from AFA Update: August 2005

“Winter Nights in the Redwoods” started out as just another regional gathering, drawing on our members and friends in northern California. We picked out a really nice location on the coast, in a redwood forest near the town of Mendocino, and started putting together our agenda. It didn’t take long for us to realize that changes in the AFA necessitated another approach. The success, not only of the AFA Member’s list but also of the “think-tank” approach used by the AFA Working Groups, convinced us that it was imperative to draw together as many of our emerging leaders, as well as a sizable chunk of the general membership, to assess where we were and to stimulate action for the future. The result? On October 21 – 23, the AFA will host a gathering in one of California’s most picturesque areas. We will of course celebrate Winter Nights with blot and sumbel, but we will also conduct a leadership training session and formally introduce our “Fundamentals of Asatru” course (previously known as “Asatru 101”). Perhaps most important of all, many of our most active AFA members will have the chance to meet each other face-to-face. The expected outcome will be a greatly enhanced ability to fulfill the AFA’s ambitious program.

Categories: News



from AFA Update April 2005

For some time, the AFA has heard from our friends and supporters within the Germanic spiritual community, urging us to accept members. These were people who wanted a sense of community, fellowship, and common cause in furtherance of our Folkway – people who, reading our AFA Updates or visiting our web site, wanted to take an active part.

We’ve decided they’re right. By popular demand, the AFA is now offering membership to individuals supporting our goals.

In the paragraphs below, I’ll describe our mission statement, our goals, and a vision of what Asatru can become, and explain how those who are interested can become members in the AFA.

The AFA’s Mission

The AFA, in the words of its mission statement, is “to practice, promote, and further evolve the religion of Asatru, thus forging it into a powerful and effective tool for building a better world.” Note the active tone here: We want to make a difference!

Since its founding in 1994, the AFA has sponsored countless gatherings, written groundbreaking documents, published successful newsletters, and been repeatedly quoted in the national and international media. The AFA has proposed new ideas, challenged the status quo, and generally pushed the boundaries of the possible.

…And now, we are ready to do much more!

The AFA’s Goals

Some of the tasks we have set ourselves, are:

1. Encouraging people to live noble lives and to grow spiritually, with ever-increasing wisdom, personal empowerment, and joy.

2. Bringing the might of the Holy Powers into the world through sacred ritual, on the group and individual level.

3. Making Asatru a viable, respected, and well-known alternative in the modern world.

4. Vastly increasing the number of people who follow Asatru. We have not even begun to tap our potential for growth!

5. Making the world a better place by positively influencing the culture in which we are embedded, enhancing the life-affirming and freedom-promoting values of our ancestral Folkway, and building a strong community among followers of our faith. The AFA’s Vision Imagine a world where the names of our holy Gods and Goddesses are instantly recognized in ordinary households across the country…where our places of worship are dotted across the land, regularly packed with scores – or hundreds! – of eager men and women who have come home to their spiritual birthright…where the writers of textbooks, the shapers of legislation, and the molders of public opinion will have to take into consideration those of us who follow the Germanic Folkway – in short, a world where our cultural voice is loudly heard.

Imagine, too, that these people (Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands?) are bonded together with our own voluntary systems to help each other in a multitude of ways, both spiritual and practical…Odin’s Nation here in the realm of humankind. This won’t happen overnight. It will take time and hard work, but with the help of people like you, it can be done!

Categories: News

Day of Remembrance for King Radbod

This month we celebrate glorious King Radbod of Frisia. King of Frisia from about 680 CE onwards he was responsible for keeping his lands free of Frankish domination and is often described as Frisia’s last independent ruler. Radbod spent the bulk of his reign battling against the neighboring Franks, first fighting against Pippin II until he died in 714 and then against Pippin’s son, Charles Martel. Radbod also did all he could to push Christianity out of his lands, in it he saw an extension of Frankish influence and control……he saw it as a destroyer of his own native Frisian culture. The battles between Radbod and the Franks went back and forth until finally in 714, with the death of Pippin, Radbod was able to send all the priests and monks out of his lands and pushed the Frankish armies completely out as well until his death in 719.

Radbod is perhaps best known to us for his refusal to be baptized in the Christian faith. Radbod was on the verge of being baptized when he turned to the priest and asked something about if he would see his ancestors in heaven. The priest, being honest, said no, anyone not of the Christian faith was sent to suffer in their horrid fiery realm of punishment which they called Hell. Radbod replied, ” Then I would rather be suffering there with them than go to heaven with a pack of beggars.” He then promptly pushed the priests out of his country and remained tru to his ancestral ways until his death.

