AFA: Blog

Words from the Alsherjargothi

Tiwaz

Tiwaz, Tyr is the mystery of cosmic order, ever true, constant as the Pole Star. The Tiwaz rune is named for the god Tyr, in fact this name became the word for divinity itself. The roots of Tiwaz go even further back to the ancient Aryan word Deiwos meaning “celestial god”. The Aesir are gods of consciousness and order, shaping an ordered cosmos from chaos, Tiwaz represents that divine order. The Old English Rune Poem tells us “Tiw is a guiding star; well does it keep faith with princes; it is ever on its course over the mists of night and never fails.” The world we live in grows ever more complex, we live in an age where words like “right” and “wrong” are unfashionable and moral choices are dismissed as “shades of grey”. Take heart, Tiwaz teaches us the lesson of moral clarity, principles of order that are timeless and guide us through the thickest mists and the darkest night. This order was visualized by our ancestors as the Irminsul, the world pillar that held up the sky above us and fixed the earth below us. Simplifying things to principles of time honored right and wrong, making judgments from those firm values gives us confidence and surety. Let us all hold our heads high as we stand for order and principle “well does it keep faith with princes” to do so.

Matthew Flavel
Alsherjargothi,
Asatru Folk Assembly

Day of Remembrance for King Radbod of Frisia

Traditionally the Asatru Folk Assembly has celebrated the 9th day of each month with a remembrance day to a hero or well known person relevant to our native folkways. In an effort to make our membership more aware of these important folk heroes and to again honour their memory we will be posting a short article each month on that month’s honoree.

In August we have traditionally celebrated King Raedbed (Radbod) of Frisia. Radbod’s story actually begins with his predecessor, Aldgisl, who, as king, allowed a christian missionary to spread his alien ways across the land. Aldgisl and many of the local sub-chiefs accepted this new faith……within just two years of this missionary’s arrival Aldgisl was replaced by Radbod, who still held true to the ancestral ways, as king.
As with many leaders of his time, Radbod allowed missionaries to enter his land and talk of their new faith. At constant war with his christianized Frankish neighbors Radbod even eventually agreed to be baptised in this new faith, but as the day neared for his baptism he had one nagging question, “What had befell his ancestors who never accepted this alien faith?”
The monk, when asked, in unusually direct and honest fashion answered, “Why those godless heathens are in hell burning alive for all eternity.” Obviously not the answer Radbod was expecting……the christian missionaries were driven from the land, even pushing the Franks completely out of Frisia. His steadfastness gave his people a few more years of freedom from alien oppression. Radbod remained true to his ancestors and their folkways until his death in 719 CE.
What a role model for today, here is a man who took a stand for his ancestors, for his people, when not doing so almost certainly would have been easier. How can we emulate that in our daily lives? How can we channel that honour and integrity in our spiritual path?
First, and foremost, we can honour Radbod with a blessing and draught of the horn in a small remembrance celebration.
We can not back down when alien creeds try to harm us with lies and gossip. Show our pride in our ancestors, our pride in those who forged this path we now tread.
We can meditate on Othila, the final rune in the rune row. The rune of ancestral homelands and of ancestral blood. The sacred enclosure that protects and embodies our folk. Meditate on how our choices and actions can strengthen this enclosure.
Finally, enjoy your freedom. That same freedom that Radbod gave to his people. Stand tall and proud, free of any bedouin taint and giving your children a chance to be strong, free, and true to their ancestral folkways.

Hail Radbod!

Blaine Qualls
Gothar Coordinator,
Asatru Folk Assembly

Why dress nice for a blot in honor of our Gods?

I get asked a lot of questions in my role as a Gothi of the Asatru Folk Assembly, but some questions come up more often than others. Probably one of the most common questions is “Why do some AFA members put on suits and nice dresses when participating in a Blot?”
There are actually several different reasons for this…..
First, and most obvious, is out of respect for our Gods and our holy rituals. Traditionally our Folk came before kings, queens, earls, etc. in all of their best clothing, looking their very best. When they would host guests, or go to the Thing again their finest clothes would come out…………Do our Gods deserve any less? Our Gods should be revered for the powerful, holy beings that They are, and one way of showing that respect, that reverence, is to look your best when presenting yourself before Them and when going to honour Them.
Another, less understood reason, is to put an individual into the proper mindset. A person entering into one of our holy rituals to honour our Gods should be doing so with a clear mind focused on the task at hand, not cluttered with the mundane everyday thoughts that often invade our thinking. By putting on your “ritual” clothes, something separate and apart from your everyday clothing, it helps to reinforce the idea that now you are stepping away from the everyday, profane world and entering into a timeless, sacred, otherwordly place and frame of mind.
No one is going to tell you that you can’t participate in a ritual because you have on a t-shirt and pair of jeans, we aren’t that kind of church, but this brief article should help answer the “Why are they all dressed up” question.

