By Steven A. McNallen
From The Runestone: Summer 1997 #19

As many of our readers know, the Asatru Folk Assembly has strong links with the Asatru Alliance. Both the AA and the AFA, along with the Odinic Rite, are founding members of the new International Asatru/Odinic Alliance, and we share both a common history and an overlapping membership. The AFA’s Calasa Kindred, for example, is a members of the alliance.

When Calasa offered to host a pre-Althing gathering for the Alliance, it was our way of showing support. Additionally, it was an opportunity to get together with some of the leading lights of Asatru in Vinland and to talk about the challenges we face, as well as lift up a horn and catch up on gossip. We accomplished all all this and more, from June 13-15.

Perhaps the remark most heard over the weekend was that the gathering had a pervading sense of harmony, of Folkish family, to it. Indeed, not a harsh word or negative comment was heard to break the common purpose and cooperation.

Delegates and guests were greeted with a banner-lined road leading into the twenty-four acre site, and the spacious meadows and wooded patches provided plenty of room for camping. A thunder-storm on the night of the 12th kept the fire danger down, lowered the temperatures into an unreasonably mild range, and refreshed the wild flowers.

Counting children and babies, a total of at least forty-five people attended the event.

Friday was given over to setup and socializing, punctuated by a simple ritual of greeting and dinner. At each meal, the food was blessed by a different gothi, with the idea of spreading duties and participation among all the kindreds. we topped off the day with informal discussions around the campfire.

Saturday was our work day. Valgard Murray opened the Thing with a Tyr-blot and a blessing of weapons. I gave the Thing invocation, and we got down to business. The major item on the agenda was the preamble and by-laws of the International Asatru/Odinic Alliance. Delegates argued the wording back and forth, and finally breezed through the last few points. The resulting version will be forwarded to the Odinic Rite for their recommendations.

Throughout the gathering we made special effort to provide food in keeping with our ethnic heritage. Cornish pasties, smoked salmon, red cabbage and Danish dishes tempted palates and filled plates.

Three kindreds petitioning for admission at the next Alliance Althing introduced themselves and answered questions regarding their accomplishments. All three kindreds have strong ties with the AFA, so once again the links between the two organizations were emphasized. That evening, a sumble witnessed the usual range of toasts, as well as an amazing poem based on the LAXDAELA SAGA, and a rendition of one of Josef’s songs praising Odin. Later, Michael and Annabelle played a number of traditional Celtic tunes on bodhran and fiddle. Robert Taylor danced by firelight, when he wasn’t entertaining us with stories or making insightful analyses of the state of the movement.

On Sunday, I was gothi as we offered blot to Odin. It was, after all, Father’s Day, so why not honor the All Father? At one point in the rite, participants named a male ancestor in whose memory they gave blot. More music and singing of some of Odin’s names by the Folk gave the rite an added dimension. Immediately afterword, Barbara and Joe were married with the wedding ritual used years ago by the old Asatru Free Assembly. Breakfast – featuring the traditional Spam and a delicious array of traditional foods – celebrated Father’s Day, Odin’s gifts, and the wedding simultaneously.

By late afternoon all the delegates and guests had departed, but the memories, and accomplishments, remain strong!

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