How to Tell Your Family You Converted to Asatru

Many Asatru people started out as members of another religion. Typically, they still have family, friends, and coworkers who are still members of that religion. It can be a daunting task to tell everyone about your change of faith, but many others have done it before you. It is just something you must face.

Converting to any religion can be tough. Converts to Asatru face the extra challenge that few people have ever heard of Asatru. That means you must not only tell others that you've convert, but then you must explain your new religion from scratch. For many new converts, they don't know the religion well enough to do so.

Who Needs to Know?

The first step is to figure out who really needs to know. There has been a lot of hostility toward non-Christians over the past centuries, so many Asatruar only bring up their religion when they need to. You should always answer honestly if asked, but there is no need to go out of your way to label yourself as "un-hire-able" or as someone else people should gossip about.

Still, as a matter of respect, you may feel the need to tell your family or someone else. This is a different type of need based on the nature of your relationship. There are no concrete rules for this; you will use your own judgment.

When is a Good Time?

If you are going to tell someone, start with a trusted and respected person. Find a time to talk quietly and on an individual basis. This should be a private moment and the reaction of the other person may give you a clue as to how others will react.

Generally, you don't want to blurt out that you are a Heathen while your very Christian family are gathered around for Christmas dinner. This sort of thing is just disruptive and shows a lack of respect for your family. On the other hand, some families interact this way and it may be the best option in such a case.

Things That Will Help

Some things can help ease the transition. Each has benefits and weaknesses, so use your judgment.

If you have changed religions before, wait a while before you make your announcement. It is not unknown for people to try out different religions until they settle on the one that suits them best. Your family may not take you too seriously if they think this is just the latest in a long series of conversions.

Learn as much as you can about Asatru before making your announcement. It will be easier to explain your new faith if you can describe it and answer questions about it competently. It also shows that you are serious about the conversion.

Tell the old stories without emphasizing the religious aspects of them. Western culture is full of bits and pieces of our faith, and many people recognize them without ascribing them to religion. By telling the old stories, or citing the Eddas, you familiarize your family and friends with Asatru in a subtle way. This can soften the blow when you mention your conversion.

The biggest thing you can do to help is to be a respectable and productive person. If you are otherwise respectable, people are more likely to respect your decisions, even if they don't agree with you. More than that, people like to emulate successful individuals, so being successful will encourage others to follow your lead.

After the Telling

Though reactions will all be different, there are some things you can do to try to settle things. Remind your family members that you are still a family and that you respect and care for them. Let them know that, though you would like them to convert also, there is no requirement in Asatru that they do so. Lastly, let them know that, despite the difference in faith, you plan to keep the peace the best that you honestly can.

Outside of your control is that you may get visits or other contact. A family member, friend of the family, or church official may try to talk to you about converting back. You can be firm but polite with them as long as they are properly respectful with you. Remember, they believe that they are trying to help you. Think back to those who have kept our faith alive through the ages and stay firm. See if you can convert this person to Asatru.


In the big scheme of things, only you can decide how you want to approach this. Every person and situation is different. For some, it will be no big deal. At the other extreme, it may invite anger and violence from fundamentalist relatives. Sometimes, the family members surprise you. I remember one non-Asatru friend who told her grandmother about my people and me. The grandmother replied, "Good, maybe you will learn about your people."