Day of Remembrance for Alexander Rud Mills

This month we have set aside the 9th of July to honor Alexander Rud Mills. A pioneer of the modern reawakening of our ancestral ways. Alexander was born on July 15th, 1885 in Forth, Tasmania. Rud, as he preferred to be called, was the only boy out of 7 children. As a young man, he moved to Victoria Australia in order to attend law school and subsequently become a barrister, or lawyer. In the 1920’s Rud “found” Odinism and began to try to convert others to his new ideas. By the 1930s Rud had created “The Anglecyn Church of Odin” and by some accounts had upwards of 120 attendees to his regular Thursday night celebrations.

The onset of World War II had Rud advocating a non-aggression policy for Australia. His ideas were frowned upon by the government of Australia and Mills found himself incarcerated in a prison camp for roughly 7 months along with some of the other Odinists of the time. Mills was incarcerated without proof of any wrongdoing or participating in any nefarious goings-on.

Upon his release Mills sought to revive the Odinist movement in Australia, but many understood that a part of why he was interred was because of his “exotic” religious beliefs. A great many Christian pacifists and neutrality seekers were never bothered by the Australian government. His church of Odin did continue on, but in a much more secretive role and never quite attained the same stature it had once held.

Mills passed away on the 8th of April, 1964. He left behind him a legacy that would reverberate across time and space. Sometime after his passing Else Christensen would be inspired by his writings to found the Odinist Fellowship in Canada. Rud Mills’ writings are not always an easy read, comparing his thoughts to our understandings now is a tricky venture. We would do well to remember that what he was creating then and there was completely new, he couldn’t run down to a book store and grab the latest Odinism 101 book, there was no internet, there was only research and personal understanding. What Mills manifested there in Australia was the true beginning of our glorious revival, he gave to us a foundation to build upon.  All these years later look at what we have built, he would be amazed at how far we have come.

Hail Rud Mills!

Blaine Qualls
Gothar Coordinator,
Asatru Folk Assembly

Categories: News

…While the Asatru only grows (1986)

from The Runestone: Fall 1986 #57

Editor – It’s not often that we get news of Asatru overseas, with the exception of occasional articles describing Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson’s efforts in Iceland. We were pleasantly surprised, then, when Jeff Redmond produced this translation from the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet dated December 16, 1985 telling of organization in Sweden dedicated to our Gods and Goddesses!

Svensk Aftonbladet
December 16, 1985
by Bosse Schon

Atendency throughout the world is for mankind to seek alternatives to established religions. There are some hundred souls who believe in the old gods to be found in Sweden.

The rocksinger Pugh Rogefeldt has taught himself runic writing and has made an L.P. about the Aesir gods, “Hammarhjarta”.

Around the neck he always wears an amulet with Thor’s hammers, to give him strength and protect him against evil.

In an interview in Aftonbladet he related:

“I feel, myself, like the lost son. For my entire upbringing here I was exposed to Christian propaganda. We are born into the Swedish Church (the Lutheran State Church) whether we wish it or not. During school we get lessons on Christianity time and again. Then I was never interested in religion or history. Christianity was of course the Jewish history. It was when I first read about the Viking Age and Asatru that I became interested.”

Jonas Almquist in the rock group Ladrenunnan is a leader for the Asatru Guild, an association which wishes to get Asatru officially recognized as a religion.

On night he sat on an Uppsala mound, cut himself in the hand with a razor blade, and raised a cup of juice for Odin, Njord, and Bragi.

That was 1972, when four Icelanders got together and blew life into Asatru in Iceland. The year after, the government there acknowledged Asatru as a legitimate religion, soon uniting the cultures in Norway, Sweden, England, West Germany, and the U.S.A.

Arne Sjoberg is the chairman of the Asatru association, Breidarblikk Guild, which was established in 1975 and has 80 members.

In Harjedalen, Goteborg, and Vaxjo there are also established Asatru organizations.

“In the last mellenium we have been indoctrinated in a strange western Asiatic religion and culture, Christianity. Everyone has a right to his original religion,” says Sjoberg, who wishes that school children would get more lessons about the old Norse mythology in the schools.

In the autumn, Sjoberg officiated at his first old Nordic marriage in an ancient castle. With a ritual using Thor’s hammers, Sjoberg read some stanzas from the “Havamal” and ” Skirnismal”.

