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Author Topic: Requesting a comparison/contrasting of druidry and asatru (including biased opinions)  (Read 5258 times)

Aspirer

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I'm in the process of finding the path I want to start on, and it's really between these two.  My heritage and ancestry is predominantly Celtic, and for this reason I'm interested in Druidic practices.  However, Asatru and the Northern lifestyles, lore and practices appeal to me, maybe moreso than that of druidry.  While I have and will continue to study on my own and do research myself, I would like to hear some experienced analysis of the two, as well as your personal biases and preferences--but only if you can reason your biases out.  (i.e. not "I think Druidry rocks, Asatru sucks," but "I think Druidry rocks, Asatru sucks because [insert reasonable explanation here]")

Also, my limited knowledge on Asatru leads me to believe there's little use for ritual other than an offering and occasional blot and no formal ceremony... Is this accurate? And is this also implying that the asatru historically had no... for lack of a better term, "organized church" or "clergy" and that attempts to incorporate this into practice is historically inaccurate?  Were simple rituals (again, other than sacrifice and blots) not part of Asatru culture?  What about meditations, etc.?  Was there any sort of enlightenment, higher attunement with nature and so forth in the original Asatru culture?

Thank you for all your help!

Hyacinth Belle

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Quote from: Aspirer;133057
Also, my limited knowledge on Asatru leads me to believe there's little use for ritual other than an offering and occasional blot and no formal ceremony... Is this accurate? And is this also implying that the asatru historically had no... for lack of a better term, "organized church" or "clergy" and that attempts to incorporate this into practice is historically inaccurate?  Were simple rituals (again, other than sacrifice and blots) not part of Asatru culture?  What about meditations, etc.?  Was there any sort of enlightenment, higher attunement with nature and so forth in the original Asatru culture?

I don't really know much about druidry, although I skated by Celtic reconstructionism quite quickly on my way to heathenry.

You are pretty much accurate in your conclusions thus far. There's no regular ritual or ceremony or magic in a formal sense in the average heathen / Asatru practice. The main ritual is blot, which I've seen some groups do monthly. From what I understand, there are references to various religious practices throughout the lore / archaeological record, but there's no "Here's an outline of x ritual," if you know what I mean.
 
That said, there do seem to be some priest/esses and/or temples dedicated to certain gods. For example, a grove dedicated to Thor or a preist/ess dedicated to Freyr. But again, I don't think we necessarily have information about what these people did on a daily "I'm part of the clergy" basis (I doubt "clergy" was even a concept for them).

Seidr is a type of Norse magic that you might be interested in.

But no, you probably won't really find rituals / meditations for "higher attunement with nature and so forth" in Asatru... especially since Asatru is only earth-centered peripherally. It's earth-centered in the sense that the culture relied on farming, hunting, ocean travel, and a harsh northern climate that are obviously subject to nature, but it's not earth-centered in the Wicca-ish way you might be referring to. (Seriously, no offense intended, ok?)

That said, you will find people creating their own rituals or meditations that suit their own path. I see it as a sliding scale between reconstructionism and eclecticism. You have to figure out what works for you.

Feel free to search more on here and especially to visit the Asatru and Heathenry SIG!
"Silent and thoughtful a prince\'s son should be / and bold in fighting; / cheerful and merry every man should be / until he waits for death." ~ Havamal, stanza 15

Aspirer

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Quote from: Hyacinth Belle;133071

You are pretty much accurate in your conclusions thus far. There's no regular ritual or ceremony or magic in a formal sense in the average heathen / Asatru practice. The main ritual is blot, which I've seen some groups do monthly. From what I understand, there are references to various religious practices throughout the lore / archaeological record, but there's no "Here's an outline of x ritual," if you know what I mean.
 
Seidr is a type of Norse magic that you might be interested in.

But no, you probably won't really find rituals / meditations for "higher attunement with nature and so forth" in Asatru... especially since Asatru is only earth-centered peripherally. It's earth-centered in the sense that the culture relied on farming, hunting, ocean travel, and a harsh northern climate that are obviously subject to nature, but it's not earth-centered in the Wicca-ish way you might be referring to. (Seriously, no offense intended, ok?)

