Lesson Eight: Heathen Esoterica

Lesson Eight: Practices and Rituals


  • Eyrbyggja’s Saga 43-65

Select one of the following introductory guides:

  • Essential Ásatrú (either edition)
    • Chapter Eleven: Questions and Conflicts
    • Chapter Twelve: Hearth to Hof


  • Our Troth, third edition
    • No readings.(It’ll probably be in Volume Three)


  • A Practical Heathen’s Guide to Ásatrú
    • Twelve: Ethics, Hospitality and Oaths
    • Thirteen: Heathen Rituals, Heathen Ways
    • Fourteen: Blots for the Holy Tides
    • Fifteen Sample Life Rituals
  • The Way of Fire and Ice
    • Chapter Eight: Finding Community
    • Chapter Nine: Building Community


  1. Consider where you live in the world. Write down how your geographic location impacts the heathen holy days and their timing (ie Yule is in December in the Northern Hemisphere, but in June in the Southern Hemisphere). What do your local weather patterns indicate as seasonal changes? Consider how you may need to adapt your holy tides and practices to work with the world, and how that may be different than our Northern European ancestors experienced their world. What specific things can you do to include yourself and your worship as part of the seasonal celebrations in your area?
  2. If you are part of a group of fellow heathens, meet and discuss which holy days are most important to your group and why. Write down which practices your group resonates with the most and attempt to schedule a full year of meetings. If you are a solitary heathen, do the same thing, but consider within yourself which holy days are most important and why, then write your own schedule.
  3. After every ritual you perform, write down what worked, what didn't, any omens that might have presented themselves, and any thoughts, feelings, or reflections that you and/or the members of your group felt/observed before, during, and after the ritual. Do this for the space of one year, then look back on the pages and see what stayed consistent, what changed, and what developed as you went along. How did your practice evolve?
  4. If you are in a group, discuss how you will define yourselves. Will you be bound by oaths to one another? Will you have a hierarchical structure, or be consensus-driven? Do you consider yourselves more like a family or like a religious practice group? Write down your decisions.
  5. If you are a solitary practitioner, consider ways in which you can be in touch with the larger heathen community. Are you the member of a large organization you can network through? Are there local events open to heathens in your area? Attend at least one local event, and then write down your findings, thoughts, and considerations.
  6. What are a few of the major variations within heathenry today? List them and briefly describe what you know about each.
  7. What codes of behavior do the characters of Eyrbyggja’s Saga follow? How do they different men and women, high-status or low-status characters?
  8. How do you evaluate the character of Snorri Goði? Does he act properly according to heathen ethics?
  9. What role do promises and obligations play in Eyrbyggja’s Saga? What bargains are made? What are the consequences?

Heathen Essentials Index