Lessons from Prince Herman

In the year 9, warriors from 5 German tribes came together as one Folk and defeated the most powerful army the world had ever known. As small tribes scattered across northern Europe, the Germans fought amongst themselves and were easy prey for those around them to exploit and subjugate. For one brief moment, Herman and those who followed him showed us what could be if only we stood together united. The hero that united the tribes and won victory for all of Germania was killed by fellow German nobles who were jealous of his fame and authority.

When our people stand together united under one banner and purpose, we are unstoppable. When jealousy and petty clannishness take hold we are weak and we squander our potential.

Let us all stand together under the Trihorns! Let us stand united by loyalty and love, United by faith in our Gods and devotion to our Folk. Together we are shaping our world and forging a Golden Age for our AFA family.

Matthew D. Flavel
Asatru Folk Assembly

Categories: News

Eir’s Blessings

Eir’s Blessings!

Everybody needs a little extra help sometimes. Every body does, too.
Women, being the frith-y creatures that we are, are uniquely suited to the task of manipulating energy for the purpose of healing. Magic, you could say.

Do you have a health concern and need a little extra energy? Are you battling with a mental illness like depression or PTSD? Is your baby having a hard time with teething?

If you’ve answered yes at all, reach out to us!
Once a month women of the AFA will get together to preform healing rituals all across the globe. If you would like to be included, please send a message to let us know!

At the same time, Women of the AFA! If you are interested helping to create a frithful, healing magic, let us know! It’s easy, but it makes a huge difference to those of our community that need our help!

You can reach us at [email protected]

Our next healing ritual will be on Thursday, September 19th, 2019.

In Frith!

Catie Erickson
Gythia in Training

Categories: News

Widikund, Charlemagne, and the Beginning of the Viking Age—730 CE

Officially, the Viking Age in the history books (which of course are written by the victors of wars), begins in the year 793ce with the destruction of the Priory or Abby called Linesfarne an island off the coast of eastern England.

Let’s look back with new information today and see if the story is as simple as told by the Catholic Clerics. According to Fordham University, that a noble from Saxony just across the North Sea in what is today the Netherlands and Germany, one Widikund was fighting against a war lord of the Catholic Church from France, Charlemagne. This battle or more to the point was a long series of attacks from the Franks over a thirty year long period. It seems that the Saxons were holding a yearly assembly where each district would send in 12 men from the three classes of men, the nobles, the freemen and the tenants. There were 100 districts in Saxony that Widikund was in leadership over and at this assembly of 100 districts there was a total of 3200 representatives. This is what Charlemagne attacked. In a day at a place called Verdun he beheaded 3600 men. That was the first attack. Many of the people fled, some to Denmark, as Denmark was still pagan and their king Godfred gave these victims protection, 782ce.

There was another defeat for the Saxons and the failure of the Saxons to keep the peace of a conquered people and fight, so angered Charlemagne that he had a formal document drawn up, most likely by the Catholic Church called the Saxon Capitulary, 785. Those that could not flee were put under this document, and many were taken south or put into abbeys if they were women, some just disappeared, thousand, tens of thousands over the 30 year campaign were ‘relocated’. So, if one of the Saxon children was hidden to avoid Baptism, Capital Offence, if one was found venerating a spring, Capital Offence, same also if found out in a holy grove, Capital Offence, speaking against Christianity, Capital Offence and from there, smaller offences and penalties.

The above mentioned Danish King Godfred had helped the refugees from Frisia and Saxony and he took to fighting back and while in Frisia he was murdered. His son or nephew, (seems some confusion here) became the new king and signed a peace with Charlemagne.

In a final battle possible where the Danish King was murdered, Widikund surrendered and was placed in an abbey, 810ce where he died. With this final defeat of the Saxons and Frisians Pope Hadrian wrote a glowing letter about Charlemagne and his crushing the pagans the Pope was so pleased with this that he made Charlemagne the first Holy Roman Emperor and was crowned as such.

With all of this cultural cleansing going others were attempting to fight back and as Professor Torgim Titlestad of Stavanger, Norway writes today, that he calls the attack on Lindnesfarne and Iona a pre-emptive attack against the forces of Christianity. My thoughts are the same and I would add that at the beginning of the Viking Age this in my opinion was the main point of the counter attack, however, people being people, there are always other motives such as just plain greed and lawlessness. Anyway, some Danish ‘Vikings’ attacked Paris and the Viking age began in earnest. Lindnesfarne was a place of intrigue, information about the pagans in Frisia, Denmark, and Saxony, the Bishops and priests were the “internet” of the day right back to Rome.