In Uppsala the Commune (county governmental body) plans to build a Viking settlement, including a heathen temple as a tourist attraction, something which gladdens the Asatruar who hope to get loan of the temple when they meet.

Lester Wikstrom of the committee tying together the Swedish Church and the Ecumenical Council says:

“The Church’s principal agreement is that every man has freedom of choice regarding which faith he will have. But the freedom has its limits. When they take up such features in Asatru as that of sacrificing children and the old, all have reason to protest”

Asatruar themselves say that they do not show any such tendencies.

Categories: News

Hvitr Folk of Brazil

Today it is my honor to announce The Hvitr Folk Kindred of Brazil as a official Kindred of the Asatru Folk Assembly.These folks have stepped to be a representative for our church in Brazil and to help bring others home and host local events.

Gaining Kindred recognition is not a easy thing, it takes dedication and loyalty and willingness to stand with our church and family.

All around Midgard our Folk are coming together and building communities and growing families.So there will be a future for them,for our Church.And we will have Hofs all over Midgard because of the dedication and generosity of our members.When everyone works together we create something bigger than us.This really is a exciting time to be alive!Meanwhile in outside world people continue to destroy things and we are building great things that will stand the test of time.Thank you for stepping up and taking on the responsibility and creating a home for the stragglers to come to.

Hail The Hvitr Folk!
Hail the Kindreds of the AFA!
Hail 25 years of the Asatru Folk Assembly!!!

Jason Gallagher 
Kindred Coordinator 
Asatru Folk Assembly 

Categories: News

New Apprentice Folkbuilder

Francesco Morese of Italy is our newest Apprentice Folkbuilder. Francesco will work alongside Fiona Aedgar to build AFA Europe. We are very proud to have Francesco working for our Gods and Folk in the land of the Langobards. Francesco has been involved in Asatru since 1993 and brings that experience to bear for our AFA Family!

Hail the Aesir!
Hail Francesco!
Hail AFA Europe!

Categories: News

Joy is Better than Guilt (1985)

by Stephen A. McNallen
from The Runestone: Spring 1985 #51

We live in an age which is, in many ways, overly introspective. Where our axe-swinging ancestors wrought results with bold action, we often find ourselves paralyzed by excessive analysis, and fail to define and to do the deeds required of us. Many things can produce this spiritual sickness, but one of the surest will-wasters is that old enemy, guilt.

Our forebearers before the Christian imposition do not seem to have been contaminated by this virus. While they might have regretted something they had done, they simply tried to put things right and resolved not to place themselves in that situation again. The gnawing, esteem-gnawing feeling we call guilt, on the other hand, they would have considered not only masochistic but just plain silly. Take Action! Solve your problems, or try to, and get on with life! Leave the mental moaning and the breast-beating for those who have nothing else to do.

Guilt, however, has it’s uses – not to the guild-ridden party, certainly, but to the church and state and special interest groups who wield power in our present society. It is a very effective way to control people. By making us feel bad about ourselves, by making us believe that we are evil or fallen or sinful, the various powers-that-be can manipulate our behavior in accordance with their wills.

What are some of the things for which we are made to feel guilty? Television actresses make us feel guilty for our wealth so that we will give that wealth away for the benefit of people on the other side of the globe. “Docu-drama” producers and writers of a particular ilk do all they can to make us feel guilty because of our Northern European heritage. All our natural drives and instincts come under assault. Anger? Bad because we are all supposed to be “mellow”. Ambition? Dangerous – it makes the inadequate aware of their failings. Sexuality? Nasty; God’s gonna get you for that! Prosperity, ancestry, and instincts are all to be forbidden us by the guilt-mongers. What can be more disastrous in the long term than breeding these qualities out of a formerly free Folk?

Our present thralldom has turned values on their heads; instead of condemning that which is strong and good, we should shun that which our inner selves know to be bad – cowardice, dishonor, and favoring the stranger over kin.

Make no mistake, guilt is a necessary tool for forging the brave new world, a world spanning society where all are to be androgynous, docile, and interchangeable economic units designed only to produce and consume and serve. No room there for joy in sexuality or passion of any kind or pride in ourselves as a people.

