#41- YULE: (Looking back at 1999) It’s been a banner year. We got to meet many of our fellow Ásatrúar from the east coast at the Althing this past summer, and a fine gathering it was. At Trothmoot, we had another chance to meet and expand the Frithgard with old and new faces, and to gain a deeper understanding of the role of the Ring of Troth. We also got to see another performance Ben Bagby’s “Beowulf”, in the company of Garman Himself, no less.
We got a better perspective on the new emerging mainstream in Ásatrú, and a clearer idea of which of us are working to build that into a stronger movement. While some are building fences, others are building bridges, and we salute those who do so.
And for the new year: moots, blots, things and celebrations. The Viking commemoration in Newfoundland this Summer. The continuing dialogs and meeting of new friends in Cybergard. More exploration of musical traditions and more new instruments to build and plunk upon.
Above all, the true treasure of fellowship and friendship which are as important as faith, folk and family. Live True, and none may stand against you!
#42 Disting: We are already looking forward to Summer and all the activities ahead. There is the Althing in Iceland, which many pagans and heathens from around the world are planning to attend; there will be a major event in Newfoundland with Viking ships involved, plus the Ring of Troth’s annual gathering, the Trothmoot, along with many other regional gatherings, Things, and Moots and the AA/AFA/OR Althing.
Publishing alert: The latest Theod is all about music, and Garman Lord and company have done a lot of very good research on the importance of utilizing music as part of our practice. (For information, contact Theod at www.theodishbelief.com)
#43- OSTARA: Hnikar has recently defined the evolution taking place in Ásatrú as "confederation". Here, in part, is what he has said:
"I think that a number of people have come to see that confederation on common ground is a worthwhile objective. Swain and many others have worked to create this through personal contact with others across the spectrum of belief. We've done so realizing that successful confederation comes through recognizing both the basis of unity and the right to differ.
Previous attempts at confederation have foundered on each half of the formula. Sometimes confederation has been sought where it had little chance of success because common ground was superficial. In associating with others, then, it is important to consider whether there is reason to do so. If the core values are at odds, any unity should be very limited- respect one another's independence and recognize individual merit, but don't try to make a confederation where strong disagreement is inevitable.
It seems to me that many of us have been involved in a process of communication, building personal and organizational ties, and that this confederation is one which both relies on common ground and respects tribal differences. Above that, it relies on the personal honor which people have invested in it. People are putting aside old quarrels and moving on. A confederation is growing, as a succession of concentric circles, from kindred or tribe to organizations like the Ásatrú Alliance to international alliances like the IAOA to looser ties with other organizations on out to a periphery where common ground exists still but is least.
Let's see if we are up to sustaining it this time, with mutual respect, linking when we can and going our own ways when these differ."
My reply: "Thanks for this post. You have, with the word "confederation", defined what I have been trying to accomplish by my work in Ásatrú. The Web of Wyrd that is created by all who step onto the path we follow is cast much wider than some would have us believe. As for achieving the goals you speak of, you can count on me. May the Gods empower us all in our work!"
I am looking forward to a lot more on this subject from Hnikar and others in Ásatrú. I would also like to see some more of the other prominent Ásatrú groups included in this dialog.
#44 Walburga: We spend a lot of time in what we call Cybergard- the internet, hooked up to several "lists" as well as the newsgroup Alt.religion. Ásatrú (ARA). It's hard at this point to imagine anyone who's active in Ásatrú not to be similarly hooked up. For the most part, we have an opportunity to exchange ideas and debate issues; we welcome newbies and guide folks towards sources of information.
We also find out who some of the bad guys are. For example, the issue of race and how it relates to Ásatrú keeps coming up, and quit often somebody will post up comments that tell you a lot about them and their attitudes. You wind up with a list of people you might want to steer clear of, or whose word you might not want to take on other issues.
Example: the current mess in Zimbabwe caused quite a stir on ARA: several folks seemed to think that we should be supportive to the white farmers and settlers who were being attacked and even killed, even though they may not have had a legitimate claim to the land in the first place; there were several emails posted that put forth the preposterous notion that as white people, we owed a certain loyalty to all other white people in the world, no matter what.
This somewhat absurd point of view was quickly responded to, but these dialogs do give one cause to pause. How broad is the frithgard of Ásatrú- just how widely is the web of wyrd to be cast?
