As you read this, please keep in mind this is my own personal story, I do not represent the whole of the Asatru community, and I am in no way attacking other people's beliefs. If you follow your heart in your beliefs, then you are correct in your own path. I updated this on May 15, 2007, bringing it up to the present, and updating the 'time line', as I have recently referenced the link in one of my videos on my Youtube Channel. Everyone has their own personal story of how they found their path, and strangely, we pagans tend to have similar stories. Here is mine:
I guess it all started when I was in maybe 4th grade, I was about 9 years old or so, and we were studying Greek myth. This introduction of a new 'belief system' of sorts, kind of blew my mind at such a young age, it got me wondering why aren't these Gods worshiped today? What happened to make the people quit worshiping them? I was fascinated by those myths from that point on.
Well, as the next few years passed, at the age of 14 I discovered Scott Cunningham's "Wicca" books.. I was very intrigued that there were still people believing in what I thought was extinct. At that age, and this was all I could find in my world at that point (Since the internet wasn't a household name by any means at that time yet) I felt as though this is what I had to be. There wasn't a lot of other info I could find 'back then' about other Pagan faiths. The "New Age" section was pretty slim locally, Cunningham's books, tarot books, ghosts and hauntings books, a few Satanic books by Anton LaVey, and The Necronomicon was pretty much 'it' at the time.
When I was in high school I operated a computer BBS (Bulletin Board System) on my home computer. I ran across something called "FIDO net", which was all the rage at the time to share messages with people across the country. I met a few pagans of different types, many of them were Wiccans, and I felt as though my beliefs had been affirmed. I was not "the only one out there" who felt this way. I was pretty relieved.
However, soon Wicca was sounding too "fluffy" to me (that was not a term I had heard of yet, but since we all know what it means now...), because our ancestors were brutal, and Cunningham wrote as though he wanted us all to be "pacifists," and other books of the genre advised not to work with "Darker" God/desses (like The Morrigan, Kali, Hel/Hella etc). Sometimes these concerns are rightly advised, as most beginning pagans probably should avoid working with God/desses like these (including Loki, who is not a Deity). I found this idealogy to be a little odd, comparatively speaking. I didn't feel as though I was a pacifist, I mean, if you gotta go to war, go to war, but let it be for a good reason. If you need to fight for yourself, do it, in an honorable way. This whole "stand by and sniff the flowers" crap wasn't "it".
Finally, after graduating from High school, and going to college (By this time I was feeling more and more like an "old soul") I was 'turned on' to the internet my sophomore year in college. This was a door opener for me. I also met a fellow student at the college, a man who told me he was a Druid. A Druid? Didn't they all die out? Heck no! The Druidry-movement was/is just as alive and well as the Wiccan-movement. At his helpful direction he told me about some other types of web-sites I could look up about other traditions and so forth. Soon I found myself feeling a little more on the "Eclectic" side. This did not last that long, as I began to want to look into Keltic paganism more and more, and also Druidry. I realized I wanted a pantheon that was more cooperative/complementary with one another (I shudder now at the thought of evoking different pantheon's God/desses at the same ritual). This again went on for some time. However, unlike when I was 14, I decided it best not to dedicate myself to a specific religion at this point. When I was 14 I was misinformed, or rather, poorly informed about the state of Paganism in the world today, and the many facets of paganism which existed that I had not yet known of. Which is why I thought Wicca was "my path", I didn't know there was anything else "out there". After going through the heartbreak of finding that I was not Wiccan I felt it best to not dedicate myself, or 'jump into' anything before I felt "at home", that was a mistake to not be repeated. I should add I have nothing against Wicca itself, or Wiccans, I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea. If Wicca fits you, dear reader, then by all means follow your heart. However, if you feel the way I did, please continue searching.. if it doesn't feel like you are totally "at home" then you aren't!!
This brings me forward in my 'story'.
I also began asking the Gods themselves for help, I believe this is around the time I began to see the time 3:33 on digital clocks. At first this was no big deal. Then it kept happening. Day after day, or it would quit for a few weeks or months and start again. I knew from studying Celtic myth that the number 9 was sacred because it always 'came back to itself' when multiplied by another number (i.e. 3X9=27, 2+7=9). Yet, looking back now, if this was the answer, then I probably would not have seen it much thereafter, but I continued to see it. It was strange though, I would go to the store, basically oblivious to time, and the clock at the bank would say "3:33", or I'd wake up in the middle of the night, and it would be "3:33" a.m., once I even got a bank-statement from my credit union that was printed out at "3:33". I asked friends who were more knowledgeable than I in numerology, and they thought it was just a coincidence, that I was 'programmed' in my bodily clock to look up at the right time to see "3:33" (then how do we explain my bank statement? Which I think happened because for a time I believed it was coincidence, this was a way to say "Oh no! Not a coinky-dink!". Incidentally, this was the first and last time I saw that time on my statement.), I would be at work and look at the clock on the computer monitor, and it would say "3:33", even though I hadn't been concerned with looking at the clock before then.
