By Stephen A. McNallen
from The Runestone Spring 1997 #18

How much can be done for Asatru in five days of speaking engagements and classes? We found out, recently, during a fast-moving tour through Washington and Oregon. From the moment Brian met me at the airport until I walked up the steps of the plane bringing me home, it was a powerful experience full of import for the future of our movement.

The action began in the Seattle area with a lecture arranged by the Euro-American Student Union. At Pierce College, an audience of about fifty people listened attentively as I spoke for about an hour and a half. I gave them an outline of Asatru, And explained the vital role of northern European beliefs in the modern world. The question-and-answer session was lively and receptive, and students of African and Asian descent could be seen nodding their heads in agreement with remarks on the need to preserve ALL native religions and cultures for a world of true diversity.

The next night, after a three hour drive with Matt and Karen, I hit the Portland area. The lecture hall at Reed College was filled beyond capacity, with people sitting in the aisles. Again I spoke for an hour and a half, an fielded questions for an additional hour. A small group of demonstrators protested my appearance, alleging that I was – of course – “racist”. Members of our party tried to arrange a meeting so I could address their concerns, to no avail: in the words of one of them, they “knew all they needed to know about McNallen” and didn’t to actually hear me talk, or anything like that!

Later, we found out that the demonstration had been arranged by a local professor working with the “Coalition for Human Dignity”, a so-called anti-racist organization which compiles alarmist documentation about the imminent fascist threat to American liberties. They have to have someone on their list of devils in order to justify their existence and (more to the point) to collect money, and apparently it was our turn to be the “neo-Nazis”. However, CHUD’s accusations only sounded absurd to anyone who listened to my very calm, non-racist exposition of Asatru.

The next morning was a Saturday. Out of bed, fed a filling breakfast by Michael and Annabel, topped off with a lot of coffee – and down to a Portland bookstore for a four-hour class on runes. A dozen people attended and asked questions as we talked about the futhark, ways to use runes in daily life, and the basics of blots. The Chinese lunch seemed a little far-removed from the Teutonic world, so I felt obliged to start a conversation on the blond Tarim Basin mummies unearthed in Xinjiang.

We relaxed that afternoon and evening, then the next day saw us pulling up in front of a tidy, older house a block from a collection of yuppie shops somewhere in Portland – the headquarters of the local Theosophical Society. For this audience, I shortened my talk to an hour or less. and adapted the content to accommodate the specific interests of Madam Blavatsky’s friends. I found them intelligent, concerned, and possessed of a remarkable understanding of our message.

Thus ended a busy five days. I’ve left a lot out – the walk up the winding trails in the park with Michael and Annabel, Brian’s warm hospitality, and an evening drinking Guinness (Yes!!) in an Irish bar, with an impromptu Celtic jam session going on fifteen feet away. None of those things could have happened without a lot of work by a lot of people, and I am very grateful to them all for their kindness and exertions. The result was a series of victories for Asatru – the forerunners of many more to come!

Would I do it again? You bet! Maybe you can set up something in YOUR area?

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