One thing you can expect at any Asatru Folk Assembly gathering is a variety of lectures, workshops, and discussions. This Midsummer was no exception!
I gave four presentations. The first one, on Thursday evening, was titled "Finding the Gods in Nature." As my recent blog posts show, this is one of the main themes of my recent spiritual development. We must become aware of the holiness in nature. We can do this by seeing things in nature as complete in themselves, rather than just as "resources." Additionally, if we refuse to project our expectations on natural phenomena and just let them "speak for themselves," we can become open to something holy that lurks behind mere appearances. In my talk, I related some of my personal experiments at doing this.
My second talk asserted that European-descended men and women everywhere are "indigenous Europeans." Our ancestors have been in America for a couple of centuries, but they were in Europe for forty thousand years. Europe shaped our bodies, our minds, and our spirits; we are forever a part of Europe, and Europe is forever a part of us. We need to realize we are a people, part of a lineage that transcends space, time, and mortality. "Only when we realize we are a river will we stop drowning in puddles."
If we are a people, then we must think about our community...Hence, the third talk. I examined the definition of community and explored what makes men and women join one. An AFA community begins when two AFA members meet each other and share a drink or a meal. From that simple beginning, they can grow to any size. Kindreds have their benefits (community)and their down sides (not necesarily being guided by the AFA Declaration of Purpose, often incapable of cooperating well with those outside their kindreds). We are developing the Northern California AFA Community, with the intention of using it as a model for others scattered across the country, and eventually around the world.
Finally, I gave an informal talk on the runes and other Germanic systems as means of self-transformation. Everyone knows about runes as a divinatory system, but there is less awareness of runes as a tool for personal evolution. I also shared information on techniques I have developed, based on the myth of Odin's mead-theft.
The topics of these four presentations are all connected. The first and last topics - seeing the Gods in nature and personal transformation, respectively - are strictly spiritual, but have implications for us all. Any progress we make as a group will depend upon our spiritual power. European-descended folk as an indigenous people dovetails neatly with the development of community, for it is as people native to Europe that we come together.
In a future post I will describe other presentations at Midsummer in the Sierras, so you can see what a very rich gathering this was!
Asatru Folk Assembly