Feel free to search more on here and especially to visit the Asatru and Heathenry SIG!

 
Thanks for your help! Actually, I was hoping to stay away from complex ceremony and all that; so the lack of an outline or formula really does appeal to me.  From what I've read, Asatru blots are more relaxed than most other rituals.

Also, no offense taken at all! ^_^ I see exactly what you're meaning by it being peripherally earth-centered. I'm more into a... healthy respect and dependence on nature, rather than reverence and worship, so again, this is an appealing feature to me.

Thanks for your response!!!

Aiwelin

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Quote from: Aspirer;133057
I'm in the process of finding the path I want to start on, and it's really between these two.  My heritage and ancestry is predominantly Celtic, and for this reason I'm interested in Druidic practices.  However, Asatru and the Northern lifestyles, lore and practices appeal to me, maybe moreso than that of druidry.  While I have and will continue to study on my own and do research myself, I would like to hear some experienced analysis of the two, as well as your personal biases and preferences--but only if you can reason your biases out.  (i.e. not "I think Druidry rocks, Asatru sucks," but "I think Druidry rocks, Asatru sucks because [insert reasonable explanation here]")

Also, my limited knowledge on Asatru leads me to believe there's little use for ritual other than an offering and occasional blot and no formal ceremony... Is this accurate? And is this also implying that the asatru historically had no... for lack of a better term, "organized church" or "clergy" and that attempts to incorporate this into practice is historically inaccurate?  Were simple rituals (again, other than sacrifice and blots) not part of Asatru culture?  What about meditations, etc.?  Was there any sort of enlightenment, higher attunement with nature and so forth in the original Asatru culture?

Thank you for all your help!

I'm a member of ADF, a Druid organization, and I also identify as a Heathen, just to give you an idea of where I'm coming from.  In the way I practice them, Druidry and Heathenry are very similar.  ADF is a scholarly-focused organization, which means we're generally more interested in *actual* practices of the Indo-Europeans (yes, all the Indo-Europeans, even the Germanic ones!).  In my experience, Druidry can run the gamut between extremely-inclusive, everything-goes organizations like OBOD to more focused ideals like ADF; while Heathenry spans the other end of the spectrum - from universal-but-Germanic like the Troth to die-hard reconstructionists.  I know less about Asatru in particular, as I don't honor Norse deities or interact often with others who identify themselves as strictly Asatru.

Whichever path you choose, there are going to be ways to do little formal ritual, or a lot of formal ritual; however you best connect.  There are some Druids that do extremely little in the way of ritual, and others that do very elaborate, complicated things; in general, the same applies to Heathenry (they generally fall on opposite ends of the scholarly spectrum, though - generally less-scholarly Druids do little ritual, while generally more reconstructionist focused Heathens do little ritual).

In a decision like this, I advise you to choose based on the deities and general attitude of the culture rather than more modern practices like little ritual.  Generally, you'll be just fine honoring Celtic or Germanic deities however you feel is appropriate, and you'll be able to find others who feel similarly.  You'll also be able to pursue whatever level of scholarship you feel is necessary with both cultures, though Celtic cultures generally have more biased source material to work with.  Earth-worship is also something that's entirely up to you rather than dictated by either religion - while Druid organizations tend to be more focused on honoring the Earth, there are plenty of Druids who don't honor the Earth explicitly, and there are plenty of Heathens who do.  Personally, my patron Goddess is an Earth Mother, so I do a lot of Earth-honor; but I have a great deal of practice and spirituality outside of that as well.  Either one you decide on, there is lots of room to develop a spiritual practice in the way you'd like it to look.  Or you could do both, which is something I settled on after feeling a pull from both sides of my ancestry.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2013, 06:43:06 pm by Aiwelin »
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Hyacinth Belle

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Quote from: Aspirer;133075
Thanks for your help! Actually, I was hoping to stay away from complex ceremony and all that; so the lack of an outline or formula really does appeal to me.

