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I Am A Heathen, But I'm Very Confused.

I am a 25 year old man that lives in the USA and has a primarily Celtic//Germanic ancestory. I have one ancestor that I know of that is Native American. However, to my knowledge everyone of my other ancestors are Northern European.I was raised Christian. My dad was a preacher when I was growing up. I became Catholic when I was 18. I ended up flip flopping from Christianity to Agnosticism//Atheism for about seven years after my conversion to Catholicism. I finally decided that I could no longer be a Christian anymore. My girlfriend shared her beliefs with me. She is not religious but she believes in fate. She believes everything happens for a reason, and she believes there is some sort of loving higher power. She does not have need specifics to be happy. I took comfort in what she believes, but after a few weeks I felt like something was missing. I started researching neo pagan paths. I found Asatru and I got excited. I felt like I had found the perfect religion for me. I said a prayer in my own words dedicating myself to the gods. I then ended up reading that I could not possibly go to see Odin when i died if I did not die in combat as an honorable warrior. That really bummed me out. I then lost faith (even though I have been told that faith isn't an Asatru concept). I felt like I wanted to find another neo pagan path. I could not find anything, and nothing felt right but Asatru. I prayed again to the gods and apologized and rededicated myself to them. I then ended up remembering that I had read that not only murderers but oathbreakers also went to the special place of punishment in Hel when they died. I thought about how I broke my dedication when I turned away from Asatru the first time. I then was afraid that I am now permanently considered an oathbreaker and that it doesn't matter what I do because when I die i'm going to be doomed and I might as well have never attempted to believe in anything at all. This has been bugging me for a maybe two weeks but it feels like this fear has made the weeks seem longer. I have googled so much trying to find information on what exactly an oathbreaker is in regards to going to the place of punishment in Hel. I do realize that Hel is said to be mostly made up of a peaceful group of people with their ancestors. I can find nothing on google or youtube about what an oathbreaker actually is. I read on one forum where a Heathen had written that if you your word is worthless than you are worthless. That made me have a short period just now tonight where I felt like I hated Asatru and everything that related to it. I now feel guilty for feeling that way. Does anyone know what makes someone an oathbreaker? It seems so strange and foreign to me that someone who breaks an oath (as I understand it) is equated with a murderer who takes innocent life. I have not read hardly any of the Eddas or any of the other lore. I just know that what I love everything I know about Asatru. The only thing that is really stressing me is this new concept of the severity of oathbreaking and how hardly anyone on the internet has written about being confused by this. I hope someone will respond, because I want to continue on my path as a Heathen, but I am distraught. Please help me. I hope someone will comment who can give me some advice. I don't feel like any other path than Asatru is right for me, but i'm not at peace.
Midnightrip Midnightrip 22-25, M 4 Responses Jul 22, 2012

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friend I understand ive been having the same issue I keep thinking "oh if I don't die by a weapon I wont get to see the gods" but as yiva said as I grew to know the gods I saw that that is not true there are many gods each with there own hall but that is there hall that is a place for dinning and celebration from what I feel and know I think all of asgard it not just the halls but homes and shops so people may have a life beyond just celebrating in a hall other wise asgard would be unneeded only a hall per god but there isn't its a hole other realm

What you are coming through is perfectly normal. To me it seems that the main issue for you is to grow out from the Christian belives of sin, punishment comming from not obeying the laws of God and the way of thinking that what you belive is true comes from outside your own mind. The way I see Asatru and being heathen is that it comes from the inside! The only person to know what Gods and Godesses (and who of them) want from you is You. And only way to find that out is to bond with Gods and Godesses with time. That does not happend overnight. That bond also twists and chances over time. So relax, take a deep breath and give the thing time to clear in your mind. I strongly belive that nothing is totally ruined yet.

And what comes to honor and oaths. That is a question I myself have figth with for couple of years now. I think that Honor is also a thing that comes from inside ones mind and heart. If it comes from outside, there will always come time that you will try to find way to go around it rather than follow it. I have tired to find out my own way to see and feel honor. Nine "rules" of Asatru have been a helpful guideline, but I have found that there is more for me. It has been hard sometimes to live by my own honor when the modern world does not work with same rules (I do live in Finland). Of course I obey the country laws, but I live by more complicated moral and ethical code my self. And I see it so, that if you feel yourself that you have broken you honor or oath, seek the wisdom from inside your mind (from the bond with Gods and Godesses) to find out how to fix things.

My advies to you is to read all you can about Asatru, seek the bond with Gods adn Godesses and proses things so long that you feel that you can live on peace with it. If something feels wrong, proses it more. And if it feels right, don´t feel quilty about it.

One thing you learn as you read more (Asatru Edda is a good place) is that one thing the Gods try to achieve for themselves and their folk is balance and an establishment of mutual honour. You broke an oath, what have you done to re-establish the oath? What have you done to restore your honour when you broke the oath and the honour of the Gods? Work on those questions and you may find a stronger oath and honour than you had before.

Word of advice - IMHO don't take things so seriously. I have found there can be as many opinions as there are adherents in this religion. You need to read up on this religion, and visit the various organizations (in the US: Asatru Folk Assembly, Asatru Alliance, The Troth, etc. as well as the many kindreds). Find the "path" that you feel comfortable in and pursue, and for Gods sake enjoy. I highly suggest searching (and monitoring) asatrulore.org for questions you might have and listen to weekly podcast RavenRadio.info (hour-long weekly program). Norsemyth.org is another wonderful site for a deeper understanding.<br />
Good luck!

Thank you Vetere. Your advice helped me a lot. It is very good to know that there are as many opinions as there are adherents. I will just find what i'm comfortable with while still having my religious identity as a Heathen. I am going to a solitary practioner for a long time because of transportation and money. Also, I was looking for a religion that wasn't legalistic and that is the way i'm going to view Asatru. I just want something to help me cope with life. Thanks again.