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Author Topic: Becoming a Norse Pagan without joining Asatru?  (Read 44176 times)
dragonfly_high
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« Reply #15: May 28, 2011, 12:20:59 pm »

Well, you went to THEIR kindred, right? What did you expect, that they'd welcome you at the door and ask you how you'd like their group to be? They have every right to "preach to you" the customs of their kindred and you have every right to find that compatible with your own beliefs or seek a group elsewhere. But jeez, don't bitch that you were invited into someone's group and then that group had a set way of doing things. You went to their door, you sought them out- so, no, they aren't like Jehovah Witnesses.

There is a difference between being preachy and explaining their beliefs and customs. Trust me, I've experienced both. BIG difference.  Now, saying that, I don't know which the poster experienced, so I can't comment on that, but just thought I would say I have been preached to and explained to.  When you are preached to, it gives a very unwelcome experience, at least for me, but when things are explained, it was a lot better.  Smiley

 
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« Reply #16: May 28, 2011, 03:39:46 pm »

Hi all. I've been interested in Paganism for quite a few years now. In particular, I feel a big attraction to the Norse gods and goddesses but know nothing about actually practicing Norse Paganism. Recently, out of interest I went along to a few meetings with different Asatru organizations in my area to see about the possibility of joining their kindred's. I walked away from all of them feeling extremely turned off and disillusioned. I really disliked all their dogma and their "must do this, must do that" and "must believe this, must believe that" attitude, some of the things they said I had to believe in I personally found absolutely ridiculous. Some of the group's political affiliations were also a turn off, one ranging from your typical green leftist hippie group to another being far right, almost Nazi in ideology. The meetings left me so disillusioned that I began to question my attraction to the Norse gods and goddesses and began thinking of ditching it all together.

Is there any other way to worship the Norse gods apart from joining an organized group or set of beliefs like Asatru? What would you recommend I do?
Welcome to TC and to our SIG! Smiley Cheesy I hope you stick around, as there are a number of folks here who are "heathen" without being specifically affiliated to anything, myself included.

I worship the Norse Gods, and lean towards Asatru if you want to say that, but I'm not Asatruar. You do not have to be Asatru to be heathen, or a Norse Pagan as you call it.
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"She who stands on tiptoe / doesn't stand firm. / She who rushes ahead / doesn't go far. / She who tries to shine / dims her own light. / She who defines herself / can't know who she really is. / She who has power over others / can't empower herself. / She who clings to her work / will create nothing that endures. / If you want to accord with the Tao, / just do your job, then let go." ~ Tao Te Ching, chp. 24

"Silent and thoughtful a prince's son should be / and bold in fighting; / cheerful and merry every man should be / until he waits for death." ~ Havamal, stanza 15
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« Reply #17: May 28, 2011, 09:15:42 pm »

Well, you went to THEIR kindred, right? What did you expect, that they'd welcome you at the door and ask you how you'd like their group to be? They have every right to "preach to you" the customs of their kindred and you have every right to find that compatible with your own beliefs or seek a group elsewhere. But jeez, don't bitch that you were invited into someone's group and then that group had a set way of doing things. You went to their door, you sought them out- so, no, they aren't like Jehovah Witnesses.

Geez mate, calm down, have a chill pill, no need to get angry at me. I can tell you 100% what I experienced was not explaining their ways and beliefs, I would have accepted that. They generally felt unwelcoming and quite "oppressive", if I can use the word. Instead I was told that if I didn't join their kindred that I wasn't practicing "true Asatru" and that the gods and goddesses would not "love" me lol. The whole time I was there they either boasted about themselves or criticized or ran down other Heathen organizations. At one point I was asked by three of them if I had an altar at my house, I said no as I was new to Heathenry and I was berated, yes BERATED for not having one, I was told that I should go home and set one up immediately, if not I could not join their kindred. It doesn't matter if I was invited or not, they had no reason to carry on and berate me like they did. They just came across as very unpleasant people and I couldn't wait to leave. At times I almost fell to the floor in laughter at some of the crap these people were spewing.   

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« Reply #18: May 28, 2011, 09:17:23 pm »

Welcome to TC and to our SIG! Smiley Cheesy I hope you stick around, as there are a number of folks here who are "heathen" without being specifically affiliated to anything, myself included.

I worship the Norse Gods, and lean towards Asatru if you want to say that, but I'm not Asatruar. You do not have to be Asatru to be heathen, or a Norse Pagan as you call it.

Thanks for the welcome. Much appreciated.  Grin
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RandallS
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« Reply #19: May 29, 2011, 08:18:18 am »

Instead I was told that if I didn't join their kindred that I wasn't practicing "true Asatru" and that the gods and goddesses would not "love" me lol.

