Updated: Jan 31, 2022
I believe that Aldsidu should never be in the business of telling Asatru what to do, with only one lone exception. We in Aldsidu have the right to read and study the Eddas, Sagas, Old Saxon historical sources, and other historical sources to understand what historical Heathenry was, and apply historical sumble, historical blot, and the historical holiday dates and rituals to our faith today. Asatru has the right to chose whatever ways they want to do in their faith. The ONLY thing I think Aldsidu, and all good and honorable Old Ways Heathens should do in their interactions with Asatru, is to not tolerate Asatru's spreading of mis-information. No one should intentionally spread mis-information. To me, this is a matter of integrity and honor. With the lone exception of this article, it will remain my habit, to just write articles sharing historical sources and facts, without mentioning other groups. This being said, we live in a mis-information age, and this problem is not restricted by any means to Asatru. Mis-information is everywhere. The best way to fight mis-information is to write articles quoting the Eddas, Sagas, and historical sources, and even showing archaeological evidence (like Runic Calendar rods, etc) that prove their points with evidence. I am a lay-scholar/blogger. What I do is not that hard, it is simple. I read the Eddas, Sagas, and historical sources. When I come across a passage on holidays or ritual, I take notes. Over time, I keep building my notes. This is not rocket science. How do I find historical quotes like the Thietmar of Merseburg quote on Heathen Yule being in January after the solstice? I search academia.edu for scholarly articles written by PhDs well footnoted, articles that quote historical sources and archaeological evidence, and I take notes. So, why didn't the Asatru orgs etc ever do this? The AFA has been around since the 1970s and The Troth since the 1980s. Why have Asatru groups (all, not just the AFA, the Troth, TAC, etc) not figured out what dates historical holidays were really on historically and how many days they were? Why have they not figured out how historical sumble was done, or blot? (These are the practices of Heathenry, i.e. how Heathenry was done). You do not have to have a PhD in Scandinavian Religions to figure this out! It just takes time, effort, through research and patience. And if/when you change your mind on a matter as you research more, you update your articles, admit to people where your research was not complete and incorrect, and be HONEST and honorable about it. No shame in continued study growing and improving your knowledge. (This is one reason why I think Asatru orgs won't update their websites, because to admit to years of mis-information makes them uncomfortable. This is a MATURITY and HONOR issue). For example, to continue having a one horn sumble of passing one horn that everyone drinks from sharing germs during a pandemic, is not only unwise, but on top of it, Beowulf, Heimskringla, and other historical sources show everyone having their own cups/drinking bowls/horns, during historical pre-christian Heathen Sumble.
People can and should do whatever they want, but why are wiccan and christian practices passed off by Asatru as historical practices on pretty much ALL their webpages/groups etc? How on earth for example does Asatru push a "Walpurgis Night" holiday as being a pre-christian heathen day, having absolutely no idea that Walpurga preached the destruction of Germanic Heathenry, burnt down sacred groves, followed Christian kings who ordered Heathens who refused baptism to be put to death, etc? Walpurga was also the neice of St. Boniface, the saint who chopped down Thor's Oak of the Chatti! How does Asatru have ZERO clue that Walpurgis Night was adopted by Scandinavians from German Christians in the 18th century? Yes, May Poles in Sweden came much later, and I have a blog article sharing the sources on this: On May 1, 870 AD, the relics of Walpurga were transferred to Eichstatt, Germany. There St. Walpurga’s Abbey was built to house these relics. Walpurga’s bones were placed in a rock tomb (behind the altar where Mass was done), which allegedly began to exude a miraculously therapeutic oil, which drew pilgrims to her shrine for centuries, and STILL DOES TODAY… Why is it that Asatru celebrates a "saint" who persecuted Heathens and claims that this is "pre-christian?" How can an "Old Ways religion" be this ignorant? The answer is simple, Asatru's leaders have not read the eddas and sagas to know the names of the actual blots of the Scandianvian/Germanic peoples, and sheeple follow the ignorant leaders. Mis-information abounds and is taught by the leaders in Asatru. Asatru orgs have not noticed that Walpurgis Night is a title not in the Eddas/Sagas, and when I have pointed it out on social media in comments, they always came back and say something like: "it replaced a 'lost' heathen holiday" never stating which blot in the sagas it is replacing. I also find it odd that many in Asatru left the church, tired of following