Sunday, March 28, 2010

Difference Between Asatru And Wicca

Difference Between Asatru And Wicca Image
I've been researching Asatru for about 2 years now, and have been a practicing Wiccan for 10. Just to let you know where I'm coming from.

The first primary difference between Asatru and Wicca (or at least the way Wicca seems to be developing these days) is that Asatru is primarily polytheistic, and Wicca tends to be pantheistic. Also, the Wiccan Rede (a modern invention, by the way) has provisions against harm ("An harm ye none, do what ye Will"), where Asatru has no such provision, and to some degree possesses a warriorhood mystique. This does not usually seem to get overly melodramatic (as far as I have seen), but it does exist.

Also, with only rare exceptions, Asatru groups tend to be very decentralized and do not have elevation systems as Wicca does. Leadership tends to be based on the local level, and I have never seen (so far) the sort of ego stroking common among Wicca with the Asatruar. One main reason for this is that they tend to have few qualms about telling each other to fuck off when they choose to, and still are able to go out for beers together. That kind of candid behavior has become frightfully rare (as far as I have experienced) among Wiccans, who seem to enjoy petty little squabbles and backstab gossipry.

Asatru rituals are much simpler than most Wiccan rituals. The primary rite, the blot, is basically little more than sharing a round of beer or mead while praising the Gods, although it can be made more elaborate if that is desired.

Asatru are rarely eclectic. They have a solid source of lore for their workings and magic (if any), and tend to be more likely to put effort into a new beermaking kit than memorizing the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.

Asatru tend to look down on "Norse Wicca," and with good reason, to a degree. Where Wicca is an occult system that has developed into a religion (and a largely mismashed quasi-Celtic, semi-New Age, dash o' ceremonial Crowley stuff), Asatru is a religion largely rekindled from historically-recorded accounts of specific peoples, with occult qualities a secondary (thought important) side. Wicca does not possess ancestral roots of its own (here I should clarify between "Wicca" and "witchcraft"), where Asatru does. Norse Wicca tends to be regarding by some (not all) Asatruar as uncommitted wannabes.

At the same time, however, I don't think any of them would stop to tell a Norse Wiccan that they thought he/she were a jerk/twit/etc. Asatruar tend to be somewhat libertarian, with something of a 'live and let live' attitude. Like any group, there are varying opinions on this matter. Many Asatru are concerned about this not so much becuase they're arrogant or whatnot, but they fear (I think) the watering-down of their faith, as the New Age has watered-down the Craft.

For myself, if you are strongly attached to the Wiccan framework and find closeness with the Teutonic Gods, then go for it. But I'd also suggest giving the Asatru method a try. You might be surprised with the results.

I'm currently teaching some Craft students who revere the Teutonic Gods (Oaktavia Grove in Boston). They are aware that what they are doing is considered borderline, and all I ask is that they respect that. You also may find that you can happily engage in both.

By the way, in case you want to read it, you might be interested to know that most Asatruar I know HATE Ed Fitch's *Rites of Odin*.

Feel free to email back. Hope I was of help.

Oh, you might be interested in writing a group I helped to develop: The Wyrd Network, which was designed to help answer the very question you asked me. It's not a recruitment thing or such, but may be of interest to you.

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