Just the facts on religion.

History of Asatru

Asatru, the modern attempt to revive the old Norse faith, was founded by the Icelandic farmer Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson (1924–1993). Beinteinsson was a sheep farmer and a priest in the religion, who published a book of rímur (Icelandic rhymed epic poetry) in 1945. In 1972 he petitioned the Icelandic government to recognize the Íslenska Ásatrúarfélagið ("Icelandic fellowship of Æsir faith") as a religious body. It did so in 1973, and Denmark and Norway have since followed.

According to one Asatru website, similar communities were formed in the USA and UK at the same time as those in Iceland, each unaware of the existence of the others. This is a sign that "Odin, the wanderer, is once again seeking worshippers." (Irminsul Ættir)

Today, there are small groups of Asatru adherents throughout Scandinavia and North America. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, in the 1990s the approximately 300 Icelandic adherents hoped to dechristianize Iceland by the year 2000, the 1000th anniversary of the island's christianization.


Further Reading