Heathen Denominations

by Lēoht Steren, Thyle of Hvergelmir International
Edited and complemented by Sonne Heljarskinn

A Brief Definition of Heathenry:

Heathenry is a modern religion inspired and informed by the cultural religious practices of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples of northern, western and central Europe. Within this modern (and still emerging) religion, we can find numerous denominations that take various approaches based on varying levels of historical study and modern innovation.

Heathen Denominations


“Asatru is an expression of the native, pre-Christian spirituality of Europe. More specifically, it is the Way by which the Germanic peoples have traditionally related to the Divine and to the world around them.”

Ásatrú (Iceland)

“Ásatrú or heathen custom is based on tolerance, honesty, honor and respect for the ancient cultural heritage and nature. One principal ideal of the custom is that each person is responsible for themselves and their actions.”

Åsatru (Norway)

Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost is a religion for modern Åsatru, mainly built on the pre-Christian religious traditions here in Scandinavia. We want to create a viable forum for those interested in Åsatru, and to promote the understanding of culture, art and traditions with roots in pre-Christian times. We will take care of the heathen heritage and keep it alive and updated. We will do this through practice based on both source investigation and innovation in a heathen understanding of the history, ethics, myths and powers.” https://www.bifrost.no/om-bifrost


A translation of Icelandic Ásatrú to English. Literally translating to “Ēse-faith”.

Firne Sitte

“It is a world view, or rather a religion, which is alive among some people here, something which is usually excluded and partly dismissed from outsiders as a vacation. It is, however, a complete religion with a comprehensive spiritual and philosophical tradition. Our custom is habit and culture. Customs are expressed in traditions, festivals, forms of life, and values.”

Forn Sed (Norwegian)

“Foreningen Forn Sed is a religious society for those who believe in the Norwegian folklore, the spirits and entities the folklore represents, in addition to gods and other beings from the Norse pantheon. The purpose of the society is keeping alive the old traditions, beliefs and ways, and making interest for the popular faith and the Norse cultural heritage.”

Forn Sed (Swedish)

“Samfundet Forn Sed Sverige (Forn Sed Sweden) is a religious organisation based in Sweden. We practice pagan religion, inspired by pre-Christian Norse and Germanic tradition and myth, adapted to our time and our lives. “Norse Paganism has many names. Nineteenth century scholars called it “Ásatrú” (“Belief in Æsir”). Many practitioners and current literature use this name, although many prefer the term “Forn Sed” (“Old Way/Old Custom”) or simply “Sed”. “Forn Sed is a spiritual path with roots in pagan practices and lore. Our beginnings are found in nature and life.”

Forn Siðr (Danish)

“Belief in Norse mythology is today called Asatru. This term was coined in the 1800s, Grundtvig. The ancient Asatru did not even have a name for their faith. In religion changed around 1000, originated the term “hinn forni Siðr” – the degraded sperm, or the old custom. “Nearly 1,000 years after November 15, 1997, held twelve people the founding Everything for what is today called “Forn Siðr – Asa and Vanetrosamfundet in Denmark”. “From then working religious community Forn Siðr, again making the degraded sperm for a real alternative to other faiths. On 13 December 1999 we applied therefore for official recognition as a religious community in Denmark – It took almost four years; November 6, 2003 approved Church Minister Forn Siðr as a religious community.”


“Fyrnsidu is an Old English term meaning “The Old Ways”. We use this term today to refer to the spiritual and religious practices of the so-called “Heathen” Germanic peoples, specifically, the Anglo-Saxons. These ancient peoples had a way of life that recognized the interconnectedness of all things; the physical, spiritual and mental realms, and the natural cycles which govern all living creatures. This way of life was, and still is highly ethical and holistic. Fyrnsidu is not an historical recreation, it is a living religion based o¬n the tenets and world-view of the “Heathen” Germanic peoples. Our way is not an anachronism, although we draw great strength from the traditions of our ancestors. Rather, Fyrnsidu is a dynamic, growing faith for the present, but deeply rooted in the past.”


Irminenschaft represents the German Heathen expression as it has evolved over the centuries. It is the spiritual and cultural expression of those who hail from bloodlines of German descent (including both High- and Low-Germans). Our triuwa (faith, fidelity, loyalty) is not a retro-Heathen endeavour, nor is it a “wake up this morning” New Age ideology proper, but a viable, living approach to ancient thau (custom) and practice as is has been handed down to us. Thus, it is as pragmatic and alive as are the Volk (people) that carry on its traditions. The ethnic Being of the Germanic Volk is a complex manifestation- one that exists today as a result of Rita (Cosmic Law) as well as the socio-political history that has affected us.


“Odinism is an entire and whole system – a way of “being”. It is concerned with all aspects of our folk – cultural, historical, ecological, mystical etc. etc. It is concerned with the ethics of social behavior, our relationships with one another and nature, with the whole of life.”


