I would like to introduce Linus Borgström as our newest apprentice Folkbuilder. Sweden has been our fasting growing region this year, led by the great work of Anders Nilsson. Linus has very much been contributing to that growth. Thank you for stepping up and we are glad to have you!
Hail the Doers!
Asatru Folk Assembly
King Radbod was the ruler of Frisia. That area along the Southeastern coast of the North Sea in what we refer to today as the Netherlands. This month we will spend a day honoring him and what he stands for. When we take the time to remember this King, take pause for just a second longer and consider the parallels in our time. Radbod was in constant conflict with the Merovingian Kings. That line of Frankish kings who fell in line with the directives of the Pope. A constant state of being derided and harassed because they were still a Pagan kingdom. When the whims of the Pope and the church changed directions to the Carolingian Kings, Frisia and its ports became an important and hotly contested resource between two kingdoms who simply assumed that Radbod would fall in line. Political intrigue, royal weddings, assassinations and many battles plagued the kingdom. All in the name of the church and the power in represented. The days when a man might make the way for his life by the strength of his own two hands, perhaps even to become a king, were rapidly vanishing.
His enemies, the Franks, were legendary warriors such as Charles Martel. But there were ordinary men as well, with weak spirits,they became priests and began to assume a greater role in the politics of the day as Bishops and Cardinals. Lesser men whose faith was in something outside of themselves. King Radbod, though he was greatly feared (even the rumor of Radbod forming an army caused the French to tremble) he was also wise enough to take into consideration the welfare of his people. Constant warfare and persecution began to wear the old king done. And soon he found himself standing at the edge of the baptismal pool. But unlike the kings around him, King Radbod enjoyed the thought of his ancestors standing in a long line behind him. They had been the ones who had supported him from the beginning. It was the very thought of them and living up to their deeds that propelled Radbod forward through the toughest of times. In the moment when Radbod had but one foot in the pool, he paused and looked at the priest, gayly adorned and doing his best to remind everyone around them that he was, in fact, greater than this king, because he was a man of the foreign god. In that moment, the whisper of a thought crossed Radbods mind. Perhaps it was no more than “we love you” or maybe it was “remember us”, maybe it was the look of disappointment in the eyes of the crowd. Disappointment at seeing someone they had fought so hard for, believed so fervently in, now stripped down to night clothes and preparing to engage in a foreign ritual so he might stay in power.
That split second was all that was required for one, very powerful question to arise in the mind of the Frisian King. He asked Wulfram, the priest and missionary to the Frisians “Will I see my ancestors in your Christian Heaven?” “No” replied Wulfram, “Those contemptible pagan ancestors do not reside in the glory of heaven”. At which point Redbod began to remember who he was. He stood up and removed himself from the baptismal pool. His fortitude arose from with in and he replied “I would rather spend an eternity in hell with my ancestors, than to spend it in heaven with my enemies, the Franks”.
In days gone by, many older heathens and Asatruars will tell you that their path was looked upon with disdain. It was discouraged, and people reminded us routinely that we would find ourselves in Hell. We are surrounded by easier softer paths lined with the comforts we take for granted. What would our decision be if those comforts were threatened because of our faith? King Radbod died in 719. His sons continued to fight the Franks. Radbod the Successor fought valiantly. Their struggle was I am sure a powerful one. Full of champions and heroes. Just like today, our wars at home and abroad have produced within our ranks many champions and heroes. Men and women more than willing to take up the challenge of life on these new terms we call Asatru. But it was the sentiment of a Pagan King, 1300 years ago, which has provided us with a thought process which reminds us that we needn’t fear all the forces the world has to throw at us. That we need not compromise with anyone concerning our right to raise a horn, worship our old gods and celebrate our ancestors. For no matter what may happen, they will be with us.
Gothi Bryan Wilton
We had another amazing day teaming up with the Yuba-Sutter Food Bank, Inc. to provide good food to good people in Brownsville and the nearby area. This go-around we were able to provide food for 94 families. Gothi Michael Hunter led us all in this service and, as always made the AFA proud. Thank you to all the AFA members that showed up and helped out. We are very glad for this opportunity to help our neighbors in this way.
This will be an ongoing service from 12 to 4 on the first Saturday of every month.
July was a month of action, for myself and across the AFA! I started my 37th year off by flying up to my homeland of Alaska. I packed my mom and her things into a U-Haul and drove the 3,000 miles from Palmer, Alaska to Sparks, Nevada to start the next chapter of her life living with Mandy and I. What a drive! It is amazing see how much the landscape changes over such a long journey. I am a very fortunate man to get to spend time with my mom and care for her as she deals with her health challenges and advanced years.
In July, the Asatru Folk Assembly honored Asatru Pioneer Alexander Rudd Mills with his first annual Day of Remembrance. I am proud to see gatherings around the country starting to happen more and more in observance of these Remembrance Days for Asatru heroes. This month I was fortunate enough to gather to honor Rud Mills here in Reno as well as up in Alaska. It was great to spend time with old friends and new up in the Last Frontier and I always appreciate sharing a meal with my old kindred Der Volkstamm Auf dem Nordliche Bär.
For the second month in a row, AFA members at Óðinshof teamed up with the Yuba-Sutter Food Bank to provide food to the good folk of Brownsville, California. I am so proud of our members who volunteer their time to do this for our community. As usual, the Viking Brotherhood took the lead in this endeavor.
July has been marked by getting things accomplished. We have added Kindreds, expanding our Folkbuilder ranks to provide even greater coverage for our members, and we have seen a massive growth in local AFA gatherings far and wide. As summer turns towards fall, let’s all double up on our efforts and sprint towards fall with full vigor that we can all celebrate an abundant harvest.
Hail the Gods!
Hail the Folk!
Hail the AFA!
Matthew D. Flavel
Asatru Folk Assembly