I am very curious about Asatru, most of the pagans I know are some form of Wicca (we have a few in my UU congregation) so I have never gotten anything other than what I have read on a few webpages. Hope you don't mind me asking a few questions.
Do you believe that Thor, Odin, Freya, etc.. are all real beings who interact with worshippers on a personal level? Or are they representations for different aspects of mankind?
Do Asatruists have a well defined set of morals, or does it depend on the individual? How does Asatru look at things like abortion, homosexuals, the death penalty, etc...
Is there an equivalent of heaven (my Norse mythology is rusty, and I'm not sure how much of it is relevant to modern Asatru. I seem to remember Hel was not a place of punishment and that pretty much everyone went there aside from the ones who went to Valhalla). Do you view this as literal truth or allegory?
The gods of Asatru seem more like big brothers and sisters than any real authority figures. Is that a misperception on my part?
Hope none of my Q's were offensive, just trying to learn more :)
Here is one of the best sites that I've found to answer your questions:
I know I've learned a lot from that site and the Asatru forum that I hang out on.
As far as the gods go, they're our Elder Kin, a respected Grandfather or Uncle more then just "buddies" and Yes, I do feel that they interact with us on a personal level although they don't want us to totally depend on them for every little thing. We're suppose to be strong enough to take care of our own and have the strength of character to solve our own problems. We live by the Nine Noble Virtuesmembers.aol.com/AsatruKs/nnv.html and look to family and community as being greater then our selves. After all, we cannot survive without our family or community so what we do, the course we take that can effect either must be weighted out carefully. Anyway, thanks for asking. Check out the links and hopefully all or at least most of your questions will be answered. In Frith and Troth.
Hospitality is the virtue where you recognize that, in addition to being an individual, you are also part of a community. In the ancient Norse world, hospitality meant opening your house to travelers and treating people who came to visit you with the same kindness and respect as you give your own family. The idea was that humans survive by helping each other and that, in a way, all humans are part of the same family. You practice hospitality when you treat other people like they are your family, with kindness and respect. We no longer live in a world where you can safely invite strangers into your home. You can do other things, though, like treating strangers with courtesy. You can also help people in your community by helping with food drives for the poor and other projects like neighborhood cleanup and doing house repair for disabled people. Doing chores like shoveling snow for an elderly neighbor or helping children cross the street safely or helping a friend get settled in a new house are also forms of hospitality. Of course hospitality is also making your friends and relatives welcome when they come to your home, and perhaps offering them something to eat or drink. The other side of hospitality is behaving well when you are a guest in someone else's home. It might mean avoiding a fight with your cousin or helping the younger children get something to eat at a family gathering. In general, if you treat other people the way you would like to be treated, you will be practicing hospitality.