Basic Beliefs of Asatru
The following are some things that help explain who Asatru are as people, and what they believe in.
The Nine Noble Virtues (Courage, Truth, Honor, Loyalty, Self-Discipline, Hospitality, Industriousness, Self Reliance, and Steadfastness). We believe in striving to develop these characteristics in ourselves. We also believe that the amount of the virtues that we carry with us through our lives directly affects how well respected we are by the gods, and the likelihood of us being offered a place in Asgard upon our death. We believe that the amount of these virtues we observe in our friends is a valid way of measuring that person’s worth as a friend, just as the gods use this measurement when considering our worth as a friend. Let me clarify. Other folks might be impressed by Charisma, money, who you know, what cool party tricks you can perform. Heck, we might be impressed by those things too! But Asatruar will value the person that is the hard worker and admire that person more than a lazy person with money, charisma and great party tricks.
We believe we have a right to happiness, strength, strong community (frith and grith), strong friends, security. Further, we believe we have a right to be armed and train with weapons to defend ourselves re-actively or pro-actively. The military fills this role for our country, the thane for our kindreds, and each person for their self and their family. We believe that taking away the right of a person to defend themselves is the same as making that person a thrall, and while we might appear to be a thrall temporarily, to survive, we will not remain thralls for long.
There is no one way that Asatruar come to see the gods. We have no dogma that says to be Asatru you must believe this or that about the gods or the myths. We do not believe that Thor is necessarily an overly muscled bipedal humanoid figure carrying a hammer around; but we do believe that is a way to depict his character that is an accurate representation of his nature, and is something we can easily imagine.
We do not believe in Evil as a real thing, nor is there any such thing as Sin. We believe in things that are woeful or harmful, we believe that our actions can be wealful (helpful) for ourselves or our folk while being woeful (harmful) for others and that does not make us good or bad, it simply is. Our “goodness” comes from how well we know ourselves to be struggling to grow ever closer to those things we feel are worth pursuing. Honor, Loyalty, Hospitality, Frith, Courage, Wisdom. This is the main goal of Norse Paganism.
We believe that our Orlog (fate set in motion by the events of our own lives, which are set in motion by our ancestors lives) is effected by our success or failure at following those virtues we consider most important. So much so that if we are in the right, we believe that Orlog itself with shape the Wyrd (mystical web of energy that connects all things in the world, following the rules of the Norns and of each person Orlog) of the world so that if we were to engage in a physical battle to determine our guilt or innocence then we would win if not guilty.
We believe the spirits of our ancestors are often accessible after death. They may be in Asgard, some other religion’s place, hel, or the spirit may be near the grave or home. Do you still “talk” to your granny, grandma, or great-grandmother who has already passed over? If so, you are speaking to a type of spirit that we call a Disir. We gather once a year to honor the ancestral mothers that have passed over, but that still watch over their family from the spirit world.
We believe that our loyalty lies first with our immediate family (including blood or sworn family members), secondarily with our extended family (including kindred members), then with our friends and eventually with our community locally and then nationally, in gradually expanding circles of inclusion. We believe that family can be claimed or denied, and thus our loyalty can be withdrawn if the person or group shows themselves to be unworthy of it. This is a family religion and loyalty to our family (and our chosen family - our kindred) is of utmost importance to us.
We believe we are honor-bound to honor the gods at least during the great blessings of the year. We believe that part of honoring them involves making an offering of some sort, even if that is just pouring out a bit of alcohol to them on the appropriate feast-day. Any time, any day we can talk to Odin, Thor, Freyja, Tyr, Heimdal, Frigga, Baldur, or any of the gods or goddesses. We don’t need a priest (Godhi) to do it for us, but they specifically ask us to remember them on the High-Feast days.
We believe in living in a community governed by law, and that enforcing that law should be an effort of the entire community if necessary. This is one of the central beliefs of Norse Heathens, and those beliefs are still alive and well in our people today.
As Asatruar we believe in hard work and enjoyment of life. We believe we should be physically capable, have a well rounded education, familiar with the laws of the land, a good public speaker, capable of defending our selves, hardworking, and enjoy all the luxuries of life.
We believe in living our lives forthrightly. We do not believe in hiding who we are. If we are gay, we are openly gay. If we are polyamorous then we are openly polyamorous. If we are a democrat, then we are openly a democrat.
We like to say we are the religion with no Faith. Faith is a blind belief in something for which you have no proof. To us, that is just crazy! We believe in our gods because we have had real experiences with them. If they were not “real” or powerful enough to show themselves to us, to effect the physical world, then how could we then entrust our souls to them?