American Heathens

Asatru, meaning “belief in the gods,” is not a religion in the traditional sense of the word. There is no central doctrine. There are no formal places of worship. Everyone believes and practices differently.

A late addition to the neopagan movement that began in America in the 1950s, Asatru specifically aims to reconstruct the spirituality and traditions of ancient northern Europe, as described in the Icelandic sagas and Eddas, among other texts. Adherents, more commonly known as “heathens,” often describe Asatru as a way of life. For many Americans who observe the “folkish” variety of Asatru, the faith is a chance to reconnect with and preserve what they believe to be their ethnic and cultural heritage.