“Ôðalism is in the strictest sense an ideology based on blood (of the native population) and soil (the homeland of the native population); protecting, promoting and if necessary reviving the customs, traditions, world view, values and religion that naturally came from each particular population in their homeland. It can be applied to each and every people on this planet, and will also be different to each and every people on this planet, because they are in essence different from each other.”


“Currently, at this time, Heathenry (reconstructionist Norse/Germanic religion) prefers to limit itself to worship of the Aesir and Vanir. Northern Tradition Pagans, however, believe that Gods are not divided into categories of “good” and “bad” Gods. They are all worthy of honor, and we honor all of them.”

Þéodisc Geléafa

“Þéodisc Geléafa, more commonly called Theodish Belief, or Theodism, is a religious movement rediscovered by Gárman Lord on the night of July 4th, 1976 C.E, in Watertown, New York. Unlike other present-day Pagan movements, Théodish Belief constituted contemporary Heathendom’s first truly earnest effort to reconstruct, as authentically as possible, the ancient, ancestral Teutonic religion – that of the Anglo-Saxons in particular. ” Reconstruction is an integral part of Théodish Belief, yet Théodish Belief is more than a reconstructionist approach toward Heathendom. Théodish Belief is a religious tradition. There are now nearly forty years of wyrd and thew unique to this great experiment we call Théodish Belief – wyrd and thew that are as much an essential part of Théodish Belief as its reconstructionist approach. You can have Reconstructionist Heathenry without true blót, shaftcunning, maincraft, Right Good Will, the Three Wynns, sacral kingship, or any ties to the Witan Theod, but such would only be Reconstructionist Heathenry. It would not be Théodish Belief.”

Thia Frankisk Aldsido

“Thia Frankisk Aldsido is by virtue of being what it is, a civic tradition of Frankish heathendom, post-tribal and just-prior to their conversion to Catholicism. By “civic tradition” what is meant is that the primary focus of the tradition is the restoration of the societal paradigm within which the Frankish people lived in the Merovingian age. This social paradigm was a peculiar admixture of vestigial Roman civic institutions, co-opted by the ruling Merovingian Franks, and Gemanic feudal patrimony.”

Þursatrú/Jötnatrú (Thursatru)

“Thursatru means basically THE BELIEF IN THE THURSES; it is the name of the religion, traditions and praxis associated with the anti-cosmic giant-race called þursar (anglicized to thurses, pl.). With the usages of the Old Norse plural form þursar it aims at the thursian powers, the true essences of the darker and adverse aspects of the giant-clans in the underworld and beyond.”


“Urglaawe is a tradition within Heathenry that is derived from the living Deitsch (Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania Dutch) folk culture. “Broken down and translated, “der Urglaawe” literally means “the original faith” in the Deitsch language. Our focus is on the pre-Christian religious and cultural undertones that still flow through the Pennsylvania German culture. Although the Pennsylvania Germans did not exist as a distinct ethnic group during the pre-Christian era, our ancestors brought with them many Heathen practices that continued to flourish here after the Diaspora into the Americas.”


“Vanatrú means “Faith in the Vanir”, just as Ásatrú means “Faith in the Æsir”. Those who practice Vanatrú generally find that their practice is reflective of a long time dedication to one or more of the Vanic Gods and want to explore this in a fuller context, looking at things in as historical a context as possible. The most well known of all the Vanic Deities are, Freyja, Freyr, and Njord due to their association with the Æsir, as well as Nerthus their mother. “As the Vanir have command over the elves, magic and wights are a significant focus of Vanatrú.”



“The Woden Folk-Religion or Wodenism is part of the overall Odinist, Wotanist, Asatru movement that is Folkish in essence and form, though we do not follow the more ‘universalist’ forms that are not Race-Conscious but suggest that anyone can take up this religion. Wodenism is Race-Conscious because we believe that race has importance in this world especially in view of the destruction of our Folk that has taken place due to two devastating world wars and the alienation of our Nation.” http://wodensfolk.org.uk/folkreligion.html


Wotanism is the name of a racial religion promulgated by David Lane. Wotan is the German name for the Germanic god known in Norse as Odin. Based on the essay entitled Wotan by Carl Jung, the term Wotanism in modern times heavily emphasizes white supremacy and National Socialism (NS). W.O.T.A.N. is an acronym for Will Of The Aryan Nation, used by some Wotanists. Unlike Germanic neopagans, most Wotanists emphasize dualism and view the Gods as Jungian archetypes. “Wotanism is a ancestral ethnic European faith. We focus on the principles of Folk, faith, and family. Anything other than those concerns are irrelevant. We are polytheists and we believe in the teachings of the Eddas”.

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