Radbod has much to teach us today. We aren’t forced at sword point to accept alien religions, but we do find ourselves in a similar position. For many today the forward march of political correctness has led to our very doorsteps. We become pariahs in the eyes of society if we refuse to accept its decadent ways and yet here we are. Here we are remaining steadfast in our loyalty and devotion to our Gods. We have shunned the foreign influences of our age and sent them scurrying from our homes. Rather than slide into the negative mindset of a beaten opponent we hold our heads high and boldly build positivity in ourselves, in our families, and in all those we can around us. We are assured of the rightness of our deeds by the echoes from the past of men like Radbod.

Hail noble King Radbod of Frisia!

Blaine Qualls,
Gothar Coordinator
Asatru Folk Assembly

Categories: News

Operation Butterfly Wings (2005)

From AFA Update 1/19/2005

The field of mathematics known as “chaos theory” holds that seemingly insignificant actions can, under the right conditions, produce incredibly large results. The example most commonly used is that of a butterfly which flaps its wings and sets in motion a chain of events culminating in a hurricane a thousand miles away. Obviously, we can never know if a butterfly’s wings created a huge storm, but the basic idea – that unnoticed incidents can trigger gargantuan responses – is not only believable but, according to chaos theorists, mathematically certain.

In recent issues of AFA Update you and I have discussed the other end of scale. We have touched on public relations breakthroughs, marketing campaigns, and similar plans dealing with the “macro” rather than the “micro.” In this issue, I’d like to put away the telescope and drag out the magnifying glass. Let’s consider how the tiny things we do in our everyday lives can make a big difference – and what that has to do with our spreading of the Germanic Way.

Suppose, one day, you decide to wear your Thor’s hammer on the outside of your shirt rather than tucked out of sight. You’re walking down the street when a woman sees your hammer, asks you about it, and is given the address of the AFA website. A month later, she gives that URL to a friend who visits our site. This friend in turn mentions it to a multi-millionaire, who is so impressed that he leaves his entire estate to the AFA. Within five years, Asatru has a million adherents from coast to coast and is making significant, long-term changes in the culture of the United States….all because you decided on a whim to wear your hammer where it could be seen by passers-by. You’d never know what you had done, any more than we can blame a butterfly for starting a hurricane, but nevertheless you are ultimately responsible.

Suffice to say that Wyrd’s web is tightly woven.

We cannot predict which of our tiny, daily deeds will bear fruit next week or next century. But we can increase the odds by doing many such deeds, any one of which might make a difference in the long run. I try to build a lot of such occurrences into each day. I wear my hammer proudly. I don my “Odin’s Folk” tee shirt at the gym, or maybe the tie-dye one with runes on it that my son found at the thrift store. I drop comments in public dealing with heritage or the ancestors, just so see if anyone will bite. And of course, when I send out this AFA Update, I’ll wriggle 650 pairs of wings – amazing how this list has grown! – excluding bad addresses and those who delete these words unseen .

I have no illusion that any of this is going to bring the AFA a million dollars. But then, it might! At the least, it contributes however slightly to building a new culture, one more influenced by the Germanic Way.

I hereby invite you to join in Operation Butterfly. I know many of you are already making these little efforts – but if we do it more deliberately, more often, we can have a greater impact. Who knows what a few hundred of us can do if we try? Get out there and stir that pot of chaos! Vibrate the Web of Wyrd! Flap the wings of your Will and let the storm arise!

Categories: News

New Apprentice Folkbuilder

Please join me in welcoming Cody Raynard of Virginia as the AFA’s newest Apprentice Folkbuilder representing the Upper South Region. The Upper South is on fire these days and with Þórshof, our regional leaders will really benefit from Cody’s help.

Thank you Cody for stepping up, this is how we accomplish great things.

Hail the Doers!
Hail Cody Raynard!
Hail the AFA!

Categories: News

AFA Update (2002)

from AFA Update: May 2002
by Steven A. McNallen, Drighten

I’ve been watching the Asatru scene ever since…well, ever since there was an Asatru scene to watch…and I’ve come to yet another heretical conclusion:

I think we make too much of the warrior aspect of Asatru.

No one who knows me can claim that I am “anti-warrior.” Fourteen years in Army green, on both active duty and in the National Guard, should make it clear that pacifism is not part of my makeup. The God I follow is not noted for his softness, either. But as the years go by, it becomes clearer that there is so much more to Asatru than the rather stereotypical warrior image.

We all need the virtues of courage, a willingness to make a stand for the right, a readiness to sacrifice, and a sense of duty. These are some of the essentials for sound character and right behavior – but they are not traits reserved for warriors. One can live by all these values and never raise a hand in anger, nor wield a weapon.

