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My Theory

by Ajax


As I understand it modern asatru here was started in the early 1970's. As a student of history will tell you that was a time when the upheavals of the 1960's had produced various political movements aimed at "liberating" indigenous cultures from the "ruling class" which was viewed as "white men". The Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Woman's Liberation Movement, the anti-colonial struggles internationally all reached their peak at this time, and many of these were ethnically or culturally based such as the IRA and the PLO. I think this was also a time where goddess-centered paganism was taking off. I think Merlin Stone (When God was a Woman) and the works of Marija Gimbutus were being published then. It was not a great time to be a "White Man".

One way for confused and upset white folks to deal with this assault on them was to look for some ancient white cultural heritage they could claim for themselves. If the Indians, the Blacks, and the Women, were doing it why not the White Folks. I think it was natural for white folks of a neo-pagan bent to look to the old heathen culture of Northern Europe. However, it had not been so long since the old heathen gods had been appropriated by the Third Reich. I think many of the first US Asatruars were seduced by the Nazi waters the old gods had been bathed in. Those waters carried the message that ones noblity and self-worth were a product of genetics. They also carried the message that white folks are under constant attack by various other genetically based groups. A strong message in 1973. If you feel that your world is falling apart, it is very easy to boost your self-esteem by believing that you are genetically better than others. No work there. Virtue=race, job well done, lets have a beer.

A different, and more religiously based (rather than cultural/ethnic)path was taken in Asatru by folks in Iceland at around the same time, and I think that that is where we should seek our inspiration for building Asatru in the future.