Below are listed the purposes of the Asatru Folk Assembly. The first one is obvious - to celebrate our religion. Others are less obviously theological, and the casual observer might say they have more to do with social or even political aims than with the religious. The preservation of the European peoples? The promotion of global diversity? The exploration of the universe? What does this have to do with religion?
The answer is...everything! All religions have implied social goals. For the Christian it might be world peace or charity toward the poor. For the Muslim it may be the observance of Islamic law in public life. It is not so different for Asatruar, although we place the highest priority on values such as the survival of our people, freedom from tyranny, and a world that has a place for the heroic ethic.
The Asatru Folk Assembly, in short, exists to serve our Gods and Goddesses and our Folk, and to make the world a better place.
The following points constitute the purpose of the AFA:
The practice, promotion, development, and dissemination of the religion of Asatru:
We are a religious organization dedicated to practicing and spreading Asatru. Furthermore, since that religion lives and grows, its development is a continuing process.
Asatru today is a reconstructed version of what our ancestors practiced. We have adapted it to the context of modern life, but the essence remains the same. The challenges of our age are different from those that confronted our ancestors, but the code of honor and nobility that spoke to our forebears' souls speaks to ours as well. In the AFA, we don't have to dress up like Vikings to live true to the Gods, nor do we turn our backs on the age in which we live. We practice Asatru in the here-and-now, and make it available to our kin.
The preservation of the Peoples of the North (typified by the Scandinavian/Germanic and Celtic peoples), and the furtherance of their continued evolution:
Ours is an ancestral religion, one passed down to us from our forebears from ancient times and thus tailored to our unique makeup. Its spirit is inherent in us as a people. If the People of the North ceased to exist, Asatru would likewise no longer exist. It is our will that we not only survive, but thrive, and continue our upward evolution in the direction of the Infinite.
All native religions spring from the unique collective soul of a particular people. Religions are not arbitrary or accidental; body, mind and spirit are all shaped by the evolutionary history of the group and are thus interrelated. Asatru is not just what we believe, it is what we are. Therefore, the survival and welfare of the Northern European peoples as a cultural and biological group is a religious imperative for the AFA.
The belief that spirituality and ancestral heritage are related has nothing to do with notions of superiority. Asatru is not an excuse to look down on, much less to hate, members of any other race. On the contrary, we recognize the uniqueness and the value of all the different pieces that make up the human mosaic.
The issuance of a call to all our brothers and sisters of the People of the North to return to this, their native religion and way of life:
We would impose Asatru on no one. But we earnestly invite those whose heritage it is, to return to the belief that is a part of them as surely as blood and bone.
Asafolk have traditionally been restrained when it comes to seeking converts. However, we do feel that our brothers and sisters will be healthier and happier once they have returned to the religion that expresses their heritage. Also, we need them! The restoration of our ancient ways, and the building of a secure future for our religion and our people, is a huge undertaking that can use all the willing hands we can find. For these reasons, we call our kin to rejoin the great family of men and women who honor the sacred ways of the Northland.
The restoration of community, the banishment of alienation, and the establishment of natural and just relations among our people:
Our ancestors had religious and social folkways that gave them a feeling of continuity and community, yet jealously preserved individual rights. We can and will reestablish this natural order among our people. Let us have an "Ingathering of the Folk!"
The religious values of Asatru encourage sound families, and provide an extended family or tribe to support the basic family unit. We help each other materially, socially, and religiously. At the same time, we respect the urge for privacy and allow individuals and families the "space" they need to run their own lives. Our general feeling is that society might work better if families and the communities of which they are a part were encouraged to take care of each other, rather than relying on coercive "help" from outside sources such as government - which always has strings attached.
The promotion of diversity among the peoples and cultures of the Earth, in opposition to global monoculture:
The world should not be one uniform, unvarying mass. All peoples should be allowed to be different, to relish that difference, and to work out their own destinies. Only in our uniqueness can our respective Gods fully manifest.
Difference is the very spice of our existence. The melting pot, carried to its natural conclusion, results in a sludgy soup of sameness. The AFA supports the efforts of all cultural and biological groups to maintain their identity, and opposes the plans of the world-managers to reduce all of humanity to a lowest common denominator. People of all cultures and races must stand united against the forces that would transform us into perfectly interchangeable economic units dominated by a financial or governmental elite.
The fostering in our people of a deep love of freedom and a hatred of all forms of tyranny:
Asatru implies strong, vigorous, free people who do not grovel before other humans, the state, or the Gods themselves. Our Gods are not slavemasters, but rather want us to grow in freedom and responsibility that we may better imitate them.
The Gods do not want us to be submissive, meek, and mild. Rather, they want us to evolve towards ever greater freedom, exercised in wisdom and awareness. Similarly, we will never bow before human tyrants. Totalitarianism, the ant hill, and the mass-mind are the antitheses of the Northern European ideal.
The use of science and technology for the well-being of our people, while protecting and working in harmony with the natural environment in which we live:
Technology and science are part of our intellectual inheritance, and we can use them to make life better for ourselves and our children. However, greater freedom has the price of greater responsibility. We must use our abilities wisely, keeping the balance of the natural world from which we sprang.
The modern Asatruar does not live in the Viking Age. It makes no sense to repudiate the scientific and technological progress of the last thousand years. Indeed, the Vikings themselves were very technologically adept for their time. However, we have tremendous ability today to change the world around us - for better or worse. Our knowledge must be applied in a way that is not harmful to the environment in which we live, for the Earth is our mother and - while we retain our wonderful human free will and individuality - we are also part of the web of life.
The exploration of the universe, in keeping with the adventurous imperatives of our kind:
We are a wide-faring Folk. Odin is a wanderer, and those who follow our Gods have typically been horizon-seekers. The longship has been replaced by the spaceship and the electron microscope, but the spirit of exploration remains the same.
There is probably a connection between our love of freedom and our craving for frontiers. Stagnation brings on regimentation, which in turn only increases stagnation. Liberty needs a frontier; there is no place for the hero in a world grown regulation-riddled and over-organized.
...and the affirmation of the eternal struggle and strife of life, the welcoming of that strife as a challenge, the living of life wholly and with joy, and the facing of eternity with courage.
Life's struggle is the whetstone that sharpens the sword of spirit. We should not regret the obstacles that confront us, but use them to grow ever stronger and wiser. Nor should we let them drain away our enjoyment of life. Let us live our lives with vigor - and when it is time to die, let us do that with dignity, honor, and grace.