So how do we fight back? With all the usual ways of devotion to our gods and our Folk – but animated with a joy that consumes guilt and frees the spirit for action just as the severing of the “peace-strings” allows the sleek sword to fly to it’s owner’s hand! The best warrior is the joyous one who clasps his fate to his heart, who’s merriment in battle’s strife confuses the foe and strikes panic in their ranks. Let that joy flow into all the parts of your life so that is suffuses work and battle and play and makes all these diverse things one. Joy is better than guilt – and a sure antidote to it’s manipulative pangs.

Hard words to heed, easy ones to write! Holding onto joy isn’t east because we seem to have so little to celebrate. But is it the things outside ourselves which ought to give joy and grief, or is it the things withing us? If nothing else, we can revel in our freedom from guilt; in our will-to-act, and in our adherence to the troth of our heroic ancestors. These are no small reasons for joy!

We have the gods to inspire us. Odin, pragmatically breaking the rules to safeguard the worlds of gods and men; Thor, indulging his appetites without shame or fear; Frey and Freya, reveling in healthy sexuality; these are powerful, liberating models casting off the chains of restraint. By invoking them into our lives we can experience the joy of existence in a world where strength, ambition, competence, and pleasure are not fettered with alien, life-denying bonds.

Categories: News

Baldurshof

Today, it is my great honor to present to the world… Baldurshof: Third Hof of the Asatru Folk Assembly! We have been truly blessed with good fortune this year. Baldurshof is a beautiful 120 year old building in Murdock Minnesota. This hof will serve as a hub for our Northern Plains AFA family to gather for worship, for fellowship, and for celebration. Most importantly, this holy hof will honor the radiant God Baldur. Great appreciation is due Lawspeaker Allen Turnage and Gothar Coordinator Blaine Qualls for making this dream a reality. With Baldur’s blessing, our future is bright indeed.

Hail Baldur!
Hail Baldur!
HAIL BALDUR!

Matthew D Flavel
Alsherjargothi,
Asatru Folk Assembly

Categories: News

New Apprentice Folkbuilder

Please join me in welcoming Connor Norris of Washington as the AFA’s newest Apprentice Folkbuilder. Connor comes to us highly recommended with boundless enthusiasm.

The Northwest is one of the fastest growing regions for us and is poised for greatness. Connor will be a tremendous asset to the region and his future with the Asatru Folk Assembly is bright indeed.

Hail the AFA Northwest!
Hail Apprentice Folkbuilder Connor Norris!

Categories: News

Ancestry is Better than Universalism (1984)

by Stephen A. McNallen
from The Runestone; Winter 1984 #50

Anyone who has spent much time reading about Asatru knows that we place a great deal of influence on the idea we call ancestry. Indeed, our religion is largely based on this concept. Is this mere sentiment and nostalgia on our part – or are there deeper reasons why we are continually referring to our forbearERs?

The ancient lore of Asatru makes it plain that this is no modern notion. Continuity of the clan has always been important to our people, and the god Frey seems to have been specially associated with this principle. The sagas include plentiful genealogies which are much more than literary devices – after all, Icelanders were known for their ability to recite their entire lineage back to the settlement of their ice-threatened island. Clearly, these were folk to whom ancestry mattered.

From a common-sense viewpoint it’s not hard to see why we should have an affinity for those of our own line. Heredity influences not only the obvious things like hair color and shape of ear lobe, it also helps to determine more subtle physical factors – our personal chemistry and neurology – which shapes our tastes, feelings, attitudes, and needs. We are quite simply going to resemble our ancestors in these ways more than we are likely to resemble people who are not our ancestors. Something of this sort is what Dr. Carl Jung meant when he said that the archetypes, or symbolic content of the unconscious mind, were hereditary rather than cultural. It’s only natural that we should most identify with that which is most like us.

To those who follow Asatru, however, our links to our ancestors encompass and go beyond this. A part of our native belief tells us of certain components of the soul which are transmitted down the family line from generation to generation, hopefully growing in quality and strength as they pass from one clan member to the next. One such component is the fylgia, a sort of mobile magical force. Each individual has a fylgia – a “mannsfylgia” – but a group of people like a tribe or family could have one as well – a “kinsfylgia”.

Another element of the soul is the HaMINGJA. It Recieves the actions of the individual and combines them with the accumulated actions of the person’s forebearers to produce a resultant “fate” or “orlog” (meaning “primal Layers” and referring to the layers of deeds done by the ancestors of the individual). Thus, a person is directly connected to those who have gone before them in the line of descent because they inherit, or can inherit these are very special soul components.

