When we first revived Asatru in the United States, back in the early 1970's, our focus was entirely on the Vikings. And no wonder - people are enthralled with the vivid image of these swashbuckling pirates and adventurers. They certainly appealed to me, as a young man in my early 20's!
Our movement has matured a lot since then, and we realize that the Viking Age was maybe ten percent of Germanic history. It's not just about the Norsemen; it's about Germanic tribes everywhere, and it's about us, today, as Germanic people. Many of us, though, still long for salt spray and cold steel in our hands, the ropes of our rigging strumming in the Baltic breeze...and that's okay. One of the best things about the Viking image is that it appeals to those instincts for adventure, hardiness and courage. These values never go out of style, and are as good today as they were a thousand years ago.
With that said, we need to avoid the mindset that pines for the lost heroic age, whether that is seen as the era of the Vikings, the centuries of the wandering Germanic tribes, or any other time in history. "If only I lived back then...that was the real age for heroism!" goes the lament. But was it? Sure, it was a dramatic time, a period of conflict, when the historical stakes were high and bold men and resourceful women could perform great deeds and live lives that would resound through the centuries in the sagas...
...Just like today. These times, this crucial period of the early twentieth century, is no less dramatic, no less a time of conflict. The stakes on the gambling table of history today dwarf those of the Viking Age or any other. How many of us understand the importance of these decisive years? The gray power of the surveillance state looms large throughout our ancient European homelands and the New World alike. We European-descended folk are cut off from our spiritual heritage and flounder, lost, in a swamp of alienation and apathy. Everywhere, our numbers are dropping. Changes in the Earth's climate have produced a world tottering on the edge of an environmental precipice leading to mass extinctions - to include, perhaps, our own. This is the age that demands heroism - not the Viking Age or the Migration Age. The heroes of this epoch, this degenerate and desperate age, will redeem a future not only for our own folk but for all humanity and all life on this planet. This is the age for those who wish to overcome great odds and do great deeds! Ragnar Lodbrok, Harald Hardrada, Sigurd the Volsung - they envy those of us lucky enough to walk the earth at this time in history.
Will you be one to rise to the challenge? Or will you at least aid those who do? This is the heroic age you always wanted: Seize this time!
Asatru Folk Assembly