I found Asatru late in life, as many have. I found Asatru while I was in my 30's, around 2012. The road to my discovery of faith was a long one, and one that has been filled with learning experiences.
As a young man, I had fought with a phenomenon called night terrors. In South Carolina, it's commonly called Riding the Hag. Science calls it sleep paralysis. In Greek Lore, a succubus. My experience was not dissimilar to many others’ experiences, it starts off with the feeling of a presence in the room. At some point, terror overcomes you, and you can't move. I can't scream, I can't do anything. It'll feel like someone is literally sitting on your chest, and breathing becomes a problem. It's something I dealt with all my life. I would often wake up screaming once the grip was loosened enough for me to shake myself awake.
At some point in 2013, I decided to give my devotion to the Gods of Europe. I remember where I was, I was standing beneath a tree on the property behind my house, a very large oak. I offered a drink to Odin himself, and promised to give my devotion and worship, and asked that he reveal himself in some way. And he did. I just didn't know it.
After I joined the Asatru Folk Assembly in 2018, I was having a conversation with a fellow AFA member about my experience with night terrors. And I had mentioned that they suddenly stopped in 2013. He got back with me a few days later after going through the Havamal. And he explained to me he had read through the Old Norse and found something unexpected.
This portion of the Havamal is commonly referred to as the Runatal, as the Havamal is a collection of 3 poems which were combined in The Codex Regius. You'll recognize where the Runatal begins, as it begins with the story of Odin hanging upon the World Tree, and the runes are revealed to him in that state. The Runatal goes on to decribe the 18 spells (correlating to the 18 runes revealed to him) that he knows, with the above tenth spell being among them. I shared my experience with our Alsherjargothi, and we discussed the Armanen rune that would relate to that passage from Havamal.
It is from the Runatal that Meister Von List drew inspiration for the Armanen Futhark, which were revealed to him while he suffered from temporary blindness. So, after having this discussion with Alsherjargothi, we started looking to The Secret of the Runes, by Guido Von List.
ar, sun, primal fire, ar-yans, nobles
I use the tenth, when through the air
ghostly riding-women fly:
when I began that magic, they will fare
confused in form and effort.
The "ar' the "urfyr" (primal fire, God) the "sun" the "light" will destroy spiritual as well as physical darkness, doubt, and uncertainty.
The Secret of the Runes, Guido Von List, Translated by Dr. Stephen Flowers
The book goes on to describe that the Ar rune is a glyph that represents the Eagle, perhaps the eagle atop Yggdrasil. The primal fire is that divine spark that resides in all Aryans. It is that fire that is bellowed by the cosmic breath of Odin himself. The concluding line of text in The Secret of the Runes goes on to say "Respect the primal fire!"
It is my sincere belief that Odin used Ar to scatter to the winds my night hag terror. I believe that in every way. I have not experienced a single episode of night terrors since that day beneath that big, beautiful oak. I gave my reverent devotion to Him, and in turn, He gave this gift to me (and to my wife, as my night terrors obviously kept her up, and terrified her).
This was all the proof I needed to understand that the divine do in fact reveal themselves to us, in a very personal way. Perhaps Odin himself. It does not mean that we pray to Odin, and he will allow you to win the lottery. But, in a very real and tangible way, they can and do insert themselves into our lives.
How have the Gods or ancestors intervened in your lives? If you truly begin to have faith, real life faith, you might just find an experience like mine.
Hail the Gods!
Hail the Folk!
Hail the AFA!
Gothi Daniel Young