“Scale of Racial and Cultural Tolerances in Ásatrú “
(aka "The Jarnsaxa Scale")
by Jarnsaxa Thorskona
As in all organized religions, there are issues in Ásatrú where not all of the practitioners are of one mind. Sadly, one of the most contentious issues in our faith revolves around how open the religion is to people who are not of Northern European/Teutonic racial and/or cultural heritage. Not surprisingly, this is an issue that is very emotionally charged, and it is often difficult to conduct civil discussions on the various positions that are held. To try and remove some of the overt emotionalism that often accompanies this topic, and to try to help clarify what the range of viewpoints are, I have created a fairly basic scale that provides summaries of the most common viewpoints I have encountered or been otherwise made aware of. I would like to thank Doug from Texas who has provided assistance in editing and refining this scale. The descriptions are written from the perspective of one who holds that viewpoint. It should be noted that at the furthest ends of the scale, the beliefs held may come across as more extreme, and I have tried to indicate this without belittling the holder of the viewpoint or the holder itself. I have also tried to eliminate as much inflammatory language as possible, and to avoid implying any judgments or personal feelings I may have about any particular viewpoint. If, however, in reading these descriptions, you feel I have not succeeded in these efforts, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions you may have to correct the problem.
1. Ásatrú is an open religion which anyone can join. There are, however, certain things that must be done in certain ways, certain points of theology that must be strictly adhered to and certain beliefs that must be held. Anyone who doesn't agree with all of these points simply isn't Tru and can be deemed "traitors" to the Gods. One of these points that everyone must agree to is that Ásatrú is open to people of all races, and those who believe otherwise are not welcome and should be actively denounced so that there is no confusion of their beliefs with those of real Ásatrúar. I will only worship alongside those who follow the same beliefs.
2. Anyone who wants to become Ásatrú can, regardless of racial or cultural history. Individuals have the freedom to choose any religion to follow, and I will defend and uphold that right. All are welcome to my Kindred and I will worship alongside any Tru man or woman.
3. As the ties to the Aesir and Vanir are often ties to our ancestors (racial, cultural or ethnic), it is more difficult for those of non-Northern European heritage to be Ásatrú, but it is not impossible. I accept that the Gods and Goddesses will call to them whomever they choose and will worship alongside any Tru man or woman.
4. Only those of Northern European background can truly follow the path of Ásatrú. This does not imply that people of other races are in any way "less" than those of Teutonic heritage, only that they are different. All races and ethnic groups are equal in freedom to make a life of worth, and the theologies and pantheons that are connected to a non-Northern European heritage are every bit as valid and important as Ásatrú. By the same token, all non-Teutonic ethnic paths are just as closed to me as Ásatrú is to others. I feel it is of greatest value to follow the path of the your cultural and ethnic background, as these forces have had a great impact on who you are. Because I acknowledge and respect the validity of the various paths, however, I am willing worship with those who respect our Gods but are not of our path or ethnic group, and will certainly worship with any Tru man or woman.
5. Only those of Northern European heritage can be Ásatrú, and Northern European races should separate from all other races. This does not imply that people of other races are in any way "less" than those of Teutonic heritage, only that they are different and that we have an obligation to keep the Northern European blood pure in honor of our Gods. There may even be merit in allying with other races who also value the separation of racial and ethnic groups and religious paths. I will only worship alongside those who are also of Teutonic heritage.
6. Only those of Northern European heritage can be Ásatrú and the European races and ethnic groups are superior to all other races and ethnic groups. Aryans are the only true humans, and as such have an obligation to keep the racial and ethnic blood pure. If the only way to achieve this is to rid the world of the lesser races, then so be it. Only true Aryans can worship the Aesir and Vanir.
(Editor’s note: It should be clear that the Marklander position is somewhat in the middle as we attempt to balance both extremes. We are practicing the “religious, spiritual, magickal and cultural philosophy” of Ásatrú as it has come from ethnic or “folkish” sources, and we accept that all who are inclined to join in this practice are welcome to do so. In fact, we fail to see the necessity of assuming that these two points of view are necessarily in conflict and opposing. The best solution often is to find a way to compromise. Can one then be “folkish” and “universalist” at the same time? It would be interesting to see what your response is to this set of definitions. We welcome mail and comments to either the P.O. box, or the email address.
© Marklander 1997