popes, nuns, pastors and child rapists off cliffs, but in Asatru these sheeple continue to be blind following Asatru leaders off cliffs. Same behavior, new religion. So, if I do not care if people do new ways (and I should NOT care, no Asapopes here), what is my issue? These Asatru groups claim what they put on their pages are historical FACTS, and they are not. It is lying and mis-information, which is not honorable (honor is important in historical Heathenry.) If these sites said "here are our holidays, which are modern, and not historical" this would clearly be honest and I would respect this greatly. But zero Asatru sites do this! New ways people will always post mis-information. ANYONE can post a web-page or article saying whatever is historical without evidence. Anyone can self-publish a book saying anything and everything. For goodness sake, TAC's website on holidays quotes only websites of other Heathen orgs as their only sources (listed at the bottom of their page), and one of these sources is a Folkish website they would deem racist! This Folkish website was the source TAC quoted most on their holidays webpage! It is relative common knowledge that there is so much mis-information on the world wide web, why do Asatru orgs like TAC not quote the Eddas and Sagas instead? And yes, I understand sagas and historical poems are not "heathen scripture." But the fact that these are almost never quoted (or read) is quite alarming for groups that claim they are bringing back historical ways to today's world. If these groups want to do new ways and do not want to research, they should clearly state this, and stop making claims that they practice historical rituals and holidays, which is untruthful and/or negligent. (I say "negligent" because they did not do enough research to put forth the claim that what they do is historical.) What do the leading Scandinavian archaeologists and experts on Germanic/Scandinavian religion say about modern Asatru? Dr. Andreas E. Zautner: “If we browse the internet for holidays of the Germanic people, we mainly find pages presenting an octopartite year circle, the so-called ‘eight-spoked wheel of the year’ based on the solstices, the equinoxes, and four moon feasts in between. This year circle has absolutely no historical basis. Although it is very popular in neopagan circles, especially within Wicca and eclectic Asatru, there is no verified evidence for such a year circle as basis for the seasonal festivities. The same is true for the Celtic feasts within the year circle, because the Gauls too, used a lunisolar calendar as we know for the examples of Coligny and Villards d’Heria (Olmstedt, 1992). If one has internalized such ideas, one should get rid of them immediately!” [Dr. Andreas E Zautner, “The Lunisolar Calendar of the Germanic Peoples”, P.83]
Google is not a good source, the Eddas, Sagas, and historical sources are. These sources almost never say what the Asatru orgs claim they say. Is there a solution to this problem? Almost every single Asatruar I have interacted with has never read one page of a saga or edda, and some never heard of the older and younger eddas. Since most in Asatru will NEVER read one page of an Edda or Saga, they will never know they are posting mis-information. However, they should know, but their reliance and blind faith on websites that do not reference sources should at least be obvious to the writers of Asatru books and websites. This leaves me with this thought: If Googled articles are your only source, how do these people promote their books as if they are experts or knowledgable? And why do sheeple follow this not realizing this? Why do I get backlash from some people for my articles? Because I am NOT following Asatru orgs off a cliff like sheeple. My articles not only disagree with Asatru's conclusions, they also disagree with Marvel's conclusions, and of course TV show's conclusions. (Though in fairness to TV shows and movies, they are trying to make entertainment, not documentaries, and it is not their fault people accept it as fact. That is like blaming George Lucas and Disney for people creating the new religion called "Jedi-ism".) The same people who write negative comments on my articles that discuss the accuracy and inaccuracies of these shows say "it is entertainment!" But these same people use this entertainment as a source. And by the way, many come into Asatru after watching one of these shows. Not saying they can't, but if television is their influence, most of the time these people never read an edda or saga, and live a TV show as their religion. I have literally come across a "kindred" that has children eat salt and dirt off a sword as a coming of age ceremony because Vikings episode 1 season 1 showed this. (There is zero evidence such a ritual was done by "Vikings.") Again, people can do what they want, as long as they do not pass along mis-information. Much should be expected of leaders. Book writers, internet writers, YouTubers, are acting in a form of leadership. And sheeple blindly follow the blind off cliffs and into pits.
