(With Norse pagan groups, watch out for the use of the word Folkish, phrases like Faith, Folk, Family, use of any common phrase that the Nazi's used (Blood and Soil, is one), use of the Wolfsangel symbol, use of the Othala rune with feet or wings added to it, talk of Armenian runes (they are false runes, which were created by an early German fascist that the Nazis later used in their symbolism), talk of runes being older than Greek and Latin alphabets, (it's false, there are free courses on Coursea on Egyptology and Classical mythology that give you a good timeline on when the various writing systems emerged), watch out for talk of the Nine Noble Virtues (or similar), an unhealthy obsession with the Eddic poem, 'The Sayings of the High One', wanting to use corrupted symbols like the swastika and an obsession with gun culture, hatred of Jews, black people, (and others), and an hatred of LGBT people. These folks are usually white supremacist/neo-nazis.
I wrote this entry along time ago, when I was first starting out, and wasn't aware of how bad the Folkish/Odinist groups were - they were at the time the groups that were easiet to find information of, find forums, were active on social media. I just followed them for a while to check them out and ended up not joining them in the end. They gave off vibes what I would describe now as a group of social narcassists that found fault with abosultely everything, even the academic study side of Heathenism. (Possibly because they knew that if people did so, they would find holes in their rhetoric.) I've included a list of red flags at the top of this article as a warning to people of what to look out for in groups that they want to join, and people to stay away from. What didn't help was that quite a lot of the introduction to paganism books, and early material that I found in books that I bought refered to Folkish orgs, which gave the impression that they were OK.)
The path that calls out the loudest to me is Asatru. Finding books on the subject has in fact been difficult and it is the main thing that is holding me back. A word of warning here to those who are new to Asatru. Many of the generalised, introductory books on paganism have little accurate information on Asatru and most of the information contained relates to Wicca, with a bit on druidry, but not much, and as such causes a lot of confusion. For instance, they will introduce the Wheel of the Year and give the impression that all pagan paths follow it. This is not the case asthough many of the Asatru 'holidays' like Yule and Midsummer do coincide with the Wheel of the Year, other holidays do not apply and there are different holidays instead. (The Wheel of the Year and Heathenry is much more complex than I've described, and I now see it as a bad example to use, but the Folkish groups I looked into were very adamant that they DID NOT FOLLOW! The Wheel of the Year. My advice to people now is if something feels natural to you, and you want to follow it, do so, as long as it doesn't cause harm, and celebrating holidays based on the seasons and the Earth's path around the sun isn't really something that causes harm...)
One potential problem with Asatru, which is unjustified, is the connection with Nazi Germany. (The problem with Folkish/Odinist groups is that they have their roots in Nazi idology and have appropriated Norse and Heathern culture and use it as a shield and a way to attract people to their political ideology. I also feel that they use the idea of 'closed practice' that is meant to preserve cultures that have been heavily oppressed as a pseudo-valid reason for their racism - it might be approprate for Native Americans to not want outsiders using aspects of their culture, but is it for white people that haven't experienced genocide?) Don't be confused between Nazi Germany and Asatru - they are not the same thing. Some followers (as I have come to understand it), feel strongly about their family and have a strong pride in their ancestors - there is nothing wrong with this - in fact in today's society the family unit in Western Cultures has sadly declined due to parents walking out on their children, drug and alchohol abuse and a whole number of other problems that lead to family breakdown and depression.
'Odinism' at least, is one force in the world that is counter acting this decline. However, there are some idiots that have misinterpreted this ancestor pride and turned it into racism. There is no honour in attacking or hating people just because they were born into a different culture or race different to your own. Instead, respect each other and accept that even though they have different beliefs to you, they still work to pocess the same things as you, safety for their family, livelihoods, a place to live, medical care and to follow their culture, which are rights that belong to everyone.
One of the most striking things about Asatru are the Nine Noble Virtues and the Six Fold Goal. (Unfortunatley, these aren't valid, not because they aren't things that good people should strive for, but because they are concepts that were created by the Folkish/Odinist groups and aren't universal to Heathernry as a whole.I feel that honourable behaviour should be important and maintained as much as possible but be aware that these lists or rules were created by problematic groups. It is best to come up with a list of 'virtues' that are meaningful to you.) Some people think that they are irrevalvent, but I think that in an age where morals and family values are in decline, and the encouragement of failure is rife, they are more important than ever.