For this reason, many former members of Asatru USA have chosen to disassociate themselves from the vitriolic race argument still prevalent in the United States and moved across into heathenry calling themselves heiðni rather than Asatru!

Racist Wotanism

I recommend these four works for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the roots of modern racialist/racist heathenism within National Socialist White Supremacists and Volkish[4] Asatru groups. It is especially useful to understand that the racial element in "Wotanism/Odinism" neither began nor ended with the Nazis, but has been present in one form or another since the days of Grimm and the onset of the modern heathen revival. Volkish Asatru USA are more than often based on social-political or neo-pagan/secular ideals to include racism rather than the genuine Northern world-view or ethics.

Hitler's Priestess: Savitri Devi, the Hindu-Aryan Myth, and Neo-Nazism:  (Paperback)

Paperback: 280 pages

Publisher: NYU Press; New Ed edition (October 1, 2000)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0814731112

ISBN-13: 978-0814731116

 

 

Black Sun: Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism, and the Politics of Identity: (Paperback)

Paperback: 378 pages

Publisher: NYU Press; Reissue edition (July 1, 2003)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0814731554

ISBN-13: 978-0814731550

 

 

 

The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology (Paperback) by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke

Paperback: 294 pages

Publisher: NYU Press (September 1, 1993)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0814730604

ISBN-13: 978-0814730607

 

 

 

Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science (Hardcover)
by Stefan Arvidsson (Author), Sonia Wichmann (Translator)

Paperback: 320 pages

Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (September 15, 2006)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0226028607

ISBN-13: 978-0226028606

 

Völkische Altnordistik: The Politics of Nordic Studies in the German-Speaking Countries,1926-45

by Bernard Mees University of Melbourne

See: http://tinyurl.com/39m3ud


Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson, was the son of the farmer Beinteinn Einarsson from Litlabotni-on-Hvaljardsbeach and Helga Pétursdóttir from Drághals in Svindal, and was born on Apr. 4, 1924. He died on the 24th of Dec., 1993,  from heart failure. In 1972 he founded the Ásatrúarfélag[5] the Icelandic heathen organization, of which he was the chief góði until his death. Since 1991, Sveinbjörn lived on his land in Drághals in Bergmassiv Skardheiði (approx. 60 mi. from Reykjavik), where the 6 ½ foot statue of Þor can be found. To the Asatruar Odin is god for knowledge, poetry and art. Nazism has nothing that could be compared to this. Nazism is without culture and artificial possibilities. Nazism despises art. This we did see when they burned books and imprisoned intellectuals prior to and during World War II. One should neither think that the neo-Nazis are especially engaged in poetry or anything else culturally. One thing is quite certain:

They have not learned anything from Havamal. Since 1996 in Norway and since 1973 in Iceland, Asatru has been officially recognized as a religion. Most Asatruar from these groups distance themselves from all types of extremism. This is documented by their laws, because this could never combine with their view of life nor with their religion. In 1994 the Icelandic Ásatrúarfélagið declared this:

"The Asatruar wish to lift up to dignity again the old customs and the cultural heritage. This they do without expense to other religions, old or new, or to the cultural heritage of other people. Fanaticism and hatred against others is not familiar to / holds no part with Ásatrúarfélagið 's ideology....." and further on:

"The old customs are based on tolerance, honesty, fidelity and respect for nature, and all life therein. The main principle of the heathen custom is that every human being is responsible for itself and its own doings...."

In 1996 the members of Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost  (Asatrufellowship Bifrost) in Norway agreed on this:

"Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost is a fellowship of åsatru-groups trying to create a viable community for those who want to honour the old Norse gods and keep the heathen customs alive. Bifrost would like to promote the modern understanding of the pre-christian northern traditions, art and culture in general. We want to preserve our cultural heritage and keep it alive and updated through practice based on the old sources, scientific research and new insights into the history, the ethics, the myths and the Powers seen through modern heathen eyes. Bifrost strongly oppose neo-Nazi or Satanist interpretations of the Norse traditions as well as any attempt to discriminate on racial, sexual or gender-based grounds."

Norwegian Parliamentary Plains at Eivindvik in Gulen

Our goal is to gather those who want to worship the old norse gods and keep the old traditions alive. We want to create a living forum for everybody interested in asatru and to increase the understanding of art, culture and traditions with roots in the pre-christian time. We want to take care of the heathen cultural heritage and keep it alive and updated through practice based in the study of sources and innovation in the heathen understanding of history, myths and the forces. Asatru, the way we practise it in Bifrost, is based on an individual understanding and interpretation on what it means following heathen customs. What opinions people have, how they understand the historical sources and what their personal relationship to the forces of nature are, is non of Bifrost’s business. This tolerance and freedom to think for oneself is in our opinion a central part of asatru. There are no religious dogmas in Bifrost.

