Asatru: the Norse Religion of Modern Times
de lecture - mots
What Mean Asatru?
The Asatru (which literally means "loyalty to the Æsir" in Icelandic) is a polytheistic ethnic religion based on Norse mythology, with two families of gods, the Æsir (Aesir) and the Vanir (Vanes).
It was the dominant religion in non-Roman Europe before the conversion of the Germanic and Scandinavian tribes to Christianity. This religion, dormant since the 12th century, has been in a revival phase since the 19th century.
The name of Ásatrú appeared besides at that time; the pre-Christian practitioners did not give a name to their religion. This religion is also known as Odinism. Ásatrú is often used to qualify the purely Scandinavian belief and Odinism extends to the Germanic peoples.
Norse mythology has its roots in the proto-Indo-European religions, of which it is the Nordic branch. This peculiarity explains the many similarities that can be found between this religion and the Greek, Slavic or Celtic religions, for example, however, a fusion with older religions, Lappish or Finnish, would explain many of its particularities.
The information that has come down to us is rather rare and fragmentary, and all the more questionable since it was mostly written by Christians during the golden age of Icelandic culture (12th - 15th century). However, poems such as the Hávamál, attributed to Odin, are especially important for understanding the roots of the Nordic religion.
Nowadays, Ásatrú is a reconstructed religion. It is not a neopagan religion in the usual sense, and the majority of the faithful reject this label. The practice is based on the available historical recordings, their interpretations and extension.
In 1973 the Icelandic government recognized Ásatrú as an official state religion. Since June 22, 2007, Odinism has been officially recognized by Spain as a religion.
In the Asatruar religion, the gods are not omnipotent and infallible beings, not even immortal, and they are not worshipped as such. They are more regarded as friends whose wisdom and power can come to their aid in a timely manner. Moreover, the gods of the north do not emerge armed from the head of their progenitor and do not remain immutable before the passage of time. They are the product of their existence.
The Asatruar religion, since its origin, does not have a list of behaviors to proscribe, unlike most other religions. The search for a compromise between freedom and responsibility is, however, a central theme in the legendary, mystical and historical literature of this religion, literature that members of the Asatruar churches are obliged to study seriously. Certain behaviors condemned in other religions (such as pride) are considered qualities, provided they are properly expressed. There is never any question of redemption, safeguarding, or even perfection in Ásatrú, and the theory of life after death is undoubtedly a reflection of the expeditious justice of ancient times.