Odinism, also known as Germanic Paganism in the narrower sense, refers to contemporary efforts to revive a pre-Christian ethnic religion with reference to the culture, mythology and beliefs of the Germanic peoples.
At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, völkisch and right-wing esoteric movements in Germany and Austria also showed neo-pagan aspirations. A second revival wave began in the early 1970s.
The beliefs and emphases of individual adherents can vary widely.
They range from strict-historical-polytheistic reconstructionism and romantic-folkloristic approaches (folktro), to syncretic-eclectic and pragmatic-psychological (Jungian archetypes), to mystical approaches.
There is a wide spectrum of Odinist organizations worldwide.
There are many different terms for the different streams of Odinism. Some terms are specifically related to one group, while other terms have an overarching usage.
In 1997, an article in the journal Pagan Dawn listed a number of terms that are more or less synonyms, including the terms Norse tradition, Norse custom, Ásatrú, Odinism, Germanic paganism, and Teutonic religion.
Generally (both by lay people and in the professional literature), the term Germanic Paganism or Odinism is used as an umbrella term for all currents, while other terms have been coined to designate specific cultural currents or foci of belief. For example, Forn Seidr and its modern Scandinavian form Forn Sed became common religious proper nouns in the Scandinavian neo-pagan milieu, whereas Urglaawe refers to the neo-paganism of the Pennsylvania Deitches.
The adjective pagan (Old High German heidan, Old English hæðen, Old Norse heiðinn) historically finds its first use in the Gothic form *haiþi or haiþno in the Gothic Bible of Wulfila as a translation of the expression gynē Hellēnis ("Greek woman") in the Gospel of Mark 7:26, where "Greek" as an antonym to "Christian" or "Jewish" denotes the followers of Greek polytheism.
It possibly goes back to a borrowing of the Armenian hethanos, which is itself a borrowing of the Greek term éthnos. According to other theories, it goes back to Ur-Germanic *haiþinaz, which is related to the New High German heide "land not cultivated, barren land."
Nowadays, paganism generally refers to a non-Abrahamic religion. In the Icelandic sagas, Heiðinn siðr and Kristinn siðr form a pair of opposites, contrasting the pagan religion with the Christian religion.
Asatru is a Danish-Swedish neologism consisting of asa, the genitive plural of Danish æser or Swedish äser "ase", and tro "faith".
The Nordic word tru is etymologically related, but not synonymous, with the German word Treue as well as the English word truth "truth."
The term asatro first appeared in the early 19th century in the writings of Scandinavian national romantics. At that time, they coined a whole series of terms for the ancient religion of the Vikings, such as Asalære, Asareligion, Asadyrkan, Asakult and, of course, Asatro.
These efforts were mainly initiated by the Danish poet and pastor Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig with his work Om asalæren.
In Swedish, according to the Svenska Akademiens Ordbok, the term was first used by Carl Gustaf af Leopold. In Norwegian, the term is used for the first time by Carl Gustaf af Leopold.
In Norwegian, the term asatro first appeared in 1870 by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in his unfinished opera Olaf Tryggvason as a term for the pagan beliefs of the Norse. The music for this opera was composed by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.
The Icelandic and internationally widely used spelling Ásatrú was first used in 1945 by Ólafur Briem in his work Heiðinn siður á Íslandi ("Pagan Customs in Iceland").
The Ásatrú followers are called Ásatrúarmenn in Icelandic. Nowadays, the term asatro or Ásatrú is mainly used by Nordic-Scandinavian or Viking Age Reconstructionist groups for their beliefs. Jörmundur Ingi Hansen defined Ásatrú in 1992 in the following way:
"In my view, the world is shaped by two different primordial forces, the uplifting forces of the Æsir, and the destructive forces we call giants. [...] Ásatrú or paganism consists basically only in recognizing this dichotomy and choosing the side of the Æsir."
The term Ásatrú is sometimes viewed critically, especially by Swedish groups, as a proper name for Germanic pagan religion and is even explicitly rejected.
