If you have ever read the Norse epic, Eddas, then you would have come across the beginnings of the religion of Asatru. This particular belief system is associated with pre-Christian Nordics, which is also known as the Viking Age. Another term connected to this religion is Germanic Paganism. What we see today is a modern revival of this religion.
Since the religion is built upon ancient records, there is no known founding date for this belief system. The modern revival was established sometime in the 70s. The ancient form of this religion is thought to have begun somewhere in the northern parts of Europe. The modern revival groups began in Iceland. Since there is no founding date, this also means that the modern revivalists did not have an ancient founder to look up to. Instead, the modern revival founder, SveinbjÃ¶rn Beinteinsson, serves as a focal point within the establishment of this newer branch of the religion. There aren’t a concrete number of worshippers on the books, but it is thought that throughout the world, more than a few thousand exist.
Perhaps you have heard of this religion, but it was called by an alternate reference. There are many different names that have been given to describe this belief system. They include: Germanic Neopaganism, Germanic Heathenism, Odinism, Heithni, as well as Heathenry. When referring to the ancient form of this religion, you may have heard Germanic paganism, Germanic religion or a well-known standby, Norse mythology.
The first words written to text regarding the religion comes from Latin writers, who provide various descriptions that allow others to piece together the remnants of this ancient form of worship. The likes of Julius Caesar spoke of he early Christina missionaries, as well as brought life to archaeological evidence, such as amulets and other cult objects. They listed where and what was taken from graves, as well as identified the names of these historic places associated with the religion.
During the 7th century, Anglo-Saxon England made a transition from Norse paganism to Christianity. After the 10th century, it is believed that the Germanic/Norse religion was eventually phased out. Through research, it was detected that Christianity did retain some of the rituals of these religions. One of the most well known of these is the name and concept of Easter.
Although, there are no main texts that the ancient Norse people or modern Asatrus follow, followers turn to Norse myths for a written connection. There are two Tcelandic epics that are considered important in regards to this religion. They are called the Eddas. The first of these texts can be traced back to the 12th century AD. An Icelandic poet named Snorri Sturluson, preserved the ancient word by creating a collection of poems, myths, as well as quotations. Sometimes, this epic is also referred to as the Prose Edda, as well as Snorri’s Edda. The second was a manuscript dating back to the 13th century, which is called the Codex Regius. Various poems depicting heroes and Gods are included within the text, which is sometimes called the Elder Edda or the Poetic Edda. Looking at the Asatru of today, you will find that there are small groups of followers located throughout North America, as well as in Scandinavia.