History of Asatru

Fast Facts: History of Asatru
Overview Revival of Norse and Germanic paganism, 1970s Scandinavia and USA.
Date Founded ancient form has no founding date; modern revival founded 1970s
Place Founded ancient form flourished across northern Europe; modern revival founded in Iceland
Founder(s) no founder of ancient form; modern revival founded by Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson
Current Adherents unknown

Asatru, the modern attempt to revive the old Norse faith, was founded by the Icelandic farmer Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson (1924–1993). Beinteinsson was a sheep farmer and a priest in the religion, who published a book of rímur (Icelandic rhymed epic poetry) in 1945. In 1972 he petitioned the Icelandic government to recognize the Íslenska Ásatrúarfélagið ("Icelandic fellowship of Æsir faith") as a religious body. It did so in 1973, and Denmark and Norway have since followed.

According to one Asatru website, similar communities were formed in the USA and UK at the same time as those in Iceland, each unaware of the existence of the others. This is a sign that "Odin, the wanderer, is once again seeking worshippers." (Irminsul Ættir)

Today, there are small groups of Asatru adherents throughout Scandinavia and North America. According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, in the 1990s the approximately 300 Icelandic adherents hoped to dechristianize Iceland by the year 2000, the 1000th anniversary of the island's christianization.


  1. Hinnells, John R. (ed.), Penguin Dictionary of Religions (London: Penguin Books, 1997).
  2. Polomé, Edgar Charles; E.O.G. Turville-Petre. “Germanic religion and mythology.” Encyclopaedia Britannica Online.
  3. “Iceland.” Barrett, David B., George Thomas Kurian, and Todd M. Johnson (eds.), The World Christian Encyclopedia: A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in the Modern World (Oxford University Press).
  4. Rev. Patrick "Jordsvin" Buck. “Asatru, An Ancient Religion Reborn.” Irminsul Ættir.

Further Reading


Article Info

Title History of Asatru
Last UpdatedJanuary 28, 2021
MLA Citation “History of Asatru.” 28 Jan. 2021. Web. Accessed 16 Jan. 2022. <>