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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Asatru FAQ: Was Odin Human?

The Asatru FAQ series is my answers to questions asked on my forum, the Asatru Facebook Forum. Frequently Asked Question: Was Odin human?

My answer:

That's a fairly common interpretation, but I personally don't think he was.

The logic of the interpretation of Odin as human who ascended to godhood goes like this: Tyr was the original Sky God and King. Odin appeared in the culture suddenly. Odin's myth includes a shamanic initiation, or possibly two-- the Tree and the Well. He was therefore a great mystic to ascended to godhood.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Indeed, but he didn't have access to the full range of heathen mythology that we have today, and didn't know the story of Odin-and
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Wasn't it that historian Saxo Germanicus who first identified Odin as some ancient king?

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Asatru FAQ: Bad Ancestors

FAQ: I want to be a good heathen and honor ancestors but my ancestors were bad people. Who can I honor?

Related FAQ: I'm going to be attending a sumbel in which there will be a round toasted to the ancestors, but I was adopted and don't know my ancestors' names. Who can I honor?

My answer: One can honor Askr and Embla, the first man and woman according to heathen mythology (made by Odin and his brothers.) One could also honor any gods that appear in one's family tree. According to heathen mythology, everyone is descended from Rig, whom most Asatruars consider to be an aspect of Heimdall, thus, anyone could honor Heimdall. There might also be other gods one could include among ancestors, depending on one's family line. I have honored Lollus as an ancestor.

You don't have to honor your literal biological ancestors to be a good heathen. When the sumbel horn is passed in the ancestor round, you can honor the mighty dead whom you admire whether you are lineally related to them or not. You can honor your personal heroes, the elders of your path, a writer who influenced you-- that's my personal hope of ever being remembered, since I have no children. You can honor the founders of your nation, city, profession, or art. Honor your spouse's ancestors. Toast your favorite childhood teacher, the composer of your favorite song, or anyone with whom you have an emotional connection.

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Asatru FAQ: Shouldn't We Have a Sacred Language?

Every so often, people come up with ideas we've already tried. That's one reason long time heathens are a great resource for newer heathens. We remember. One idea that keeps recurring is the idea of having a liturgical language, like Latin for the Catholics, or an official common language for our religion that is also used as a common secular language, such as the modern revival of Hebrew among Jews as the national language of Israel.

Asatruars actually tried that before. In the 90s, Asatruars in the USA were calling themselves Ulfgar Tyrsson and Freya Freyasdottir and calling quarters with Thorsson's Hammer Rite in Old Norse. And saying "hailsa."

Hailsa

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Asatru FAQ: Patron Gods

Frequently Asked Question: Am I supposed to have a patron god?

My answer:  Some people have relationships with gods, and some don't. Some of those relationships are like a patron, like a father, like a co-worker, like a friend to relax and have a beer with, like all kinds of different sorts of relationships. Person A can have relationship type 1 with x god and type 4 with z god, while Person B can have relationship type 12 with gods a, b, and c, and think x god is too scary to work with and decline to have a relationship with them, and that's all OK. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Asatru FAQ: Do I Need a Kindred?

Frequently Asked Question: Do I need a kindred to practice Asatru?

This question is usually accompanied by a story like this: "Someone on a forum said I can't be a heathen by myself because Asatru is community oriented, but someone else told me I can't just go join a kindred like a church and I should just practice by myself, and someone else said heathenry is about family and I shouldn't even try to practice with other heathens."

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Asatru FAQ: Should I Do Daily Devotions?

A Frequently Asked Question about Asatru is: "Should I be doing devotional practices every day?"

My answer: "Should" doesn't get one very far, in my experience. If what you feel like doing is the standard holidays, do that. If you feel like doing no more than occasionally thinking about the gods and other powers, do that, then-- and if 30 years later you suddenly are excited about sharing joyous times with them, then there you go, change to that. "Should" makes things into church-on-Sunday boredom and obligation, and who wants to be somebody's boring chore? Not the gods, as far as I know. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Thanks!
  • The Cunning Wife
    The Cunning Wife says #
    Love this! Having a drink with spirits is my favorite way to initiate and deepen relationships with them. I also love the emphasis

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A Frequently Asked Question in the group I manage, the Asatru Facebook Forum, is: Where can I find a kindred or other Asatru and / or heathen people in my area?

Several sites and organizations have maps and locators for the members. Although the American Asatru Association no longer exists, the kindred locator map is still on the old wordpress site: 

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  • James H. McCoy
    James H. McCoy says #
    I have been Heathen for going on 30 years and live in Indiana. I am deputy steward in Indiana for The Troth (www.thetroth.org) and

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