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Asatru    
Asatru literally means "true to the gods." It is a strongly polytheistic religion based in the ancient Norse culture -- which gives them both their pantheon of gods and their code of ethics. 

There are three focal points to the Asatru religion. First comes the gods. These fall into two categories, the Aesir and the Vanir (there are also the Jotnar -- the Frost Giants -- but these are only worshipped on an individual basis as part of one of the other two groups). Second and third, the Asatru worship their ancestors and the land (and its spirits). 

Worship in Asatru takes the form of a blot. A blot is an offering made to the gods, land, or ancestor spirits. Usually, mead (a sacred honey liquor) is poured out or drunk to honor whomever the blot is for. The intent is to strengthen the ties with the gods, to give them thanks for gifts received, and to ask favors. 

Belief in magic is not a prerequisite for Asatru, as religion and magic are considered seperate things. Prayer is communication with the gods and not considered a magical working, although some Asatruar (like the Icelanders, see below) use magic heavily in their rituals. 

Its interesting to note that, Asatru is one of the state religions of Iceland. There are a few differences between Asatru in America and that of Iceland. For starters, there are fewer Asatruar in Iceland than there are in America. Icelandic Asatruar also worship differently: there is one centralized church where all Asatruar go to worship (as opposed to the many, small local groups in America). Asatru in Iceland is also very magic centered. 

Related Topics:
[ Asatru Death and Afterlife | Runes | Asatru Ethics | Norse Pantheon ]
 
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