Reasons for this are its roots in national romanticism, the semantic implication of a doctrine of faith (tro), and its association with the theory of metagenetics among American organizations such as the Asatru Folk Assembly.
Asatru is used as an English shorthand for the Icelandic faith movement Ásatrúarfélagið and is now in common use in Germany as well. The spelling Asatro is less used in German-speaking countries.
The followers of this movement partly refer to the Heimskringla. Ásatrú is sometimes translated - especially in the U.S. - as "Asentreue", which, however, does not apply to many followers of this movement, since with them the Aesir are not always in the center, but also other Scandinavian deities are worshipped.
In the US-speaking world, since 2016 at the latest, the term Heathenry (paganism) is often used to distinguish it from the occultist Ásatrú movement there, when Ásatrú is meant.
In the English-speaking world, the term Odinism is often used for the Germanic paganism, partly synonymous to the term Ásatrú. The term first appeared with the U.S. philosopher Orestes Brownson in 1848 in his Letters to Protestants and was revived in Australia in the 1930s by Alexander Mills and his First Anglecyn Church of Odin and in his work The Call of Our Ancient Nordic Religion.
The term has also been used in North America since the 1960s by Else Christensen, first in the name of her Odinist Study Group and later of the Odinist Fellowship, also founded by her, and from 1973 in Britain by the Odinic Rite (originally and until 1980 Committee for the Restoration of the Odinic Rite/Odinist Committee).
The latter decidedly rejects designations such as Ásatrú on the grounds that the Viking Age is only a small epoch in Germanic religious history. The often misunderstood view of the Viking Age is that the Viking Age was only a small period in Germanic religious history.
The often misunderstood notion that this tends to be a mono- or henotheistic variant of the faith is countered by the Odinic Rite in its pamphlet Odinism - A European Folk Religion by explaining the term as synonymous with other common faith designations such as Ásatrú. The Odinic Rite has also used the term to refer to the Viking Age.
Analogous to the term Ásatrú, the term Vanatrú ("Vanenglaube") was coined to indicate the faith focus on the deity of the Wanen. Vanatrú, like Ásatrú, can thus be understood as a branch within Norse paganism (Forn Siðr).
In contrast to Vanatrú followers, who include the Aesir in their beliefs in addition to their focus on the Wans, Waincraft followers worship only the Wan gods, which they take to be pre-Indo-European deities that were worshipped before the arrival of the Aesir in Europe.
Rökkatrú is a school of thought within Germanic Odinism whose followers primarily worship the Jötunn, giants of prehistoric times such as the underworld deity Hel, the Midgard serpent Jǫrmungandr, the Fenrir wolf, and the god Loki.
Within the broader Germanic Neuheidic movement, Rökkatrú is widely not considered part of the religion, since the entities in focus here are mostly opposed to the other deities in their workings.
The Folketro ("folk belief") is a direction within the Germanic Odinism, which sees its basis primarily in the respective regional folk customs. Mythological bases form regionally handed down legends. Customs elements such as folk dances and folk songs with partly assumed pre-Christian-pagan roots are taken up and considered in a new or old context.
In parts, one even distances oneself from the actual Ásatrú movement, since here Ásatrú is understood in the narrower sense as the reconstruction of the Viking Age religion and in parts as a national romantic transfiguration of this time.
In the Folketro, the religion of the time is rather understood as an expression of the popular beliefs of the time. Representatives of the Folketro are especially the two associations Foreningen Forn Sed (Norwegian "Union Firne Sitte") in Norway and Samfälligheten för Nordisk Sed (Swedish "Union for Nordic Custom") in Sweden.
The representatives of the Folketro stringently reject influences from New Age, Wicca and the thelemic teachings of Aleister Crowley. Because of this stance, Folketro is also disparagingly referred to by its critics as funtrad, which is an abbreviation for fundamentalistisk traditionalisme ("fundamentalist traditionalism").
