New Apprentice Folkbuilder

The Northwest is one of the fastest growing regions for the AFA. Charming of the Plow was a huge success and the momentum has been fantastic. That said, Johnny Larson has stepped up to help Joe Rozanek Folkbuild in this dynamic region.

The Asatru Folk Assembly is proud to announce that Johnny Larson of Oregon is our newest Apprentice Folkbuilder. We are all very excited to see the continued growth and success of our Northwest AFA Family.

Hail the Gods!
Hail Johnny Larson!
Hail the AFA!

Matthew D. Flavel
Asatru Folk Assembly

Categories: News

AFA on the Road (1997)

By Stephen A. McNallen
from The Runestone Spring 1997 #18

How much can be done for Asatru in five days of speaking engagements and classes? We found out, recently, during a fast-moving tour through Washington and Oregon. From the moment Brian met me at the airport until I walked up the steps of the plane bringing me home, it was a powerful experience full of import for the future of our movement.

The action began in the Seattle area with a lecture arranged by the Euro-American Student Union. At Pierce College, an audience of about fifty people listened attentively as I spoke for about an hour and a half. I gave them an outline of Asatru, And explained the vital role of northern European beliefs in the modern world. The question-and-answer session was lively and receptive, and students of African and Asian descent could be seen nodding their heads in agreement with remarks on the need to preserve ALL native religions and cultures for a world of true diversity.

The next night, after a three hour drive with Matt and Karen, I hit the Portland area. The lecture hall at Reed College was filled beyond capacity, with people sitting in the aisles. Again I spoke for an hour and a half, an fielded questions for an additional hour. A small group of demonstrators protested my appearance, alleging that I was – of course – “racist”. Members of our party tried to arrange a meeting so I could address their concerns, to no avail: in the words of one of them, they “knew all they needed to know about McNallen” and didn’t to actually hear me talk, or anything like that!

Later, we found out that the demonstration had been arranged by a local professor working with the “Coalition for Human Dignity”, a so-called anti-racist organization which compiles alarmist documentation about the imminent fascist threat to American liberties. They have to have someone on their list of devils in order to justify their existence and (more to the point) to collect money, and apparently it was our turn to be the “neo-Nazis”. However, CHUD’s accusations only sounded absurd to anyone who listened to my very calm, non-racist exposition of Asatru.

The next morning was a Saturday. Out of bed, fed a filling breakfast by Michael and Annabel, topped off with a lot of coffee – and down to a Portland bookstore for a four-hour class on runes. A dozen people attended and asked questions as we talked about the futhark, ways to use runes in daily life, and the basics of blots. The Chinese lunch seemed a little far-removed from the Teutonic world, so I felt obliged to start a conversation on the blond Tarim Basin mummies unearthed in Xinjiang.

We relaxed that afternoon and evening, then the next day saw us pulling up in front of a tidy, older house a block from a collection of yuppie shops somewhere in Portland – the headquarters of the local Theosophical Society. For this audience, I shortened my talk to an hour or less. and adapted the content to accommodate the specific interests of Madam Blavatsky’s friends. I found them intelligent, concerned, and possessed of a remarkable understanding of our message.

Thus ended a busy five days. I’ve left a lot out – the walk up the winding trails in the park with Michael and Annabel, Brian’s warm hospitality, and an evening drinking Guinness (Yes!!) in an Irish bar, with an impromptu Celtic jam session going on fifteen feet away. None of those things could have happened without a lot of work by a lot of people, and I am very grateful to them all for their kindness and exertions. The result was a series of victories for Asatru – the forerunners of many more to come!

Would I do it again? You bet! Maybe you can set up something in YOUR area?

Categories: News

Ascafolc Kindred

It is my honor to welcome home the Ascafolc Kindred of Oregon as a official Kindred of the Asatru Folk Assembly. Ascafolc is Old English for The River Axe people. The Northwest region is growing and this is just another example of people coming together and putting in the hard work. The foundation has been laid down and now the sky is the limit. Gaining Kindred recognition is not a easy thing, it takes dedication and loyalty and willingness to stand with our church and family. Ascafolc thank you for stepping up and taking on the responsibility and helping to bring our folk home
Hail the Ascafolc!
Hail the Kindreds of the AFA!
Hail the Asatru Folk Assembly!!!

