Asatru is one of the Neo-Pagan family of religions, which includes Wicca, Celtic Druidism, and recreations of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and other ancient Pagan religions. Unlike Wicca, which has gradually evolved into many different traditions, the reconstruction of Asatru has been based on the surviving historical record; it has been kept as close as possible to the original religion of the Norse people.

The name of the religion is derived from As, which means God, and tru which means troth or loyalty. The origin of Asatru is lost in antiquity. At its peak, it covered all of Northern Europe. In the 11th Century, Iceland became the last Norse culture to convert to Christianity. Their prime motivation was economic.

During the early part of the 20th Century, The National Socialist Party in Germany under Adolph Hitler attempted to pervert Asatru by grafting parts of the religion onto the Nazi racist beliefs. This blasphemy died by the end of World War II, although some neo-Nazi groups are now attempting to continue the practice. This activity is in no way related to the recreation of Asatru as a legitimate Neo-Pagan religion.

Icelandic poet Gothi Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson promoted government recognition of Asatru as a legitimate religion; this was granted in 1972. Since the early 1970's, the religion has been in a period of rapid growth in the former Norse countries, in Europe and North America.

Asatru Beliefs:

Asatru Rituals and Practices:

Seasonal Days of Celebration

In common with most other Neo-Pagan faiths, their main holy days are:

Many also celebrate days between the solstices and equinoxes. Various traditions within Asartu observe them on different dates:

Einherjar is held on November 11 and coincides with Armistice or Veterans Day. It honours those who have been killed in battle and have joined Odon's warriors in Valhalla. Some groups hold a feast on the 9th of each month to honor Norse heroes. Other groups hold rituals at full moons. Additional days are celebrated at other times during the year by different traditions.

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References and Further Information

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