So, you are new to Asatru or Heathenry, and not sure where to start? Well, you may consider the following resources. I think these first 2 steps would be a good very basic start:
Read the Heathen FAQ on the Temple of Our Heathen Gods website for a very basic introduction:
Read the book "Essential Asatru" by Diana Paxon. Its available from B&N or Amazon. There are other introductory books to Asatru and Heathenry, but "Essential Asatru" is a quick read, hits the basics very well, and gives some idea of the diversity of belief that exists within Heathenry.
After that, both Volumes of "Our Troth" are very good. A lot of reading, but if you are a reader...you'll come away with a very good foundation and understanding of Heathenry. Reading both volumes of "Our Troth" is just the beginning though.
"The Poetic Edda" – This is available in various translations. Larrington's translation is the easiest to understand, but one of the least poetic. Hollander's translation is one of the most poetic, but sometime difficult to understand. Bellow's translation is a pretty fair balance of clarity and a poetic sense. Larrington and Hollander's translations come in one volume, while Bellow's translation is split into two volumes (at least the Dover editions do). Bellows translation, among others can be read for free in our Temple Library:
"The Prose Edda" by Snorri Sturluson – This is also available in various translations. The Byock, Faulkes, and Young translations are all fairly good. Several translations can be read for free in our Temple Library:
There is also the "Heathen Gods" book, which is a collection of essays I have written on the topics of living heathen, starting and maintaining a kindred, and other aspects of "practical" heathenry. The "Heathen Gods" book is available as a free download (or in paperback and hardback) here:
to gain a base level of understanding of the cultural aspects of our Ancestor's world-view, "Culture of the Teutons" is a great source. It is a book well worth reading. It is available as a free download (or in paperback or hardback) here:
And here's a suggested reading list of other worthwhile books to read:
But keep this in mind. Everything I've listed above involves reading books, a fairly solitary activity. Heathenry is at its very heart about family and community. It is my opinion that you can read all the books you want and have all the book learning in the world, and you will still not grasp what it is to be truly Heathen. If you are new to Asatru, I would recommend seeking out other heathens in your area or your region as soon as possible.
Finding and meeting with other heathens will add a depth to your knowledge, that books alone cannot provide. Meeting with and knowing other heathens can quickly accelerate your learning and enculturation process. The association and interaction with other heathens allows you to put what you are learning into practice, and it will drive and motivate you to incorporate what you are learning into your everyday life. To find other Asatruars and Heathens in your area, I would suggest the 15 steps located at this link:
If you have trouble finding Asatruars or Heathens in your area, don't give up. Keep trying. It is also worthwhile to travel to a regional heathen gathering. It is well worth the 2 to 5 hours roadtrip to gathering with other heathens and their families for a weekend. For instance, Jotun's Bane Kindred travels 16 hours every year to attend Winterhof Kindreds' Superior Heathen Gathering up in Michigan. And that's just one of many road trips we make each year around the Midwest. If you are in the Midwest, consider attending Lightning Across the Plains, which is held every September:
Some will tell you to get involved on Asatru or Heathen message boards, and that is not a horrible suggestion. Having discussions and asking questions on message boards can be a mixed bag. You don't really know the people giving you answers, and so it is very difficult to gauge the quality of their information. How do these people actually live their lives? Real-life interaction is so much more valuable than on-line interaction. All that being said, our Asatru message board is located here:
Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods