What is gnostic Asatru? Gnosis is a Greek word that can be translated as “knowledge” or “understanding”. An inner spiritual knowledge that most people cannot comprehend or experience. Most people claim that the pre-Christian religion that is known as Asatru, was an ethnic religion. The deities are first and foremost impersonations of the powers of nature and of human traits. A primitive, polytheistic religion that is not as far developed as, for example, the monotheistic Christianity.
In reality, the pagans who prayed to Odin and to Thor, to Frigg and to Freyja, put lots of effort into developing their poetry and skaldic art. The Skalds were highly respected, and their writings were more and more complex. If Asatru was merely a primitive ethnic religion, why would they put so much effort into writing poetry? This is when the gnostic aspect comes in.
Most religions have an official side, in which most people, in fact all people, can participate. There are annual high feasts, funerals and weddings. You need no or very little knowledge to be able to join those religious ceremonies. However, you need plenty of knowledge to comprehend the deepest parts of the religion, the main message of the religion if you will. All humans do not have the same need of spirituality, or the same ability to understand spiritual messages. In Christianity, the most dominant religion of the Western world, Freemasonry appeared. Everyone could be Christian, but many people with the need for higher knowledge and spiritual development sought the secret orders. We will not discuss Freemasonry further here, but the point is that similar activities must have been occurring in the pre-Christian societies. There existed several different religious organizations that were like Masonic orders in the Roman Empire, at the end of the ancient times. Those who were involved in those organizations gathered to pray to Mithra, Dionysius or other gods. Those organizations were not open for just everyone.
The Asatruans could gather during annual high feasts and during other festive times. Everybody could join those ceremonies. But could everybody really understand a poem or a sacred text in the days of yore? Poetry was a way to penetrate deeper into the spiritual world, the spiritual reality. Asatru was a poetical religion.
The world, or the entire universe, was created by the worlds of fire and ice who melted together. In that union, the cow Audhumbla appeared. The cow licked out a man out of a block of ice, and that man’s name was Búri. Búri got a son named Bur, who in his turn had three sons, Vile and Ve are the names of two of them, but the oldest son is Odin. The three brothers killed the giant Ymir, and created the entire world out of Ymir’s remains.
The Gods created the world, but the world is also created out of a giant. The Gods stand for the higher and spiritual aspects of existence, and Ymir, or his body, stands for the lower and material aspects. Once again, the Gods; Odin, Vile and Ve, later create the humans out of the tree species ash and elm. The proto – ancestor’s names are Askr and Embla. The spiritual world meets the material once more.
The Gods, or more accurately the Aesir, are divine powers that are related to the heaven. The powers that most goddesses derive from, are the ones that represent earth and soil, Vanir and Alfar. A few of the Vanir have also married giants (Jötnar). As an example, Skadi married Njord (a Vanir), and Gerd is married to Frey, also of the Vanir. Hel, the death goddess, is from the kin of giants. She is an earthly, in fact sub-earthly power. Those who die in the human world (Midgard) come to Hel. Those who are loyal to Odin, the first of the Aesir, go to Valhalla instead, that lies behind Bifrost, the rainbow bridge. Those who are followers of the spiritual world, go to heaven, whilst those who possess earthly knowledge and abilities go to Hel. Bragi, the son of Odin and the god of the Skalds, comes to receive those who get to Valhalla. That is clear proof that Asatru is a poetical religion.
We must grow further and search for the inner core of Asatru. The time is up to find a higher truth in Asatru. It is time not just to talk about the needs for culture and identity, not just to feel the inspiration in the annual high feasts, but also to partake of the great knowledge that only few are able to comprehend. It is time for gnostic Asatru!
(From the blog Ideell Kulturkamp http://ideellkulturkamp.com)
The hung Odin and the crucified Jesus
The god who dies but resurrects, is an often-re-appearing legend in many religions. Amongst the deities that die and then come back to life are: Horus, Mithra, Dionysius and Odin. Horus and Dionysius are also, for sure, crucified. Apart from the sacrificial death itself, there also is a thorough description that Horus, Mithra and Dionysius have been born the 25th of December. All of them also have twelve disciples and they create miracles. On a shrine dedicated to Mithra it is written “You have saved us through your shed blood”. This shrine is nowadays situated beneath the Sancta Prisca church in Rome.
Parts of these mythological stories also fit quite well to the Germanic god Odin, or Wotan.
Midwinter Blót was held to honor Odin around the time of Winter Solstice, which in the old days occurred on December 25th. Odin has twelve lower ranked gods under him, and one of them (Loki) is a traitor. Odin is hung upon the tree of Yggdrasil for three days, according to Havamal. After his death, Odin gets more power than before it. In the Christian tradition, Jesus has increased his powers after he died and resurrected after three days. Crucifixion, which was a common way to execute slaves, thieves and traitors in the ancient Mediterranean world, has not been practiced in the Germanic territories, and hanging has instead been seen as a dishonoring way to die. Executions with guillotine or sword have been seen as a more honoring way to die rather than hanging, all the way into our modern times. Both Odin and Jesus get stabbed with spears during their sacrificial deaths. Odin was hung upon a tree, and Jesus was hung upon a cross made out of wood. According to some Christian beliefs, that cross was made out of a tree that Adam, the first man, had planted. Horus, but also several other Egyptian gods, are depicted holding a hieroglyph known as “the Ankh”. That symbol is very similar to the cross that the Christians are using, and both symbols mean life and resurrection.
Odin was not born of a virgin, since the Eddas are mentioning that he had both a father and a mother, Búri and Bestla. It can though be said that Bore, the father of Búri was born when he got licked out of a block of ice by the cow Audhumbla.
Experts in religion have mentioned that Odin is similar to the god Mithra, the main savior deity of the late ancient world, who also has twelve disciples, all of whom are represented by the twelve signs of the Zodiac. But it looks like the idea of the god that dies and resurrects is around 5000 years old, if you go all the way back to the myth of Horus. Odin’s most ecstatic aspect is pretty similar to the description of the Greek god Dionysius. Both Mithra and Odin were celebrated at the Spring Equinox, and the Christians celebrate Easter at spring as well.
In other words, it is more than likely that the Christians took over an elder myth and blended it into their own belief system. The Jews were strongly influenced by the Egyptians, and monotheism was grounded in Egypt. The first Christians were most likely Jews who were inspired by the pagan world’s ideas about salvation, and thus added those ideas into their own belief system. The pagan teachings about salvation did not claim to be the only way to salvation, and thus accepted other religions. The idea that everyone must think in the same way and fight for the same belief system, did not exist amongst the polytheistic religions.
Both Mithra and Dionysius were celebrated with mystery plays, and also in partially secret societies. It is thus believable that the first Christians believed in a mythological savior that was born, lived, created miracles and then got executed, just to resurrect and come back to
Earth. Later on, when Christianity increased in popularity, some of the Christians started to believe that their savior was a real, physical being, that lived and acted in a recent past. The Christians started to think that the “physical” savior lived and died in the 30-s of our time. Since the Christians converted as many as possible to Christianity, their converts literally believed everything that was taught to them. The monotheistic religions are struggling even nowadays with their so called literalism.
Steinsland G Fornnordisk religion. 2007
Kaliff A & Sundqvist O Mithras och Odenskulten: Religiös ackultration under romersk järnålder och folkvandringstid. 2004
Viklund R Den Jesus som aldrig funnits. 200
This article coming from Ideell Kulturkamp. http://ideellkulturkamp.com