by Stephan A. McNallen
The Runestone, Spring 1996 #14
I couldn’t believe it had only been a year since we started the AFA, so I pulled down my back issues of The Runestone, just to check. Sure enough – issue #10, Winter 1994, was when we blew the war horn, banged the drum, and started marshaling the troops for the Asatru Folk Assembly’s next big step.
One year… holy Harbard! What a lot we’ve done – A Declaration of Purpose and other basic documentation, lots of successful gatherings, an expanded Runestone, guilds, membership… It’s quite a list. Only in the last couple of months have the winds of change died down to a mere gale force, and we can look at the next task before us.
Our membership program gave individual Asafolk a chance to connect with the movement. Isolated followers of the Gods could sign on as Associate Members, and those who were in a position to benefit from the fellowship of a kindred were just right for membership. People who wanted to contribute in an extraordinary way had the option of supporting membership – there was a category for everyone.
However, it’s not enough to provide memberships; Asatru is at it’s best when shared by others, and this means – KINDREDS. The time has come to nurture and develop local AFA “congregations” from one end of the country to the other. So what does this mean to you?
If you’re happy as a lone practitioner of Asatru, fine. No one is going to insist that you change what you’re doing, or demand that you fall into step with the rest of us. On the other hand, belonging to a kindred offers advantages that are hard to beat – companionship, shared skills, resources, intensity, protection from the storm, and help in the daunting task of making the world a better place.
Exactly what do people in a Kindred do? Well, they honor the Gods and Goddesses, but that’s only the start. A kindred can be an extended family made up of Asafolk who interact socially and perhaps even economically. It might host a potluck, brew mead, play games, share books, tell stories, bake bread, go skiing, study Asatru, take in the Scottish games, sing songs, network for goods, services, and jobs, soak at the hot springs, or goodness knows what.
Sounds pretty good – so how do you get involved? Well, the first step is to join the AFA, assuming, of course, that you find our fundamental documents to your liking. Then, find a kindred. But, you say, who don’t know of one close to home? No problem. We can network you with other AFA members in your vicinity, and together you can start one! (In fact we’ve published a booklet on how to go about it! Send us $3 and we will rush it to you).
Oh, a note on AFA kindreds: Your kindred can belong to both the AFA and the Asatru Alliance. This is one of the points we wanted to make when our own Calasa Kindred, “The AFA Headquarters,” joined the Alliance. We don not consider this to be an “either/or” situation, or some sort of competition.
Kindreds are a logical extension of individual AFA membership. The’re the next step in building a viable, permanent, growth-oriented Asatru community in Vinland. And you can play a part in this adventure!