By Stephen A. McNallen
From The Runestone Fall/Winter 1996 #16/17

For the most part, Asatru in the early years of the Reawakening has been something practiced in private homes, parks, and rented rooms. Occasionally, an actual hof, or temple, has been erected, but these are the exceptions. Arizona Kindred built such a structure a few years back, and more recently, Robert Taylor of Wulfing fame erected a hof on his land – but the majority of Asatruar still honor the mighty powers out-of-doors or in buildings designed for some other purpose.

This is not to say that a hof is absolutely necessary; indeed, our ancestors usually worshiped under the open sky, or under the branches of trees in sacred groves. In many times and places among our early folk, it was thought inappropriate to try to confine our Gods and Goddesses within walls of wood or stone. Sometimes, however, simple protective roofs were erected, and of course we have records of much more elaborate temples built in places like Uppsala, in Sweden.

For our purposes today, a hof has some advantages. Most of these are psychological, but nonetheless real for that. A permanent structure dedicated to the Gods is a sign, to ourselves and to others, that Asatru is here to stay. It sends a visible testament about our seriousness, our commitment, and out persistence.

The Asatru Folk Assembly has begun constructing such a hof. It is located on private land along the Yuba River, in northern California. Sheltered under oak and pine, surrounded by hills and intermittent streams, it is a place of refuge from the urban madness. The site will feature an outdoor ritual area and camping facilities, in addition to the hof itself.

Thorgrun, of Gullinbursti Kindred, is in charge of this project. We can be thankful to the owners of the land for their generous permission to use the location, and to several of our supporters for their liberal financial backing. Actual construction is being done, not by paid laborers, but by AFAers and their supporters who want to see their sweat transformed into something of spiritual importance.

The completed structure will stand 27 feet long, 18 feet across at the widest point, and 12 feet high in the center. Walls will be of river rock, with a wooden, inverted-boat shaped roof. Thorgrun obtained construction details and information on traditional proportion from none other than Jormundr Ingi, Successor to Alsherjargothi Sveinbjorn Beinteinsson of the Icelandic Asatruar.

When AFAers come together to honor the Gods next spring, they will do so in a structure worthy of our devotion and loyalty. This hof will be a solid reminder of what we can do when we try – and the next step toward even greater endeavors! Hail the hofbuilders!

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