by Gothi Thorgrun Odden
From The Runestone Fall/Winter 1996 #16/17

Kirby Wise, of Helga Ve Kindred, had called a “gathering of the gothar” at which Asatru priests and priestesses would meet at Odin’s Hof, in Arizona – the first such event in a thousand years.

Men and women came from all over the United States, and one visitor came much farther: The Alsherjargothi of Iceland, Jormundr Ingi Hansen, made the journey to America for this historic meeting which included blots, sumbels, feasting, rune casting, dowsing, Kirlian photography… and 100 degree temperatures!

This gathering was prompted in part by concern for the future, and a desire to see what lies before the people of Asatru in the years to come. Hence, divination by runes was an important part of the agenda. Nine gothar (“priests”) and gythjur (“priestesses”) tossed the staves, and the results held the attention of all who were there.

We are in for great changes, and indeed we are now in the beginning of those changes.

The question of a homeland – a gathering place, a place to rest the dead, an Asatru community – was asked of the runes. Past influences were adjudged favorable, and that-which-should-be, the “future,” indicated the support of the Gods for this idea. Some rune-workers stated that, with struggle and hard work, this may be an auspicious time for the birth of an Asatru community.

Three runes predominated. NAUTHIZ told us to kindle the spark, to make heat and expand energy. This is the work! We have counseled long enough, and now it is time to act! URUZ shows our strength, raw energy, good health, and vital wholeness; it expresses the overall state of our spirit, nurtured by our ancient religion. ELHAZ gave protection and guardianship. In order to have a successful Asatru community or homeland, we have to be willing to work hard, be steadfast to our ways, and guard the community which emerges.

THese readings must enter the sphere of individual experience, of course. Carrying with me the joy and enthusiasm of this weekend, I have my own personal assessment of our prospects:

By praising the land spirits, honoring the elves, and acknowledging the great forces of Nature, we can begin!

By honoring our ancestors, respecting our elders (who have done the work before us), uniting our kindreds, and raising our children with a knowledge of our great Northern Gods and Goddesses, we can begin!

With our hands, tools, the skill of our kinsmen, and the spirit of persevering pioneers, let us begin!

Kirby’s longing for a spiritual gathering was a brilliant vision which bore great fruit for all of us, and for Asatru in general. I was honored to be present!

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