Asatru is a modern spiritual path based on ancient Nordic traditions. The term has been used since the late nineteenth century to describe adherence to and the preservation of pre-Christian Nordic religion. The meaning of Asatru is "Trust in the Aesir."
In Scandinavia this tradition is also known as Forn Sior (Ancient Way) or Hedensksed (Heathen custom). Asatru was granted status as an official religion in Iceland in 1972.
Heathen is an Anglo-Saxon word that literally means "dweller on the heath." The heath is the area outside the settlement. In post-Christianity days, those wishing to maintain old traditions retired to the heath, hence the name.
Heathen came to be synonymous with the word "Pagan," sometimes with the added implication of rude, ignorant barbarian. The word has been reclaimed by Neo-Pagans subscribing to Asatru and it's Northern European traditions. It is used today with pride.
Brightest of Blessings,