September 2023 AFA Membership Count: 878
Asatru is an expression of the native, pre-Christian spirituality of Europe. More specifically, it is the religion by which the Ethnic European Folk have traditionally related to the Divine and to the world around them.
From Iceland to Russia, from the frozen north of Scandinavia to the Mediterranean, the Ethnic European Folk wandered and settled over a span of thousands of years. Today, their descendants are spread around the world. We may refer to ourselves as Americans or English, Germans or Canadians, but behind these labels lurks an older, more essential identity. Our forefathers were Angles and Saxons, Lombards and Heruli, Goths and Vikings – and, as sons and daughters of these peoples, we are united by ties of blood and culture undimmed by the centuries.
Asatru is our native religion. It gave our ancestors comfort in the millennia past, and it can give us strength and inspiration today. The word “Asatru” comes to us from Old Norse, the tongue of ancient Scandinavia, where it means “those loyal to the Gods.” Since the ancient Scandinavian version of our religion is the best documented, it has given us much of Asatru’s terminology and imagery. The soul of Asatru, however, is not confined to the Scandinavian model but encapsulates the belief of all the Ethnic European Folk. Indeed, Asatru reflects the deeper religiosity common to virtually all the nations of Europe.
As a part of the great Aryan religiosity, Asatru has a number of characteristic beliefs. Some of these are:
- The world is good. Prosperity is good. Life is good, and we should live it with joy and enthusiasm. We are free to shape our lives to the extent allowed by our skill, courage, and might. There is no predestination, no fatalism, no limitations imposed by the will of any external deity.
- We do not need salvation. All we need is the freedom to face our destiny with courage and honor.
- We are connected to all our ancestors. They are a part of us. We in turn will be a part of our descendants.
- We are also linked to all our living kin – to our families and to every man and woman rooted in the tribes of Europe. They are our “greater family.”
- We are connected to Nature and subject to its laws. The Holy Powers often express themselves in Nature’s beauty and might.
- We believe that morality does not depend on commandments, but rather arises from the dignity and honor of noble men and noble women.
- We do not fear the Holy Powers or consider ourselves their slaves. On the contrary, we share community and fellowship with the Divine. The Gods encourage us to grow and advance to higher levels.
- We honor the Gods under the names given to them by our Germanic/Norse ancestors.
- We practice Asatru by honoring the turning of the seasons… the ancestors… the Gods… and our Folk… in everyday life!
The Asatru Folk Assembly was formed by Stephen McNallen in 1995 as a successor to the Asatru Free Assembly, which dominated the Asatru scene in the United States from its inception in the 1970s until its dissolution in 1986. Since its inception, the AFA has been the premier force in the development and practice of Asatru. The AFA is committed, today and every day, to building strong and lasting communities and families, embracing traditional values, and venerating our holy Gods.
In the late 1960s, Stephen McNallen embraced the Gods and founded the modern religion of Asatru. In short order, Alsherjargothi McNallen started the Viking Brotherhood which quickly evolved into the Asatru Free Assembly. The Asatru Free Assembly began publishing “the Runestone” magazine as well as starting the first Asatru gatherings called Allthings.
Asatru grew and developed throughout the 1970s and ’80s. In 1986 the Asatru Free Assembly was disbanded. In the late 1980s and early ’90s, the original values and aims of Asatru were growingly subverted by the decay of cultural marxism. Alsherjargothi McNallen knew he must once again take up the banner and save what his vision and initiative had put into motion. The Asatru Folk Assembly was founded from that day forward to be a solid spiritual force for our Ethnic European Folk and our Ethnic European Faith.
Since our founding, we have watched our folk grow and thrive. In the early 2000s, the first Gothar were legally ordained as priests of our holy Gods. In 2015, Óðinshof was founded as the first Asatru Hof in the Western Hemisphere.
At Midsummer 2016, Stephen McNallen passed the title of Alsherjargothi to Matthew Flavel. As time has progressed the AFA continues to grow and develop as a solid Church that will stand the test of time and serve our Gods and Folk eternally. We have 5 national gatherings each year and countless local events across the United States and in 13 countries around the world. Since the inception of the AFA Kindred Program in 2016, we have 24 loyal AFA kindreds (chances are there is one near you!). Great things are on the horizon and the blessings of the Gods are rolling in.
We invite you to join our AFA family.