Ein Begriff für die alte heidnische Religion, der oft synonym mit Ásatrú verwendet wird, ist Forn Siðr, ein altnordischer Begriff, der "alter Brauch" bedeutet (engl. auch Firne Sitte).
Er setzt sich zusammen aus altnordisch forn "alt" und siðr "Brauch". Der Begriff Forn Siðr und Varianten wie forn landsiður "alter Landbrauch" oder fornri siðvenju "alter Brauch" finden sich in einer Reihe von Sagas wie der Färöer-Saga, der Saga Magnús konungs Erlingssonar, der Saga Ólafs hins helga oder der Skjöldunga-Saga.
Im Gegensatz zu dem neu geprägten Begriff Ásatrú ist inn forni siðr ein Begriff, der bereits in altnordischen Schriften zu finden ist, wo er im Gegensatz zu Heiðinn siðr "heidnischer Brauch" zu den Begriffen inn nýi siðr "der neue Brauch" und Kristinn siðr "christlicher Brauch" wird.
Im engeren Sinne beziehen sich Forn Siðr und die moderne skandinavische Form Forn Sed auf die Rekonstruktion des nordischen Wikingerheidentums auf der Grundlage altisländischer Sagen und Mythen.
Forn Siðr ist u. a. der bevorzugte Eigenname der größten neuheidnischen Religionsgemeinschaft in Dänemark: Forn Siðr - Asa- og Vanetrosamfundet i Danmark ("Forn Siðr - Asen- und Wanenglaubensgemeinschaft in Dänemark").
The Anglo-Saxon Fyrn Sidu is the Old English equivalent of the Old Norse Forn Siðr and is widely used to refer to Anglo-Saxon neo-paganism, which is thus distinguished from the mainly Nordic-Scandinavian neo-paganism commonly referred to in English as Odinism. The term Fyrn Sidu is used as a religious designation mainly by the U.S. association Geferræden Fyrnsida.
Þéodisc Geléafa ("tribalism") or the theodic community is a neotribalist movement that emerged in the United States since the 1970s, initially seeking to reconstruct solely the ritual practices and beliefs of the Anglo-Saxon tribes that originally settled in England.
The basis for this was usually the Germanic legal texts handed down from early English history. The Old English adjective þéodisc (adapted into New High German as theodic) derives from the noun þéod, which means "tribe" or "Thing community" and is etymologically related to the word Germanic and the Common Germanic *þeudō "people."
From the original purely Anglo-Saxon Theodic community, tribalistic currents later developed, drawing on other "tribal traditions" as well. Thus, there are now also Frisian, Norman, Gothic, Jutlandic, Danish and Swedish Theodic groups. Most of these are based in the USA.
The Firno Situ is the Old Alemannic loan translation of the Old Norse term Forn Siðr and is accordingly a form of Germanic Odinism with a focus on the historic Suebian-Alamannic regions. It is based on the traditions and archaeological findings of this area as well as on the folk customs that are still alive there today.
The Old High German concept of Firni Situ with a general focus on the Elbe-Germanic regions can be seen as closely related. The deities such as Wodan, Ziu, Donar, Volla and Frija Hulda are worshipped under their Old High German or Alemannic names. The most important rituals are Pluoz, Sumbal and Chuofa.
Urglaawe ("Urglaube" in Pennsylvania German) is a branch of Germanic Odinism that is particularly strongly oriented toward continental Germanic traditions and southern German customs. It thus shows strong parallels to the Firno Situ. In principle, the Urglaawe is found exclusively in U.S. areas with a population of German descent, such as Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Its core beliefs derive from Deitsche folklore and custom (also called powwow), German American customs, and traditional healing practices, but to a lesser extent from other Germanic, especially Scandinavian, sources.
Cult languages of the Urglaawen are both English and Pennsylvania Deitsch. As with the other branches of Germanic Odinism, the followers of Urglaawens have a wide range of beliefs from polytheistic reconstructionism to syncretistic-eclectic views to psychologistic-mystical approaches.
