Wotanists?

Discussion in 'Pagan' started by iBrian, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    What are Wotanists specifically, in terms of belief, practices, and inspirations?

    How do Wotanists differ specifically in these ways from other NeoPagan groups?

    And how are Wotanists generally perceived in the NeoPagan community?

    Questions. :)
     
  2. --IlluSionS667--

    --IlluSionS667-- New Member

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    Practices : search for inner strength and harmony, and a lifestyle according to the principles of natural law

    Unlike modern new-wave religions, natural law is the center of their ideas. They do not do rituals, but seek contact with the divine by means of meditation or other individual means to do so. There are no general rules. The only rules there are is to respect natural law, to respect those who do not hurt you or your beloved and to protect your beloved.

    Some take the Gods literally, but more only take them symbolically.

    There is no real NeoPagan community. There is a wiccan community, there is a LaVeyan community, there is an Asatru (Wotanist) community, ....

    I assume that most people consider Asatru people (Wontanists) as extremists, because of their stong beliefs in natural law.
     
  3. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Question: what is "natural law" and how does one know if they are in accord or in conflict with it? I would say that if "natural law" is outlined in any way, then it is essentially a list of rules even though it might not be called that.

    (It reminds me of how most religions claim their particular scripture or interpretation of scripture is "God's law" or "God's word" or "God's will," which is really just another way of calling it "natural law" and trying to imply it is somehow an extra-human list of rules.)

    That is certainly one perspective, but there are plenty of people who would disagree. I have heard people say there isn't such a thing as the larger "gay community" because it can be identified by specific subgroups like lesbians, gay men, transsexuals, bisexuals, etc. But we in the larger "gay community" seem to be able to act like a community and hold events like annual pride parades, etc. despite the existence of subgroups. I've witnessed the same with the larger Pagan (or if you prefer, Neo-Pagan) community. The only thing that stops any of us from coming together in community are our self-imposed limitations.
     
  4. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    I know other Asatru, and they live by a warrior's code and sense of honour - that's the focus for their sense of the world. Male-bonding beer-drinking machoism with purpose and history.

    What IlluSionS667 is refering to is the killing of the extermination of the "weak" in society, and I'm not at all convinced that this is a standard Asatru ideology.
     
  5. Quesocoatl

    Quesocoatl R a i n b o w T r i b e

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    Wotan is more tribal than ..ceremonial. In Asatru, one is allowed to have their own conception of God and still be a "member", so to speak. It is more a point B...than a point A.

    It is all-encompassing like Wicca or Islam but....differs in that key aspect.
     
  6. Sisetekh

    Sisetekh Queer Kemetic

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    Those self-imposed limitations are what make us less than a community. I don't really think there is a real "Pagan Community," either. When I see Pagan Pride events, for example, I don't see "paganism." I see "Wicca and things close to it." Think about it: They usually hold them on Sabbats, they talk about it as if everybody believes in "the God" and "the Goddess," they do things that make people like me look completely out of place there. I wouldn't be comfortable going there, my belief system isn't the same.
     
  7. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Events are only going to involve things that the organizers think are relevant. If the organizers are predominantly Wiccan, and no reconstructionists get involved, then what will likely be the emphasis?

    These issues are not unique to the Pagan community. The gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community deals with these issues all the time, and has on occasion been extremely successful in coming together as a whole community. Other religious groups do the same. It's not an impossible task.

    Even if we look at just Wiccans, there are innumerable subgroups -- Alexandrians, Gardnerians, eclectics, solitaries, etc. Yet they seem to be able to come together in larger cross-tradition events like festivals, etc. It's all a matter of the subgroups choosing to get involved and speaking up for their own interests.

    I'll repeat the point that the our self-imposed limitations are the biggest reason for being alienated from a larger community. If we don't allow ourselves to get involved in the larger community, then why should we expect the larger community to bend over backwards to try and represent us?

    I wonder, too, if the "victim mentality" is part of the problem with these self-imposed limitations. It's easy to assume that we won't be welcomed into the larger community because we're discriminated against ("poor me!") and so we don't even try to speak up or reach out. There are always excuses to not try if we look for them. But once we get over that and actually reach out, we often discover that we're really not as unwelcome as we had convinced ourselves would be the case. (Again, look at the example of the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community -- both as a larger community itself, and how that community fits in with mainstream society.)
     
  8. Lokke

    Lokke New Member

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    Hail, all!

    This post seems to've been dormant for quite some time, but when I came across it, I couldn't help myself. I had to write something. What was posted here in reply to I, Brian's questions just seemed totally off base and wholly unsatisfactory. If anyone is still interested in Asatru and its practices, I'll leave this here for them to peruse at leisure, which I hope they will.

