from The Runestone: Fall 1986 #57
Editor – It’s not often that we get news of Asatru overseas, with the exception of occasional articles describing Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson’s efforts in Iceland. We were pleasantly surprised, then, when Jeff Redmond produced this translation from the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet dated December 16, 1985 telling of organization in Sweden dedicated to our Gods and Goddesses!
December 16, 1985
by Bosse Schon
Atendency throughout the world is for mankind to seek alternatives to established religions. There are some hundred souls who believe in the old gods to be found in Sweden.
The rocksinger Pugh Rogefeldt has taught himself runic writing and has made an L.P. about the Aesir gods, “Hammarhjarta”.
Around the neck he always wears an amulet with Thor’s hammers, to give him strength and protect him against evil.
In an interview in Aftonbladet he related:
“I feel, myself, like the lost son. For my entire upbringing here I was exposed to Christian propaganda. We are born into the Swedish Church (the Lutheran State Church) whether we wish it or not. During school we get lessons on Christianity time and again. Then I was never interested in religion or history. Christianity was of course the Jewish history. It was when I first read about the Viking Age and Asatru that I became interested.”
Jonas Almquist in the rock group Ladrenunnan is a leader for the Asatru Guild, an association which wishes to get Asatru officially recognized as a religion.
On night he sat on an Uppsala mound, cut himself in the hand with a razor blade, and raised a cup of juice for Odin, Njord, and Bragi.
That was 1972, when four Icelanders got together and blew life into Asatru in Iceland. The year after, the government there acknowledged Asatru as a legitimate religion, soon uniting the cultures in Norway, Sweden, England, West Germany, and the U.S.A.
Arne Sjoberg is the chairman of the Asatru association, Breidarblikk Guild, which was established in 1975 and has 80 members.
In Harjedalen, Goteborg, and Vaxjo there are also established Asatru organizations.
“In the last mellenium we have been indoctrinated in a strange western Asiatic religion and culture, Christianity. Everyone has a right to his original religion,” says Sjoberg, who wishes that school children would get more lessons about the old Norse mythology in the schools.
In the autumn, Sjoberg officiated at his first old Nordic marriage in an ancient castle. With a ritual using Thor’s hammers, Sjoberg read some stanzas from the “Havamal” and ” Skirnismal”.
In Uppsala the Commune (county governmental body) plans to build a Viking settlement, including a heathen temple as a tourist attraction, something which gladdens the Asatruar who hope to get loan of the temple when they meet.
Lester Wikstrom of the committee tying together the Swedish Church and the Ecumenical Council says:
“The Church’s principal agreement is that every man has freedom of choice regarding which faith he will have. But the freedom has its limits. When they take up such features in Asatru as that of sacrificing children and the old, all have reason to protest”
Asatruar themselves say that they do not show any such tendencies.