These esoteric-sounding theories sound strange to our twentieth-century way of looking at things, but, unfamiliar or not, they are being confirmed by theories on the leading edge of our scientific knowledge. New ways of thinking about human memory indicate that we are influenced not only by our personal memories, but also by those belonging to our ancestors – all stored in some extra-material realm called “transform space”. Beyond this are studies which seem to show that genetically similar beings can interact with each other at a distance, as if their DNA molecules served as antenna responding to the same frequency, or, alternatively, as though their individual memories and deeds were poured into a common pool. This particular phenomenon – called the “hundredth monkey effect” – does not require direct lineal descent but nonetheless does deal with specific sets of genetically similar beings. Our religious conviction that there are special bonds between kin are magnificently confirmed by these theories.

Ancestry, then, is special. We are connected to our ancestors, and to all others descended from those ancestors, in a special way. Common sense, the metaphysics of Asatru, and modern science confirm this. These holy ties give us special duties in regard to our kin, and justify the loyalties we extend to them in preference to the rest of humankind. This way of looking at things is contrary to the dogma of this day. Nevertheless, we know in our hearts – as it was known to our forebearers in the distant past, and as our growing knowledge of nature confirms – ancestry is better than schemes which would deny these truths, and propose a formless, alienated, and unnatural universalism.

Categories: News

New Member of the Witan

During Midsummer at Óðinshof, Gothi Svan Herul was elevated to the Asatru Folk Assembly’s Witan. Svan is a man of deep spiritual maturity and an abounding zeal to serve our Gods and Folk. I am very proud to have Svan’s counsel and exceedingly eager for the great things he will help to see accomplished. Let us all celebrate Gothi Herul’s advancement and support him in his enhanced role.

Hail Gothi Svan Herul!
Hail the Witan of the AFA!

Categories: News

Day of Remembrance for King Athanaric

King Athanaric, King of the Visigoths, ruled his people from 369 CE until he died in 381 CE. Sometimes called the first and greatest King of his people, Athanaric was a staunch Gothic Pagan. Viewing it as his responsibility to foster and promote the faith of his people he went so far as to execute over three hundred Visigoths that had converted to the Christian faith. Their Gothic culture was paramount, and he feared that the advent of Christianity would destroy it.

During his 12-year reign, Athanaric fiercely defended his culture against the advance of the Roman Christian conversion. In the early years he allied with his fellow Visigoth King, Fritigern, to stop the encroachment of the Roman legions into their lands. While the two were allied the Goths managed to stave off the Roman armies. For unknown reasons, however, Fritigern turned his army against Athanaric, causing the Gothic Civil War.
In the early stages Athanaric won every encounter he had with his one ally. This prompted Fritigern to turn and request aid from his former Roman enemy, Emperor Valens. Even so, despite some advances, Fritigern lost the war. The Gothic Civil War took a toll on the land and the Visigoths, however, and when the Huns began to invade shortly after the end of the Civil War Fritigern appealed to Emperor Valen to allow him and his people to cross into Roman land. The appeal was answered, but only for Fritigern, who had since converted to Christianity, and his followers.

The rest of the Visigoths were left to fend for themselves. Despite his best efforts King Athanaric was unable to hold his grounds against the ruthless, and better provisioned Huns. In the face of starvation, Athanaric led his people into the Alutus Valley (modern-day Transylvania) where they settled. In 380 CE Athanaric was deposed and removed himself to none other than Constantinople and the lands of his once upon a time Enemy, the roman empire. The new Emperor, Theodosius I, accepted Athanaric to the empire graciously. Upon his death some two weeks later Athanaric was buried in all state to show Theodisuis’ respect of the Gothic Culture.

Despite all, King Athanaric stood his ground in the face of all. He recognized the importance of maintaining the Culture of his people, recognizing the dangers of conversion for what it was. IN these modern times it is even more important to view Athanaric’s struggles for what they were and to remember that the preservation of our people and our culture is so very paramount. It’s about Roots. It’s about Connections. It’s about coming home.

Let us always strive to make sure we have a Home for our folk to come back to!

Hail King Athanaric!
Hail the Folk!
Hail the Asatru Folk Assembly!

Gythia Catie Erickson

Categories: News