What lessons have I learned? I used to be more of a hard-ass online. I would keep arguing. Now, I post a source (or many) in a single reply, and if they reject the source(s), I move on. I get comments every day like "The Eddas and Sagas do not state how many days Yule was" and then I quote an Edda and two sagas showing Yule was three days historically (and there are more saga references than what I posted.) Then I get replies like "you are speculating" and "you are forgetting christians wrote the eddas and sagas down, so they (the eddas and sagas) are wrong." Basically, as always, someone demonstrates they have never read an edda or saga, and then when I quote them immediately, they shoot down the eddas and sagas and post a googled book arguing Yule was twelve days or whatever. What I have learned from all this most, is that the Old Ways really DID die out. Sure, learning to walk away, learning not to tell others what to do are important lessons, but the sheer ignorance out there, only proves that Heathenry did not just disappear, Heathenry was CRUSHED by monotheism/christianity. Europe did become Christian, and it takes YEARS of research to really learn the Old Ways, the pre-christian religion of Germanic/Scandinavian Peoples. And if you share your research with others, a crap ton of anger will follow. Another lesson I have learned? Old Ways Heathens who really are searching for the Old Ways simply must leave Asatru, and form side groups. We must remember too, we are the minority, and they are the overwhelming majority. They literally outnumber us ten thousand to one (educated guess here.) But we are clearly the tiny minority. Most people are "eclectic" who are searching for religion. Most do not want to do ANY research, and they WILL just be sheeple. They are NOT Aldsidu's target audience. And when we do show them in any interaction, that Wiccanized rituals are not historical Scandianvian rituals, the only thing we should advise them to do is to be honest. If they love new ways and prefer new ways, this is fine. TAC should be honest and not say "TAC: Bringing the Old Ways to Today." They should say something like "TAC: New Ways to honor the Norse/Germanic Gods." Honestly, they should also stop saying that "Asatru is a religion of homework." While I agree with that statement, TAC has a long history of booting out of their groups people who present Edda and Saga references claiming that their websites need updating. I am a former TAC reject, and honestly, struggling as a former participant in three Asatru orgs, was beneficial, as it lead me to found Aldsidu. Spreading mis-information needs to stop. This should be Aldsidu's only gripe against Asatru. We can only encourage, then walk away. Often, they will say we are shoving orthodoxy and dogma down their throats. But they have their dogma and their orthodoxy and their orthopraxy. They cling to their solstices and equinoxes and their one horn in a circle three times claiming they all do different things, when they do have common practices and common holy dates, which are just different from the Old Historical Ways. When TAC tosses people in their own pages who post historical information, this is TAC showing their dogma and orthopraxy. Asatru does teach wiccan holidays on solstices and equinoxes, all Asatru groups are currently doing this. When these are proven to not be historical, they are mad that their dogma (belief) and their orthopraxy (practices) are being proven to not be historical. Historical accuracy is more important to us, and while Asatru consistently claims they do the Old Ways, reality is they do not, and they do not care to. And honestly, it is okay that they do new ways, it is just not honorable that their "new" ways are being passed of as historical. We must remember our target audience, those looking for the historical pre-christian religion of the Germanic and Scandinavian Peoples who venerated the Aesir. The Old Ways are not for everyone.
After leaving monotheism in my 20s, I first became an atheist. I joined yahoo groups of atheists. The angry atheists are almost always ex-monotheists. They usually were the researchers and bible readers in church, and put together that what the church and bible says are two different things. These people typically study religion as a hobby. They constantly made fun of Asatru and other neo-paganisms, mainly because they celebrated people like Walpurgis who murdered Heathens, and had no idea the real history behind their practices. These groups felt neo-pagans are just ignorant people. I think no one should make fun of other people, and lampooning during sumble is not making fun of someone. Some may look at this post as ripping on Asatru. I am stating that they are "an academic shit show" and that "posting mis-information only researched off google is not honorable." I guess you can say this is a criticism and condemnation of Asatru. But in fairness, I left the church because it taught things that were simply wrong. Asatru lied to me just like the church did. There will be no changing Asatru's spread of mis-information. It will always dominate Asatru, because it will NEVER have any scholasticism in it, and sheeple do jump off cliffs. Religion does attract bat-shit crazy people. I am sure many call me this. Some argue "Faith is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept something is by faith and faith alone, then you admit that it doesn't have any logical leg to stand on." I heard this statement in my time as an atheist. I understand that point of view. I never thought I would be spiritual or a theist again after leaving monotheism. I have been in Heathenry now over two decades. While I am an intellectual, I understand that many cannot accept faith. Lastly, I could learn to forgive Asatru's lies to me, and their mis-information, if they became honest, that they do and prefer new ways. If this is what they shared on their websites, they love to connect with the Gods through new ways that are not historical, I truly would have zero issues with Asatru. But as long as they spread misinformation, I cannot respect that. There are some Asatruar, who are on the groups/pages of Aldsidu, who follow new ways, but want to just learn the Old Ways for educational purposes. They like history. I respect these few people greatly. I am sure there are others out there, who do read the eddas and sagas and sources, and chose to do new ways, and not spread mis-information. Those, I respect. I just find so few like this. I think Aldsidu should respect Asatru, only if/when she stops spreading mis-information. And outside of this criticism, new ways vs. old ways is a matter of choice, and simply two different religions.