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1. Essential Asatru: Walking the Path of Norse Paganism Paperback – December 1, 2006 by Diana L. Paxson ISBN-10: 0806527080
Diana L. Paxson provides a clear and concise history of Asatru - a living religion that encompasses the magical practice of the Norse and Germanic peoples - and also provides thorough instruction on how to practice it and make it a part of everyday life.
2. Lee M. Hollander, transl. The Poetic Edda. 2nd ed. University of Texas Press, 1986. ISBN: 0292764995.
Carolyne Larrington, transl. The Poetic Edda. Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN: 0192839462.
The Poetic Edda (don’t ask what the word “Edda” means; no one seems to know) is a collectionof poems written down in Iceland in the Old Norse language, preserving the lore of our Gods and heroes. Hollander tries to maintain as much as possible of the poetic flavor of the original as possible. He did this by using a lot of archaic vocabulary—it’s not always easy to figure out his infamous “Hollanderese”.
Carolyne Larrington’s translation is less poetic but more readable.
3. Our Troth: History and Lore (Volume 1) Paperback – April 27, 2006 by Kveldulf Gundarsson ISBN-10: 1419635980
Our Troth is the single most comprehensive book available on the reborn religion of Heathenry - - the pre-Christian religion of the Germanic peoples. First published in 1993 but out of print for years, Our Troth is back in print, featuring updates and additions from its original compiler, Kveldulf Gundarsson, and from many other Heathen writers, all edited by well-known author Diana L. Paxson. Volume 1 covers the history and lore of Heathen religion, from its deepest Stone Age roots to its flowering today, with information on the Gods, Goddesses, and other beings that receive honor and worship, and the ethics of being Heathen.
4. Our Troth: Living the Troth Paperback – August 7, 2007 by Kveldulf Gundarsson ISBN-10:1419636146
Volume 2 covers the Heathen holy year, lore and rites for the major holidays, and ways to work Heathenry into every facet of life. It includes an extensive glossary and reading list for further study.
5. Snorri Sturluson, Edda, transl. Anthony Faulkes. Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd, 1995. ISBN 0460871854.
6. Snorri Sturluson, The Prose Edda of Snorri Sturlusson, transl. Jean I. Young. University of California Press, 2001. ISBN 0520012313.
Snorri Sturluson was a remarkable 13th-century Icelandic scholar and political figure. Although he himself was Christian, he respected the old Norse poetic tradition, and he worried that the old poems were becoming hard to understand as knowledge of the old myths was fading. So he wrote his Edda, a poetry textbook that happens to contain much information about Norse mythology. The Faulkes translation of the entire Edda includes a lot of technical detail on Old Norse poetics. For starters, you can use the partial translation by Jean Young, which only includes the mythological sections.
7. Kevin Crossley-Holland, The Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings. Pantheon, 1981. ISBN: 0394748468.
The original writings that tell the Norse myths and stories aren’t always easy to interpret. There are several retellings of the myths; this is easily the best one. It’s well-written and faithful to the sources, with plenty of footnotes if you feel like digging further into the details.
8. H.R. Ellis Davidson, Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. Penguin, 1990. ISBN: 0140136274.
H. R. Ellis-Davidson is a leading scholar of Norse mythology, and her books convey a great deal of information in a clear, straightforward style. This book is a fine introduction to Norse religion.
Also look for her Lost Beliefs of Northern Europe (Routledge; ISBN: 0415049377) and Roles of the Northern Goddess (ISBN: 0415136113)
9. John Lindow. Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN: 0195153820.
Another excellent compendium of Norse mythology (although Lindow is disdainful of modern Ásatrú). The highlight is a thorough A-Z dictionary of people, places and things from Norse mythology. There are also several essays, on topics such as the view of time in Norse thought, that are also excellent.
10. Heaney, Seamus, transl. Beowulf: A Norton Critical Edition. W. W. Norton & Company, 2001. ISBN: 0393975800.
You probably remember this from high school English class. This is the single finest epic poemthat has survived from any Germanic culture. It’s available in a vast number of translations; we can’t list them all here. The Norton Critical Edition has a lot of excellent background material,and Heaney’s translation, while not the most literal, is a fine work of poetry in its own right.
11. The Saga of the Volsungs; Jesse Byock, trans. University of California Press, 2001. ISBN
The Saga of the Volsungs. Jesse Byock, transl. Penguin, 2000. ISBN: 0140447385.
The best-known of the “mythological sagas”. Like the Arthurian legends, the tale of the Volsungs may be distantly based on historical fact, but this history is shrouded in myth. Unlikethe more or less historical “sagas of Icelanders”, this saga tells a much older legend, in whichOdin figures as the shaper of events, and magic is ever afoot. . .
12. Smiley, Jane (ed.) The Sagas of Icelanders. Penguin, 2001. ISBN: 0141000031.
These tales of the Viking-era settlers of Iceland, written roughly 700 years ago, are entertaining, action-filled tales in their own right. They’re also packed with details on everyday life, war,trading, and pagan religion. This book is a selection of some of the best.
Penguin publishes many others; look for:Njal’s Saga (ISBN: 0140447695),Eyrbyggja Saga (ISBN 0140445307) and the legendary
Hrolf Kraki’s Saga (ISBN 014043593X)
13. Roesdahl, Else. The Vikings. Revised edition. Penguin, 1999. ISBN: 0140252827.
A thorough history of the Viking-era Norse peoples from Byzantium to America, packed with a
wealth of information. This author’s personal favorite “pocket-sized” history of the Vikings.
14. Krasskova, Galina. Exploring The Northern Tradition. New Page Books, 2005. ISBN: 1564147916.
At this writing, this is the only mass-market book in print by a heathen author that deals directlywith today’s Heathen religion. Features many beautifully written prayers to the gods andgoddesses. The author reviews the lore on the deities, giving a number of her own personal understandings, which not everyone will agree with, but which are always thought-provoking.
15. The Road to Hel: A Study of the Conception of the Dead in Old Norse Literature Paperback –
March 21, 2013 by Hilda Roderick Ellis ISBN-10: 110763234X
Originally published in 1943, this book was written using a variety of evidence from archaeology and literature concerning Norse funeral customs to reconstruct their conception of future life, the soul of man, the cult of the dead, and the journey to the land of the dead. The text is notable as one of the first comprehensive treatments of these areas, showing how knowledge could be forwarded by correlation of the evidence from various academic fields. This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in Norse history, archaeology and literature.