Our Heathen Pathways series aims to tell the stories of how ordinary heathens found their practice and who their influences are. If you would like to contribute send us a message via the contact page 🙂
Why would an atheist choose to be an Asatru/heathenry follower? I get asked about this quite a lot, and I’ll be honest – I’m still not sure I know the answer myself. I struggled to understand it when my wife joined AUK, as an atheist, I couldn’t help but wonder, why?
I’ll start at the beginning;
We were headed for the ‘London by Norse’ event to see Wardruna. Emma mentioned that a few AUK people were meeting in the pub beforehand, and wondered if we could pop along. I had no idea what Asatru or AUK was at this point, but I’m not against a trip to the pub.
Whilst there, we met lots of people, who we now consider to be great friends. The thing with being an atheist, is its quite lonely. It’s not really the sort of thing people meet up for, so this was the first tick for me.
Now, I already had an interest in the only things most heathens can agree on – Wardruna, mead (I was already home-brewing) and fire. So instantly found I clicked with this group.
Returning home, I puzzled for some days over my wife being an atheist, whilst being in this group. Whilst I still question it occasionally, I’m mostly OK with it. If fate brought me to this group, it’s also the reason we run Wiltshire heathens, and wrote a cookbook for AUK ((£7.99 on Amazon ;)). Life can bring us many opportunities, for whatever reason, we just have to choose to follow them.
So as atheists why do we sumbel and blot? To take a moment, remember, and give thanks for the things that we are fortunate to have – good mead, food, family, friends, and our health. And who hasn’t made a toast to their passed loved ones at some point, heathen or not?
Whilst we don’t actively believe in the physical aspects of the Gods themselves, we enjoy the old stories and the history. There is a lot to be learned from them.
But the thing we enjoy the most? A sense of belonging, a kin – and with this, a sense of respect and love for each other and our environment. We actively get outside a lot more than we used to and travel around the country attending events and visiting friends.
That night at ‘London by Norse’ changed our lives – little did we know at the time, we came home with a daughter. I can’t say I believe in fate, but if the Norns exist, they weaved us a path into Asatru, and towards a little girl named Ocean.