View Full Version : Asatru and Odinism?

08 Feb 2012, 13:00
How are these different from each other? How are they similar?

11 Feb 2012, 14:04
Asatru is an Icelandic textual based method and means literally "faith in the gods", Odinism is a late 19/20th century construct of a more defined polytheism. They are different by those that prescribe ownership of the words rather than the understanding of the religion. Hope it helps if not ask more questions.

11 Feb 2012, 15:45
Thank you for your response :)

How do their beliefs in the gods differ from each other? Do Odinists put Odin on a pedestal because he is Odin 'Allfather'? What exactly is their view on the Aesir and the Vanir? To me, while some worship them they seem to think of them as different manifestations of Odin, others worship them as individuals, although inferior ones if that.

Also, is there cooperation between the groups? Do they believe the differences between them important or small?

12 Feb 2012, 00:33
Also adding to the confusion of outsiders, some people use them interchangeably.

In my own personal interpretation of the words, Asatru is usually used by one of two groups. The first group are the people that use it as an umbrella term for everyone that follows a Norse tradition. A slight variation on the first group is that some people use it more specifically to refer to Icelandic traditions that are based on extant sources (such as Gunnarr above). The second group are those that are specifically associated with the word, such as the Asatru Folk Assembly or other organizations like that. In both cases, people felt like they needed a more Norse word to describe the Norse beliefs that they held.

Odinism, in my mind, refers more specifically to the tradition that emerged in the late 19th century. I'm not sure that it's ever used as an overarching umbrella term for people that follow the Norse traditions. I'm not an Odinist and I haven't devoted much study to them, so I can't say much about specific beliefs. Additionally, "Odinism" could refer to several different things, so all Odinists may not think the same way. I do know that, because of the time period in which it re-emerged, Odinism attracted (and continues to attract) some of the more undesirable elements of the community, but that's certainly not something that one should use to judge it as a whole.

I, personally, prefer the term Heathen as the umbrella term, because it has an actual historical context. In 793, the Viking Age began with the sacking of Lindisfarne. The event was recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the following way:

Ravages of heathen man miserably destroyed God's church on Lindisfarne with rapine and slaughter.

So, that's my rundown of the subject.

12 Feb 2012, 05:28
I am with you, Heathen is my preferred term, and I am Anglo Scandinavian to boot as well.

---------- Post added at 01:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:11 PM ----------


The subject of Aesir / Vanir is best debated after reading this link, read Simeks work page 10 to 19.