By Wyatt Kaldenberg 2010
Many people new to Heathenism have asked me what’s the difference between Odinism and Asatru. Many people think the words are interchangeable. They are not.
First, there are many more difference between Odinism and Asatru than just ten, but top ten lists are very popular today. I could have written 100 difference, but I want to get this list out before next year. Also, I don’t mean this as a put down of Asatru in anyway. This is just to show folks a few of the differences between these two religions.
To really get a clear picture, read Sigi Harrbard’s book, The New Odinism, 1982, published by Asgard Press, or Odinism: Past, Present, and Future by Osred, 2010, published by LuLu, and compare these two books to anything that the Troth has publish and you will see the differences between Odinism and Asatru.
First, Asatru and Odinism seem to be the same thing to outsiders just as Christianity and Islam seem to be the same religion to many Heathens. But people on the inside see great differences. Here are ten differences I will just pull off the top of my head. I have no idea what the ten will be. They will be in no order I am guessing, but who knows. They will be merely the first ten differences to come to mind. Some really big differences may not make my top ten list. Well, here are ten differences between Odinism and Asatru.
1. Modernism vs. reconstructionism. Asatru and other sects of Heathendom wish to reconstruct the old Heathen religion, so they can practice it like our ancestors did and bring it into the modern world by studying the Eddas, Sagas, folklore, and books on Norse Myths. Odinists believe that the past is a good place to do research, but Odinism is a religion of the here and now. We do not put as much importance in studying and reconstructing the past. The Gods are living being that are alive today. We can contact the Gods here today, so if we can contact our Gods directly and find out from them what they want today; how is studying books on myths more important than direct contact? So, studying the Vikings, Goths, etc. is more important to Asatru people than to Odinists, albeit Odinists read the Eddas and Sagas too. The Eddas and Sagas are not a Heathen Bible as some Asatru people think. They were written by Christians, not Heathens. This point was too long. The rest should be shorter I hope.
2. Asatru people often dress up like Vikings, Saxons etc. and learn dead languages. They try to make blottir look like something out of the middle ages. Odinists do blottir in modern dress and speak modern languages to the Gods. The Gods are Gods. They are smart enough to learn a new language.
3. Asatru is a catch all. Asatru can mean anything from a front to a homosexual pedophile sports club like Stephen Cox and the creepy Jarls of Balder tried to set up in the U.K. to new age Wiccan hippies in the Troth, practicing witchcraft to Neo-Nazis, goose-stepping in the showers of Pelican Bay prison. Asatru means too much to too many people to really mean anything. It is a catch-all word. Odinism, like Theodism, means something very defined. Odinism doesn’t mean everything in Heathendom.
4. Our relations with the Gods. Odinists put extreme importance on the God Odin and his wife Frigga. Asatru people put a lot less importance on Odin and Frigga.
5. Odinists believe Odin is the ultimate Godhead. Asatru people do not. Sigi Harrbard said in his book that all the Gods and Goddesses of the Folk are really just masks of Odin. Odinism can sound like monotheism, but it mostly is not. I don’t believe that, but I believe everything serves Odin and Frigga. Most Asatru either don’t believe this or believe it to a much lesser degree.
6. Odinism believes the Gods are living being that can be contacted here and now. Personal relationship with the Gods is more important than studying books. Odinists believe Odin is the God-King of our Folk. He always was and always will be King. Odin was the Alfather over 100 billion zillion big bangs and multi-verse creations and deaths before the big bang that created our own multi-verse, as well as, Odin will be the Alfather of every new multi-verse created and destroyed after ours ends: on to a billion eternities. Asatru people don’t believe this. Some Asatru people believe this atheist crap that some non-Heathen mythologist created without any proof that Tyr was the first Alfather. If this was true, it would mean the entire Heathen faith was untrue and nothing more than a collection of myths and folklore as some in Asatru teach. Odinism is a religion, not a study of Norse mythology. Odin is God eternal.
7. Folk, race, and politics. Asatru people debate Folkish Vs Universal. I have been an Odinist since 1978. I never met one single Odinist who was a universalist. All Odinists believe Odinism is not for export and is a uniquely Caucasian religion.
8. Odinism is like Islam; it is a total worldview. Odinism is a religious, spiritual, economic, social, and political movement, and Asatru is just a religion.
9. Odinism is not a hyper-ethnic centered religion of people of Germanic, Norse, Saxon, etc. ancestry as some see Asatru. Many Asatru people think Asatru is just for Germanic people. Odinism treats Norse, Germanics, Slavs, Basques, Celts, Baltics, Balkans, Greeks, Spaniards, Russians, etc. as all Children of Odin. Odinism is the religion of the Greater Northern Folk. Most Odinists see Odinsim as a Nation of Islam for White people. Odinism is a religion to bring our people together, but to divide them.
10. Odinists believe in the fall of the West and most pray for it. Once the West falls, the Gods can return and we can rebuild our homeland anew. Most Asatru people don’t believe in the fall and rebirth of the West. Oh, that’s ten differences. Time to go.