Fundie Asatruar? That's certainly what this group sounds like from this statement. Their "The Gods only love their kindred" attitude sure sounds a lot like the "Only people going to our church are saved" attitude some fundie churches have.
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« Reply #20: May 29, 2011, 09:47:06 am »

Geez mate, calm down, have a chill pill, no need to get angry at me. I can tell you 100% what I experienced was not explaining their ways and beliefs, I would have accepted that. They generally felt unwelcoming and quite "oppressive", if I can use the word. Instead I was told that if I didn't join their kindred that I wasn't practicing "true Asatru" and that the gods and goddesses would not "love" me lol. The whole time I was there they either boasted about themselves or criticized or ran down other Heathen organizations. At one point I was asked by three of them if I had an altar at my house, I said no as I was new to Heathenry and I was berated, yes BERATED for not having one, I was told that I should go home and set one up immediately, if not I could not join their kindred. It doesn't matter if I was invited or not, they had no reason to carry on and berate me like they did. They just came across as very unpleasant people and I couldn't wait to leave. At times I almost fell to the floor in laughter at some of the crap these people were spewing.   



It sounds like you managed to find a 'wrong' group, and their approach definitely needs work. But they are not wholly wrong, either. While they in no way have any sort of claim on our deities and who the Regin choose to 'love' (although that is not the word I would use), they DO have a right to expect you to behave in certain ways that are commonly accepted by Asatruar the world over as being Asatru. Any deviation from that, and what you are doing is no longer Asatru. Simple as that.

That doesn't mean you can't be a heathen. There are many variants of Germanic heathenry, as was mentioned previously in this thread. While it sounds like you may have found some jerkwads, don't let them completely turn you off from seeking a connection with the gods of northern Europe if you are feeling that strongly. It is rewarding and personally satisfying to me and to many others I know.

Be aware that often we may come across as very off-putting, elitist, pushy, or otherwise asshats. There are many reasons why we act this way at times. Most of it has to do with our almost rabid desire to NOT see our faith and beliefs muddled, usurped and destroyed, or generally mistreated by possibly well-meaning but pretty stupid neopagan types playing God of the Month Club. We are NOT a faith of anything goes hippies. There is Asatru, and there is NOT Asatru, and yes, we do have the right to determine if what someone is doing is recognizable to us as being Asatru. It's our faith, after all. But that doesn't mean you would be unwelcome, even if sometimes we are grumpy and gruff and make people feel unwelcome.

I guess what I am trying to say is, you will likely wish to ensure your skin is of sufficient thickness before venturing into the wilds of Asatru gatherings. We love to argue with each other. It is often how we learn (and learning, you will find, is of paramount importance to us). A commonly bandied phrase at a gathering of heathens is, "Interesting theory. What are your sources?" That doesn't mean that we are being sarcastic to one another. Quite often, we literally mean it IS an interesting theory and we would like a source list so we can go do some research on it as well.

We also spend an awful lot of time deprogramming new adherents to the faith. Everyone comes with baggage attached, and one of the challenges for a new heathen is learning to get from under the baggage of previous spiritual dogma. I say this not to cast aspersion on any other faith, far from it. All faiths have their good points, obviously, or they would have no believers. But often, those beliefs can interfere with the, for lack of a better phrase 'proper integration' into an Asatru faith viewpoint.

If you find yourself in situations in the future where you are concerned with a group's views and attitudes, feel free to pop a question or two over here. Many of us have been around the block a few times and know of several warning signs to watch out for. Often these signs are subtle and not obvious to newcomers.
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Lokabrenna
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« Reply #21: May 29, 2011, 09:48:09 am »

Fundie Asatruar? That's certainly what this group sounds like from this statement. Their "The Gods only love their kindred" attitude sure sounds a lot like the "Only people going to our church are saved" attitude some fundie churches have.

There are fundies in every religion. I think some people can't help but carry that mentality over to their new religion. It's unfortunate, but it happens.

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bobthesane
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« Reply #22: May 29, 2011, 09:50:06 am »

with our almost rabid desire to NOT see our faith and beliefs muddled, usurped and destroyed, or generally mistreated by possibly well-meaning but pretty stupid neopagan types

Addendum to the above: I don't mean ALL neopagans are stupid (gods know I have had the pleasure of knowing brilliant neopagans). I am referring to a specific small subset of individuals that get distracted by shiny things and rainbows. We all know them ones I mean Smiley
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« Reply #23: May 29, 2011, 04:07:19 pm »

It sounds like you managed to find a 'wrong' group, and their approach definitely needs work. But they are not wholly wrong, either. While they in no way have any sort of claim on our deities and who the
That doesn't mean you can't be a heathen. There are many variants of Germanic heathenry, as was mentioned previously in this thread. While it sounds like you may have found some jerkwads, don't let them completely turn you off from seeking a connection with the gods of northern Europe if you are feeling that strongly. It is rewarding and personally satisfying to me and to many others I know.