Jason Gallagher
Kindred Coordinator ,
Asatru Folk Assembly

Categories: News

The Gathering of the Gothar (1996)

by Gothi Thorgrun Odden
From The Runestone Fall/Winter 1996 #16/17

Kirby Wise, of Helga Ve Kindred, had called a “gathering of the gothar” at which Asatru priests and priestesses would meet at Odin’s Hof, in Arizona – the first such event in a thousand years.

Men and women came from all over the United States, and one visitor came much farther: The Alsherjargothi of Iceland, Jormundr Ingi Hansen, made the journey to America for this historic meeting which included blots, sumbels, feasting, rune casting, dowsing, Kirlian photography… and 100 degree temperatures!

This gathering was prompted in part by concern for the future, and a desire to see what lies before the people of Asatru in the years to come. Hence, divination by runes was an important part of the agenda. Nine gothar (“priests”) and gythjur (“priestesses”) tossed the staves, and the results held the attention of all who were there.

We are in for great changes, and indeed we are now in the beginning of those changes.

The question of a homeland – a gathering place, a place to rest the dead, an Asatru community – was asked of the runes. Past influences were adjudged favorable, and that-which-should-be, the “future,” indicated the support of the Gods for this idea. Some rune-workers stated that, with struggle and hard work, this may be an auspicious time for the birth of an Asatru community.

Three runes predominated. NAUTHIZ told us to kindle the spark, to make heat and expand energy. This is the work! We have counseled long enough, and now it is time to act! URUZ shows our strength, raw energy, good health, and vital wholeness; it expresses the overall state of our spirit, nurtured by our ancient religion. ELHAZ gave protection and guardianship. In order to have a successful Asatru community or homeland, we have to be willing to work hard, be steadfast to our ways, and guard the community which emerges.

THese readings must enter the sphere of individual experience, of course. Carrying with me the joy and enthusiasm of this weekend, I have my own personal assessment of our prospects:

By praising the land spirits, honoring the elves, and acknowledging the great forces of Nature, we can begin!

By honoring our ancestors, respecting our elders (who have done the work before us), uniting our kindreds, and raising our children with a knowledge of our great Northern Gods and Goddesses, we can begin!

With our hands, tools, the skill of our kinsmen, and the spirit of persevering pioneers, let us begin!

Kirby’s longing for a spiritual gathering was a brilliant vision which bore great fruit for all of us, and for Asatru in general. I was honored to be present!

Categories: News

4 Facts About The Role Of Memory In Religion Cotninuity

Europe has one of the richest cultural backgrounds ever existing in this world. Christianity takes a prominent part of the European culture, although there still are several cultural influences from ancient religions, most of all, from pagan beliefs and ritualism.

Relationship Between Christianity And Paganism In Europe

It’s interesting to notice that while Christianity lives on people’s memory, pagan ritualism looks more like a sort of “revival” of the pantheon of gods created by pre-Christian communities, even before the Roman conquest. Populations like Druids, Vikings, and Celts are historically known for their charming and somehow fancy gods.

With the advent of Christianity, paganism was gradually left. Over centuries, people forgot about the pagan gods and began to adore the true God of Life. However, while Christianity gained the highest levels of diffusion in Europe, some forms of paganism still survived. This happened in the centuries known as the Middle Age. Pagan rituals were mostly performed by small rural communities on the outskirts of Europe, especially Northern Europe.

Today, on the other hand, many bishops and priests claim that people are losing the Christian memory because of the changes taking place in the world. The loss of Christian memory has an immense impact on people’s lifestyles and social behaviors. The emergence of divorce, the increasing number of abortions, and many more contemporary social trends reflect how the actual world is changing in a worrying direction.

artificial memoryPhysical Memory And Community’s Memory

We need to keep the memory of our roots and traditions – that’s the bottom line. Probably, we are all more focused on boosting our physical memory skills through dedicated brain exercises like puzzles, sudokus, crosswords, and more. That’s all useful and good, we are sure, but this doesn’t mean that we should neglect our community’s memory which is the ensemble of all the beliefs, traditions, mindset that made our community alive for so many centuries.

