Asatru is a form of Nordic Neopaganism which is part of a contemporary revival of Germanic paganism contemporary polytheistic nativist and reconstructionistic religious groups of the Germanic and Nordic peoples.
Its adherents call themselves a variety of names, such as “Ásatrúar”, “Odinists” or “Wodenists”.
It is based upon polythesitc faith and mythic tales. According to the religion, there are four key deities and several minor gods. Adherents usually live in communities called Kindreds.
They ascribe to the “Nine Noble Virtues” as a model for their lives. While the original Norse would have participated in animal sacrifice, modern worshipers offer mead, a honey-wine, to the gods. Major holidays revolve around the changing seasons with Yule being the most important. It is celebrated in late December and continues for twelve days. A bit like Christmas, really...
Precursor movements began in the early 20th century in Germany and Austria, with a second wave of revivals in the 1960's. It is dedicated to the ancient gods and goddesses of the North.
Central to their beliefs os the concept of the Wyrd, which is the interconnectedness of all events and things, the wholeness of all nature. Sometimes described as the Fate, it is not fatalistic as it is beng constantly transformed by ongoing action even though the future is shaped by the wires to the past. The Wyrd os the connection of all things from the past, the present and the future mythologically represented by the Norns, Urd, Verdandi and Skuld.
It is believed that Elves or land-spirits can inhabit natural objects such as trees or stones. These spirits can, and do, take sides in the affairs of the inhabitants of their land.
In the simplest form of the adherent's personal practices, direct ancestors (sometimes referred to as Dis) are often praised and honoured during the rituals of sumble and blot. Land veneration is most evident in the rituals dedicated to the Elves and Wights (spirits similar to the Shinto lesser Kami)