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The Great Misunderstanding – Ásatrú Versus Nazism

July 22, 2012

In solidarity with the 3rd Annual Day of Action Against Racism and Fascism the Circle Ansuz Collective is launching this website. Take a look at our “About” page to see where we stand. We hope to use this blog to communicate a point of view and a stance within both the Heathen and anarchist communities. In the future we will compile information about White Hate groups within Heathenry to keep the community informed and safe, collect articles that express the aims and ideals of the collective, and to show the links between anarchist theory/practice with pre-Christian Germanic culture.

We decided that the inaugural article should be one that shows firmly where we stand on Nazis within Heathenry. It is an older article but we consider it a classic. National Socialist ideology is not compatible with Ásatrú!

-Guthroth

The Great Misunderstanding – Ásatrú Versus Nazism

Written by: Jón Júlíus Filippusson

Translated by: Ulv Tore Skaar

I grew up in Iceland where the people live in close contact with nature and their folk religion, and this became a part of me also. The strength of the nature, the elves, the trolls and other figures in the hills and the stones where just as real to me as anything else. Odin and Thor were to me vigorous gods and protectors, and they were also my forefathers who lived somewhere in the neighborhood. The Icelandic sagas and Snorri’s Edda were my fairy tales and children’s books. Later on when I grew up to be an adult, I decided to declare myself out of the state church and into the Ásatrúarfélagið in Iceland. To me this was quite normal as it is for so many other Icelanders, nobody thought there was anything wrong in doing that. This is because; in the inner soul of the Icelandic population the old Æsir, elves and other beings, are just as important as Jesus Christ. This was something I had to take care of. When I moved to Norway some two years ago, I got a culture-shock. Nazism, racism and satanism was something I had never experienced before in my home country. Extremists had put my gods in disrepute and used my culture in order to legitimate their dreadful intentions. Ásatrú had suddenly become something evil.

Ásatrúarfélagið

Ásatrúarfélagið

In the beginning there was nothing besides the big emptiness of Ginnungagap, which lies between the icy realm of Niflheim the north and the fiery realm of Muspellheim in the south. There, where the warm and the cold did meet, the destructive jotun/troll Ymir got created out of the melting ice. That’s also how the cow Audhumla came into being. Audhumla nourished herself by licking the ice and on the third day she had licked a complete man out of the ice. That was Buri. He became father to Bor. Bor had his three son’s, Odin, Vili, and Ve, with the jotun-woman Beistla. The three brothers hated the destructive Ymir so much that they killed him and created the world out of his body. That’s how the creation came into being in the Norse mythology which most Ásatrúar will confess themselves to.

The first gods Odin, Vili, and Ve could not tolerate the destructive Ymir in the same way as many people today refuse to tolerate, and will distance themselves from, Nazism.

Ásatrú today is above all a religion, based on the old Scandinavian folk traditions and their folk religion. Politics has nothing to do with it. But what we do know about the heathen times, is that the governing system was similar to modern democracy, where the people met every year at the “Thing” (convention). They did not talk like leftists or right-wingers at the Thing, and the Scandinavian people where certainly far from submissive at those times. To them freedom meant everything. In Iceland they kept this way of governing until the 13th century without any big problems. One might say it was a democratic anarchy, independent from a “strong” leader, or any king (apart from a short period where they paid tribute to the Norwegian empire). Furthermore there was no emperor, no Mussolini, nor any Adolf Hitler.

In the opposition to Nazi and Fascist ideology which is based on being submissive to a dictator, Ásatrú is based on individual freedom within democratic bounds. All individuals are responsible for themselves and their own doings regulated by the laws. This is the main ideology of Ásatrú. That is how it was thousand years ago in the heathen society. Nobody was above the laws, not even the king or other chieftains, who, like anyone else, could be judged and punished according to the demand of the people. Only with the influence of Christianity was power taken away from the people and then transferred to a central dictatorship represented by the church and the Christian kings. Why the Nazis then are inspired by heathen culture and Norse mythology is totally incomprehensible. There is absolutely nothing in the heathen culture or in the mythology which is comparable with racism or the Nazi ideology. The Nazi ideology is at odds with Ásatrú at all levels. The individualism which Ásatrú is based on does not describe the Nazis. The Nazis are like sheep: dependent on a “stronger” leader. They don’t have any honor, which was (and still is) the most important property of the individual.

Ásatrú is a humane religion, where the Ásatrúar ascribe to themselves a certain moral behavior based on the old Hávamál, Odin’s sayings. The Hávamál teaches us, among other things, worthy conduct, how one should behave reasonably, with justice, hospitality, and benevolence. There isn’t very much of this one will find within the Nazi ideology. Or is there someone who thinks of Nazism as justice, or that their tasks are carried on with good-will and hospitality? It’s quite clear that the Nazis lack both the honesty and the dignity to be compared to or to have anything in common with the Ásatrúar. To the Ásatrúar, Odin is the god of knowledge, poetry, and art. Nazism has nothing that could be compared to this. Nazism is without culture and artificial possibilities. Nazism despises art. This we did see when they burned books and intellectuals prior to and during WWII. One should neither think that the neo-Nazis are especially engaged in poetry or anything else culturally. One thing is quite certain: They have not learned anything from the Hávamál.

Since 1996 in Norway and since 1973 in Iceland, Ásatrú has been officially recognized as a religion. Most Ásatrúar from these groups distance themselves from all types of extremism. This is documented by their laws, because this could never combine with their view of life nor with their religion.

In 1994 the Icelandic Ásatrúarfélagið declared this:

“The Ásatrúar wish to lift up to dignity again the old customs and the cultural heritage. This they do without expense to other religions, old or new, or to the cultural heritage of other people. Fanaticism and hatred against others is not familiar to / holds no part with Ásatrúarfélagið’s ideology…..” and further on: “The old customs are based on tolerance, honesty, fidelity and respect for nature and all life therein. The main principle of the heathen custom is that every human being is responsible for itself and its own doings….”

Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost

Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost

In 1996 the members of Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost in Norway agreed on this:

“Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost is a fellowship of åsatru-groups trying to create a viable community for those who want to honor the old Norse gods and keep the heathen customs alive. Bifrost would like to promote the modern understanding of the pre-Christian northern traditions, art, and culture in general. We want to preserve our cultural heritage and keep it alive and updated through practice based on the old sources, scientific research, and new insights into the history, the ethics, the myths, and the Powers seen through modern heathen eyes. Bifrost strongly oppose neo-Nazi or satanist interpretations of the Norse traditions as well as any attempt to discriminate on racial, sexual, or gender-based grounds.”

Sveriges Asatrosamfund

Sveriges Asatrosamfund

The same attitude is shared by “Sveriges Asatrosamfund” in Sweden. Furthermore, the Grand Godhi of Gladsaxe Blotsguild in Denmark wrote an interesting article about Nazism inside Ásatrú, where he describes Nazism as one of the most un-Nordic systems there ever was. The Nordic Ásatrú associations do all have their web-pages on the internet where one can visit if there still should exist any doubts about this.

Jón Júlíus Filippusson and Ulv Tore Skaar are members of Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost in Norway. Jón Júlíus Filippusson is also a long standing member of the Icelandic Ásatrúarfélagið.

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