Unlike Christianity, for example, Germanic paganism is not a book religion or a religion of revelation, which is why all its typical features such as monotheism, the concept of sin, paradise and hell are completely or, depending on the interpretation, largely absent.
In this sense, there is also no faith in Germanic paganism, since this would imply the idea of an existence of a given that goes beyond what can be directly experienced, while - as the name Ásatrú already indicates - it is rather about the faithfulness to traditions, ideas and customs that are assumed to be true.
The author Fritz Steinbock wrote in his book "Das heilige Fest, Rituale des traditionellen germanischen Heidentums in heutiger Zeit" in this connection (meaning): "One did not ask in former times (in the Germanic religion), in which gods do you believe, but to which gods do you sacrifice?
The Swiss religious scientist Hans-Peter Hasenfratz classified the Germanic Odinism as a cult religion with an eidetic-tactile religious symbol system.
This speaks thus above all to the sight and touch and is mediated by these. Thus, there are images and representations of gods, such as the statues in the temple of Uppsala or various stake gods, but no sacred scripture.
Moreover, Germanic paganism is not about an "individual way of salvation", since it is about the salvation of all the clans involved in the community, which, because of the gods once manifested in them, are of great importance.
Beside the ancestor veneration the Germanic Odinism also shows elements of a mystical religion, because for example in the form of the Utiseta (meditative stay in the nature) or the Blót the harmony with the nature and/or the gods is tried.
As is also common in other neo-pagan currents, followers of Ásatrú or Forn Siðr occasionally use the term "nature religion," which has not been scientifically verified, to describe themselves.
On the one hand, this is understood as a "naturally" grown religion - in contrast to religions of revelation - and on the other hand, it refers to the central role of nature as a source of religious-spiritual experience.
The original North Germanic religion had a strong tendency towards animism. This can be seen in various sagas, such as the one about a sorcerer who swam to Iceland in whale form to see if it was possible to invade. According to the saga, he was attacked and driven away by the land spirits of Iceland.
Germanic Odinism partially adapted these ideas, which is expressed in the form of worship and belief in the existence of fabulous beings of lower mythology (e.g. elves), various creatures of folklore (goblins, pixies).
Nature is perceived by a part of Ásatrú followers as animate, although nature and its phenomena are not revered as sacred, since they are not considered supernatural, but created by the gods.
Sacred groves and mountains are therefore only "links" between people and the gods, while the objects themselves are not divine. Entering regions ruled by mythical creatures can be beneficial or harmful to the person entering.
Objects are also perceived as ensouled by some ace loyalists and may have a fate of their own. These items, usually weapons, are given names.
A well-known example is Sigurd's sword Gram. These items are not "consecrated" before use, but carry their power and strength within them.
In order to constantly renew and bind the Ásatrú followers to the gods, various customs and rituals are held and practices are performed, the main ritual forms being the blót and the sumbel.
The Germanic sacrificial festival is called Bloz or Blót (ahd. bluoz, an. blót, aeng. blôt). Etymologically, the word derives from the Urindogermanic *bʰlād- ("to sacrifice, to offer"). Some linguists suggest a relationship with the Latin priestly title Flamen, if this is based on idg. *bʰlādsmen should go back.
Originally, it may have been a nomen agentis rather than an old abstract meaning "sacrifice." Others assume a basic meaning of "invocation" for Old Norse blót on the basis of a Finnish loanword luote "enchantment" and other parallels in Lithuanian and Latvian.
According to the current state of research, there is no relationship to Nhd. blood, as is repeatedly assumed, or to the Indian name of the Brahmins.
To blozen or bloten a deity (ahd. blôzan, an. blóta, aeng. blôtan) means to strengthen the deity.
The sacrifice (ahd. bluostar), with which the Ásatrúar want to strengthen their deities or intensify their relationship with them, is always related to the deity to be worshipped and can take the form of food, art objects and pastries.
The sacrifice of animals (namely horses) or humans, as it was common in the original Germanic religion, no longer plays a role in the new paganism.