Be aware that often we may come across as very off-putting, elitist, pushy, or otherwise asshats. There are many reasons why we act this way at times. Most of it has to do with our almost rabid desire to NOT see our faith and beliefs muddled, usurped and destroyed, or generally mistreated by possibly well-meaning but pretty stupid neopagan types playing God of the Month Club. We are NOT a faith of anything goes hippies. There is Asatru, and there is NOT Asatru, and yes, we do have the right to determine if what someone is doing is recognizable to us as being Asatru. It's our faith, after all. But that doesn't mean you would be unwelcome, even if sometimes we are grumpy and gruff and make people feel unwelcome.


What Bob said.

My first experience with heathens wasn't a pleasant one at all. I thought the group was made up of complete assholes and it made me question persuing heathenry further. But I didn't give up, I kept looking around, I remembered what that one group had said and applied it in other settings and it all worked out. Now? I could go back to that group and get along much easier because I understand the culture- and heathenry is it's own culture so I think there's a level of culture-shock that can happen when exploring heathenry.

I'm not continuing to excuse this group, they may have been jerks, but heathenry WILL require adjustments on your part as well...it doesn't conform to you.
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Geroth
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« Reply #24: May 29, 2011, 08:29:16 pm »

It sounds like you managed to find a 'wrong' group, and their approach definitely needs work. But they are not wholly wrong, either. While they in no way have any sort of claim on our deities and who the Regin choose to 'love' (although that is not the word I would use), they DO have a right to expect you to behave in certain ways that are commonly accepted by Asatruar the world over as being Asatru. Any deviation from that, and what you are doing is no longer Asatru. Simple as that.

That doesn't mean you can't be a heathen. There are many variants of Germanic heathenry, as was mentioned previously in this thread. While it sounds like you may have found some jerkwads, don't let them completely turn you off from seeking a connection with the gods of northern Europe if you are feeling that strongly. It is rewarding and personally satisfying to me and to many others I know.

Be aware that often we may come across as very off-putting, elitist, pushy, or otherwise asshats. There are many reasons why we act this way at times. Most of it has to do with our almost rabid desire to NOT see our faith and beliefs muddled, usurped and destroyed, or generally mistreated by possibly well-meaning but pretty stupid neopagan types playing God of the Month Club. We are NOT a faith of anything goes hippies. There is Asatru, and there is NOT Asatru, and yes, we do have the right to determine if what someone is doing is recognizable to us as being Asatru. It's our faith, after all. But that doesn't mean you would be unwelcome, even if sometimes we are grumpy and gruff and make people feel unwelcome.

I guess what I am trying to say is, you will likely wish to ensure your skin is of sufficient thickness before venturing into the wilds of Asatru gatherings. We love to argue with each other. It is often how we learn (and learning, you will find, is of paramount importance to us). A commonly bandied phrase at a gathering of heathens is, "Interesting theory. What are your sources?" That doesn't mean that we are being sarcastic to one another. Quite often, we literally mean it IS an interesting theory and we would like a source list so we can go do some research on it as well.

We also spend an awful lot of time deprogramming new adherents to the faith. Everyone comes with baggage attached, and one of the challenges for a new heathen is learning to get from under the baggage of previous spiritual dogma. I say this not to cast aspersion on any other faith, far from it. All faiths have their good points, obviously, or they would have no believers. But often, those beliefs can interfere with the, for lack of a better phrase 'proper integration' into an Asatru faith viewpoint.

If you find yourself in situations in the future where you are concerned with a group's views and attitudes, feel free to pop a question or two over here. Many of us have been around the block a few times and know of several warning signs to watch out for. Often these signs are subtle and not obvious to newcomers.

Yes, I got the feeling that arguing was definatley apart of Asatru, I experienced that at both kindreds I visited and saw a lot of it while I was there. For me personally, that's just something I feel is really unnecessary and not an environment I want to be apart of (just my own position).  Yesterday I started reading the book Essential Asatru by Diana L. Paxson and it's made me question my attraction to the gods even more. I guess there are some things about Heathenry that just dont fit with me and maybe it isn't for me. But I guess that's just part and parcel of being a reconstructionist path, it's not going to suit everybody. 

I agree with you. There is nothing worse than a bunch of New Age hippie types coming in trying to change everything just to suit them. I am most certainly not one of them, far from it. My view on things is either "love it or leave it", I certainly didn't love it, so I left. The second kindred I visited was definatley one of those types of groups, most of them seemed more like Wiccans or "fluffy bunny" Pagans than actual Heathens. While they were very welcoming and nice they are just too far left of field for me. Unfortunately, they are the only two kindred's within a 200km radius so it looks like I will more than likely be practicing solitary or finding another path.
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« Reply #25: May 29, 2011, 11:03:07 pm »

Yesterday I started reading the book Essential Asatru by Diana L. Paxson and it's made me question my attraction to the gods even more.
LOL, why exactly? Just a question. Anything by Paxson deserves a heavy pinch of salt. See the Resources thread sticky-ed at the top of this SIG.

