Latin American Ásatrú has grown a lot in recent years. Although it’s been practiced for a number of years Central and South America, it is common for these groups to be rather short-lived. The exception seems to be in countries like Costa Rica, Mexico and Colombia. Costa Rica has been on the radar of the worldwide Ásatrú movement on multiple occasions, being presented even on national television and for several printed and online magazines like The Troth’s “Idunna” and “The Wild Hunt”. The Central American country has been represented mainly by the Irminsul Kindred and most recently by the Ásatrú Yggdrasil Association, founded in 2015 as an umbrella organization for individual practitioners and smaller groups seeking legal recognition. Currently, the organization is part of The Troth’s International Relations and Exchange Program and received an official visit of the former Steerswoman, Victoria Clare, in 2012.
Yggdrasil and Irminsul are now looking to promote the growth of the Ásatrú in Latin countries, reaching out and creating links with other organizations around the world which support and provide academic material, cultural exchanges, and strategic alliances. These initiatives have met with relative success, connecting the nation with a number of organizations in other countries. Currently, Kindred Irminsul is awaiting an official visit from the former head of Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost; the first Norwegian association to be legally recognized by their government, back in 1996. This visit is primarily the result of the friendly relations the Yggdrasil Association sustains with Stine Helen Skår. Stine was initially a member of the group that was in charge of finding a land to establish a Heathen cemetery in Norway, and although she is no longer leading the organization she is still an active member of the community.
Stine will be visiting Costa Rica from the 15th to the 23rd of March to blót with representatives of the Yggdrasil Association on the tropical beaches of the Manuel Antonio’s National Reserve. The stated intention of this international gathering is to establish official relations between Bifrost and Yggdrasil. Stine does not come alone; she is joined by Hans Gunnar Pedersen, guide, lecturer of Viking and prehistoric history of Norway, and former leader of Borre Vikinglag.
The fight against racism.
Both groups are well known for their constant struggle against racism and bigotry. In a recent interview about the upcoming conference, Stine was quoted as saying: “When the opportunity presented itself, I felt that going to Costa Rica as a member of Åsatrufellesskapet Bifrost might send a signal to those in the country who are so obsessed with “having the right blood” as those of us who actually HAVE that blood are more concerned about making friends no matter where they are from … We are all one people. We all have the right blood. We are a race, we are human …” A message that makes very clear the position both organizations have regarding the concepts of race or skin color.
Planned conference at the University of Costa Rica
To help promote the growth of heathenry and clear some confusion around Viking history and its polytheistic beliefs, the Yggdrasil Association has secured a space at the School of Anthropology of the University of Costa Rica which will be held on March 21st. This is an important move for the Costa Rican movement since this puts them firmly in the public eye and brings them to the attention of academics and university students in the country. With the assistance of Gunnar Pedersen, the Yggdrasil Association hopes to inspire more anthropological research on the subject of modern Central American Heathenry.