Just an end note when the monks wrote later that the northmen attacked they were most likely right because it seems that a chieftain from Hordaland, Norway a clan leader, Horda-Kari was a Dragon Slayer.

Thorgrun Odden
Asatru Folk Assembly

Categories: News

Kendall Wedel 1961 – 2019

Ken Wedel, our beloved kinsman, a father, a husband, and a teacher, passed away unexpectedly on September 3rd, 2019 while recovering from knee surgery.

Ken began bringing his family to AFA events some twenty years, ago, and they have been regulars at our gatheirngs ever since.

Ken was a big man in every sense of the word, looming large and giving off a quiet sense of strength, yet always soft-spoken and gentle, and wise. He was what the vikings would have called a “drengr,” a good man, to be sure, but also a good man to have around – dependable, competent, someone to be looked up to.

He chose teaching as a second career and brought so much to it! He challenged his high school students to be independent thinkers, achieving his own recognition in the process and earning the accolade as a Faculty Scholar at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His love of the Gods and Ancestors grew ever deeper as time went on. Ken lived his life fully, and whether at work or play, he proudly wore his Thor’s hammer. Ken and his loving wife, Cyndra, raised their children Emily and Nicholas in the Asatru faith. This very weekend, family and friends are coming together to celebrate Emily’s marriage to Lucas Shelton. Ken will be there; there is no doubt. The AFA is family, and family is forever.

Cattle die, kinsmen die,
and you yourself shall die.
But fair fame never dies
for the one who wins it.

There will be a Celebration of Life Service on October 19th, 1 p.m. Tom Hawkins Elementary Multipurpose Room 475 Darlene Lane Tracy, CA 95377

Categories: News

The Horn-Bearer in Today’s AFA

“Joyous then was the Jewel-giver, hoar-haired, war-brave; help awaited the Bright-Danes’ prince, from Beowulf hearing, folk’s good shepherd, such firm resolve. Then was laughter of liegemen loud resounding with winsome words. Came Wealhtheow forth, queen of Hrothgar, heedful of courtesy, gold-decked, greeting the guests in hall; and the high-born lady handed the cup first to the East-Danes’ heir and warden, bade him be blithe at the beer-carouse, the land’s beloved one. Lustily took he banquet and beaker, battle-famed king. Through the hall then went the Helmings’ Lady, to younger and older everywhere carried the cup, till come the moment when the ring-graced queen, the royal-hearted, to Beowulf bore the beaker of mead. She greeted the Geats’ lord, God she thanked, in wisdom’s words, that her will was granted, that at last on a hero her hope could lean for comfort in terrors. The cup he took, hardy-in-war, from Wealhtheow’s hand, and answer uttered the eager-for-combat. Beowulf spoke, bairn of Ecgtheow: “This was my thought, when my thanes and I bent to the ocean and entered our boat, that I would work the will of your people fully, or fighting fall in death, in fiend’s gripe fast. I am firm to do an earl’s brave deed, or end the days of this life of mine in the mead-hall here.” Well these words to the woman seemed, Beowulf’s battle-boast.—Bright with gold the stately dame by her spouse sat down.”

In this passage from Beowulf ( lines 607-641) we have one of many references to women as cup-bearers, particularly during sumbel. Evidence, in runic inscriptions as well as in literature, abound. What was once a jealously guarded privilege held by women of nobility has become a role that seems little understood by both the men and women of Asatru. Speaking specifically in terms of Sumbel, many Asatruar forgo the use of a horn-bearer altogether in favor of the simpler passing of the horn. Why overlook a simple formality that was so important to our ancestors?

First we must consider the real role of our ancient horn-bearers. The Lady of the Hall was the only women who was ever expected to attend sumbel with the men, and it was she who chose the women who would aid her in the task of keeping the men’s cups full. It was the Lady of the Hall who chose the seating arraignments, usually by rank or dignity. And it was the Lady of the Hall who was the first to handle the horn, offering it in greeting to men as they entered, and most especially, passing the horn during Sumbel — a task that was held in the utmost esteem.

It was considered imperative to our ancestors that the holy drink pass through the hands of a women in between each toast. Widely recognized was the “special provenance” of women — the healing touch, or nourishing main that was so innate in them. They are the frith-weavers, the peace-keepers, and even something as simple as their touch could balance the energy. So from toast to toast, the woman’s touch helped to balance the more contentious energies of the men.

There is also evidence to lend credence to the idea that the horn-bearers, while respectful, were often not just silent witnesses to the sumbel. Often they were sought after to give womanly advice, to help sooth jangled nerves, or to step in and settle tensions between men before the possibility of Frith being broken.

