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Published by Beth
This Subtradition of the Verbena was created by Anders Sandberg. The world should see it! This is for Mage the Ascension.
This Subtradition of the Verbena was created by Anders Sandberg. The world should see it! This is for Mage the Ascension.

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Published by: Beth on Apr 14, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Asatru - The Nordic subtradition of theVerbena
By Anders Sandberg
The Speech of the High One:
 I know I hung on that windswept tree,Swung there for nine long nights,Wounded with my own blade, Bloodied for Odinn,Myself and offering to myself, Bound to the treeThat no man knowsWither the roots of it run. None gave me bread, None gave me drink, Down to deepest depths I peered Until I spied the Runes.With a roaring cry I seized them up,Then dizzy and fainting, I fell.Well-being I won And wisdom too. I grew and took joy in my growth: From a word to a word  I was led to a word, From a deed to another deed.
From the Poetic Edda
History of the Asatru
The Verbena have always been regional, and differ much from area to area. InScandinavia, the Verbena have been the protectors of the old religion and the old waysagainst the tide of Christianity and the Technocracy. Actually, the Verbena was behind theOld Faith of Asatru which ruled before Christianity. Asatru means the "belief in theAesir", the old pagan gods.
During the pre-Christian times they were the priests and counselled the leaders about thewill of the gods. Their magick was devoted to practical things like helping the crops,fishing and hunting, protecting the people from wild animals and worse, controlling theweather and protecting the universe from the forces which sought to bring aboutRagnarok, the destruction of the world.During this time magick was more common than today, and most people knew a fewminor magics. These were often of a simple protective nature and used to protect againstspirits, the faeries, the dead, injuries, accidents and bad luck. These magics consistedoften in inscribing a special rune (The runic alphabet was regarded as magical, and to beable to inscribe runes was regarded as a kind of magic), or singing the galders, songssung in a high-pitched voice. These rotes were passed down through generations, or givento people by the priests or sibyls. All in all, minor magic seems to have been quitecommon, a bit like how most people today know a few tricks with technology.Year 829 AD a monk named Ansgar arrived in Sweden. He was sent out by emperor Ludwig to convert the Vikings of Sweden to Christianity (perhaps to lessen their raidsand make them easier to trade with). The attempt failed, but soon other missionariesarrived. The Celestial Chorus were probably among them, and a struggle ensued betweenthe pagans and the Choristers. The struggle continued for several centuries, butChristianity slowly became the religion of the kings and leaders and later the rest of theinhabitants. Both groups adapted to each other, and it seems as the Asatru wentunderground and continued its activities with support from the people, while theChoristers left them and their beliefs more or less alone as long as they weren't visible.Then came the Technocracy, which defeated the Celestial Chorus. Asatru remainedhidden.
Asatru Today
Today the Asatru has survived in remote corners of Scandinavia. During its long persecution by the Church and Technocracy its members have become adept at hiding,often in plain sight. Much of the old faith has survived as old superstition and localcustoms, and the secret priests have carefully protected the faithful. Most of the believerslive in rural or wilderness areas far from civilisation. They live in small settlements in theforests of Sweden, in small fishing villages in Norway or in the remote corners of Iceland(their current stronghold). Some of them emigrated to America during the 1800s and builttheir own small communities there, far from civilisation. They often keep to themselves,and avoid outsiders. The belief often goes in the family, tying the tradition together with bands of blood.While their enemies control the political world and society at large, the believers inAsatru work on the local scale, with practical methods. They promote their own andsimilar beliefs, often spreading the old superstitions to undermine the new faith. Theyhave succeeded very well with spreading respect and affinity to nature among the massesin Scandinavia. They infiltrate agricultural organisations and influence their work, oftenusing them as tools to strike at the projects of the city-dwellers. They promote a healthy
xenophobia to protect their old customs from the influence foreigners and city-dwellers.In fact, many of them are supporting local low-level nationalism and racism to encouragethe sleepers to become more tied to their roots and to mistrust anything else.Their relations to environmental organisations are a bit ambivalent. On one hand theysupport them, since the protection of nature is one of their own most important tenets, buton the other hand they regard the environmentalists as do-gooders from the city whodoesn't know anything about the real problems and only care about cute seals or flowers,not the uglier aspects of nature. In fact, many of the believers work against theenvironmentalists, seeking to protect their land and way of living against environmentallaws or restoration programs which they regard as yet another way for the masters to tryto wipe them out.Recently some New Agers have begun to worship the old gods and form different groupsmore or less based on Asatru. The real mages view this with scorn, and generally dislikethem. The New Agers have just borrowed much of the names and myths, and then turnedthem into yet another fuzzy and nice mythology. The real Asatru believers scornfullyremark that most of them don't even sacrifice blood on the blots. However, some of thereal believers have begun using these groups as places to recruit people and a way to gaina foothold into the cities. Since most of the New Agers are so easily manipulated, they provide quite useful pawns. The same is true about neo-nazis, which the believers subvert by their magick and their grasp of ancient myth. They can be used in a similar manner,and are a very good method of harassing their enemies or diverting the attention of mediaand government from their own activities.
The Faith
Asatru revolves about the worship of the old gods, the Aesir. They represent the forceswhich have formed the universe, and still uphold it. By worshipping them the believershelp upholding the universe against chaos and destruction, and may also gain help fromthem. Unlike modern monotheistic religions, does not demand that the believers shouldserve the gods. Instead the gods will help those who ask them for help in exchange for following their ideals and respecting them. This doesn't have to be much, a salutation or asmall sacrifice of some food and drink is often enough to make the gods friendly. Anyonecan perform the small acts of devotion to get the help of the gods.However, the mages are more advanced than this. They are the priests of the cult, andarrange the larger celebrations, theBlot. Blot are by tradition held at the Sabbaths,especially at the four equinoxes. The blot are mostly held in remote places, where theworshippers can meet without suspicion. In Sweden the cult-places are often glens withone or more oaks around it, on Iceland old stone-circles are used. The blot generallyinvolve the ritual sacrifice of animals whose blood are used to ensure fertility, harmonyand the old ways. The priests collect the blood in the hlautbowl, consecrate it to the godsand sprinkle it using evergreen twigs at the trees, on the idols of the gods and on the participants. Afterwards the blot turn into a feast where the meat from the sacrifices iseaten. 

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