Heathenry is sometimes called “the religion with homework.” There is a process of enculturation that must take place when a person returns to their Folkway. To return to the world-view and way-of-life of our Ancestors, one must read and study, and begin putting what they learning into practice. The problem of course, is making sure that you are accessing the right resources. Much of the information about Heathenry you find on the internet or in books is misleading or just wrong.
Most Heathens will recommend going to your primary sources first.These consist of the Poetic Edda, the Prose Edda, the Icelandic Sagas, Beowulf, and other contemporary source material.
Then there are well-researched secondary sources that can be valuable in fleshing out your understanding. Beyond that, there are tertiary sources, such as story-books retelling the stories in the Lore, books of modern Heathen poetry, etc. Below is a list of books worth reading.
Some of the following books can be read and downloaded for free from the Temple Library here on our website. Some are available as paperbacks, hardcovers, and free downloads in the Heathen Bookstore of our website.
Where possible, we've provided links to where you can find the books for free. Many of the others can be ordered on-line or at your local bookstore. Over time, we'll be adding more of these titles available for purchase or free download. There are a few books on this list that are a real challenge to find, but well worth the search. If there is a book here you've looked and looked for, but can't find, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try to point you in the right direction.
The Poetic Edda – This is available in various translations. Larrington's is the easiest to understand, but one of the least poetic. Hollander's 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.
The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson – This is also available in various translations. The Byock, Faulkes, and Young translations are all fairly good.
Essential Asatru by Diana Paxon
Heathen Gods by Mark Ludwig Stinson
Heathen Tribes by Mark Ludwig Stinson
Our Troth: History and Lore (Volume 1) by Kveldulf Gundarsson
Our Troth: Living the Troth (Volume 2) by Kveldulf Gundarsson
Elves, Wights, and Trolls by Kveldulf Gundarsson
Beowulf trans. by Seamus Heaney (I strongly suggested this trans.)
The Sagas of Icelanders (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
The Saga Hoard, Volumes 1-2 (Temple Library Collection)
Egil's Saga and Njal's Saga specifically
The Saga of the Volsungs translated by Jesse Byock
The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok translated by Ben Waggoner
The Sagas of Fridthjof the Bold translated by Ben Waggoner
The Agricola and Germania by Tacitus (available in various trans.)
Heimskringla by Snorri Sturluson (available in various trans.)
Nine Books of Danish History by Saxo Grammaticus - Available in our website's Heathen Bookstore.
Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation by the Venerable Bede
The Culture of the Teutons (Volumes 1 and 2) by Vilhelm Grönbech - Collected into one book available in our website's Heathen Bookstore.
Gods and Myths of the Viking Age by H.R. Ellis Davidson
The Road to Hel by H.R. Ellis Davidson
Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe by H.R. Ellis Davidson
Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe by H.R. Ellis Davidson
The Well and the Tree by Paul C. Bauschatz (hard to find)
The Mead Hall by Stephen Pollington (hard to find)
The Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings by Kevin Crossley-Holland
The Children of Odin by by Padraic Colum
D'Aulaire's Book of Norse Myths by Ingri and Edgar D'Aulaire
True Hearth by James Allen Chisholm
Way of the Heathen by Garman Lord
AFA Book of Blotar and Ritual
The Book of Troth by Edred Thorsson
The Rune Primer by Sweyn Plowright
On Being a Pagan by Alain de Benoist
Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity by James Russell
A Piece of Horse Liver by Jon Hnefill Adalsteinsson
Under the Cloak by Jon Hnefill Adalsteinsson
Feud in Icelandic Sagas by Jesse Byock
Investigating the Afterlife Concepts of the Norse by Bil Linzie
The Tradition of Household Spirits by Claude Lecouteux
Lady With A Mead Cup by Michael Enright
Honour, Exchange and Violence in Beowulf by Peter Baker
Religion of the Northmen by Rudolph Keyser
We Are Our Deeds by Eric Wodening
Hammer of the Gods by Swain Wodening
The Belief of the Tribe by Swain Wodening
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