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  • Writer's pictureSara Ault

Ásatrú is Your Family's Birthright, Too!

“Asatru is the religion with homework”

“You have to earn your hammer”

“The Gods call who they will”

These three statements can all be misleading.

It is of course good to study history, to study our lore in the Eddas and Sagas and Folklore, to study the runes, language, and all the other things that help to inform our faith.

It is of course good to act in a way that is noble, brave, kind, and righteous.

It is of course up to the Gods to do as they will, and we can’t presume to understand all of their motives, or even any of them.

However, none of these are the defining characteristics of our faith and religion…

Ásatrú means “Belief in the Gods” or more literally “Troth to the Æsir”. It is a holy faith in the Æsir. This is faith not only in the sense of “belief” but also in the sense of “trust” or “loyalty”. When you say to someone “I have faith in you” it means more than “I believe you exist”, it means “I believe you will do right” or “I believe you will succeed”.

We know our Ancestors are alive today inside us, our family lines are a river of blood and sweat, of failure and success. Our Ancestors are our direct, physical link to the Aesir. The Æsir are the most ancient blood Ancestors of our Folk. We are, or will be, that same link for our descendants and all their progeny. As you go through life, remember that your reputation belongs to all of us, and especially to your descendants.

The Æsir created the world and gave us life, wit, and vigor. Every Blót we make to the Aesir is a return on this first gift, made from the world created for us by the Æsir. An imperative of our faith is to continue this Gift Cycle perpetually. We should always be mindful that the Æsir started the Gift Cycle and our Ancestors -Ásatrú and otherwise- maintained this Gift Cycle through the successful lives they led. Our existence is proof of this success. Our children’s prosperity and faith are proof of our success.

The job of the Goðar of the Asatru Folk Assembly is to represent our Folk to the Æsir when we make Blót. We speak on behalf of the Folk to the Gods. Our Gods are real, they are alive, they exert their will in our world, and they can see us. When a Goði or Gyðia gives a gift, an offering, to the Gods that gift is always in reciprocation for gifts the Gods already have given us. It is made of the gifts they have given us, and it is made by the gifts they have given us. It is a thank-you, and we hope that in giving it that the Gods choose to continue the Gift Cycle with the Folk that the Gods started at the beginning of our world. The Goði or Gyðia is there to receive the gift on behalf of the Folk and to distribute those blessings. This Gift Cycle is the basis of our faith and our Gods and Goddesses are divine, and so piety is not optional even if we cannot be perfectly pious.

In these mixed-up times it is important to remember not only that it is okay to be white, but also that we owe to our descendants the same sturdy roots from which we ourselves have grown. We Ásatrúar are on the side of nature, we are on the side of family, we are on the side of order, we are on the side of light, and we are on the side of life. Live Ásatrú openly every moment. Practice Ásatrú in the light of day. Be a Folkbuilder every day and in every interaction that you have.

How do we do this? Most importantly, build up the Gift Cycle.

Regularly attend Blót offered by our Goðar, and make gifts to the Gods, to the Ancestors, and to the Vættir at home. When you make a gift to the Gods, don’t show up as a beggar. Instead, show them what you have done with the world and how you have improved it. Show them your worth, but let them determine if you are worthy. Remember your place, and remember that these are Gods.

When you make a gift to your Ancestors that you knew in life, speak to them as you did in life. Give them a gift that is personal and relevant to your relationship to them. I have given my Grandfather Hawaiian pizza because I know he liked this in life. Pick a favorite food or beverage, or make something that you use to do together, or any number of other things than maintain that same relationship that existed in life. Let them know how you are doing and what you might need help with.

When you make a gift to more ancient Ancestors whom you didn’t know in life, demonstrate a knowledge of them. Documenting your family tree through genealogy is a great way to do this, and when you reach a branch that you cannot trace any further learn the history and way of life of the nation and ethnicity that the branch folds back into. Build a common frame of reference and again let them know your struggles and victories and where some help would be appreciated.

Landvættir (or Land wights) and Húsvættir (or house wights) can be a little bit trickier to interact with since the kinship relationship is not present like it is with the Gods and Ancestors, but there is a shared interest in maintaining Miðgarð in a healthy and orderly way. Make it clear that is who you are to them, a man or woman whose presence in a place will be for good, and for the order that the Æsir established. This will go a long way with Vættir of varying temperaments and varying experiences with people. Don’t ask for anything beyond goodwill from the Vættir.

The second most important thing is to build your fame, your reputation.

Building our fame with our Living Folk makes us an example that others want to emulate, that because of you they want to be Ásatrú. We should be known as “the good neighbor” or the “the good man” as much as we are known as “The Ásatrú Man” or “my Ásatrú neighbor”.

It is okay to be angry at Christianity, but remember that Christian Folk are still our Folk, and they need our help! We need to remind them who they really are.

The collapse of European religious institutions over the past century has led to disintegration of the family unit, to rampant homosexuality, to addiction of all variety, to laziness and unaccountability. But it is also an opportunity. Our Folk would likely not have been ready to return to faith in our Gods had Christianity not faltered as the dominant European religion. Our Christian Folk are not wrong, they have been wronged. They are not the first to wake up, so we need to rouse them. The same is true for those who are halfway there by leaving Christianity but are stuck in some atheistic or secular worldview. We may be in a Wolf Age, but we’re also in an age of opportunity which needs spiritual heroes! Some of those heroes are undiscovered in this room right now.

Þórr's reputation among the Jötuns matters. Your reputation among non-Folk matters too! Our faith can be misunderstood easily enough by peoples who do not have informed experience with it. We need to make sure that our reputations are impeccable and that as Aryans, we are the race that all others look up to. We are noble, strong, and just. We are also generous and kind. We respect all living things.

Aryan means noble and we must hold ourselves to a very high standard.

What else can we do?

Volunteer. Be willing to do the work that is necessary rather than the work that is glorious. Know that none of us is the ideal we aspire to but do your best anyway. Perfect and permanent are imaginary but try for them anyway. But don’t wait for perfect to be ready to begin. Be willing to make mistakes and to start now.

“Ásatrú is the religion with homework”

Yes, do your homework.

“You have to earn your hammer”

Yes, prove you are honorable.

“The Gods call who they will”

Yes, listen to the call of our Gods.

But always remember that Ásatrú is the birthright of every single one of our Folk, even if they need to be reminded about that birthright. Appreciate the magic and beauty of our Folk and of the Æsir. Don’t settle for less, offer the same to your kin. Ásatrú is their birthright, too.

Bring them home!

Witan Clifford Erickson


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