There are two categories a spirituality or religion can fall into: It can be an immanent faith, or a transcendent faith. Sometimes it can be a bit of both.

Immanent faiths focus on the quality, actualization, and fulfillment of our current lives and the relationships we have with the world around us. Practices and observances are centered upon our immediate reality, wellbeing, and lived experience.

Norse Heathenry is an example of an immanent faith. Our focus lies on the experience of animism and the relationships we cultivate with ourselves and others. Practitioners aren’t required to live their lives in certain ways to get a good afterlife. Many of us believe we will automatically rejoin our ancestors unless we choose to pursue something else, such as an afterlife in Valhalla, in which case there are conditions to how we live or die. But this is something we elect to do, rather than something we must do to be Heathen. For more information, see Death & the Afterlife.

Transcendent faiths focus on moving above or beyond immediate reality. How this is done, and for what purpose, varies with each faith. Staples of transcendent philosophy include concepts like enlightenment and the ascension of the soul. Transcendent faiths may also focus heavily on the afterlife and how to attain a desirable one.

Christianity is an example of a transcendent faith. In Christianity, all lifestyle choices and actions either bring someone closer to God or push them further away, which determines whether they go Heaven or Hell after death. What actions do this are determined by doctrines and dogmas.

Though Norse Heathenry is primarily an immanent faith, it does have a few transcendent elements to it. The most obvious example is the belief that those who die in battle go to Odin’s hall, Valhalla. Other potential examples include the work of the völva and the frenzy of the berserkír. However, these transcendent elements are optional, rather than essential. We choose whether or not we want to add transcendent ideologies to our practices.