    Let me start off by first saying, however, that the bulk of this is my UPG, and that if I insult anyone, they probably need to stop being so sensitive.

    Asatruar, or "Wotanists," are people that have chosen to take up the folk religion of pre-Christian Europe. Asatruar honour the Shining Gods and Goddesses of Asgard, honour their ancestors, and honour the wights of the land and the home. Of course, there are the divisions: reconstructionists and revivalists, universalists and folkish Heathens, etc. These are more viewpoints than anything, but there are also different forms of the religion itself, while the term "Asatru," in my opinion, acts of something as a blanket term. There are differences, for example, between Ealdriht and Irminenschaft.

    Asatruar aspire to live honourably and die with a reputation they can be proud of. They aspire to live by the Nine Noble Virtues: courage, truth, honour, fidelity, industriousness, hospitality, perseverance, self-reliance, and discipline. Most of us also aspire to be lore whores, but it's not a requirement.

    --IlluSionS667-- said that Asatruar "do not do rituals, but seek contact with the divine by means of meditation or other individual means." This is far from the truth. Anything that paints a picture of Asatru as a primarily solitary religion ("other individual means") is way, WAY out in left field. Asatru is very centered on community. Asatru is about kith and kin (and we do consider the Gods our kin), about serving one's community. Asatru is about family. In fact, ancestor veneration is a huge part of it. We also very definitely DO practice ritual. The main rituals are blot (rhymes with "boat") and sumbel. A blot is a sacrificial ritual where one makes an offering to the Gods (or to a specific God or Goddess). This is a gift to the Gods, and gifts strengthen relationships. It's not a bribe or something done out of fear, but a way of sharing and deepening a connection. Sumbel consists of three (generally) rounds of toasts (usually made with mead, of course). There are different ways to do it, but often the first round is dedicated to the Gods, the second to ancestors, and the third is left open for personal boasts, songs, poetry, etc.

    --IlluSionS667-- also stated that "there are no general rules" and that "more [folk] take [the Gods] symbolically." These are sort of iffy statements. First off, every religion has its code of ethics, even if it isn't printed directly in some book. Aside from living by the Nine Noble Virtues, Heathens look to the Havamal for general suggestions on living. As for being literal or symbolic in their view of the Gods, of course there are folk on both sides of the fence, but I have not met with an overwhelming amount of folk who take the Gods as mere symbols or personifications of thunder, rain, etc. This is merely my perception, but it seems to me that it is rather the opposite, and more folk see the Gods as real.

    Asatru differs vastly from most neopagan groups, in my opinion. For starters, many folk dislike the label "neopagan" very much and never use or condone it. Many folk resent being tossed under the neopagan umbrella, and I am one of them. Asatruar do not, as a general rule, accept the "all gods are one god" view. Those who do are most likely Wiccatru, a fluffy bastardization of a legitimate pre-Christian religion. Heathens do not have anything remotely similar to the Wiccan Rede; there is no "harm none" rule. Magic does not play a huge role in Asatru. Heathens don't go around waving wands and casting spells. We have no organized clergy or degree systems. Asatru is a very practical, grounded religion. It just doesn't have that sickeningly sweet, New Agey top coat that many neopagan religions seem to carry.

    Aside from those differences, Asatru is very often referred to as the religion with homework, and this is with good reason. Most Heathens consider the core body of our lore (The Poetic Edda, The Prose Edda, the Icelandic sagas, etc.) essential if one is going to take the religion seriously.

    As for the general perception of Asatruar, it differs. We're seen as people who like to play dress up (some groups wear period clothing), people who are stuck in the past, people who spend more time reading than doing (simply because we read a lot doesn't mean we don't balance it with doing!), people who just like to drink a whole lot, and even neo-Nazi racists (some folk think one needs to be of northern Europen descent to have a rightful place in Asatru). Most of these are exaggerations at best, gross misconceptions at worst. Also, a lot of people seem to think that Asatru is just for big, tough macho men, or that the path is demeaning to women. I'll tell you right now that I happen to be a woman myself, and Asatru is anything but cruel to its ladyfolk. Our Goddesses are strong, clever, proud, and are in no way lowered beneath our Gods on account of gender.

    I hope that clears up some views on Asatru.

    In frith,
    Lokke
     
  9. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Hi Lokke, and many thanks for taking the time to provide your in-depth explanation - and welcome to CR. :)
     
  10. Lokke

    Lokke New Member

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    And thanks for the welcome!
     
  11. gwenwifar23

    gwenwifar23 Mistress of Light & Love

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    Wotan (or Wodan or Odinn) is the teuton god of the sky. He has one burning eye (the sun) which he hides in the ocean each night.

