Ásatrú is the faith and the way of life which springs from the specific spiritual beliefs of the Northern Europeans. It is as old as this branch of the human race, which came into being 40,000 years ago. Along with other native European faiths, it fell into shadow for some centuries after the Christian conversion of Northern Europe. During the last quarter of the twentieth century Common Era, it re-emerged as modern men and women took up the faith of Ásatrú once more.
Ásatrú is a faith which honors many gods and tells stories of many worlds, of which Midgard (Earth, or the world of Men) is but one. At the heart of Ásatrú lies the desire of men to hold to a way of life which brings honor to them, strength to their kin and families, and closeness to the Gods and Godesses who Ásatrúar (adherents of Ásatrú) hold to be their Eldest Kinfolk.
This faith is very different from Christianity, which has been the religion of most Europeans for the last ten to twelve centuries. Ásatrú does not consider men to be "fallen" and in need of "saving". Men and women, one by one, simply exist, each different from the next, having the potential in them for rightness and honor. Some will bring this forth and some will not. Ásatrú honors Gods, but does not hold them to be all-knowing or all-ruling. Anyone who needs -- openly or secretly -- an all-knowing, all-ruling God, would most likely find Ásatrú's Gods unfit for the role. In Ásatrú, a man's heart and mind belong to him, and his fate is held to be far closer linked to actions and conduct than to beliefs and professions. Physical death is part of that fate for every man, and while there is much in Germanic mythology about the afterlife and worlds beyond our Earth, Ásatrú makes no promise of admission to a blissful "heaven" simply for believing or following a certain doctrine.
In other Worlds, as in ours, Gods, spirits and beings have fates due to the actions they take based on their own will and wisdom.
There is no demand that Ásatrúar convert others to their faith, and there is no record that its historical adherents tried to do so.
Ásatrú is thousands of years old. It's beginnings are lost in prehistory, but as an organized system, it is older by far than Christianity.
The Runes go back when time began, we of Ásatrú have set a date from when the first Futhark was discovered 2259 [as of 2009] years ago. This is known as the Runic Era which places us to date in the year 2259 R.E.. comparable to [2009 AD]
Ásatrúar have always lived in close harmony with the environment, the seasonal and stellar cycles, their Gods and Goddesses, and their ancestors. These forces come together in the mysterious symbols known as Runes. The word Rune means a secret or a whisper. Runes are magical tools for both divination and spell casting.
- I know that I hung on Yggdrasil
- For nine nights long
- Wounded by spear
- Consecrated to Oðin
- Myself a sacrifice to myself
- Upon that tree
- The wisest know not the roots
- of ancient times whence it sprang.
- None brought me bread
- None gave me mead
- Down to the depths I searched
- I took up the Runes
- Raised them with song
- And from that tree I fell.
- Runes you shall know, and readable staves,
- Very powerful staves, Very great staves
- Graven by the mighty one who speaks
- Carved by the highest hosts
- Oðin among the Aesir,
- Dvalin (sleeper) among dwarfs,
- Dáin (dead) among alfs,
- Alvitter (all-knowing) among etins,
- I myself carved some for mankind
The following are not recommendations, Alfather commands you to know the following if you are Ásatrúar.
- Know how to carve, know how to read,
- know how to stain, know how to understand,
- know how to ask, know how to offer,
- know how to evoke, know how to sacrifice.