Asatruar, Heathens, Forn Sed... What is the basic differences between?
Asatru and Heathenism? I understand the difference with Forn Sed.
- Ymmo the HeathenLv 79 years agoBest Answer
Asatru is a very specific way of a reconstructed polytheism with the belief in Norse gods. It was started in 1970's simultaneously by two people, Sweinbjorn Benteinsson in Iceland and Stephen McNallen in America.
Asatru has a very strict hierarchy, rules, prescribed rituals which borrow elements from other Neopagan ways, and it also has some teksts to which the followers can refer. Asatru has pretty stuctured rituals, borrowed from Wicca and ritual magic and it incorporates many practices that were never part of the historic Heathenry. On the other hand, Asatru practitioners don't practice magic at all - magic is an essential component of original Heathen world-view. Asatru is practiced and governed by several modern day organisations, such as AFA, the Troth and so on.
Heathenry, on the other hand, is a very general term which meand ALL ways and paths of historic germanic (Teutonic) polythiesm, INCLUDING the reconstructions such as Asatru.
I use the term Heathenry mostly for the original beliefs and historicaly accurate reconstructionalism of polytheism, and Asatru for modern paths.
In truth, all Asatruar are Heathens, but not all Heathens are Asatruar.
Within Heathenry, you have many different paths, such as Asatru, Odinism, Theodism, Anglo-Saxon Heathenry, Irminsweg - Germanic Heathenry and magical paths such as Seidh, Norse shamanism etc.Source(s): I am a Norse Heathen polytheist, but not an Asatru.
- Mike H.Lv 49 years ago
The answer depends on who you ask... sort of like the old saying about Yankees:
To foreigners, a Yankee is an American.
To Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner.
To Northerners, a Yankee is an Easterner.
To Easterners, a Yankee is a New Englander.
To New Englanders, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
And in Vermont, a Yankee is somebody who eats pie for breakfast.
Most people I know consider heathen the more generic term, meaning someone who associates with indigenous (pre-Christian) Germanic culture. Asatru specifically connotes a belief in the gods which not is not strictly true of every heathen. Some modern heathens are atheists, some humanist or just not into the whole "mystical" aspect. To compare it to something similar, think of how some people are of Jewish heredity/culture, but not really all that into the faith.
I don't know any Americans who actively use the term Forn Sed ("Old Way"). I think that's more of a European term.