In this regard, we think it’s interesting to see what advanced technology allows humans to do in the present day. In fact, according to gotechjapan, several studies are meant to create a human-like memory in robots. That’s an extreme achievement that might not look as shocking in a few years.

But, as you can see, it’s all about working on the physical memory, neglecting what the community’s memory actually is.

Cultural Amnesia In Today’s World

It’s out of any doubt – we live in a world dominated by increasing cultural amnesia that leads us all not to keep the memory of any religious continuity in today’s world. People who live without religion are easy to get lost in the everyday challenges of this life. People who don’t have anything to believe and hope in are easy prey to any potential danger. So, this cultural amnesia is actually a dangerous condition not only for every individual but also for the entire communities and worldwide society.

Here’s in short why everyone should keep a religion’s continuity always alive in today’s society:

  1. You won’t get lost
    As long as you keep a critical sense, you won’t get lost in society’s plaything made of passing fashions and temporary trends. You won’t lose yourself running after fake models that can only drag you to the brink.
  2. It supports youChristianity
    When you have a religion to believe in, you know you aren’t alone no matter how difficult your present-day can be. You know that you have a series of commands and rules to orient your life and attitude in your everyday situations.
  3. You have a community around you
    Atheist people are easy to feel like strangers in contemporary society. They don’t have a community of people where they can feel “part” of a whole. Also, people who don’t experience the community system can’t have the right people supporting them when they need it most. Having trusted people around you is fundamental to overcome any difficulties.
  4. You love your culture
    There’s always been a deep and intense relationship between religion and culture. The first one is part of the second one and vice versa. You can’t divide them into two separate fields in many cases. As a result, if you have a religion in your life, you can love your culture and feel a legacy between your individual story and its century-old history.

Also, there’s an important distinction between the secular and the sacred that every good Christian should know: as Jesus clearly summed up in His words, we should “give to Caesar (who represents this world and its plaything) what is Caesar’s and to God (who represents the soul’s eternal life) what is God’s”.

Categories: News

Hof: Building a Home for our Gods

By Stephen A. McNallen
From The Runestone Fall/Winter 1996 #16/17

For the most part, Asatru in the early years of the Reawakening has been something practiced in private homes, parks, and rented rooms. Occasionally, an actual hof, or temple, has been erected, but these are the exceptions. Arizona Kindred built such a structure a few years back, and more recently, Robert Taylor of Wulfing fame erected a hof on his land – but the majority of Asatruar still honor the mighty powers out-of-doors or in buildings designed for some other purpose.

This is not to say that a hof is absolutely necessary; indeed, our ancestors usually worshiped under the open sky, or under the branches of trees in sacred groves. In many times and places among our early folk, it was thought inappropriate to try to confine our Gods and Goddesses within walls of wood or stone. Sometimes, however, simple protective roofs were erected, and of course we have records of much more elaborate temples built in places like Uppsala, in Sweden.

For our purposes today, a hof has some advantages. Most of these are psychological, but nonetheless real for that. A permanent structure dedicated to the Gods is a sign, to ourselves and to others, that Asatru is here to stay. It sends a visible testament about our seriousness, our commitment, and out persistence.

The Asatru Folk Assembly has begun constructing such a hof. It is located on private land along the Yuba River, in northern California. Sheltered under oak and pine, surrounded by hills and intermittent streams, it is a place of refuge from the urban madness. The site will feature an outdoor ritual area and camping facilities, in addition to the hof itself.

Thorgrun, of Gullinbursti Kindred, is in charge of this project. We can be thankful to the owners of the land for their generous permission to use the location, and to several of our supporters for their liberal financial backing. Actual construction is being done, not by paid laborers, but by AFAers and their supporters who want to see their sweat transformed into something of spiritual importance.