In the final analysis, the wisdom of the Hávamál serves quite well to advise one on how to deal with fools and liars, and how to honor friends as well. Live tru and none may stand against you!
#45 Midsummer: The discussion of the Folk Soul is just one of many online debates which I enjoy being a part of. Herewith is my reply to a question of definition:
"Who and what I am is a composite of many parts- I am partly what my personal reincarnated core soul carries along with it (rna=Ørlög/karma?); partly what my family tree carries in a personal stream of influence (dna=Wyrd?); partly what a larger tribal/ancestral pool of influences carries (collective unconscious/"folk soul"); plus environment, experience, learning, working; the interweaving of my personal web of Wyrd with others in creative interactions. -I am a river fed by many streams."
#46- Loaf-fest: The midpoint between Midsummer and the Autumn Equinox is called Loaf-fest and falls around the 4th of August. It is sacred to Frey, and is a celebration of the first harvest. We can take freshly picked wheat, and using all our ingenuity, make a cake of it and a bit of home brew, and make a blót. Or barring that, we, at the very least, will have some ale and freshly-baked bread, along with a few stalks of wheat to offer. Hail Frey, Lord of the Harvest!
We've come to appreciate the difference between Blót and Sumbel, and hope others will too. First of all, both are quite serious affairs, and should be approached with a certain dignity. Second, they are different in that the blót should be a special ceremony dedicated to just one God or Goddess, according to the season. One need only pass the horn once. The Sumbel, while also based on very deep and meaningful ritual, does involve passing the horn round three times., and toasting, boasting and oathing in a way which can become more light-hearted. Once the serious business is done, a Sumbel can turn into a good old-fashioned hootenanny, with singing and dancing!
#47 Fall Fest: Time and again, I am amazed at the Asatru activity on the internet, which I refer to as "Cybergard". While there some email lists that are somewhat frivolous, there are a great many that serve a useful purpose. For example, the Ásatrú_N_action list was brought into being by Steve Hewitt, aka Boðvarr, after the newslist Alt/religion/ Asatru became useless. The range of participants is amazing, ranging from the very folkish to the moderate to the universalist perspectives. The dialog gets a little loud sometimes, but the quality of discussion of serious issues over-rides all other considerations in the long run. Did we say serious? There is a good deal of humor and friendly bantering as well. The list is not nearly as restrictive as many other Asatru lists, and only on a few extreme occasions has anyone been asked to leave. It is a meadhall of great renown, and one in which we come understand the true meaning of Frith as an active, dynamic state, not one of inactive "peace". A tip of the horn to Boðvarr and friends. To sign on, go to egroups, and do a quick search. See you there!
# 48 Winter Night: Winter is upon us; it's a sneak attack! We've had very mild weather this past week in New England, but it's going to freeze overnight. We hope that your season is treating you well, wherever you are.
With this issue, we come to the end of Volume 6 in the ongoing saga of the Marklander newsletter. It was begun originally to serve as the newsletter of what was intended to be a local Boston area kindred, but that has never come to pass. Instead, we find that we have a national "garth" of subscribers, contributors, friends and supporters.
Each Ætt, we are now printing and mailing nearly 80 copies; about half of those are paid subs, and the rest are in repayment for contributions, or the occasional complimentary copy to someone who is an established leader in Germanic Heathenry. For some reason, however, it seems that a large number of these subs are all expiring at once! If the mailing label on your envelope has the number 48 on it, the your sub expires with this issue.
With the flood of articles, poems and essays that are coming our way, we may expand from 12 to 16 pages; this would mean an increase in the cost of postage. We have managed to keep costs low, and maintain the reasonable price of just $10 a year for 8 issues. In order to continue to do this work, we are asking you to please consider renewing your sub. We will, of course, continue to reward contributions, but with just 4 issues instead of a full year's worth. Help us out, tell your friends and please support your Marklander- thanks!
Also in the year to come, some articles on the bridges being built between tribal and non-tribal heathens; the emergence of new alliances such as the aNa elist, and what to do about the incursion of such non-heathen concepts as Left Hand Path into the pursuit of Runic wisdom and practice.
As always, our thanks to our many friends and supporters in the Nordic/ Germanic Heathen community- and don't forget to feed the Horse!
-Lavrans Reimer-Møller, Editor