Houses or temples in which the gods were blazoned were called plôzhûs ("bloz house") in Old High German, although today, in the absence of existing temples, blazoning is often done outdoors. Slightly modified folk etymologically, the name "Blocksberg" (Blozberg) refers to the bloz.
The Sumbel (an. sumbl, aeng. symbel, as. sumbal) is simplified spoken a ritual Umtrunk or a ritual drinking party. Roughly speaking, a sumbel proceeds as follows: It is generally opened, led and ended by a sumbel giver (as. symbelgifa). In the middle of the participants is a cauldron filled with mead or beer.
After the consecration of the cauldron, a drinking horn is filled with the potion from this cauldron. Afterwards, this drinking horn circles among the participants of the sumbel, being passed on by a tavern maiden and refilled as needed.
In the first round, a minnetrinken to the gods takes place through the utterance of toasts. In the second round, the deceased relatives are commemorated. During the third and subsequent rounds, participants swear oaths, make vows, and recite songs or poems.
Prayer, as the name implies, is a petition addressed to the gods (cf. the principle do ut des). Prayer is generally done in an upright standing posture with arms raised and spread out to the sides.
The general direction of prayer is north, if one does not address the respective deity directly. As a rule, within a blót, the gods are invoked in their entirety; within a prayer, of course, the individual may place special emphasis on a particular god or goddess without disrespecting the other gods.
Galster (ahd. galstar, aeng. gealdor, an. galdr) is a type of ritual chant or poetry using staff rhyme with a strongly parallelistic verse structure. The art of Galdr or Galster is considered a form of magic in its own right, i.e. magic by incantation in the sense of calling the desired.
Seiðr is a generic term for certain magical practices that are less common than, for example, blót and sumbel. The word is related to the German "Sieden", accordingly Seidr is or was about practicing magic by heat-generating ecstasy techniques like espg.
Shaking, rattling or dance-like movements, possibly also sexuality. In the Scandinavian Eddas and Sagas Seidr is considered unmanly in the sense of dishonorable ("ergi" = bad) and is primarily assigned to the goddess Freya, while the more respected magic form Galdr is assigned to the god Odin.
The term Ansleich (ahd. Ansleicus, as. Ôslâc) is composed of the words Ans (ahd. ans: "god") and Leich (ahd. leih, mhd. leichen: "to hop", "to play"). It is a performance or a game in the sense of a hymn to and for the gods.
Thus, according to the occasion, certain mythical stories of the gods are performed. Particularly popular, for example, is the performance of the "Bringing Home of the Hammer" by the god Donar, as described in the Þrymskviða.
Asentreue usually bury their deceased in or at so-called ship-settings.
To date, there are three official burial sites for Ásatrú devotees: the Grafreitur Ásatrúarfélagsins at Gufuneskirkjugarði near Reykjavík, Assistens Kirkegård in Odense, and Voksen kirkegård in Oslo.
In Reykjavík, the Ásatrúarfélagið is currently building the first temple in Iceland. The building site is located just outside the city, south of Perlan near the coast at Nauthólsvík.
Modern architecture was deliberately chosen for the building, building materials are rock, concrete, wood and glass. This is the first farm to be built in Northern Europe in almost a thousand years. Completion was originally scheduled for the summer of 2016.
In July 2017, due to the challenging architecture of the building, the completion date was given as mid-2018, but this proved to be unfeasible due to economic and architectural difficulties.
Completion was eventually split in stages: Meanwhile, the office section is still scheduled for completion in 2020, and the rest of the temple by 2022.
Icelandic folklore, in particular, can look back on a largely unbroken tradition dating back to the time of settlement and, with the Edda and other writings, has literature that goes back at least almost to the time of the Germanic tribes.
Moreover, Iceland was isolated for centuries, and the adherents of the revitalized religion are predominantly Icelanders. Accordingly, with some caution, Icelandic neo-paganism is the only neo-ethnic religion of the Germanic language region.
In 1972, Ásatrú was recognized as an official religion in Iceland, under the name "Ásatrúarfélagið," through the efforts of the poet Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson.
