Asatru: A Native European Spirituality
Runestone Press, 2015
When Steve McNallen pledged his loyalty to the Gods and Goddesses of Northern Europe in the late 1960s, he could have hardly imagined the far-reaching implications of this personal act of devotion. Now, over forty years later, Asatru (an Icelandic word that means true to the Gods) is one of the fastest growing new religious movements in America.
In Asatru: A Native European Spirituality, McNallen describes the origins and development of Asatru, its kinship with other tribal and ethnic religions, and the cosmological and philosophical underpinnings of this dynamic and inspiring faith. He outlines the rituals, seasonal festivals, and code of ethics embraced by modern practitioners of Asatru. More importantly, McNallen explains his vision of what Asatru can and must become. Asatru is more than just another empty offering on the spiritual smorgasbord of post-religious America. For men and women of European descent, Asatru is the key to unlocking our vibrant spiritual heritage.
Part One: A New-Old Religion
Chapter 1–Asatru: A Native European Religion
Chapter 2–The Blessings of Our Ancestral Faith
Chapter 3–One God is Not Enough
Chapter 4–Who, or What, Are the Gods?
Chapter 5–The Gods as Kin and Friends
Chapter 6–Ancient Gods in the Twenty-First Century, Part One
Chapter 7–Ancient Gods in the Twenty-First Century, Part Two
Chapter 8–The Thousand-Year War
Chapter 9–How the Gods Came to North America
Chapter 10–The Universe: Its Origin and Evolution
Chapter 11–Many Gods, Many Peoples
Chapter 12–Fate or Freedom?
Chapter 13–Values, Virtues, and Ethics
Chapter 14–Our Many Souls: Life and Mind
Chapter 15–Our Many Souls: Power and Potential
Chapter 16–What Happens After We Die?
Chapter 17–The Purpose of Life
Part Two: Practicing Asatru
Chapter 18–Why Ritual?
Chapter 19–The Blot or Blessing: “A Gift Calls for a Gift”
Chapter 20–The Sumbel: Power from the Past
Chapter 21–The Wheel of the Year
Chapter 22–The Days of Remembrance
Chapter 23–Runes: Mysteries of the Universe
Chapter 24–A Holy Reserve
Chapter 25–The Future of Asatru
Appendix 1–The Declaration of Purpose of the Asatru Folk Assembly
Appendix 2–Odin Blot
Praise for Stephen A. McNallen
“Asatru is a Native European spirituality and as such has far more in common with Native American religions or the Shintoism of the Japanese people than it does universalist religions such as Christianity. Navajo spirituality is primarily for Navajos . . . the spirituality and the ethnicity of the people who practice it are indivisible parts of a whole. The same holds true for Asatru. As such, it is at least as much about who we are as what we believe. This book is the literary distillation of more than four decades of experience and will be highly informative and inspirational to both newcomers and those who have been involved in Asatru for many years. There could be no better single book for the beginner on this path as all the aspects of Asatru are explained with great clarity.”–Richard Rudgley, author of Pagan Resurrection: A Force for Evil or the Future of Western Spirituality?
“Years in the making, this book represents the distillation of a lifetime of work by the most significant single figure in the history of the revival of the Norse Gods and Goddesses in modern America. Any and all who are interested in the tribal religion of our ancestors need to have this book in their libraries.”–Edred Thorsson, author of ALU: An Advanced Guide to Operative Runology
“Stephen McNallen is known to all followers of the Northern Tradition as a stalwart upholder of Asatru of many years standing. This book is his compelling vision of the ancient northern spiritual tradition, a fine introduction to Asatru for all followers of the old Gods and seekers after spiritual enlightenment.”–Nigel Pennick, author of Pagan Magic of the Northern Tradition: Customs, Rites, and Ceremonies
About the Author
Stephen A. McNallen has been a soldier, a journalist, and a schoolteacher. He has travelled the world, from Burma to Bosnia, in search of insight and adventure. In 1971, McNallen founded the Viking Brotherhood, the first legally recognized religious organization dedicated to the Gods and Goddesses of Northern Europe. Today, McNallen is the head of the Asatru Folk Assembly, the preeminent Asatru organization on the North American continent. A proud native Texan, Steve McNallen currently resides in Northern California with his wife, Sheila.