Nevertheless, we do have warriors among us, men and women sworn to serve others at personal risk to themselves. Some of them are in law enforcement, others wear military uniform, still others put out fires or rappel out of helicopters on search-and-rescue missions. If you’re not in one of these professions, or not a martial artist, chances are you are not a warrior. And that’s okay. Most of us need summon warrior skills only in those rare situations where we may be attacked.

If you’ve been around many people in the “warrior professions,” you know that most of these folks are proud but soft-spoken, confident but not blustering. Yes, there are exceptions but most of them don’t spend a lot of time beating their chests and telling us how great they are.

Real warriors – or even just ordinary people trying to live the warrior virtues – are in a different class from some of the pseudo-warriors we see in Asatru. The sham warriors are closely related to both the “dress-up” phenomenon and the “I am a Viking” phenomenon. Put on funny clothes, pick up a sword, have a couple horns of mead and presto! – one warrior simulation, ready to go. Never mind that the pseudo in question has never served in uniform, can’t do twenty pushups, and would have a heart attack if made to run a mile! Never mind that he is so self-absorbed that the thought of serving others never crosses his mind!

Fortunately, there seem to be fewer of these folks every year. Maybe they grow up, or maybe they find the reenactment societies. Some of them turn into fine Asatruar when they realize they don’t have to act like they’re in the tenth century. Let’s all continue to encourage them in the right direction.

Categories: News

Terry J. Rumph 4/13/1949 – 7/26/2020

Terry J. Rumph, or Mr. Terry as most of us called him, was a soft-spoken man of much wisdom and generosity. Most of us only had the honor of knowing him during his brief time in the AFA, but he touched the lives of our entire church in those short six years. 

Before he joined the AFA, Mr. Terry lived a full and eventful life of virtue, adventure, and service to both his nation and his community. 

He enlisted in the United States Army in May of 1967, serving three tours in South Vietnam. During these three deployments, he earned many decorations: Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Good Conduct Medal with two knots, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with one Silver Star and four Bronze Star Campaign devices, RVN Honor Medal 2nd Class, RVN Gallantry Cross Medal with Palm device, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60s device. 

After returning home from one of the worst military conflicts in American history, Sergeant Rumph decided that he was not finished serving his people, and joined his local police department. Less details are known of his time in law enforcement, but it is known that he served honorably and had a positive, profound impact on many lives in his community. 

Once he concluded his time in law enforcement, Mr. Terry once again decided that he was still not done fighting for his people, and so he became one of the most devoted members of his local VFW(Veterans of Foreign Wars) branch. Warriors from all over the country knew who Sergeant Rumph was, just through his diligent work for the VFW. 

In March of 2014, Mr. Terry found his way to the Asatru Folk Assembly, and was so impressed by the sense of frith and community that he joined our church immediately and with high enthusiasm. This enthusiasm never waned even for a minute, no matter what health issues came his way. 

In March of 2020, at the AFA’s Ostara in the South, Ravensblood Kindred had the tremendous honor of oathing Mr. Terry into the kindred, as well as gifting him with the first Ravensblood banner that was ever made. He brought great honor and prestige to Ravensblood Kindred, and he will continue to do so even now that he has left Midgard. 

Mr. Terry often said that he hoped to live a life in the example of Tyr, and he absolutely accomplished that. There was not a single time in his adult life where he was not serving our Folk, and he never once let anything get in his way of that. 

Hail Sergeant Terry J. Rumph, may the road to his proud Ancestors be brief! 

Hail Sergeant Terry J. Rumph, may Tyr himself recognize this great warrior’s life lived honorably! 

Hail Sergeant Terry J. Rumph, may his name live on forever in our hearts and in our praises! 

“Death is not final until you are forgotten.”

We shall never forget you, sir. 

Categories: News

Getting our SOUL back! (1993)

from The Runestone: Summer 1993 #4

In shamanic cultures the world over, when someone is lethargic, weak, and incapable of responding appropriately to his surroundings, it is assumed that he has lost his soul. It is up to the shaman to find it. This usually involves a dangerous trip to the underworld, with many magical obstacles to overcome and monsters to fight. The shaman makes the journey, recaptures the soul, and heals the afflicted individual. Any other treatments or medicines are supplementary. Without a soul, the patient will eventually die.

We in the industrialized West are in exactly this predicament. The only difference is that the patient is not an individual, but a very large group of people – almost everyone of European descent. It’s no secret that we have lost our will to defend ourselves. Popular culture insists that White men can’t jump, that classical literature should be abandoned because it was written by DWM’s (Dead White Males) and that we are generally just about the most rotten people on the planet. Even the slick news magazines gloatingly acknowledge our dispossession. Why the malaise? What has created the collapse of our collective immune system? What happened to our will to live?