He achieved this not least because of his personal relations with the Icelandic Minister of Justice at the time and against the intervention of a Christian bishop.
In Beinteinsson's view, Ásatrú was still the most deeply culturally rooted religion in Iceland and the one that best suited the country's nature.
His efforts to have Ásatrú recognized as a religion equal to Christianity in Iceland can be understood in part as a reaction to the growing membership of the "Children of Jesus" (a Christian sect) in the early 1970s.
The current Allsherjargoði of the 5118-strong "Ásatrúarfélagið" (as of January 12, 2022) is Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, who also enjoys a good reputation as a composer and composes film music, among other things.
On April 3, 2006, another Aesir faith community, the Reykjavíkurgoðorð, was recognized by the Icelandic state. The Reykjavíkurgoðorð was founded by Jörmundur Ingi Hansen, a former allsherjargoði of the Ásatrúarfélagið.
In the early 1990s, the merger of the Viking group "Tor Hjälpe", the Seið group "Yggdrasill" and other groups created what is now Sweden's largest Ásatrú association, Sveriges Asatrosamfund.
It had about 300 members in 1998. For official recognition as a religion, however, a religious organization in Sweden needs 3000 adherents. Due to the strong growth in membership, Sveriges Asatrosamfund has received funding from SST ("Statens stöd till trossamfunden" = "State Support for Religious Communities") since 2007. In 2010, Sveriges Asatrosamfund renamed itself Samfundet Forn Sed Sverige ("Community for Firne Sitte in Sweden").
Almost in parallel with Sveriges Asatrosamfund, Samfäldigheten för Nordisk Sed was founded as an umbrella organization for five local groups (so-called Gäll) that did not want to organize in Sveriges Asatrosamfund for reasons not further specified here.
In 1999, under Keeron Ögren, a reorganization began in the sense of increased centralization of the initial umbrella association in accordance with the Swedish government's new legal guidelines for religious communities. As a result of these reorganizations, the so-called Torsåker Gäll separated from the Samfäldigheten för Nordisk Sed and later dissolved altogether.
In Norway, the Åsatrosamfundet Bifrost was founded in the early 1980s on the initiative of Egil Haraldson Stenseth, but it disbanded by the end of the 1980s.
In 1993, Egil Haraldson Stenseth succeeded in reviving Åsatrosamfundet Bifrost in collaboration with Katrine Åstorp, who had met Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson, then Allsherjagoden and founder of Ásatrúarfélagið, in Iceland.
In 1996, Åsatrosamfundet Bifrost was officially recognized by the Norwegian government as a religious community, which has since allowed legally effective ceremonies such as marriages to be held.
In 1997, Jón Júlíus Fillippusson, who had moved from Iceland to Norway, became a member of Åsatrosamfundet Bifrost.
However, due to internal divergences, he left it after only one year and founded Foreningen Forn Sed with five other former Bifrost members.
In 1999, Foreningen Forn Sed was also officially recognized as a religious community by the Norwegian government.
In Denmark, too, twelve people, especially from various Viking groups, initially joined together in the name of Ásatrú, which led to the founding of Forn Siðr - Asa- og Vanetrosamfundet i Danmark on November 15, 1997.
After a lengthy legal battle, Forn Siðr was officially recognized as a denomination by the Danish Ministry of Church Affairs on November 6, 2003.
Originally, the ministry refused to recognize Forn Siðr because it had doubts as to whether Forn Siðr was a "proper denomination" at all. According to the ministry, these doubts were based on the lack of dogmatic faith specifications on the part of Forn Siðr.
A reconstruction of the "old faith" could already be observed in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century, when several Germanic-pagan communities emerged.
In 1913, on the initiative of the painter and poet Ludwig Fahrenkrog, several of these communities joined together to form the Germanic Faith Community (GGG). The basis of the GGG was the creation of a religion oriented towards the "Germanic people of this earth", which had its foundations in German mysticism.