    Odinn once was Yggr (the dreathful one) until he hang himself on the tree of worlds Ygg-drasil. After nine nights and days he sung the runes and was liberated from himself. After that, he was called Odinn of Wodan.

    The power-animal of Wodan is the wolf. His priests are were-wolves or Ulf-hedh-nar. (Ulf means wolf, hedh means hide or skin, a nar is an initiated person who is death for his sibbe (family) and tribe.) To become an Ulf-hedh-nar, you have to kill the wolf, your lower-self, and eat its heart.

    This is how the course Yggdrasil® of Andreas Firewolf starts. Once you have killed the old Yggr you can travel through the tree of worlds and you become its guardian. The tree-of-worlds is similar to the tree-of-life of the QaBaLaH.

    Unfortunately for most readers, the course is in dutch. Andreas Firewolf is the only "wotanist" I have ever met. Dutch "Asatru" followers are very much against him, because his teachings are so different from what they teach and believe.

    To become a werewolf you have to hang for nine days in a leather bag. That is the tradition. Andreas Firewolf did that in 1988. Since that time he teaches Yggdrasil®.
    In Netherland we have sinterklaas, a festivity like christmas. Sinterklaas is a bit like santa claus, but he rides on a horse (the eight-legged horse Sleipnir which is a symbol of the sun) over rooftops. In ancient times this was the start of yule or "between the years", a period of half a moon. At the start young man (Yolasveinar or yule-youngmen) came to the sibbes and took boys away who had reached puberty. They were put in a leather bag and hung on an ash-tree for three nights. After this initiation they came home as a young man with a new name and a new identity. The boy was hung on the tree and a new person was born from the tree. So people were called "children of the ash-tree".
    Allthough I am initiated by Andreas and am a student of him, I am not a werewolf. We are not a cult with a creed to be followed. You get guidelines to discover your own power-animal and your own path. My power-animal is a cat and so I am a were-cat or Volva or Wolwa. My role-model is not Odinn or Wotan, but Freya, the goddess of the Walpurgis-night. She is the goddess of love and free sexuality, of orgies and sexual power. I am like my role-model.

    In ancient times you had were-wolves (ulfhednnar) and were-bears (or bersekrs). The were-wolves got bad press and then were abused by hollywood. In ancient times they were just priests and teachers of the people.

    If you want to read more visit:
    http://www.andreas333.com/eng/shaman/
     
  12. Iomharr

    Iomharr New Member

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    I thought I'd chime in on this older thread.

    There are many different variants of the Germanic religion. As far as I know Wotanism is different from Asatru in that it has a heavier focus on politics and race. Most Germanic reconstructionists don't see WOTAN-ism (distinct from Odinism) as a very positive thing.

    You are correct. The "extermination of the weak" has absolutely nothing to do with Asatru. :)
     
  13. Out of the Box

    Out of the Box High-priest

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    I think what "-- IlluSionS667 --" meant by "natural law" is basically a set of rules and principles instinctively followed by animals and primitive human societies but ignored by modern man.

    Wotanist themselves are strongly divided by politics (usually "ultra-left" vs "ultra-right") and interpretation (literal vs. symbolic). Wiccans and other New-agers hold completely different views that have little in common with Wotanism. As such, it's hard to speak of a pagan community.
     
  14. Out of the Box

    Out of the Box High-priest

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    Some people practise wotanism as an exoteric religion with literal Gods. Others, like me, practise it as a hermetic philosopy. "Lokke" seems to belong in the first category and "--IlluSionS667--" in the second.

    I'm pretty sure that's not what he meant. When Hermetic wotanists speak of "nature's law", they refer to a set of rules and principles instinctively followed by animals and primitive human societies but forgotten by modern man. The determination of what "nature's law" is all about is based on the study of the way of life of group animals (like wolves or apes) and primitive human societies in combination with ancient myths. Some, like myself, go beyond just Wotanist myths and also allow themselves to be inspired by eg. the Bhagavad-Gita, the Avesta and other ancient texts.
     
  15. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    Welcome to the forums, Out of the Box. :)

    IlluSionS667 actually turned out to be a Belgian Neofascist who tried to disrupt the site - my comments were actually in context of that, which may be missing from this thread - so my apologies for that.
     
  16. Out of the Box

    Out of the Box High-priest

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    Thanks.

    Perennialists are quite often mistaken for hatemongering fascists because they think out of the box (hence my nickname) and because they reject the values of modernism and post-modernism. It wouldn't be the first time people mistook me for a hatemongering fascist and judging by what I can read in his only post I see no reason to believe it was different in the case of this illusions-guy.
     
