These books are best read in the order listed.
The Prevalence of Christian-tru in Heathenism
Many people who take more of a rigid and highly dogmatic approach to Asatru and Heathenism, are not actually practicing Asatru at all, they are practicing Christian-tru; the dogmatic dualistic mindset (I am right, you are wrong thinking) of Christianity, with Norse Heathen trappings thrown on top of it. Sadly these Christian-tru types are the louder more preachy sorts (just as is typical of Christians) and thus their ideas tend to get more distributed into the Heathen/Asatru community because of this. To truly practice Heathenism, we need to get back to the mindset of the ancient Heathens. Just simply imitating the ritual practices of the ancient Heathens, hardly makes us Heathen. It is the thinking patterns of a group of people that is the heart of who they are.
The outer practices of all Heathens were never universal, since Heathens were a variety of people scattered around a large area, mostly living in small groups isolated from one another, without the modern level of global communications, so most traditions and practices would have been more local based. Every clan probably had their own family traditions that had been passed down for generations. People did not use books to learn things, all knowledge was passed down orally. It is the Christians that brought book based culture to Europe, and book based culture introduces standardization of ways of thinking.
The whole only one God is valid concept creates a whole different way of thinking, since if only one God is valid then only one way to be is valid, according to this monotheistic approach to spirituality. The whole concept of “religion” only exists within monotheistic religions. It was the spread of the monotheistic religions that created the idea of religions.
Pagan/Heathen religions are polytheistic, thus many Gods/Goddesses, which translates to there being many valid approaches to things in terms of thinking.
This is why the monotheistic religions were able to convert most polytheistic religions, since Pagans/Heathens didn’t see the God of the monotheistic religion as being the one only God, just another God. Thus at first when converting Pagans/Heathens the monotheistic preacher would use this difference to get people to start to worship their God and over time work on making them understand the monotheistic way of thinking. This did not happen overnight. For a long period of time people would just continue to be polytheistic but add the new God from the monotheistic faith into the list of deities they were worshiping.
Most people who take more of a Christian-tru approach to being Asatru or Heathen, came directly from a monotheistic Christian background, and didn’t yet learn to actually think like a polytheist. It can take time for a person to learn a totally different way of thinking. The other side of this is people that came to Asatru or Heathenism from the background of having first been either Wiccan or Neo-Pagan. They tend to have an easier time understanding polytheistic thinking. But often times the Christian-tru person is jealous of people who were Wiccan or Neo-Pagan before coming to Asatru or Heathenism, thus why the common insult of calling people Wicca-tru within the community. I can almost guarantee the vast majority of those acting this way are Christian-tru, people who came from a monotheistic Christian background, and didn’t learn to stop thinking like a judgemental dogmatic monotheistic Christian yet.
To better understand the difference between the Heathen and Christian mindset in regards to the idea of spirituality and “religion” here is a good video that explains more about this.:
In terms of establishing sacred space for a ritual, if you wish something more historical (not that there is anything wrong with modern innovations since any religion must change and grow to remain relevant) you can use the Germanic concept of land taking. To do this you take burning fire around the boundary of the space you are claiming. Historically this was done outside so it was a torch, but for modern purposes a candle can be used. You can ask Thor to make the space you are claiming to be hallowed (made holy).
This need not be limited to a circle, square sacred spaces are probably more common in the historical context. Also if it is an outside space regularly used for rituals, historically they put a series of posts around the space and hung ropes between each post, as a way to mark what is the ritual area. Also in regular outside spaces they piled up some rocks and any liquid items from the offerings got poured over these stones (blood, mead, ale, drink of any sort).
In the historical context any ritual sacred space is considered a frithstead. No acts of violence may be done within a frithstead, and all beings within the frithstead have to leave any conflict outside. Properly done ritual offering of an animal (animal sacrifice) is not considered an act of violence since when they historically did this correctly they did it in a way that the animal did not realize it was being killed, and in a painless way. Later the animal was used as food. Since most us modern people don’t raise our own animals and don’t know the proper ways to kill them for food, animal sacrifice is generally no longer done in modern Heathenism. Offering drink and already prepared foods is perfectly acceptable as an alternative.
“Hail to my ancestors, both known and unknown. Those of my line going all the way back to the beginning, on up to most recent of times. Both men and women, alfar and disir, whom previously had a human form. Those whom I know, as well as those I do not. Those also whom are the ancestors of all humans living now. All humans that have made the journey of life before my time, and now reside in the realm beyond the living. Hail to the ancestors of all! Hail also to the ancestors of my family line! Hail to the ones that guide me. Hail also to the ones that protect me.”
Heathenism is a religion that venerates the ancestors. But what most people don’t seem to consider regarding this is that:
“When we speak of ancestors most people automatically think of their blood ancestors. But an ancestor can be any predecessor or forerunner. Here we are using the word to mean any person whose existence or actions were responsible for bringing you to where you are today. At one time those people would almost always have been blood ancestors, but this is not necessarily true in our contemporary, mobile society. Hence there is many kinds of ancestors, many whom are not genetically related to you (at least not in any measurable way). In the greater scheme of things, since we all affect each other indirectly to some extent or another, “ancestors” can be said to include the entirety of the human race.” – Travels Through the Middle Earth the Path of the Saxon Pagan by Alaric Albertsson
Also an ancestor can be considered all life from the past since humans had to evolve from many forms of more simple life to get to the point we are at presently. Without all the ancestors, including the ones we are related to, as well as the ones we are not related to, and both the human and non-human ancestors, we would not exist or be where we are now. Ancestor worship means to give thanks to all of life that has allowed us to be here now, to know what we currently know, and to have the language, culture, and technology that we currently do. All this is thanks to the ancestors.
I have been interested in all aspects of Heathenism, metaphysics, and spiritual growth for a long time. Always trying to learn more and grow. Was always interested in Vikings since childhood too. Sadly much knowledge is lost about ancient Heathenism, what at that time was known only as the old ways (Forn Sed). But we can learn what traditional knowledge is known, and then also study many traditions since they provide keys to the puzzle too, and then through personal insight realize many more things. All of the Germanic Heathen traditions are part of the cultural spiritual heritage of anyone that speaks a Germanic language, namely English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and others. Culture is always transmitted by the ideas that get encoded into the language itself. So the spiritual heritage of anyone born into a culture that speaks one of those languages is Germanic Heathenism. Sadly we lost our spiritual heritage when the foreign religion known today as Christainity forced the people of Europe to convert or die. So now we are tasked with the challenging task of relearning our true spiritual cultural heritage. This is a process of learning the knowledge which did survive, and then learning through the process of practicing this knowledge, how to really make it work for us as a living breathing and relevant spiritual path, that is meaningful for us in the modern times, and provides us with the needed spiritual tools to find meaning and purpose in life. To find inner spiritual freedom and growth in awareness.
Norse God and Goddess Mantras
Lord Freyr king of ancestors I hail you
Divine fire of Freyja I hail you
Divine Odin seeker and wanderer I hail you
Divine compassion and motherly love of Frigga I hail you
Divine thunder of Thor I hail you
Divine flaxen waves of Sif I hail you
Divine healing touch of Eir I hail you
Divine boats and nets of Njord I hail you
Mysterious web of the Wyrd sisters I hail you
Divine apples of Idunn I hail you
Divine quill and scroll of Saga I hail you
Divine silver tongue of Bragi I hail you
Divine fallen one of Asgard I hail you
Divine beloved of the fallen one of Asgard I hail you
Divine justice and honor of Tyr I hail you
Divine rooster and horn of Heimdall I hail you
Divine primal chaos of Loki I hail you