Now, after studying the Kelts (I spell it with a "K" to differentiate it from the basketball team: The Boston Celtics, because it is actually pronounced with a 'k' sound rather than an 's' sound), and more or less calling myself a "seeking pagan", yet describing myself as a Keltic pagan for everyone I talked to online who insisted on knowing what my belief structure was, I still felt empty. So I decided to delve deeper into Druidry. I bought several books recommended by the ADF (Ár nDraíocht Féin Which translates to "Our Own Druidry" in gaelic) and also studied what I could online, and even trying my hand at learning Irish Gaelic (which was fun, and definitely a good learning experience). I felt perhaps this was the way to go, after all my ancestry was largely Irish, Welsh, and English (with Dutch, German, French, and Cherokee thrown in to the mix.. I'm such a mutt lol), and I wanted something with a little more structure, as compared to eclecticism. Once again, as before, I began to feel so empty inside. This was still not where I needed to be. I began to wonder "Will I ever find what I am looking for?". In the meantime, somewhere in that time period, I got married, and we have a son (born on 9/11/02, at 8:56am just as the moment of silence was held for the victims of 9/11/01 - More '9' stuff!!).
Technically, I have been a practicing pagan for 15 years, if you want to count back to when I was 9 (there's that number 9 again) years old, then I guess I have been a pagan for over 20 years. Yet, I have only recently been Asatru for almost 2 years. The first Asatruar person I ever actually "met" was a woman on AOL about 2 years ago, up until that point, I only knew OF Asatru, but never actually met one. This was when I was going by "krazykelticmom" on AOL, when I was heavily studying the Celtic way. Then, when I was going through troubled times around the same time, after we had our phone shut off, and some other personal issues we were having with my job and the birth of my son (who was 6 weeks early, he was actually supposed to be a halloween baby, I went into labor on 9/9/02, there's that number 9 again.. and I had him at almost 9am on 9/11.. now tell me THAT isn't STRANGE.. He is a very healthy child, so at least his early birth didn't have a bad effect on him.) and the problems that arose therein with everything that was going on then, I had a short dream during that stressful period about 3 1/2 years ago. It was a dream of a woman, and mind you I didn't know all that much about Nordic myth at that point: the woman was on a hill-top, it was winter, and she was looking down at a forest of trees, but there was something else about her. She was wearing a cloak of brownish feathers. As I approached her I woke up. I noted this in a journal I had been keeping for some time, as this dream was so real. I felt something about her, something strange, yet familiar. I thought maybe it was something to do with Druidry, as she was looking out at a forest, and we all know the Druids and their trees *G*.
For the next couple years, up until recently I had been giving up hope. I was still thumbing through the Druidry books now and then, hoping something would click. Then I just reverted back to my herbals, at least I knew something was right in my life. I've always had a love of herbal medicine. Making tonics, infusions, tinctures, infused oils. The smell of fresh rain on leaves.
Then, over the past summer, after having a major "fallow" period. I decided I would go to the library, and read some of the old myths for fun, maybe get an inspiration. I was in the myth section, trying to see the spine of a book tilting it forward to read it, and a plastic cover of the book next to the one I was trying to read the spine of was stuck to the cover of it. It began to slide off and I caught it. The book whose plastic cover was stuck to the one I was looking at was called "Nordic Mythology". Hmm.. that's odd. So I decided to check it out, along with a couple other Norse type books. To quote Neopets: "Something has happened!" I then began to go through old books of mine searching for bits and pieces about Asatru, and when I went to Waldenbooks of course they had no Asatru or Norse books of the kind so I bought a generic "Everything Paganism" book, because of its section on Asatru. I also picked up "Drawing Down the Moon", because it also has a section on Asatru.
I then began to suck up Asatru like a sponge, and even started a journal (which is now 2 journals) about what I was learning, which is something I only reluctantly did in the past, so I knew this meant something to me. I stayed up late several nights recording things into my journals: Rune meanings, Norse God and Goddess descriptions, personal thoughts, and questions I would try to find the answers to. While reading the Nordic myths I ran across several references to both Frigg and Freyja both having cloaks of Falcon feathers which allowed them to travel other places in the 9 worlds of Yggdrasil. My jaw nearly hit the floor as I raced to pick up my dream journal that was at my bedside and read my entry of the woman in my dream wearing the feathered cloak. However, I now feel that it was more than likely Freyja rather than Frigg. The cloak is more heavily tied to Freyja rather than Frigg. I think Freyja represents more of what I need to bring into my life, rather than what I already have. I also now believe that the 3:33 references was more than likely Odin, as he loves his cryptic riddles, and I've read in many modern texts that the number 9 is associated directly with him. This could be a Unverified Personal Gnosis, but I like to think it to be true, as there are references in the Lore as well to Odin and the number "9". Some of these include the golden ring of Draupnir Odin owned that on every 9th night 8 rings of the same value and weight would fall from it making 9 rings in total, and that when he obtained the runes he sacrificed himself to himself and hung on Yggdrasil for 9 days and 9 nights. So yes, I believe it was Odin himself calling me home. When he didn't get the job done after years of sending me this message, I suppose that is when Freyja came to me in the dream. I have since dedicated myself to Freyja, but I am a little weary of dedicating myself to Odin. He does embody many things I would like to embrace. However, his touch can sometimes cause madness, or it can cause wonderful ecstatic creation. I guess I have nothing to fear of him, in fact I do feel closer to him than any other male deity, but I do think Thor must have a wonderful sense of humor, on a side note (LOL!). Who else would dress up like a woman and go with Loki to kill some giants? I think Thor must have a very boisterous and bold laugh. Odin, however, seems a bit more on the serious side. I believe he cares deeply for the affairs of the world(s), but when he decides to call you home, that's it for this life.
