Lore Program - Heathen Essentials


            Welcome to Heathenry (also known as Asatru). Perhaps you are beginning your journey as a heathen. Maybe you are an “interested bystander,” someone who may not be heathen but who knows heathens or is interested in learning more about our religion. Who knows, perhaps you are somewhere in between! In any event, this online, self-study program is for you. It is our hope that, as you work through the readings, essays, and sample questions, you will develop a fuller understanding of Asatru and what it means to be heathen in a modern context.

            This course is designed to be both a stand-alone course. You will also need a copy of The Prose Edda, The Poetic Edda, Eyrbyggjasaga and one or more introductory guides.

            It is our hope that working through both this online course will provide further depth of understanding.

            The Heathen Essentials module is also the gateway to the Lore Program. The purpose of Heathen Essentials is to ensure that all incoming students possess a grounding in the Lore and basic Heathen concepts

            After passing the Heathen Essentials test, a Full Troth Member may then enter the Lore Program proper. The Heathen Essentials module counts as 3 credits towards graduation in the Lore Program.

Again, welcome to Heathenry! Luck to you on your journey.

The Lore Program



            For each week, read the selections given. The guiding selection will be from your chosen Introductory guide book; selections from historical primary sources will supplement the main reading. As you go, answer the questions and do the exercises for yourself and to your own satisfaction. When you have finished and feel ready, email the provost (lore@thetroth.org) for the final exam.


Introductory Guides

You should choose one of these two guides to read:

            Patricia M. Lafayllve’s A Practical Heathen’s Guide to Asatru is an introductory work by one of the founders of the Troth’s Lore Program.

            Essential Ásatru is a short introduction to the religion by the Troth’s Diana Paxson.


Recommended Translations

            The best translation of the Prose Edda remains that of Anthony Faulkes from the Everyman Library (1995). The Penguin translation by Jesse Byock (2005) is also extremely good.

            Carolyne Larrington offers an excellent prose translation of the Poetic Edda (Oxford 1996, revised 2014.) Lee Hollander’s translation of the Poetic Edda remains popular among heathens, because it is a poetic rendering in Germanic-style verse. Beginners may, however, find it difficult to understand, for that very reason.

            There are two good, current translations of the Eyrbyggja Saga by Penguin; one by is translated by Paulson and Edwards and the other by Judy Quinn.

            You should avoid the older, out-of-copyrights translations available on the internet. These are often repackaged and reprinted as inexpensive editions, but they reflect badly out-of-date scholarship. Be especially careful purchasing editions on line to be sure you’re getting the right thing.


Heathen Essentials Index