Old Ways Heathens: We must divorce Asatru
Some things in Asatru are just unacceptable, and literally unforgiveable. There are three reasons why all Old Ways Heathens should divorce Asatru. I will to lay out all three. 1. Asatru is a hub for Mis-information: I can forgive mis-information. But only to a point. When I became a Heathen in 1999, I started with the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. Asatru gave me mis-information and it took me time to learn that the Wiccan Wheel of the Year was not the historical holidays of pre-Christian Germanic Heathens (which includes Scandinavians). While out of the gate I accepted the mis-information by the major Asatru organizations, I also started reading the Eddas and the Sagas, Poems, and historical sources. I read these over and over and over. I realized more and more, as time went by, Asatru leaders are not experts in the historical sources, and by and large, do not know them. They are like popes, bishops, priests, rabbis, and sheikhs who do not read their religious texts. Asatru began in the USA essentially in the early 1970s. For five decades and counting, Asatru organizations and leaders still have not read the Eddas, Sagas, Poems, and historical sources. They claim they have. But if they have, how could they not come to the conclusion that what Asatru teaches is different from what the sources state? Asatru organizations and Asatru leaders have not figured out that there were three major blots a year *(Winter Nights, Yule, and Sigrblot), and they have no idea when these were historically. They do not understand that "Ostara" is not in the Sagas, Eddas, nor in the historical calendars of the Scandinavians which survived. They have not researched in the historical sources themselves how to do Blot or how to do Sumble. Google and Bing are not good research tools, and Asatru groups continue to take more mis-information from the world wide web and spread it around as fact, making the mis-information problem worse. There is literally more mis-information on the www today than accurate, especially in regards to Paganism, and Asatru is just one of many Pagan traditions. In a nutshell, Asatru is Norse/Germanic deities, with Christian, Wiccan, New Age, and made up practices. Not everyone wants to do the Old Historical Ways. But there are many people who do want a historical faith, the pre-Christian religion of our Ancestors. They would prefer atheism or agnosticism to made up shit, or Christianity being brought into Paganism. Asatru claiming that the church never invented its own traditions, is ridiculous. Claiming Easter Eggs are seen in the sagas, and decorating evergreen trees was in the sagas, is ludicrous. Sumble and Blot were by a landslide the most attested rituals in the historical sources, and nothing like Blot and Sumble exists in any branch of Christianity. I have many blog articles proving the origins and Christmas and Easter customs, just click on the "Blogs & Beliefs" link above, and scroll down, and you will find articles, well documented, well footnoted, well sourced, proving my points. Just because the Church does something that is not biblical, that is hugely popular, doesn't mean it was born in Scandinavia or Germany in pre-Christian times. Some of us, do want Old and Historical ways. For us, we need to leave Asatru to get it. Asatru does have dogma, it does have orthodoxy and orthopraxy. When I post historical information proving Yule was on the full moon of Jolmanuthr (Yule Moon) on the historical Germanic Calendars and Scandinavian Calendars, Asatru throws a fit. They claim I am teaching orthodoxy and orthopraxy. But in reality, they feel their orthodoxy and their orthopraxy are being attacked. All Asatruar do Yule on the Solstice, following Hakon the Good and forced Christianization. They fight people using historical sources that teach when historical pre-Chrsitian Heathen Yule really was. They would rather boot someone out, and wrongly label them a racist (when they are not), than to actually look at the evidence. When I say there is too much Christianity in Asatru, is that a problem? No. It just means that Asatru reaches the needs of many who want new ways and Old Gods. Many want to continue christian practices and in their mind these christian practices "must" be "Heathen." They don't want to look at evidence, they don't want to give these practices up. (And who is to say doing a secular xmas with your secular or christian family members is wrong? You can still do historical Yule in your own home. Our Heathen house of seven Heathens do this, my wife, our children, and my son's fiance all do Heathenry together, but we all go visit my parents, their grandparents, for Xmas as we are family.) The one thing we do not do, is we do not read 5 minutes of crap on Google or Bing and put it out on our website as historical facts when it is not. Asatru equals Old Gods, and christian, wiccan, and new age ways. Asatru is for most people interested in Norse/Germanic Gods. The few who actually want to research, and want something more meaningful, who want something historical, put in the time. A true spiritual path requires time. Like Marriage, a Career, or Parenting, the more time you put in, the more you will get out of it. You can cook a real meal, or you microwave dinner. This is America, where families don't have meals together for the most part anymore, and they all are so impatient, they half ass dinner. The more one puts into their spirituality, the more they will get out of it. I for one, prefer a well cooked meal with my family, over microwaved dinners by myself. I prefer to put time into my spirituality, as I am far more fulfilled. I am completely embarrassed by the total lack of scholasticism in Asatru. Completely embarrassed. You would think in its sixth decade in the United States, Asatru would have realized its American founder, left Wicca and brought Wiccan practices into Asatru when he founded it. Since some feel this founder is a racist, they have spent 100% of their time arguing about racism, instead of doing any research proving if his now accepted orthodox Asatru practices are historical. This leads me to my second reason to divorce Asatru: It's constant discussion of racism. 2. Racism: Tolerating racism is wrong, and discussing it for decades has caused Asatru to have a reputation for having a racism problem. It proves it does have a racism problem!