Ref: The Great Misunderstanding, - Asatru Versus Nazism
by: Icelander Jón Júlíus Filippusson Translated by: Ulv Tore Skaar

See also:The Norrøne tekster og kvad project is managed by the Icelander Jón Júlíus Filippusson who, together with Dane Carsten Lyngdrup Madsen, Faeroese artist Anker Eli Petersen, and a handful of other volunteers, has built up the largest searchable collection of Old Norse texts on the Net.

http://www.heimskringla.no/enindex.php


Heathenry

Etymology: Middle English hethen, from Old English h[AE]then; akin to Old High German heidan heathen, and probably to Old English h[AE]th heathHeathen. Old English hæðen, Old Norse heiðinn was coined as a translation of Latin paganus, in the Christian sense of "non-Abrahamic faith". The term heathen originally meant someone who lived outside in the open country; Suggestions say by an uncultivated heath[6]  (though this etymology is disputed) that was outside the village system not covered by the Christian parish boundary nor blessed by the protective presence of a local priest, was often used as a synonym of "pagan". In time it diluted down to suggest a person holding onto pre-Christian customs and beliefs.

In Britain ***heathenry is the most widely used term for those who are recreating and reinterpreting old Germanic/Scandinavian religious practices and worldviews from the literary and archaeological sources and who describe themselves as heathen in part to distinguish themselves from other pagans whose rituals come from other sources. Inside Neo-pagan[7] circles especially in the United States, it often refers specifically to the ancient religion of the Germanic peoples, which in its modern form has become more widely known by the term generic term of Asatru. This should not be confused with the Ásatrúarfélagið in Iceland.

In Icelandic Sagas, the terms heiðni and kristni (Heathenry and Christianity) are used as polar terms to describe the the older and newer faiths. Historically, the term was influenced by Gothic *haiþi, appearing as haiþno 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. The Miercinga Þéod[8] and other groups, narrow the sense of the word to Germanic neo-paganism in particular, and prefer it over neo-pagan as a self-designation. Heathenry is used for strictly polytheistic reconstructionists approaches, as opposed to syncretic, occult or mysticist approaches. While some practitioners use the term Heathenry as an equivalent to Paganism, others use it much more specifically. It is used by those who are re-creating the old religion and world-view from the literary and archaeological sources, and describe themselves as "Heathen" in part to distinguish themselves from other neo-pagans whose rituals come from more modern sources.

Footnotes:

1) Romanticism or the Romantic Movement was an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in late 18th century Western Europe. In part a revolt against aristocratic, social, and political norms of the Enlightenment period and a reaction against the rationalization of nature, in art and literature it stressed strong emotion as a source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as trepidation, horror, and the awe experienced in confronting the sublimity of nature.

2) Forn Sed is a term that refers to the pre-Christian religion and customs of Scandinavia. It is also the name adopted for an imaginative reconstruction of that religion in Norwegian and Swedish. A variant in Danish Forn Siðr, and in Anglo-Saxon variant Fyrnsidu, also exist. The term simply means "Olden Way".

3) Nordisk Sed (Nordic custom), or Hedensk Sed (Heathen custom). The religion's origin is lost in antiquity. At its peak, it covered all of Northern Europe. In 1000 CE, Iceland became the second last Norse culture to convert to Christianity, and Sweden became the last after a civil war that ended with the burning of the Temple at Uppsala in 1087.

4) Volkish The Volk, or "folk" is a German term which Hitler used to refer to the people of Germany, but it is a larger term than a mere body count. It includes the history, spirit, mythology, language, religious nature, customs, and so on in which the 'whole is greater than a sum of its parts'. The unified 'Volk' moves as a whole body, each person is a part of the whole. More than just a nationalistic concept, it was used as a reason to dismiss Jews as German citizens, and declare the need for 'Lebensraum'. Certain Asatru groups interchange Volk for folk, hence the phrase *folkish can also imply volkish.

5) Ásatrúarfélag The Íslenska Ásatrúarfélagið "Icelandic fellowship of Æsir faith (Ásatrú)" is an Icelandic new religious movement with the purpose of reviving the pre-Christianization religion of Scandinavia. It was founded on the summer solstice, 1972, and was recognized as an official religion by the Icelandic government in 1973, largely due to the efforts of Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson. As of 2006, the Ásatrúarfélagið has roughly 1000 members, referred to as Ásatrúarmenn.

6) Heath/s are anthropogenic habitats found primarily in northern and western Europe, where they have been created by thousands of years of human clearance of natural forest vegetation by grazing and burning on mainly infertile acidic soils. They subdivide into two broad categories depending on climate, with true heathland developing in warm, dry conditions, and moorland developing in cooler, wetter conditions.

7) Neo-Pagan is a general term used to infer a 20th century phenomenon that has seen the revival of believed variants of ancient Pagan religions, such as the Greek & Egyptian Mysteries, the Norse Religion , Neo-Shamanism and the relative modern Wicca. The occult renaissance of the 19th Century, combined with the relaxation of witchcraft laws during the 1950s, as well as New Ageism are contributing factors.

8) Miercinga Þéod (Miercinga Theod) is a group dedicated to the study, revival, and practice of the pre-Christian religion of the Angles of the kingdom of Mercia (one of the seven kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy), and Anglo-Saxon Heathenry in general. The Angles were among the Germanic tribes which migrated from Continental Europe to Great Britain in the fourth and fifth centuries. Their religion was related to that of the Scandinavians of the Viking Age as well as that of other ancient Germanic peoples.


Music:- Strange Land Artist: Clannad


 

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