New Heathenry between past and present. The case of Ásatrúfélagið and Samfundet Forn Sed

As a variant of alternative spirituality derived from postmodern fluidity and fragmentation of large narratives, Nordic Heathenry has gone through a revival for the past decades. Due to the common ground of potentially völkish/ethnicist views shared by far-right milieus, it has been confronted with the risk of the extremist framework dominating the reception of Norse symbols and myths. While many strains of heathenry might present similarities in their neo-romantic nativist revival, some have been attempting to focus on a heritage discourse that can become acceptable and normalized in society, reflecting an open and inclusive attitude. The Asatru Association in Iceland and The Old Way in Sweden, through their public message and stated mission, underline the need for the freedom to reinvent myth and ritual while remaining anchored in the present, thus distancing themselves from other cultural appropriations and proclaiming their own role in society. The very flexible view on myth and ritual constitutes a defining aspect for the identity of these movements.

Irina Manea (2021), New Heathenry between past and present. The case of Ásatrúfélagið and Samfundet Forn Sed. RJBNS 13(2), 7-26. DOI: 10.53604/rjbns.v13i2_2.

DOI number:

Keywords: heathen, heritage, Norse myth, identity, spirituality
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This paper has been presented at the Twelve International Conference on Baltic and Nordic Studies in Romania: ReThinking multiculturalism, multilingualism and cultural diplomacy in Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea Region, hosted by the Romanian Association for Baltic and Nordic Studies, May 27–28, 2021.

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