Ah, well then! :) I'm kind of in the same boat. I like the idea of complex ritual, and I appreciate people who do it, but I can never seem to follow through on such things in my own religious life. lol.

Also, definitely check out AsatruLore.org. Excellent site for the more reconstructionist side of things.
"Silent and thoughtful a prince\'s son should be / and bold in fighting; / cheerful and merry every man should be / until he waits for death." ~ Havamal, stanza 15

Aspirer

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Quote from: Aiwelin;133144
ADF is a scholarly-focused organization, which means we're generally more interested in *actual* practices of the Indo-Europeans (yes, all the Indo-Europeans, even the Germanic ones!).  In my experience, Druidry can run the gamut between extremely-inclusive, everything-goes organizations like OBOD to more focused ideals like ADF;

Are you familiar with Asatru equivalents?

Quote from: Aiwelin;133144
Heathenry spans the other end of the spectrum - from universal-but-Germanic like the Troth to die-hard reconstructionists.  I know less about Asatru in particular, as I don't honor Norse deities or interact often with others who identify themselves as strictly Asatru.

You identify yourself as Heathen, but don't interact often with those labeling themselves as Asatru; could you clarify what the differences are (by definition or by your personal opinion, whichever is applicable here)?  I was under the impression the terms were interchangeable.


Quote from: Aiwelin;133144
In a decision like this, I advise you to choose based on the deities and general attitude of the culture rather than more modern practices like little ritual... Or you could do both, which is something I settled on after feeling a pull from both sides of my ancestry.


And that's where I'm actually torn from...  I have more knowledge of the Norse deities and their less-involved theology than of their Celtic equivalents; and, I believe in having respect for the earth, without being earth-centered.  So, to me, that says Asatru.  BUT, I feel the urge to stay true with my heritage and ancestry, which is much more predominantly Celtic than Germanic.  And, unfortunately, my brain's wired to believe that to follow both isn't an option--like I would be failing to properly respect one, by respecting the other.  And, that's my conundrum.

Aspirer

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Quote from: Hyacinth Belle;133158
Ah, well then! :) I'm kind of in the same boat. I like the idea of complex ritual, and I appreciate people who do it, but I can never seem to follow through on such things in my own religious life. lol.

Also, definitely check out AsatruLore.org. Excellent site for the more reconstructionist side of things.

I feel the exact same way, lol.  I can see and understand how something complex and overly involved would give a feeling of immersion, and it could heighten the personal experience, but I feel a higher power would recognize the simple offering with as much gratitude as a drawn-out ritual.  

Basically, I feel like the complexity is totally for the individual, not for the god(dess) being worshipped.

Oh! And thank you for the link, I'll be checking that out after I finish editing this post, lol.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2013, 10:00:08 pm by Aspirer »

Sarah

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Quote from: Aspirer;133165
Are you familiar with Asatru equivalents?

And that's where I'm actually torn from...  I have more knowledge of the Norse deities and their less-involved theology than of their Celtic equivalents; and, I believe in having respect for the earth, without being earth-centered.  So, to me, that says Asatru.  BUT, I feel the urge to stay true with my heritage and ancestry, which is much more predominantly Celtic than Germanic.  And, unfortunately, my brain's wired to believe that to follow both isn't an option--like I would be failing to properly respect one, by respecting the other.  And, that's my conundrum.

 
I don't think "Celtic" peoples were any more (or less) earth-centerd than Norse or other Germanic peoples
Knowing when to use a shovel is what being a witch is all about. Nanny Ogg, Witches Abroad

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Quote from: Aspirer;133165
And that's where I'm actually torn from...  I have more knowledge of the Norse deities and their less-involved theology than of their Celtic equivalents; and, I believe in having respect for the earth, without being earth-centered.  So, to me, that says Asatru.  BUT, I feel the urge to stay true with my heritage and ancestry, which is much more predominantly Celtic than Germanic.  And, unfortunately, my brain's wired to believe that to follow both isn't an option--like I would be failing to properly respect one, by respecting the other.  And, that's my conundrum.