The completed structure will stand 27 feet long, 18 feet across at the widest point, and 12 feet high in the center. Walls will be of river rock, with a wooden, inverted-boat shaped roof. Thorgrun obtained construction details and information on traditional proportion from none other than Jormundr Ingi, Successor to Alsherjargothi Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson of the Icelandic Asatruar.

When AFAers come together to honor the Gods next spring, they will do so in a structure worthy of our devotion and loyalty. This hof will be a solid reminder of what we can do when we try – and the next step toward even greater endeavors! Hail the hofbuilders!

Categories: News

Day of Remembrance For Eyvind Kinrifi

Day of Remembrance For Eyvind Kinrifi
February 9th, 2020

Near to what could be considered the beginning on the Christian conversion of Norway, under the King, Olaf Tryggvason, there was a farmer of Noble stock who stood against the king and his attempts at conversion.

Eyvind (Pronounced Ivin) Kinrifi was called to make plans against the upcoming invasion by his friend Harek of Thjotta, who had very recently returned home after himself refusing conversion to Christianity. Eyvind answered the call, and for the sake of haste he traveled with only a small retinue of men. He was well welcomed my Harek, but shortly his arrival Eyvind was ambushed.

Unbeknownst to Harek, he had been followed by some of Olaf Tryggvason’s men. They forced Eyvind to Throndhjem, where Olaf attempted to convert Evyind, first with offers of land and gold, and then with threats of torture and death. Unwilling to turn him back on his faith, Eyvind was eventually killed.

On the 9th of February, as we stop to remember Eyvind Kinrifi and his unwavering faith despite the consequences, take a moment to consider what in your own life is important to you. Have there ever been times in which you had to choose between keeping your faith and losing something else? A friend? Family?

In these times, when we are allowed the choice, it is sometimes harder to stand strong in the face of opposition. It is sometimes easier to hide behind the idea of a pseudonym, or to keep your faith hidden from those in your life that should matter. Remember, when you think of Eyvind, what truly matters. Stand strong with and take pride in your Folk.

Hail, Eyvind Kinrifi!
And Hail the Asatru Folk Assembly!
Gythia Catherine Erickson
Asatru Folk Assembly
[email protected]

Categories: News

Taking Control of Our Lives

We will all go through many trials in life. Tough times may seem like they will never end in the midst of them. Our thoughts govern so much more of our ability to navigate even the darkest of depressions or the tightest moments of anxiety. Yet we have made it through them time and again. We have all approached this faith with the idea and hope of something better. Our gods and ancestors have shown us by their actions that we do indeed have what it takes to take control of our lives. There is so much potential with that idea in action in our lives we might hardly comprehend it. So what does it look like when we quit finding other things to become upset about in our new faith? Well, we have an image of that as well.

LIII. Then spake Gangleri: “Shall any of the gods live then, or shall there be then any earth or heaven?”

Because that is the real question of the day. What will I look like if I let go of all the things I am supposed to be outraged about? What if I let go of all the pain I think makes me important or worthy of attention in someone else’s eyes? What will I feel if I am no longer anxious about every waking moment and what people think? Will I still be important? Is there some kind of divine in my life if I let go of the self-imposed sense of struggle so common in social issues?

Hárr answered: “In that time the earth shall emerge out of the sea and shall then be green and fair; then shall the fruits of it be brought forth unsown. Vídarr and Váli shall be living, inasmuch as neither sea nor the fire of Surtr shall have harmed them; and they shall dwell at Ida-Plain, where Ásgard was before. And then the sons of Thor, Módi and Magni, shall come there, and they shall have Mjöllnir there. After that Baldr shall come thither, and Hödr, from Hel; then all shall sit down together and hold speech. with one another, and call to mind their secret wisdom, and speak of those happenings which have been before: of the Midgard Serpent and of Fenris-Wolf. Then they shall find in the grass those golden chess-pieces which the Æsir had had; thus is it said:

In the deities’ shrines | shall dwell Vídarr and Váli,
   When the Fire of Surtr is slackened;
Módi and Magni | shall have Mjöllnir
   At the ceasing of Thor’s strife.

