Pronounced “AY-seer.” A collective term for the principal gods of Ásatrú, including Odin and Thor. Since at least the 13th century, the term has been used to designate all the Norse gods — even those (such as Frey and Freya) who are considered part of the Vanir, a second group of deities.
Pronounced “blote.” The central ritual of Ásatrú. The Old Norse word for “sacrifice” is used for a ritual in which offerings are made to gods, goddesses and other figures (including elves and land spirits). Blót is often performed outside, and the most common offering is some form of alcohol (beer, mead).
Foundational texts of Ásatrú. The Prose Edda, compiled by Snorri Sturluson circa 1220, contains the major surviving myths of the Norse gods and goddesses and preserves pre-Christian poems not attested elsewhere. The Poetic Edda, an anonymous manuscript from circa 1270, is the most important source of Old Norse mythological and heroic poetry; the poems it contains were composed in the centuries preceding the formal conversion of Iceland to Christianity in 1000.
Unlike holy books of other traditions, the Eddas were transcribed by writers who were not part of the religion and are notable for Christian interpolations.
Pronounced “FRAY-uh.” The major goddess of Ásatrú. She is a deity of death, fertility, love and magic. Although not married to the god Odin, she shares many characteristics with him; medieval literary sources state that she taught him to practice magic. Do not refer to her as “goddess of love,” a common misunderstanding that equates her with Venus.
Pronounced “GO-thee.” Title for Ásatrú clergy (plural: goðar). Use when referring to the role of the individual, but do not place in front of a proper name as an honorific.
Pronounced “MYUL-neer.” The universal sign of Ásatrú; the Old Norse name for Thor’s hammer. In a tradition originating in the pre-Christian era, Ásatrúar wear small neck pendants representing the hammer of Thor. Dating back to Bronze Age carvings in Scandinavia, the hammer has a 4,000-year history as a symbol of protection, blessing and community.
One of the major gods of Ásatrú. He is a deity of death, inspiration, language, magic, poetry, war and wisdom. The subject of many poems and stories in the Eddas, he is seen by followers of Ásatrú as leader of the Æsir. Also known as Woden and Wotan; Odin is the preferred English spelling.
Pronounced “SVAIN-byordin BAIN-tain-son.” The founder of the Ásatrúarfélagið (“Æsir Faith Fellowship”). An Icelandic farmer-poet, he led the emergence of Ásatrú as a modern religion and served as chief goði of the heathen church from its founding in 1972 until his death in 1993. Since Icelandic second names are patronymics (not family names), refer to Sveinbjörn by first name after full initial mention.
One of the major gods of Ásatrú. His main role is one of protection, and he is considered the god of everyday people. Although many myths portray him fighting giants (symbols of dangerous natural forces), historical sources tie him to agriculture. His hammer, Mjölnir, is a symbol of protection, blessing and community; most followers of Ásatrú wear it as a sign of faith. Do not use imagery and quotes from Marvel comic books and films to illustrate Ásatrú belief in Thor.