Who Can Worship The Norse Gods?


My partner wants to worship the Norse deities but runs into a lot of media that says that he only wants to appropriate them because he (as a white person) doesn’t have any connection to gods of his own. Do you believe you need to be descended from a certain group (in this case the Norse) in order to worship their deities?

Pre-Christian Norse culture/religion was never closed, and especially given how far and wide they traveled (and intermarried), it’s pretty ridiculous to even claim it. As far as I know, the only people who say such things are ultra-folkish and/or white supremacist groups who are seriously misrepresenting things to cater to their own exclusionary agendas.

I would point to this article published in the Iceland Magazine in May 2017, which focuses on Ásatrú (which is currently an official religion in Iceland), but would apply to the Norse Gods as well, and the following quote in particular:

Anyone can practice the religion but only Icelandic residents can join Ásatrúarfélagið

Only Icelandic citizens or people who have a domicile in Iceland can become members of the Ásatrúarfélag, but anyone can practice Ásatrú, regardless of their nationality or residence. It costs nothing to join and is open to all, irrespective of race, cultural background, gender or sexual orientation.

Ásatrúarfélag is the national pagan association in Iceland – which is why that particular group is only open to those who live in that county. But the religion itself and worship of the Gods is open to all. And I mean, if anyone would know, it’s them right?

Now, I do feel that it’s worth mentioning the following though. Whether or not other religions are able to be practiced by everyone depends on the culture/religion in question. Some are open to everyone – Norse and Hellenic practices for example, while others, such as Native American religions, are closed to those who are not members of the culture (or who have not been adopted into the culture). So it’s always better to ask, if one is unsure.

 

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Asatru: Misconceptions and Resources


I could not find where to specifically ask a question, so I apologize if this winds up attached to someones blog. So I have been Shaman for a long time, but an atheist one. I did not believe in any gods or goddesses. The last few years Odin and Freya have been appearing to me. I started to believe in them and wanted to identify with their tradition.

My husband practices what is called Asatru, but he prefers to be called heathen. I found out why, when researching our faith every American Asatru network was connected to neo nazisim and the most hateful practices.

I am so upset and I feel like I am losing my faith. My husband swears those people are not part of actual Asatru, and that this is why most followers of Asatru now just call themselves Norse Pagans or Heathens. The Odin and Freya I am familiar with were the most loving beings I’ve ever encountered and I feel like a whole that was filled is being emptied. As the mass American belief in this is so horrible I don’t know how to find what the information I need. I am scared that the whole belief might be like this and I just didn’t realize. I hope it’s not true, because for the first time in my life I felt fulfilled and at peace, and then I went to research it and everything changed. I’ve been told repeatedly by my husband that what I do, healing people, healing nature, communing with spirits and following the example of Odin and Freya is what the religious followers actually do and the other people just perverted and poisoned it, but the problem is is that I cannot find ANY information on the old ways, which is what we both practice. I will never ever associate myself with neo nazism, even if it means losing my religion, but I hope my husband is right. That those people perverted it and what they do has nothing in common with true Asatru. Sorry for how long this is, this has been really hard on me. Any help would be wonderfully welcomed.

Your husband is correct – as with any religion there are always going to be those who are fanatics, or who just completely misuse or misinterpret things and go off on their own crazy path, and in that sense these NeoNazi groups that you’ve come across are about as legitimately Asatru as the Westboro Baptist Church is Christian… which is to say not at all (regardless of what they might claim to be). Also, even though certain religions may be more popular with those who might identify as white supremacists, that does not mean that the religions themselves are racist, or promote racism in any way. Not sure why your searches are only turning up those sorts of resources but they are definitely not the norm by any stretch, and in fact there is very little in the lore that supports any sort of racism, or hatred such as those groups espouse. It’s unfortunate as well, that the media often picks up on these types of groups, which makes it seem that they are all like that, when in truth it’s only a very small representation, and not a very accurate one at that.

There are a small number of groups that take a more “folkish” view of things – in that they feel that one must have Norse or Germanic blood in order to practice Asatru. They consider it more of a tribal religion, related to one’s own culture, rather than a more open religion that can be practiced by anyone. Again though – this is not how the majority of those who practice see the religion at all, and while in a technical sense these folkish groups are often referred to as being racist, it’s not anywhere near on the same scale as the violent NeoNazi groups. It’s also not a case where they feel being a particular skin color is better or worse than anyone else, it’s a matter of feeling that the religion is tied to one’s ancestry, and thus closed to “outsiders”.

As far as practices and beliefs, as well as general history of the Norse culture and customs, Gods and Goddess, etc… I would suggest picking the following:

As far as online resources there’s:

Definitely can be a bit upsetting when you think that what you’ve been called to may not quite be what it seemed, but in this case you really don’t have anything to worry about.  🙂

* you can also check our previous post on Norse Paganism in general.

Norse Paganism


Anonymous asked: I’ve been interested in Norse mythology for a long time, and feel that Norse paganism may be the path for me, but I have no clue where to start. Is it anything like Wicca, or is it completely different and if so where do I find more information on it?

Completely different! It’s polytheistic rather than ditheistic, its rituals are much more simple and centre around the sharing of offerings (often in the form of alcohol such as mead), and there’s a much greater cultural depth to it* because it is a religion with a historical basis – although even the most hard reconstructionist forms of it will necessarily be different from the palaeo-Paganisms.

We recommend the books “Essential Asatru” by Diana S Paxson and “True Hearth” by James Allen Chisholm to start with, and “Our Troth” I and II if Heathenry looks like the thing for you. Also the books of Hilda Ellis Davidson, particularly “Gods and Myths of Northern Europe”.

Most of all there are the Eddas and Sagas, many of which you can read in older translations online. The ethical system is mostly related to what one might consider the honourable action to take, and based on the advice of the Havamal. (Some Heathens shorten it down to “the Nine Noble Virtues” – but not all of this list of virtues are particularly stressed in the Havamal, and some particularly important ones are left out… not to mention such a list is not particularly “reconstructionist” so many Heathens don’t have much time for it and just use the Havamal and so forth as their guide when they need it.)

Here are some more links for you:

Viking Answer Lady

Ravenbok

DIY Ritual Kit

That’s all for now, but this may be edited later to add a little more. Good luck!

*Not to say Wicca doesn’t have depth – it does, but it’s less cultural and more related to its ritual and Mysteries.