 
Setting aside the bit where practicing multiple religious paths is a lot like having multiple friends?  Modern druidry does not have all that much in common with things from historical ethnic cultural material.  18th century, ish.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Hyacinth Belle

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Quote from: Aspirer;133165
You identify yourself as Heathen, but don't interact often with those labeling themselves as Asatru; could you clarify what the differences are (by definition or by your personal opinion, whichever is applicable here)?  I was under the impression the terms were interchangeable.
Not Aiwelin, but I'll answer for myself personally. They are not interchangeable. I too prefer heathen.

The main reason is that Asatru refers specifically to the Icelandic version of Norse polytheism. There are different flavors out there... Germanic, Finnish, Anglo-Saxon (i.e. Theodism), PA Dutch (i.e. Urglaawe). Heck, even Vanatru. All would tend to fall under the generally accepted umbrella term of "heathen." Edit: Check out this blog post on the different branches.

I'm not totally comfortable flying a strictly Asatruar banner, hence my preference for the wider term heathen.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2013, 10:30:44 pm by Hyacinth Belle »
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Hyacinth Belle

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Quote from: Darkhawk;133169
Setting aside the bit where practicing multiple religious paths is a lot like having multiple friends?  Modern druidry does not have all that much in common with things from historical ethnic cultural material.  18th century, ish.

To build off of this... perhaps you might look more into Celtic reconstructionist stuff instead of strictly druidry.
"Silent and thoughtful a prince\'s son should be / and bold in fighting; / cheerful and merry every man should be / until he waits for death." ~ Havamal, stanza 15

Aspirer

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Quote from: Darkhawk;133169
Setting aside the bit where practicing multiple religious paths is a lot like having multiple friends?

Not sure I really follow or accept that correlation.  To me it's like trying to be a law abiding citizen, but also a drug dealer on the side. lol, yes, that's a little hyperbolic, but I think you'll understand.  That might also be just conditioned from the "put no God before me" mentality that most of the Christian world drives through peoples' heads.
 
Quote from: Hyacinth Belle;133170
Not Aiwelin, but I'll answer for myself personally. They are not interchangeable. I too prefer heathen.

The main reason is that Asatru refers specifically to the Icelandic version of Norse polytheism. There are different flavors out there... Germanic, Finnish, Anglo-Saxon (i.e. Theodism), PA Dutch (i.e. Urglaawe). Heck, even Vanatru. All would tend to fall under the generally accepted umbrella term of "heathen." Edit: Check out this blog post on the different branches.

I'm not totally comfortable flying a strictly Asatruar banner, hence my preference for the wider term heathen.

 Oh, okay! So Asatru is to Heathen as Garnerian is to Wiccan?

Aspirer

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Quote from: Hyacinth Belle;133171
To build off of this... perhaps you might look more into Celtic reconstructionist stuff instead of strictly druidry.


This is a good suggestion, as that is what I would want to lean towards if I chose a druidic path.

Aspirer

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Quote from: maybeimawitch;133168
I don't think "Celtic" peoples were any more (or less) earth-centerd than Norse or other Germanic peoples

 
Are you sure?  I had been under the impression that Celtic (Irish, Scottish, etc.) religions were traditionally very centralized on Earth/Tree worship, whereas Germanic peoples gave it a secondary focus (or even as low as just a "healthy respect" for the earth).

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Quote from: Aspirer;133174
Not sure I really follow or accept that correlation.  To me it's like trying to be a law abiding citizen, but also a drug dealer on the side. lol, yes, that's a little hyperbolic, but I think you'll understand.

 
Nope, I don't understand at all; it's not merely hyperbolic, it's totally nonsensical.

Any given religion has a set of stuff a practitioner needs to do to be a member in good standing, a set of stuff they can't do to be a member in good standing, and a vast middle ground of behaviours that some people do and some people don't do.

Which means that for every set of two religions, they're compatible if their respective 'you must' and 'you can't' sections don't overlap.  It'll be easier to combine them if they have the same musts - and a lot of them do have partial overlap there, people being people and some general societal behaviours being common - but not required.
as the water grinds the stone
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