PO Box 961, Payson, AZ 85547
One of the groups to emerge from the disbanding of the Asatru Free Assembly in 1987 was the Asatru Alliance, which followed the assembly in its basic teachings and in being a revived form of the ancient religion of the Northern European peoples. It formed as a free association of local Asatru groups called kindreds. The alliance promotes the growth of the faith on the national and regional levels by sponsoring meetings and publishing materials. The alliance is headed by the Allthing, its representative legislative body to which all the kindred send a delegate.
Asatru Alliance. www.asatru.org.
PO Box 445, Nevada City, CA 95959
The Asatru Folk Assembly is one of several groups that emerged following the disbanding of the Asatru Free Assembly in 1987. Stephen A. McNallen, who had founded the original Viking Brotherhood that evolved into the Asatru Free Assembly, expressed his desire to step down as leader of the Asatru movement in North America and bring the Asatru Free Assembly to an end rather than pass its corporate structure on to others. In the wake of that decision, a spectrum of Asatru groups emerged. In 1994, McNallen decided to return to an active leadership role in the Asatru movement, and he founded the Asatru Folk Assembly. He had previously, in 1992, begun to issue The Runestone, the periodical that had previously served the Asatru Free Assembly.
The Asatru Folk Assembly continues the beliefs and practices of the former AFA with its acknowledgment of the ancient Norse deities. Local groups have been organized and several special interest groups (guilds) have emerged. The Warrior Guild issues a periodical, Wolf Age.
An issue plaguing the Asatru community, arising from criticism of the group’s ethnic basis in the peoples of northern Europe, has been the charge of racism. McNallen has strongly refuted the charge. He notes on the assembly’s website, “We are not racists (unless being of European heritage and not hating yourself is racist). We are opposed to racial hatred and intimidation, regardless of who practices it. We salute honorable men and women of all racial, ethnic, and religious groups. The AFA sympathizes with the efforts of all cultural and racial groups to maintain their identity and promote their legitimate interests. We are opposed to all forms of totalitarianism, of the left and the right alike.”
Not reported. Membership is estimated to be in the low hundreds.
The Runestone • Bearclaw • Wolf Age.
Asatru Folk Assembly. www.runestone.org/home.html.
McNallen, Stephen A. Rituals of Asatru. 3 vols. Breckenridge, TX: Asatru Free Assembly, 1985.
The Runestone. www.runestone.org/articles/index.html.
PO Box 85, Adamsville, AL 35005
The Confederation of Independent Asatru Kindred (CIAK) was founded in Alabama in 1996 as a pagan organization that facilitates following, in a nondogmatic manner, the gods of the northern tradition and fellowship. CIAK is led by a circle of elders. Early growth came as otherwise independent Asatru groups affiliated. Any group of three or more adult members may form a kindred (a local group) within CIAK.
At the time of its creation, the founders of CIAK dictated there would be several semi-independent guilds and halls that would be active as subsidiary organizations. They include the Ancestors Hall, to provide a focus on the religious importance of honoring one’s ancestors and doing research in family history; the Clergy Hall, to facilitate the training of the clergy (the gothi and gythia) and encourage the continuing pursuit of knowledge by the leadership; and the Warriors Guild, which prepares members to cope with the enemies of the faith.
While it presents a loose format for the worship of the deities, CIAK has a strong ethical policy that members are asked to accept. It includes responsibility to the organization and its members; living in a manner that contributes constructively to the public image of Asatru and Asatru-like belief systems; honesty; and not acting in any manner that is unlawful or detrimental to the health and welfare of the public. Members are asked to refrain from attacks upon other Asatru or Norse tradition organizations.
CIAK has developed a reading program of clergy training for those preparing to assume leadership. It annually sponsors a national Asatru gathering, the Summer’s End Moot. A variety of holidays are celebrated annually, including the anniversary of the founding of the original kindred in Alabama during yule of 1996. Among CIAK’s goals are to offer an online library about the northern traditions and to locate land upon which a hof (a temple or church) can be built and around which an Asatru community can be created.
Not reported. Currently there are four kindreds associated with CIAK, estimated to contain fewer than 50 members.
Confederation of Independent Asatru Kindred. www.members.tripod.com/~SigTyr/Nordstrom.html.
PO Box 43, Renton, WA 98057-0423
Irminsul Aettir is an association of Ásatrúar (people who follow Ásatrú, the old Pagan religion of Iceland and Scandinavia) formed in the mid-1990s. It consists of actual (and fictive) kin, family members, friends of the Irminsul Aett, and those affiliated with the Aett to practice and promote the religion of Ásatrú. The organization is headed by Susan Granquist, who assumed full administrative duties during Yule 1995, when she was named Drottning (Queen). She is currently assisted by Andrew J. Cantrell, who was named Thule in 1997. The basic organizational unit of the Aett is the family, supported by extended family type organizations and associations such as kindreds. Both exist to encourage the growth of individuals in their faith.
Members also believe that everyone should be free to choose his or her own godhi/gydhia (leader), as well as one’s fellow worshippers. Traditionally, a believer entered into a “Thing-agreement” (agreement of association) with the godhi or gydhia of choice. A godhi or gydhia is a person who serves the community and represents the people of his or her association at assemblies, holds meetings, and maintains meeting places and records (as well as performing other services). According to the ancient oath of office, holding the office of godhi involves perpetual dedication to the gods, folk, and other beings. Today, it is roughly equivalent to a community minister.