Blaine Qualls Jr.
Gothar Coordinator,
Asatru Folk Assembly

On Connections and Purpose

On Connections and Purpose

Having a conversation with a Christian earlier this week, we were talking about some of the difference between our religions.
One big issue they seem to have is that of the “purpose of life”. Although they claim that their purpose in life is to “love and serve God”, they still find an emptiness and a lack of connection.
I told him that as an Asatruar, the question of the purpose of life was a non-issue for us due to the fact that Asatru is all about both working in conjunction with the natural world as well as the realization and strengthening of the connections we have.
In true Christianity, the only connection one can really hope to make is the connection to their God above, anything else comes from the Germanization of Christianity, and this leaves a horrible disconnect and feeling of emptiness. (Raised a Christian, I can confirm)
In Asatru, our Purpose is realized through our connections.
We are connected to the Holy Powers/Gods & Goddesses above, the Earth Below, our ancestors behind us, our descendants before us, and our Folk around us.
The realization of these connections should immediately stir something powerful in is. There should be pride in it,
But there should also be a sense of responsibility to remember and honor our ancestors, to be dutiful and pass on to our descendants a name that is good and not tarnished, to our Folk around us to be a shining example and help those of our people become more than they were, to the earth to work with the natural order and to take care of this living planet, not just abuse it and use it for our own selfish means. And to the Holy Powers above, who’s existence within the Folk-Soul of our people is a constant inspiration and unique feature of our people. To honor them, our most distant ancestors, and to follow their examples by evolving ourselves and bettering ourselves in everything we do.

Eric Whisman
Folkbuilder,
Asatru Folk Assembly

Sowilo

Sowilo, “Sun” is the conquering mystery of solar empowerment. As the Sun is the source of life and power, light and energy, this rune teaches us of indomitable will and unstoppable determination. As we feel the Sun beating down upon us and we ponder the mystery of Sowilo, let us be inspired by the victory of light over darkness. Like the Sun, our ancestors rose from the east and conquered all before them as they rode west across Midgard, nothing and no one, not even the ocean, could stand in their way. As our people grew, this rune evolved from meaning the Sun to symbolizing victory itself. This rune is not just about victory over external foes. Sowilo also has much to teach us about victory over the stasis and blockages in our own hearts and minds, the Old Icelandic Rune Poem tells us “Sun is the shield of the clouds and shining ray and destroyer of ice.” As there is a time for stillness as taught by Isa, Sowilo is the rune of breaking free from that stillness and charging forth with dynamic action, unstoppable with purpose and will. Just as the Trundholm Sun chariot testified to our ancestors veneration of Sowilo, let this rune of victory inspire us today to action and glory in all we put our will towards!
Matthew D. Flavel
Alsherjargothi, AFA

New Apprentice Folkbuilder

I’d like to introduce our newest Apprentice Folkbuilder Michael Terry. Michael is a CDL driver trainer by trade and a organic vegetable farmer in the western part of Virginia. He has already started organizing meet-ups in the western part of the Upper South region and will be focused on building communities in the West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee area. If you are in these area’s and don’t know him, I suggest you reach out to him. This is how it’s done folks, real people, real events, and real communities!!

Hail the Doers!!
Hail the Folk !!
Hail the AFA !!

Marc MacLeod
Folkbuilder Coordinator, AFA

Happy Independence Day

In 1776, the founding fathers of the United States of America risked all. They pledged to each other their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor in a quest to secure for their families and their fellows a new nation built upon values they believed in. President Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence acknowledged the ancestral inspiration of “Hengist and Horsa, the Saxon chiefs from whom we claim the honor of being descended, and whose political principles and form of government we have assumed.” The Asatru Folk Assembly would like to wish our members and their families a joyous and triumphant Independence Day.

Matt Flavel
Alsherjargothi, AFA

New Apprentice Folkbuilders

I’m pleased to announce our 2 newest apprentice Folkbuilders. Todd Bailey will be stepping up in the Great Plains region to help build the North Dakota area with Blaine Qualls and Jason Gallagher. Todd is a National Guard veteran, works for the state presently, soon to be father of 3, and ready to get to work.