Nothing wrong with being solitary. Just don't call yourself Asatruar if you're not, and you should have very few problems!
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"She who stands on tiptoe / doesn't stand firm. / She who rushes ahead / doesn't go far. / She who tries to shine / dims her own light. / She who defines herself / can't know who she really is. / She who has power over others / can't empower herself. / She who clings to her work / will create nothing that endures. / If you want to accord with the Tao, / just do your job, then let go." ~ Tao Te Ching, chp. 24

"Silent and thoughtful a prince's son should be / and bold in fighting; / cheerful and merry every man should be / until he waits for death." ~ Havamal, stanza 15
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« Reply #26: May 30, 2011, 05:38:07 am »

LOL, why exactly? Just a question. Anything by Paxson deserves a heavy pinch of salt. See the Resources thread sticky-ed at the top of this SIG.

Nothing wrong with being solitary. Just don't call yourself Asatruar if you're not, and you should have very few problems!

To be honest I have no idea why. It just seems the more I read about the gods and Heathery in general, the more I begin to wonder if this is the path for me.

I agree, I think a solitary path is probably for me reguardless of which pantheon or tradition I choose to follow. It's just I have no idea what type of Heathenry to dedicate myself to. Asatru probably isn't for me.? Odinism, Forn Sidr and Theodism are definatley not for me. I feel a bit lost.  Huh
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bobthesane
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« Reply #27: May 30, 2011, 07:11:59 am »

To be honest I have no idea why. It just seems the more I read about the gods and Heathery in general, the more I begin to wonder if this is the path for me.

I agree, I think a solitary path is probably for me reguardless of which pantheon or tradition I choose to follow. It's just I have no idea what type of Heathenry to dedicate myself to. Asatru probably isn't for me.? Odinism, Forn Sidr and Theodism are definatley not for me. I feel a bit lost.  Huh

Well, if modern heathenry isn't for you, it's just... not, you ken? That in no way speaks negatively about you. Modern heathenism is NOT for everybody, just like Hinduism isn't for everybody, or any other faith or faith based philosophy. It sounds like you may have some more soul searching to do. It could also be that heathenry isn't right for you, right now. But in the future, who knows?

Oh, word of advice: don't start your reading and research into Asatru with Diana Paxson Smiley

You may wish to start with the Snorri Edda, move on to Havamal, Voluspa, the Poetic Eddas, and branch out into the sagas of northern Europe: Sagas of Icelanders, Beowulf, JRR Tolkien's wonderful translation of the Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, etc. In other words, start with what would be considered actual source material. Build your understanding of the gods as our ancestors knew them. Then go back and see what people like Paxson, Thorsson, Gundarsson, etc. have to say on the subject. Often you will find yourself reading their materials and wonder where the HELL they came up with some of the crap they spew.
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« Reply #28: May 30, 2011, 08:39:35 am »


As a heathen you can join one of the ideologies or follow your own path, I myself experienced somewhat the same as you did. Some groups were ultra-universalists (happy go lucky) without any sense of the virtues and vices which i do actually uphold. So that set me off, and on the other end there were ultra-nationlists. To the edge of fashism or call it Neo-nazism. And if there's one group of people on this world that just enrage me, it's nazi's. These groups literally declared themselves superior to the rest of humanity...

So i stopped calling myself asatruar. I am now a norse pagan, simple uncomplicated. I worship the norse gods and goddesses, I do my rituals, i cast the runes. But beyond that it's my ideology as it is MY path.

Now i'm not here to force you into anything, i mean we're all free spirits are we not but, if i was in your situation, i'd look in myself what i believe, what my ideology is. And pave your own path. Everyone worships in a different way. Everyone believes in a different way.

Isn't that the beauty of religion?

Honor and Wisdom.
Legion.
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« Reply #29: May 30, 2011, 11:40:56 am »

I'm solitary by default because the closet kindred to me is 2 hours away (and while they will let you hang out in a blot, they aren't accepting new members).   The next available kindreds tend to be 3 or 4 hours away.  That is too far to go except 2-3 times a year (IMHO, with rising gas prices and what not). 

I started Heathenry over a year ago, and had some very bad experiences with the online groups I encountered.   It was like the people were just waiting to pounce on newbies for any perceived signs of fluffiness. I can understand people don't want their folkway corrupted, but whatever happened to hospitality and common courtesy?   I begin to think Heathenry was staffed by xenophobic neanderthals who thought anyone outside their little circle might as well die.   

So I understand where some people are coming from.  But there are good groups out there online and offline.   Unfortunately, as in my case, you may too far away to really meet up with them on a personal level. 
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