Given the nonhierarchical nature of the religion, the primary responsibility of the leader is to assist individuals in meeting their own spiritual needs through example, the provision of resources and information, and by organizing events at which individuals can meet with others in their community.
In 1994 Irminsul Aettir organized its first godhordh, which is similar to a church. It is designed to be actively involved in outreach programs, as is any other ministry. Members also sponsor Vinnuhoppurs and Felag groups, study groups, and fellowships, all of which focus on particular topics and allow for more intimate contact between members.
Irminsul Aettir. www.irminsul.org.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Odin Brotherhood is a secret society that follows a polytheistic religion devoted to Odin, Thor, Sif, and the other deities of the Norse tradition. According to the brotherhood, Odinism is an ancient religion that acknowledges the gods by fostering thought, courage, honor, light, and beauty. It traces its existence to the fifteenth century; having survived in the face of Christian attempts to annihilate it, it has attempted to make itself known. The brotherhood has no buildings (temples or churches) but attempts to honor the gods everywhere, as long as outsiders are excluded; all words are “whispered,” and all “abominations” (promiscuity and assassination) are avoided.
The central rite of the brotherhood is called the Glimpse-of-Extraordinary-Beauty, during which the celebrants believe they are “enveloped and penetrated by the thoughts of a god.”Members do not have faith so much as they are taught to seek knowledge. The brotherhood does, however, believe in life after death and that there are three “Other-Worlds,” one of which is called Valhalla or the White-Kingdom. It is reserved for those heroes who die violent deaths. The existence of the Christian hell is denied.
The brotherhood glorifies strength, asserting that “it is only by becoming stronger that a man can realize his divinity.”Initiates to the brotherhood must cut themselves three times with a dagger and “devote, hallow, and sanctify” their blood to “the gods who live.”
The brotherhood has distanced itself from the racism that infected Norse beliefs in the twentieth century and eschews the idea that there are either chosen peoples or master races.
Estimated at 1,000 members found in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavia, and Mexico.
Odin Brotherhood. www.odinbrotherhood.com/.
The Odin Brotherhood. www.geocities.com/odinbrotherhood/.
Mirabello, Mark. The Odin Brotherhood, 5th ed. Oxford, England: Mandrake of Oxford, 2003.
The Poetic Eddas: The Mythological Poems. Trans. Henry Adams Bellows. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2004.
Sturluson, Snorri. The Prose Edda: Tales from Norse Mythology. Trans. Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2006.
PO Box 2022, Sandusky, OH 44871-2022
Odinic Rite Vinland (ORV) is the autonomous American branch of the Odinic Rite, an Odinist group based in Great Britain. The ORV worships the deities of ancient northern Europe in a manner similar to that of the European branches. It recognizes the spiritual leadership provided by the Court of Gothar in Great Britain, the head of the Odinic Rite, and Heimgest, its director. The American branch is led by the Witan ORV, a council of three individuals who are oathed in the realms of Gods and men to lead and advance the Holy Nation of Odin and the Odinic Rite Vinland. The council members are Osferth ORV, the High Wita; Heidrun ORV, the Witan Reeve; and Wulfgaest ORV, the Hofwarden.
The Odinic Rite Vinland has developed a gothi (clergy) training program for its members, and it publishes a range of Odinist materials, including The Book of Blotar of the Odinic Rite: Authentic Rituals of the Odinic Rite, which contains the 12 major monthly rituals of the ORV, as well as rites of passage, a healing ritual, and the other major rituals, such as sword naming, land reclamation, and banner consecration.
The Odinic Rite. www.odinic-rite.org.
PO Box 1973, Parksville, BC, Canada V9P 2H7
The Odinist Fellowship is an international, Heathen organization intent on bringing back the pre-Christian beliefs and spirituality of northern Europe. The fellowship seeks to find isolated devotees of the Ásatrú faith and provide the means for a wider fellowship. The Odinist Fellowship is the functioning arm of the Kirk of Odin. It was founded by Else Christensen in 1969 and is headquartered on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
Any three members of the fellowship, living in reasonable proximity, may form a Kindred. A Kindred holds a minimum of four celebrations annually, and the spokesperson for the Kindred has the title of Kirk Elder. The Kindred also appoints a Chronicler, who keeps records of its activities.
PO Box 25637, Tempe, AZ 85285
The Ring of Thoth was founded shortly after the disbanding of the Asatru Free Assembly in 1987. It was established by Edred Thorsson and James Chisholm as an explicitly nonracist organization dedicated to the promotion of the religion of the Germanic peoples. (During the 1980s racism was a persistent charge leveled against groups promoting Norse Paganism.) It sees itself as taking a more liberal and scholarly approach than that taken by the other major group formed somewhat simultaneously, the Asatru Alliance. In other respects it continues the beliefs and practices of the former Asatru Free Assembly. Thorsson has authored a number of books on the Asatru traditions.
Gundarsson, Kveldulf R Hagan, ed. Our Thoth. N.p.: Ring of Thoth, 1992.
Thorsson, Edred. A Book of Thoth. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1989.
1003 Cottonwood Ave., No. 53, Red Wing, MN 55066-1300
Skergard is a Pagan organization devoted to the deities of the old Norse religions generally referred to as Asatru and Vanatru. Included in this polytheistic faith is the worship of Odin, Thor, Freyr, Frigga, and Freyja, the gods and goddesses of the old Norse sagas. Religious gatherings, called blots, are held eight times a year.