The connection of the more or less pantheistic God mysticism with the tales of the Nordic mythology was especially promoted by Fahrenkrog himself.
The GGG experienced a suppression from the state side during the time of National Socialism, whereby, on the other hand, the Forschungsgemeinschaft Deutsches Ahnenerbe served for the scientific legitimization of the Germanic descent myth and the alleged superiority of the so-called Aryan race. Heinrich Himmler, who was interested in occult topics, used the Ahnenerbe as a research apparatus for numerous activities.
The GGG existed until 1964, and the Germanic Faith Community, newly registered as an association in Berlin in 1991, sees itself in unbroken tradition with the earlier organization.
The new GGG claims, in contrast to other pagan associations in Germany, to have a formulated uniform doctrine with priests and shrines.
It also claims to be the European-wide leader of the pagan denominations, but has not been able to assert itself.
Most of today's associations do not see themselves in the 19th century tradition, but in the definition of Ásatrús as defined by Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson in Iceland in 1973 as an "ancient custom."
In March 1995, a sister organization of the British Odinic Rites was founded in Cologne under the name "Odinic Rite Deutschland e. V." (ORD). In April 2006, the association received its present name Verein für Germanisches Heidentum e. V. by unanimous decision of the members.
In the generally pagan-oriented Rabenclan e. V., the since independent Ásatrú group Nornirs Ætt organized itself in 1997. The Nornirs Ætt is organized supra-regionally, but also maintains several sub-groups, which are called "Fylki" as regional Thing communities.
It has no valid legal form, but is a grassroots association of friends. This Ásatrú organization is known above all for its many years of educational work against right-wing extremist or racist influence on the Ásatrú scene.
In August of 2000, another association, Eldaring e. V., was founded with the goal of living Ásatrú. In 2002 it was registered as a registered association at the district court of Trier.
The Eldaring maintains good relations with the Danish Forn Siðr - Asa- og Vanetrosamfundet, the Norwegian Åsatrosamfundet Bifrost as well as the Dutch Het Rad.
At the general meeting in October 2012, it was announced that Eldaring e. V. was recognized as a non-profit organization. On the website of Eldaring e. V., the number of association members is stated to be (as of January 2022) about 450 association members.
With the increasing spread of Ásatrú in Germany, the topic again became attractive for right-wing extremist propaganda.
The NPD politician Jürgen Rieger, who died in 2009, held the domain asatru.de, through which the Nordic newspaper is also distributed. The Ásatrú movement largely distances itself from it.
In the early 1970s, former U.S. Army Ranger Stephen McNallen began publishing The Runestone magazine. At the same time, he also founded the organization Ásatrú Free Assembly, whose successor organization, Ásatrú Folk Assembly, still exists today. Also in the early 1970s, Else Christensen founded the Odinist Fellowship movement in the United States.
The dispute over the orientation between folk Ásatrú (can only be lived by persons who are of Germanic/European origin) and universal Ásatrú, as well as the conflict over whether "white supremacy" was significant in Ásatrú, led to the dissolution of the Ásatrú Free Assembly in 1986.
The Universalists regrouped under the name The Troth, and the ethnic, sometimes racist, adherents regrouped as the Ásatrú Alliance (AA). McNallen refounded the Ásatrú Folk Assembly (AFA) in 1994 as a folk-oriented Ásatrú organization.
In 1997, the English Odinic Rite (OR) established an American branch organization that is also folk-based. In the same year, the three ethnic organizations (AA, AFA and OR) merged to form the International Asatru-Odinic Alliance, which broke up in 2001/2002 due to internal disagreements.
In Anglo-American-speaking countries in particular, a distinction is made between universalist and folkish Ásatrú.
Adherents of universalism are convinced that the practice of Ásatrú is a decision of the will and thus anyone can adopt this faith, regardless of national and ethnic affiliation.
Followers of the ethnic or folkish branch, on the other hand, hold that Ásatrú is the ethnic religion of the Germanic people. In their opinion, religion is a matter of heredity and blood.