Racism and all forms of bigotry are wrong. At Aldsidu, we made the decision to outlaw all forms of racism and bigotry in about 5 seconds, and moved on. You don't tolerate it. It is really that simple. Now, when you google the term "Asatru," you will get article after article after article discussing the Universalist vs. Folkish debate. People's first impression of Asatru, is decades of discussion about who can or can't be Heathen, and dealing with neo-Nazis. This should make most people RUN from Asatru. Again, you outlaw racism, never tolerate it, and move on. There is no need to discuss this for six decades now. Discussion OVER. Racism and Bigotry are out, common sense in. All the constant discussion of this, only brings Racist attention to Asatru. Therefore, Old Ways Heathens must divorce Asatru, because Asatru has a reputation for racism. I am sad that if you google the term Asatru, you get racist discussions, hundreds and thousands of them. If you google "Aldsidu", you will not get this. Why? We don't tolerate it, we expel it, and there is no need to have a discussion about it.
3. Asatru is never going to change. Never is an absolute word. But seriously, I am safe using it here. For five decades Asatru has discussed Racism in point number 2 above. How many of you, if I did a poll right now, would think that 50 years from now, Asatru still will have daily discussion of Universalist vs. Folkish views? This is not going away any time soon. Will the mis-information stop? No, that is not going away any time soon. If any person posts historical research on most Facebook groups or Reddit groups, proving that Equinoxes and Solstices were not holy to Germanic peoples, or they post accurate information on how Blot and Sumble were practiced, these people will be tossed from most groups. Asatru has common orthopraxy now: 8 spoke wheel calendars, completely ignoring the moon, and only keeping Wiccan, Roman, and Christian solar dates. If you even argue that May 1st is not half way between the Equinox of March 21st and the solstice of June 21st, you will be laughed at, even though May 1st is 40 days after an Equinox and 50 days before a Solstice. Asatru does have dogma, and orthodoxy and orthopraxy. This is religion. Not having dogma is in and of itself a dogma. Historical Heathens did have common customs, traditions, and practices, like Yule for example, like Blot for example, like Winter Nights for example. Believing in the Gods was just as important for a Heathen as believing in the Christian God and its Trinity. In historical Heathenry, the words for the "faith" itself in the historical sources are words like "Aldsidu" or "Forn Sed" or "Fyrnsitha", all of which mean "Old Ways" or "Old Customs." Something is not a tradition or a custom unless it was a common practice. When the sagas say that Hakon the Good moved Yule from Hokunott to be at the same time as the Christians did Xmas, this means that there was agreement by Heathens as to what Hokunott was, when it was, what Yule was, and there was agreement about what a blot was. When the agreed upon date was moved, most Heathens in the sagas rebelled, because they did not want to be Christians, preferring their Ancestors' path. The odd thing is, Hakon the Good's forced Christianization is still happening in Asatru today, though Asatruar do not even realize this, as they have not read the Saga of Hakon the Good. The fact is, sumble with one horn going in a circle each person channeling energy, has more in common than a Wiccan Sabat, than Sumble in the Sagas and poems, like Beowulf verses 489-675 for just one example. Asatru has done its 8 "solar" days for so long, ignoring the historical lunisolar calendar of pre-Christian Heathen Germany and Scandinavia, that if anyone challenges this, they are challenging Asatru's orthodoxy, Asatru's dogma, and Asatru's orthopraxy. This has become "set in stone" now, and the only way not to get stuck in non-Historical, christian, wiccan, and new age fluff, is to leave Asatru. Conclusion: Our divorce needs to be quiet, and peaceful. It can't be "we are right, you are wrong" even if that is the case. We have done our homework, and Asatru has not. We just need to do what Asatru has failed to do: provide solid research, provide the evidence, and give historically accurate and grounded teaching. We need to let people chose if they want new ways or Old and Historical Ways. Sure, like Declaration 127 speaks up when Asatru has racism, we need to speak up and not tolerate Asatru's blatant and clear lack of research, and their spread of mis-information. Just as universalist groups fight racism, we must fight mis-information and Asatru's dishonesty. We need to fight it, having well researched articles to reply to their mis-information. We need to peacefully provide it, and let people decide. Most will freely chose new ways. Our target audience are those who want the Old Ways. I have come to the conclusion Asatru will never even be honest about their practices not being historical. They have a fear that if their ways are shown to not be historical, then their ways are not legitimate. Scientology, Wicca, and other modern paths are fine paths, when they are honest about their origins. Many people like these paths. But Asatru will always claim their Christian Ways, their Wiccan Ways, and their New Age Ways are historical ways, when they are clearly not. This is just dishonest. I have zero respect for Asatru. I would gain respect for Asatru if it does one simple thing: They need to come out and state: "We do new ways. Our ways are legitimate, and viable traditions, but they are not historical traditions." If they did this, I would respect them, and delete this blog article, and applaud them, and even send people looking for new ways their way. But since they are dishonest, I can't respect them, at all. PS- I have re-done my published books several hundred times. I can go public and say that I got something wrong in the past, easily. I am actually respected for this honesty, that with continued research, I publicly state that I changed my mind on something, freely disclose it along with the evidence and reasons why. The Asatru orgs can't admit they were wrong on the past. I am unsure why they can't. People respect transparent and honest people that do research. They respect that the research never stops. Getting closer and closer to understanding historical practice with continued research is a good thing. It is an honest thing. It requires a level of maturity, that I have yet to see from Asatru leaders. Another reason not to follow them.