A Word to Leaders, Chaplains, and Fellow Service Members,
Stephen A. McNallen, "Asatru Book of Faith: For Those In Harm's Way" (Nevada City, CA; Asatru Folk Assembly, 2010), 2-3.
Asatru is a modern form of an ancient religion from Northern Europe. If you have ancestors from Scandinavia, the British Isles, or central Europe, they probably practiced Asatru or something very much like it before they became Christians.
Because you may have never encountered Asatru before, you might have some concerns. What morals or values does Asatru teach? Are Asatruar (people who follow Asatru) dependable in combat? Are they good unit members? Can you trust them? how weird is this religion, anyway?
Our morals and values are probably a lot like yours. Asatru teaches its adherents that they should be courageous, strong, loyal, and industrious. They are expected to be just and truthful. Many of these values are summed up in a collection of proverbs called the "Havamal" (contained in the booklet you are holding) or in other documents from ancient or modern times.
Asatruar, if they live up to the high standards of their faith, are dependable and competent additions to any military unit. In fact, Asatru is often thought of as a warrior faith because in ancient times it was practiced by warlike cultures, such as the Vikings and the various European tribes - all of whom were pretty tough characters. If you've got a follower of Asatru in your combat vehicle or your fighting position, you should be able to breathe a little easier.
From its very establishment in the United States, Asatru has supplied soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines for the defense of this country. The first Asatru organization in America was started by a young man shortly before he entered the U.S. Army. He went on to earn his jump wings and Ranger tab, and to serve a total of four years on active duty as well as a decade in the Army National Guard. There have been countless men and women like him since then.
At any given moment over the past four decades there have been Asatruar serving in the United States military. You may have worked alongside them without knowing they were Asatru because we often practice our beliefs quietly.
If you are the NCO or officer over Asatruar - or if you are a Chaplain, or a team member or buddy - feel free to ask them about our faith. They'll appreciate your interest and they'll be glad to answer any question you have.
Bearing a Weapon (Ibid, 15).
By all the Gods and Goddesses! May I bear this weapon with courage, with honor, and with prudent restraint. May I use it only to promote the right, never to serve the base. Let me give honor to my ancestors and descendants, and grow closer to the mighty Powers. In the names of Odin, the furious; Thor, the strong; Balder, the good; and Tyr, the bold. So be it done!
(Carrying gun-steel or blade-steel should be a religious act. Any lethal weapon is such a vital extension of the human will and personality that it partakes of some of the mysteries of life and death, and should therefore be treated with reverence. More than that, arming oneself can be a ritualized deed that brings the weapons-bearer into closer contact with the Gods. In this spirit, the above prayer is offered, to be used when taking up a weapon.)
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