After studying the myths, I then bought a decent set of Runes (threw away the blank one ROFL) which came with a book, and my hubby got out a book he had bought years ago about Runes and let me read it. I felt like a fire had been rekindled within me, something I hadn't really felt since I was 14 and found "Wicca" and back when I realized they DO still worship the old Gods we studied in 4th grade. I felt reborn, I felt like my "sleeper had awakened" (to roughly quote Frank Herbert's Dune). I felt like a weight had been lifted from my back and I had been freed. It's quite indescribable the joy I felt. I even learned that what I do with meditation had a name in Asatru: Seidr, journeying while meditating.
Recently, I have made some of my own runes out of FIMO brand craft-clay. Which you can find at most hobby and arts and crafts stores. They work really well, and they are easy to make. It's also a good kids-project for a rainy day. It's really easy. (Click here to find out how)
So, this brings me to the present in my tale: My dedication and Oath to Asatru. During Mother Nights, an Asatru holiday, of December 2004, I pondered while in meditation if I was certain Asatru was where I needed to be, and after my meditation, I had good positive feelings I am supposed to be here. Asatru is where I needed to be. I swore an oath the following night, after studying Asatru for several months, I did something I hadn't done for quite some time, I dedicated myself to a religion: Asatru. The Oath I made was to be Tru to the Aesir, Tru to myself, and Tru in my life, to follow the nine noble virtues and to continue to be the best person I can possibly be. I toasted the Gods, thanked them for leading me here, and also apologized it took me so long to get to this point. I now knew what they were trying to do, sending messages to me in their own way, obvious, yet not-so obvious. I told them I appreciated their patience with me. I know this is where I belong.
What Attracted Me to Asatru
After I learned more about Asatru, I found that it fits me. I feel a true connection with the Nine Noble Virtues, and strive every day to put those to use in every aspect of my life. I've found that the nine noble virtues and Asatru itself has freed me, instead of confining me. As opposed to Wicca, which is confining in a few ways, such as the argument that one can't be a Witch unless you are initiated by another Witch, which to me has always been a load of crap. I feel as though I am reclaiming my genetic right to be Pagan. To put it simply, it feels right, just like an old pair of jeans that got put away and forgotten, at some point you find that old pair of jeans, and put them on and find they are still comfortable. Perhaps my genes have helped me find Asatru, and it still feels comfortable to my soul. I've been told by many people I have an old soul, even my dad years ago said I should have been born centuries ago. My dad passed away in 2000, and I feel he's still watching over us from wherever he is. I feel a strong connection with my ancestry, not just my dad, but to the Dutch and German genes I carry, and perhaps my ancestral genes and my ancestors themselves have pulled me into this direction, even though it took me a long time to realize where I was being pulled to exactly. I'm finally at home with myself, and the way I believe.
Since writing this a couple years ago or so I have since read some good books that are more recently released on Asatru: "Exploring the Northern Tradition" by G. Krasskova, "Essential Asatru" by Diana Paxson, and "Taking Up the Runes" also by Paxson. I would like to highly recommend either of these books to those seeking more on Asatru. You may also want to check out the links on the links page that take you to Sacred Texts, and the Online Medieval and Classical Library. Also read the poetic and prose Eddas, including the Sagas, Beowulf, The Nibelung, Havamal, Voluspa, and so many others. I think my all time favorite story is Thrym's Lay, which is the one where Thor dresses up like Freyja to get back Mjollnir. I laughed out loud at that one. Read anything about Norse myth you can get your hands on, online or at the library, or buy books if you can. That's my suggestion if you want to learn more about Asatru. The updated version of "Drawing Down the Moon" by Margot Adler also has a section about Asatruar folk, and as I mentioned "Everything Paganism" by Selene Silverwind has an Asatru section. Not all Asa-folk follow the 9 Noble Virtues, but I believe it is a good guide on personality traits that everyone should try to adhere to, even non Asatru folks.
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(Thanks for reading this if you got this far...)