“I felt a call. The stories about the [Norse] gods made sense.” Did this come from a Marvel movie? Perhaps a popular fantasy novel? I’m afraid not. This is Jessica Roesner speaking, a recent convert for the ASU – the Asatru Folk Assembly, a cult based on Norse mysticism. They worship the Norse god Asatru in their new “hof” in Brownsville, California.

Another Asatruar (the apparent appellation for a worshiper of Asatru), Thorgrun Thompson-Odden said, “This is a centering for us. It is like a home. There is a power here in the forest. You can feel it. This is ours. We don’t have to leave it. We can build on it.” The founding of their worship site marks a trend we’ve commented on before: the growing popularity of paganism.

But hold on a second. Which Norse stories, exactly, make so much sense to Jessica? That the world was created from the dead body of a giant, the sea from its blood, and the clouds from its brain? Or that maggots from that dead body turned into dwarves that now live in caves under the earth? Or maybe that the wolf-sons of a witch chase the sun and moon around the sky to make night and day? Hard to say.

How are people being drawn into this sort of pagan nonsense, all the while turning a blind eye to real, life-giving hope? A recent piece from NY Mag gives some clues: “The Powerful Appeal of Modern Witchcraft – Even for a Skeptic.” The thirst for community, self-fulfillment, and “something new” certainly all play a large role, but ultimately, G.K. Chesterton put it best: “When men choose not to believe in God, they do not thereafter believe in nothing. They then become capable of believing in anything.”

Image Credit: sharkhats