  17. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    LIFO

    THREE
    As one might gather, I Brian, there are typically various segments to most groups especially one as large as the "NeoPagan community." As one who has associated with literally thousands of self proclaimed "Pagans" <1> the Asatru/Odinist/Wodenist is looked upon, in the main, as a possible threat within that larger community to those of the so-called "All Sweetness and Light" <2> persuasion which appear to be in the public majority. The Asatru <3> have been indicated by that segment as the first threat to them, within the larger community, followed by the Druids and other groups. One may wonder if it may be related to the greater representation of the male aspect in both the Asatru and Druid segments of NeoPaganism on the West Coast of the USA.

    TWO
    From what I have been able to ascertain the Asatru are willing to actively engage in the gross physical acts of self defense including the use of arms. The majority of the West Coast Pagans <4> with whom I have spoken with concerning this subject have displayed a decidedly pacifist bent. It is this willingness to resort to violence that may also be linked to the sense of distrust alluded to in the preceding section.

    ONE
    As I am not a practicing Asatrur/Odinist/Wodenist I shall leave such comment to one who is.

    ZED
    These are of course but my observations.

    NOTES
    [1] it is true that the "Neo" prefix is shunned by most who would otherwise fit under that umbrella and the preferred label is "Pagan".

    [2] There are many labels that have been in use to describe some of the various "segments" of the NeoPagan Umbrella some of which can be quite harsh.

    [3] I shall use the term "Asatru" to reduce typing "Asatru/Odinist/Wodenist."

    [4] "West Coast Pagans" The overwhelming majority of self professed Pagans also state some affiliation with Wicca and the terms are frequently used by the un-informed interchangably. This leads to a great deal of confusion both within and without the NeoPagan "communities."
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  18. DrumR

    DrumR New Member

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    Revisiting my previous post concerning the Asatrur/Odinist/Wodanist <1>

    My last post may appear to have painted a harsh view of the Asatrur and might have left some with the view of a group of arrogant and hostile people who are willing to resort to violence at the drop of a hat. The Asatrur, as a whole, are not of such a bent for these are but a group of folks who love and celebrate life and family and who are desirous of maintaining a solid, functional, and safe community <2> for same.

    These are folk who have their feet planted firmly on the ground rather than having their heads up in the clouds. This is not to say that the Asatrur are lacking in imagination or creativity, rather that they are people with a firm set of priorities. That set of priorities are, as someone has previously pointed out, based upon their "Nine Noble Truths/Virtues"<3>.

    The defence of self, family, community, and blood is a consideration that is taken with great seriousness by the Asatrur and they do not shirk from this task but are willing to meet it head on. Yet it is this very willingness displayed by the Asatrur towards their own defence, that many, whose unguarded speech and actions, have found most frightening. In their unreasoning fear, these ill-informed people have moved away from the Asatru, instead of embracing them, all the while labeling the Asatru as a 'dangerous" and violent people.

    Then there is the matter of the mis-understanding of the term "blood" as used above in connection with Asatru defense requirements. This term of "blood" is seen by many as an indication of, and has been perverted by those with, a Racial Purity Ideology. It is most unfortunate that this Racial Purity perversion has been adapted by many who are and have been incarcerated for they actively perpetuate that falsehood. It has been those of the Racial Purity mind-set whose perversions, of a basic and otherwise noble aspect, have caused a great deal of dificulty for the Asatrur at large both within and without of that very broad Neo-Pagan umbrella.

    Yet were more people to examine the Nine Noble Truths/Virtues, with their basic and advanced commentaries, perhaps many would find ther is much of worth in their naming and elucidation. One can be hopefull that more might be willing to embrace the Asatru as the ethical friends they could be rather than holding the Asatru as a potential foe.

    I await someone, who follows the Way of the Asatru, to expand further upon these noble virtures.




    NOTES:
    1 - "Asatrur/Odinist/Wodanist" Again I shall use "Asatrur" as generally inclusive of all mentioned for purposes of brevity.
    2 - "community" There are many Pentacle-bearing 'bumper stickers' here in the 'States whose message is "Create Community". From my personal experiance, speaking with the owners of same, few are fully aware of all that simple message requires.
    3 - "Nine Noble Truths/Virtues" A simple internet search will yield the seeker much information concerning these Virtues.
    3a - From wikipedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Noble_Virtues>
     
  19. Cerrdor

    Cerrdor ~Me~

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    The difference between Asatru' and Wotanism is huge! Asatru' is a norse belief system, Wotanism is not simply old Germanic Asatru it is a racial belief system. Wotan stands for "Will Of The Aryan Nation" it was mostly coined by David Lane a famous white supremacist.
     

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