Note that the word asatru means belief in the Aesir and the Vanir when written with a capital “A”, however, when written with a small “a” it means the person practising Asatru.
Asatru is an independent religion. It has no ties with any Judeo-Christian religion or any new age movement. Neither does it resemble Wicca. Asatru is an old pre-Christian religion that was revived during the 20th century. The early form of Asatru influenced the lives of ancient Norwegians, Danes, Swedes and Icelanders. This original Scandinavian religion, which Asatru is based on, was widely swept under the rug as Christianity conquered northern Europe in the beginning of the 12th century. The revival of Asatru begun in 1973, as it was declared as the second official religion of Iceland. Before that, the only official religion was Lutheran Christianity.
The practitioners of Asatru worship two groups of gods the Aesir and the Vanir. The Aesir are warrior gods and the Vanir represent nature and fertility. The best-known gods are perhaps Loki, the god of mischief, Odin, the one-eyed father of all and Thor, the protector, carrying his hammer Mjölnir.
Asatru in practise
Asatrus believe that humans are descendants of the Aesir and Vanir and we are thus honour bound to respects them as our ancestors. The relationship between humans and gods is equal. Gods are presented with gifts as they, in turn, give gifts to us. Gods are considered friends instead of something to be worshiped. As an asatru dies, the destination where they will spend their afterlife is decided by how they lived. Only a chosen few are allowed to enter the Halls of Walhalla in Odin’s mansion, which is built from the spears of fallen warriors and where all great warriors prepare for the battle at the end of the World. However, the afterlife plays only a minor role in the life of an asatru. The life we have right now is the one that counts.
Values of Asatru
Asatrus believe in nine virtues: courage, guts, effort, honour, hospitality, independence, loyalty, self-discipline and truth. These are the morals, which determine where you go when you die. You can reach the gods by following the nine virtues and by honouring nature. Other important things to asatrus are family and ancestors.
For more information about Lehto or Neo-Paganism in Finland, please contact our Information Officer: Tiedotus(a)lehto-ry.org