Why I Choose to be Heathen

There are two things that this title refers to. First is the obvious, a question I get asked a LOT, “Why do you believe as you do?” The second is mostly semantic, referring to the reason that I chose the term Heathen over Pagan, Ásatrú, or any of the other various terms used by followers of Norse Paganism.




Long story short, I chose Norse Paganism because after my encounter with Odin, I did some research and found that it fit me much better than Wicca ever did. I’ve never looked back.


You may have noticed the image, similar to this one, at the top of the page. It is known as a Valknut, and is not only a symbol of Odin, but of those who die in battle. I thought it as good a preface as any to explain why I identify as Heathen, not Pagan and not Ásatrú.

It is, truthfully a matter of semantics. Identifying as Pagan means that, every time I say “I’m Pagan” and someone questions me on “What does that mean?” I have to explain how “If you ask 4 pagans what it means you’ll get 5 answers” and then explain what that means, followed by explaining my own personal beliefs. (not to mention dealing with Wiccans who insist that, because I’m Pagan and Wiccans are Pagan, I have to follow Wiccan rules. Which I don’t and I won’t.)

The other alternative is, of course, identifying as Ásatrú. The problem I have with that is simply complicated. While Ásatrú and my beliefs share many similarities, the differences between the two and the stigma that Ásatrú has earned itself (which I am not going into) makes the two incompatible. (side note: the reason I don’t identify as an Odinist is similar to the reason I don’t identify as Ásatrú. Differing beliefs that make the term and I incompatible)

Therefore I identify as Heathen, that is, one who follows the ancient Norse Gods and Their teachings. It is simple and to the point to explain, and nearly impossible to get confused with someone else’s beliefs. Of course, I still have to explain how every Heathen is entitled to their own interpretation, but that is child’s play compared to the difficulties with the other terms.

I hope that I have cleared up any possible questions, but as always I will gladly respond to any questions you may have in the comments.


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About schwarherz

My name is Schwarherz, and I'll be your server tonight. The special is Truth with a side of Sarcasm. You want pandering? Sorry we're fresh out. What's that? Have I found Jesus? Why yes I have, turns out he and Thor were playing Hide and Seek and Thor was "It." Can you blame the guy for hiding well? I mean, last time they played there was a nasty incident involving a Cross, Mjölnir, and some nails... P.S. For those of you who speak/read German; yes, I know my name is misspelled. It's done intentionally and symbolically.

3 responses to “Why I Choose to be Heathen”

  1. The Sigil Witch says :

    I can relate to this greatly! Sadly, Pagan is the only term I have for my path. I follow Celtic, British and Norse gods haha.

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  1. The Order of the Ordained | Heathen Ramblings - March 2, 2013

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