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четвртак, 13. јануар 2011.

War as a basic principle of Ásatrú

War is ubiquitous in the whole history of mankind, the Universe and Gods, and this history ends with war. Asatru, as a warrior religion, considers war to be sacred and the man, the warrior, a person who has adopted the highest principles and defeated their own fear of pain and death. Because a warrior does not run from pain and death, he defies them. He goes into battle knowing that its outcome is uncertain, but accepts his fate, whatever it may bring. Odin can call him to his halls or grant him a victory, both of which is considered a lucky sign. Why does he defy Destiny and taunts it? "He who is compliant with Destiny is lead by Her, one who resists her, is dragged by Her." Nowadays it is difficult to understand such facing with one's death and fear of it, in a time when all our needs are settled, when we live comfortably, unaware of forces that control us. The old believers then, and Asatruans today, lead the battle a person leads daily, with themselves or the misfortunes of life. At the same time, this is an answer: they are at all times ready for the next blow of Destiny, for the next manifestation of Odin's will. Yet, this understanding forces a person to observe, with full consciousness, their own existence, to fearlessly try everything life gives and accept all of life's ups and downs. Friedrich Nitsche defined this attitude thusly: "life should be affirmed every day" and "one should say YES to life".

War is essential in human existence, and the answer to the question why does war take such a crucial place in the Nordic religion system. People who approach the Asatruan movement are by their nature warriors. Odin, the chief God of Asatruans, is himself the warrior principle, the spirit of war, its essence. Unlike Tir, to whom victory is vital, Freya and Odin are connected to fighting for its own merits. It's known that Odins warriors, the berserkers, obsessessed with their Deity, went into battle with no armour and fought practically with bear hands. It was said of them that they were possessed by the spirit of the bear or the wolf (berserkr means bearskin, ulfsark – wolfskin); in fact, they were possessed by Wodan himself, whose name means Fury. In Valhalla, the promised award for every fallen warrior, the battle rages on. Warriors fight each other every day, asserting the warrior principle in themselves.
So, unlike the Wiccans and Christians, who call for the utopic unity amongst men and the universal principle of love, Asatruans have war as the basis of their religion. This, of course, does not mean that they advocate abject slaughter, but that their understanding of war is much more real – war emerges from the human need for destruction, which Froyd called Thanatos.


translation: Uroš Rajčević

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