Why is this important? In a world of rampant anti-traditionalism sometimes it is important to take the time to find the small formalities, to bring back the traditional roles of our men and women. We should also consider how the inherent abilities of women can be useful today.

To begin, we consider that women are still frith-weavers and peace-keepers. And men are still contentious by nature. Couple that with the fast pace, generally angry world that we currently live in and the possibility of that chaotic energy mixing into the horn is high. What better way to combat that than by having a women pass the horn from one person to the next? It is not an easy task, however. It isn’t just a matter of handing the horn off. A woman who is chosen to carry the horn becomes the protector of the horn, of the frith of the horn. Thusly, it is her duty to calm an agitated toaster, or to help someone who might need help. Above all things, it is her job to maintain the frith of the hall.

We must also consider the formality, the tradition of the role. It is not uncommon for the horn-bearer to treat the task as a chore. How often has it been seen that the women carrying the horn is disinterested in what is being said? Or that she was fidgety and seemed to wish to be elsewhere? How often as a woman acted as though she would rather not be carrying the horn? While this behavior is generally not seen in the AFA, it can be seen outside of it. But why?

Maybe it is because the women don’t realize the importance of the task. Maybe it is because they don’t understand that they have been honored. There is no real answer to this. What we can do is to simply make sure that our women and our men know that to be chosen to carry the horn is, indeed an honor. It is a recognition of hard work. It is a recognition of dedication. It is the singling out of one woman above the others, not to embarrass, but to rise up. A gythia carrying the horn does so because she understands the enormity of the task, because it is her duty, and because it is her pleasure. For all others it is a recognition and celebration of excellence, and as such it needs to be earned.

By honoring the role of horn-bearer we are endeavoring to fill the horn with the frithful energy of women. We are bringing back traditional roles that we need to help fight back against the anti-traditional world we live in. We are honoring our ancestors by taking up their customs. And above all else, we are elevating our ladies!

Catie Erickson
Gythia in Training

Categories: News

Official AFA Tartan!

The Asatru Folk Assembly now has an official tartan for our church. The official certificate was presented at AFA Fallfest IV this past weekend. The official AFA tartan is the result of the dedication and perseverance of AFA member, Ryan Hanson. Thank you Ryan! We are excited to see this tartan displayed with pride by our AFA family around the world.

Matthew D. Flavel
Asatru Folk Assembly

Categories: News

Gythia Anna Funk

The Asatru Folk Assembly is very proud to announce the ordination of Anna Funk of Minnesota as our newest Gythia. Anna has been caring for the spiritual needs of the AFA family near her for some time and has shown herself capable and well suited for the task. We have full confidence that Gythia Funk will bring glory to our Gods and bring honor to our church.

Hail Gythia Anna Funk!

Matthew D. Flavel
Asatru Folk Assembly

Categories: News

Day of Remembrance for Prince Herman of the Cherusci

Many know the tale of Herman, or Arminius if you prefer, and how he defeated 3 legions of the Roman army in the Teutoberg forest in 9 AD. I mean it is recounted and talked about around fires from here to Asgard. The story of how the Germans came together as one and pushed back against the invading Roman soldiers.

There is a lot more to the story than just a battle in the woods though. Herman, son of the chieftain of the Cherusci, was, in his youth, a captive of the Romans. He started his military career proper as part of the Roman army and by 4 AD was in charge of his own detachment of Cheruscan auxiliaries. After helping put down a revolt in the Balkans he returned back to his homeland to aid the Roman governor Varus. For Herman revolt was on his mind and he quickly began working in secret to build a confederation of German tribesmen strong enough to beat the Romans. Once all of his preparations were in order he went to Varus and gave him false information that sent 3 Roman legions to their doom.

Historians have called the Battle of Teutoberg one of Rome’s worst defeats……for German tribes it was more than just a military victory. After 9 AD Rome suspended all plans of conquest for the German heartland. The German peoples were able to continue living after the fashion of their ancestors, able to keep living their own culture, believing in their own Gods, and developing in their own way for several more generations.

Herman united his people, gave them the gift of freedom for a few more generations, and became a legend still praised to this day. You may not emulate all he did, but you to can make a difference. You to can help your Folk grow, help the next generations to know their Ancestral Gods. How? Volunteer to lead a study group, write a kids book on Asatru, organize meet and greets to introduce new people to Asatru. Become a folkbuilder if there isn’t one in your area, pick up a book and begin learning more of your religion. Start a kindred, become an ordained Gothi, donate your time and your money to build our church. All of that and more are things you can do to push back the things threatening our ways today. Look to Herman as an example of what just one person can cause to happen if they persevere.

Hail Herman!!!

Blaine Qualls
Gothar Coordinator
Asatru Folk Assembly

Categories: News