AFA: Blog

Words from the Alsherjargothi

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

Midsummer 2017

First thing I want to say, is thank you to everyone that showed up and made this Midsummer such a huge success. Not just in being the largest event we have ever done, but the effort everyone put in to make every detail, over the top and special!! The weekend is just now sinking in for me and I am so proud to be of service to this organization and it’s membership. To the special moments like the naming of the newest member of our community, the oathing in of leadership, to Matt and Mandy’s wedding , we all grew closer. To the amazing effort of our Gothar in making our rituals epic and very much over the top, thank you! From the children’s blot and activity’s, our future generation is strong !! The heart felt presentations, the bonds we made working out and doing galdr meditations in the mornings really hit home the fact that we are all pushing each other to be better. And last but not least every last person that attended and dealt with the 100+ heat and still contributed 100% every time there was a task that needed done, you all make me very proud! I’m human and too much time on social media wears on me like everyone else, but after weekends like these, I have no doubts that we are doing things right!! WE DO ASATRU !! Not just talk about it.

Marc MacLeod
Folkbuilder Coordinator, AFA

Go outside!

As I got up and began my day, I stepped outside and I listened to the birds, I felt the summer sun on my skin.  I took a deep breath in and it felt good and I smiled.  Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed, out in the fresh air and away from the pettiness and bickering we all too often find a steady supply of on social media.  As I prepare for Midsummer at Newgrange Hof, I am made profoundly aware of all the amazing blessings in my life and in our AFA family.  We have some of the most amazing folks and as I watch the preparations for all the many Midsummer celebrations from coast to coast and around the world, it is truly powerful to see our holy Gods honored in such a way in 2017.  This summer, I encourage everyone of our folk, go outside, look up in awe at the might of the sun and give praise the the holy powers that have created and sustained our people.  Celebrate with your family, with your kindred, and with your folk.  Sit around fires long into the night raising horns and toasting great deeds and honored ancestors.  Go out and DO Asatru, take a break from talking about who is doing it wrong or what divisions we can find.  Go outside and rejoice in this amazing Midgard we are blessed to live in and the vibrant and noble community we are a part of in the Asatru Folk Assembly!  Sowilo, Mannaz, Wunjo.

 

Hail the Gods!

Hail the Ancestors!

Hail the AFA!

 

Matt Flavel,

Alsherjargothi, AFA

Perthro

Perthro, “lot cup” is the mystery of the unfurling future, the rune of orlog and of wyrd being born into reality. We all come into this world with an orlog laid down by our ancestors, for good or for ill, this is where we start. We build our wyrd by our actions, by great deeds we build a bright future for ourselves and our folk. None of us know what the future will bring, peace and abundance or struggle and strife. It is easy to become stressed about the future and to fear the unknown. The great heroes of old however, were marked by facing the future with joy and boldness, testing their luck and the wyrd the had built for themselves. “Lot box is always play and laughter among bold men, where warriors sit in the beer hall, happily together.”, so says the Old English Rune Poem. Do right, build a powerful hamingja and face the future filled with joy and courage. Struggles will come, face them with a confident bearing and let the die be cast. We were built for struggle, struggle is how we win glory, struggle is how heroes are made. Together, let us laugh and raise a horn, ready for whatever the future may hold, proud and bold as the heroes of old.
 
Matt Flavel
Alsherjargothi, AFA

Memorial Day

The Asatru Folk Assembly would like to raise a horn to the the warriors of the United States military who have fought bravely and died nobly for the men next to them. Our Folk have always held those that die in battle as worthy of eternal praise, their names and deeds resound in Valhalla.

Hail the fallen!

Matt Flavel
Alsherjargothi, AFA

New Apprentice Folkbuilder

I’m pleased to announce our newest apprentice Folkbuilder, Cameron Mottus. Cameron will be folkbuilding in the New Zealand/ Australia region of the AFA. Although he lives in New Zealand he is in Australia on a regular basis and has organized meet-ups in Sydney and Melbourne. I’m really looking forward to seeing the success and growth in this part of the world.

Eihwaz

Eihwaz, “Yew” is the powerful mystery of transformation and ascension. Eihwaz represents Yggdrasil, the world tree that orders our cosmos and connects the chthonic to the celestial. Just as our cosmos is likened to a tree, so are each of us. Within us all there is a “world pillar” an axis that connects the primal nature of man with his divine potential. Fathoming the mystery of Eihwaz we learn to delve deep down into our core and to evolve ever upward into the infinite. The Old English Rune Poem says “The yew is a tree with rough bark, hard and fast in the earth, supported by its roots, a guardian of flame and a joy upon an estate.” the Old Norse Rune Poem tells us further more that the “Yew is the greenest of trees in winter; it is wont to crackle when it burns.” Let us be like the eternal yew, evergreen with hope and joy in life’s winters. Let us be thick skinned, solid and rooted in our folk and our identity. Perhaps most of all let us burn hot, passionately reaching ever upwards toward the stars always climbing ever closer toward divinity.

Matt Flavel
Alsherjargothi, AFA