We have lost our soul. No, not souls, but the singular soul of our people. But just what do we mean by that statement, and how do we regain this crucial essence?

Every group of genetically similar individuals has a collective unconscious that expresses their hopes, dreams, and experience. The Gods have a home there, and our innermost instincts and innate predispositions flow from the mighty rivers that guard it’s borders. It’s our true “home acres”, the odal lands bequeathed to us by our forefathers and foremothers.

On the whole we’ve lost touch with this magical place. It still exists somewhere, but we can’t effectively tap into it, or at least not to the extend we need. Our spiritual pathways are blocked so only the smallest trickle of life-giving holiness can get through from this wondrous realm. No longer able to believe in our ancestral wisdom, we are unable to believe in ourselves. Without a soul we are defenseless. Our lethargy is unshakable. Bereft of self respect we acquiesce in our own extinction.

How do we solve the problem? By restoring the religion that is naturally ours – Asatru. We Asafolk are all shamans in a sense, able to touch the Gods. We are conduits by which our dieties can manifest in Midgard. Each time we honor the Gods, their power grows among us. When we remember our great heroes, the spiritual strength of these men and women shines more brightly. With every libation to Freya, every candle lit to Thor, every horn raised to Odin, those sacred traditions become more real, more charged with power. We are recreating the universe in each instant, in accordance with our Will. Those of us who love the Aesir and Vanir can reclaim our Folk soul. The burden is great, but there are many of us and we are determined.

It’s not a complicated thing; it’s easy. And we don’t have to ask anyone’s permission. We – that’s you and I – can start today. If we all do our part, the day will come when our Folk will awaken to the courage, the balance, and the will-to-power that springs from a healthy soul.

What have YOU done lately to bring us back to health?

Categories: News

New Apprentice Folkbuilder

I am proud to introduce our newest Apprentice Folkbuilder, George Schindler. George will be Folkbuilding in the AFA’s Northeast Region out of Massachusetts. George has shown an amazing ability to connect with people and to bring folks together. With George on the team I am very excited to watch the New England area grow and thrive.

Hail the AFA Northeast!
Hail George Schindler!
Hail the Aesir!

Matthew D. Flavel
Asatru Folk Assembly

Categories: News

Rebirth! (1992)

from The Runestone: Fall 1992 #1
by Steve McNallen

Five years ago Maddy and I unloaded the remains of the Asatru Free Assembly onto the shoulders of stalwarts like Valgard Murray, packed our bags and went to live in a semi-ghost town high in the mountains of California. THE RUNESTONE, which had played such a vital role in bringing Asatru to America, died after 15 years – and we went on to new lives.

The years that followed saw a lot of changes. I shaved my beard and joined the National Guard. We lived in a tiny cabin above the snowline, chopping our firewood and fluming water into the house directly from a mountain spring. Since we needed a profession, we went to night school and earned teaching credentials. Armed with our new certificates, we got teaching jobs and settled into the routine task of earning a living. For excitement, I wrote articles for military magazines based on visits to Tibetan resistance fighters in India and guerrillas in Burmese jungles.

All this time, we had never forgot the Gods or the movement we had helped pioneer. Word reached us in our mountain fastness that the Cause was doing well. Valgard, by heroic effort, welded together the Asatru Alliance, and all over the country Asatru groups and publications emerged from the ruins of the AFA. We came to believe that our dissolving of the old structure had been a good thing, because it allowed others to take the initiative without being overshadowed by the edifice we had all erected. True, the new standard bearers didn’t always do things the way we would have – but that was okay. Asatru was alive and thriving, and that’s what we had wanted.

To a large extent, we still feel that way. It was time for something new to happen. We have no intention of rebuilding the elaborate structure that characterized the AFA. You won’t get Guilds, membership, gatherings, or kindreds from us. What we DO offer is a dynamic, evolutionary view of Asatru based on almost a quarter century of experience and practice.

I will never forget the joy of producing the first issue of THE RUNESTONE, in an apartment in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1972. It had as I recall, all of eleven readers. This humble publication grew to become, in my own admittedly biased opinion, the backbone of Asatru in America. It is now reborn. Like all reincarnations, it is not identical with it’s former self; this new being has it’s own fate to fulfill. It will be leaner, more focused, and no longer the voice of something like the AFA, but we think you’ll see a continuity. Phase two of the adventure is about to begin.


Categories: News