Zach Cato will be stepping up in the Midwest region with Cole Distel and working out of Indiana. Zack is a father of 1, also belongs to the Rune Guild and specializes in the Younger Futhark and Runology, He founded the AFA kindred, Heimdallrs Midgard Kindred, and is getting ready to start our Gothar program.

I’m very happy to have these gentleman on board to help carry us into the future! Hail to the Doers!!

Marc MacLeod
Folkbuilder Coordinator, AFA

How the AFA preforms Blot

So it seems with all the recent influx of new applicants to the Asatru Folk Assembly that maybe it is time to outline the basics of an AFA Blot, or ritual, so that those new to our spiritual path may be able to honour the Gods in their own backyards, local parks, even living rooms and not have to wait until they are able to attend an official Asatru Folk Assembly function.
The Blot(rhymes with boat) is an integral part of modern Asatru, it is our primary ritual. In the blot we offer praise to the Gods, we offer our might and main to Them, and we symbolize these things with mead which we give to them once we have infused it with our gifts. Below is how a typical AFA blot will go, the steps by which it is performed whether at a local Folkbuilder event in your area or at a large national event attended by many. This regularity insures continuity for our membership so that no matter where they may go they will be familiar with what is happening.

STEP 1: Find a place to perform your ritual that is either private or, at the very least, where you won’t be interupted. Typically allow an hour or so for ritual, this includes arriving, getting set up, and roughly a half hour for the ritual proper.

STEP 2: The assembled Folk enter the ritual area in a circular, clockwise fashion (clockwise is the direction of the Sun and moon, the direction of natural order).

STEP 3: Typically now is when the women of the assembled Folk bless the mead. This is a uniquely AFA tradition in which we ask them women to pour their innate power into the mead before we share it with the Gods.
3B: Once they are finished the Gothi/Gythia goes to each of the 4 cardinal directions and hallows the ritual area by performing a Hammer sign.

STEP 4: Now is the time to invoke and/or hail the God or Goddesses you are honouring. Speak about their attributes, mention their nicknames, ask them to be there while you offer them sacrifice.

STEP 5: Now is time to “collect” the sacrifice, and then offer it up to the God. Within the AFA we have a structure for this, its called “Heart to hand to Horn”. This means each assembled participant visualizes all the love, well wishes, power, etc they wish to give, “see” it flood into their heart, then as the Gothi comes around the circle each person visualizes that power going from their heart into their hand which they then touch the horn with and pour that power into the mead. In this way the mead becomes a powerful vessel of energy we are sending directly to the God.
Once all have touched the horn the Gothi offers the horn up to the deity visualizing them drinking of our offering, becoming invigorated by our might and main, by our love and well wishes. He then returns back to the stalli(altar) and continues with…..

STEP 6: Asking of the Blessing. Now the Gothi asks the God to pour their power and energy into the mead so that it may inspire and energize the assembled Folk. Typically within Asatru a gift looks for a gift, gift giving is a well attested reciprocal affair.
Visualize the God pouring their power into the mead, “see” them infuse the mead with their energy.

STEP 7: Once They have infused the mead then the blessings must be shared with the Folk. Typically this is done in two ways, first, sprinkling the Folk with the mead using the branch of an evergreen (symbolic of Yggdrasil). Secondly the Gothi goes around and allows everyone to drink from the horn and take the blessings into their being.

STEP 8: Thank the God for being there, for sharing their blessings, etc. Wish them well on their travels………..an all around, heart felt, thank you and goodbye. Also now is when the remainder of the mead is offered to the Gods by pouring it into the fire if you have one, or the ground if there is no fire.

STEP 9: The Gothi now goes to the 4 cardinal directions and opens the area back to the mundane world. The assembled may now leave in a clockwise fashion.

Obviously this is a very, very basic level format, each Gothi, each Gythia, will add their own personal touches here and there. The wording from place to place and region to region may change somewhat, but overall that is the structure Asatru Folk Assembly Gothar use to perform a blot whether in private or in public. I sincerely hope this helps our Folk in their living the path of Asatru. I fully encourage everyone who is able to perform rituals to the Gods on the holy days, and at other times of significance. Asatru is a path to be lived, lived out in the open and enjoyed by our people…. blotar are one way our Folk can begin reconnecting to their Gods, can begin living Asatru. Hail the Gods! Hail the Folk! Hail the Asatru Folk Assembly!

Blaine Qualls
Gothar Coordinator, AFA