In the place called Hoddmímir’s Holt there shall lie hidden during the Fire of Surtr two of mankind, who are called thus: Líf and Lífthrasir, and for food they shall have the morning-dews. From these folk shall come so numerous an offspring that all the world shall be peopled, even as is said here:

Líf and Lífthrasir, | these shall lurk hidden
   In the Holt of Hoddmímir;
The morning dews | their meat shall be;
   Thence are gendered the generations.

And it may seem wonderful to thee, that the sun shall have borne a daughter not less fair than herself; and the daughter shall then tread in the steps of her mother, as is said here:

The Elfin-beam | shall bear a daughter,
Ere Fenris drags her forth;
That maid shall go, | when the great gods die,
To ride her mother’s road.

But now, if thou art able to ask yet further, then indeed I know not whence answer shall come to thee, for I never heard any man tell forth at greater length the course of the world; and now avail thyself of that which thou hast heard.”

Once we begin to let go of certain self-sabotaging ideas, given to us by others, our perception of the Gods themselves change. The sons of Gods and Goddesses lead the way into a new, far green horizon. Where we might reminisce about our pasts and chuckle about the mistakes of our life as we have seen our grandparents do. Laughing at their failures and smiling towards the sunset. Sunsets they know they will see fewer and fewer of as their life nears an end. Our children will lead the way into this bright future. But right now, the battle is ours. To relinquish patterns and old behaviors we have given a fresh coat of paint. Our children will be the ones who recognize the best of the changes within us. They will see it as the sun shining brightly on the promise of their future.

LIV. Thereupon Gangleri heard great noises on every side of him; and then, when he had looked about him more, lo, he stood out of doors on a level plain, and saw no hall there and no castle. Then he went his way forth and came home into his kingdom, and told those tidings which he had seen and heard; and after him each man told these tales to the other.

Our children will see this and they will tell others of the power of these old gods and how it made their moms and dads so much better people. That is how we ensure a future for the descendants of the ancient tribes of Northern Europe. With love, right here in our own homes.

Bryan Wilton
Asatru Folk Assembly

Categories: News

Noregr Kindred

The AFA is proud to welcome home the Noregr Kindred of Norway as a official Kindred of the Asatru Folk Assembly. Noregr is our first Norsk Kindred, and now the foundation is laid for more to follow in their footsteps. Gaining Kindred recognition is not a easy thing, it takes dedication and loyalty and willingness to stand with our church and family. All over Midgard our Folk are coming together and building communities and Kindreds and a future for our children. Noregr Thank you for stepping and making a difference!

Hail the Noregr Kindred!
Hail the Kindreds of the AFA!
Hail the Asatru Folk Assembly!!!

Jason Gallagher
 Kindred Coordinater,
 Asatru Folk Assembly!!!

Categories: News

A Symbol for the AFA (1996)

A Symbol for the AFA
by Stephen A. McNallen
from The Runestone Spring 1996 #14

Every organization which aspires to touch it’s followers’ hearts needs a symbol, a sign which proclaims it’s nature and provides a standard around which to rally.

In the old Asatru Free Assembly, that symbol war the RAIDO rune. We chose it because, first of all, it was used i the old days to designate our religion. It denoted harmony with the cosmic order, and a path to wholeness. Moreover, superimposed in it are the runes ANSUZ and WUNJO. ANSUZ represents the reception, transformation, and re-expression of spiritual might. Since our goal is to receive the power of the Gods into our lives and then manifest it in the world around us, this rune seems very appropriate. WUNJO means fellowship, and the bonds that tie together a clan and tribe; that’s pretty descriptive of both the old AFA and it’s new incarnation.

We could, I suppose, just use the RAIDO rune for the new AFA’s symbol. But would that really be right? We’re not exactly the same organization, and since we want a different ORLOG, or fate, than the old AFA, Maybe we need something different to represent us.

Here’s where we need your input. Here are some bind runes that have been proposed – essentially, combining the “ancestral heritage” of the OTHALAZ rune with all the aforementioned attributes of RAIDO. What do you think? Which of these is the best choice, and why? Or should we adopt something altogether different? What about color schemes? We’ll consider what you have to say, and announce a decision in the next issue of The Runestone!

Categories: News