Stephen McNallen

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Stephen A. McNallen
Stephen McNallen
Born Stephen A. McNallen
(1948-10-15) 15 October 1948 (age 65)
Breckenridge, Texas, United States
Nationality American
Education Midwestern University, Wichita Falls, Texas
Occupation Gothi, author, poet, teacher, lecturer, philosopher
Years active 1970–present
Home town Nevada City, California
Religion Asatru
Spouse(s) Sheila Edlund (1997–present)

Stephen A. McNallen (born October 15, 1948) is an influential Germanic Neopagan leader and writer. Born in Breckenridge, Texas, McNallen has been heavily involved in Ásatrú since the 1970s.


McNallen attended Midwestern University in Wichita Falls, Texas.[citation needed] After receiving a degree in political science and his officer commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army, McNallen went on to become an Airborne Ranger.[citation needed] McNallen was stationed in Germany for the latter part of his active service, which ended in 1976.[citation needed]

After his discharge from the Army, McNallen hitch-hiked across the Sahara Desert, and worked as an adventure journalist. In this capacity, he travelled to Northern India and Burma to report on the military conflicts in the region, and later travelled to Africa and Bosnia to report on the wars in those regions in the 1990s. McNallen's articles have appeared in Soldier of Fortune magazine, amongst others.

McNallen worked for six years as a junior high school teacher in Nevada County, teaching science and math as well as having worked briefly as a corrections officer in Stephens County, Texas in 1986–1987. From 1987–1996, McNallen was in the California Army National Guard.[citation needed]

He married Sheila Edlund in 1997, in a ceremony officiated by Valgard Murray of the Asatru Alliance,[1] and currently resides in Nevada City, California.


McNallen was one of the earliest advocates of reconstructing Germanic Paganism in modern times. Much like Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson founder of the Íslenska Ásatrúarfélagið, Else Christensen of the Odinist Fellowship and Stubba of the Odinic Rite, McNallen founded a proto-Asatru group called the Viking Brotherhood in 1972 and began publishing a small periodical called the Runestone. The Viking Brotherhood later evolved into the Asatru Free Assembly.

Although McNallen turned to Germanic paganism in 1968 or 1969, he has stated that it was not a result of being influenced by 1960s counterculture. McNallen has said:

This pagan epiphany did not spring from the leftist/hippy/Age-of-Aquarius counterculture of the 1960s. Quite the opposite! I was attracted to the Vikings by their warlike nature, their will to power, and their assertion of self. My own views bore no resemblance to "peace, love, and good vibes"; I was a cadet in the Reserve Officer Training Corps and aspired to a career in the US Army's Special Forces.[2]

After some years of inactivity and restructuring, McNallen currently leads the Asatru Folk Assembly or AFA. He has recently contributed an article entitled Three Decades of the Ásatrú Revival in America to Tyr, a periodical espousing Radical Traditionalism.

Kennewick Man[edit]

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) is a federal law passed in 1990. It includes provisions that delineate the legal processes by which museums and Federal agencies are required to return certain Native American cultural items—human remains, gravesite materials, and other objects of cultural patrimony—to proven lineal descendants, culturally related Native American tribes, and Native Hawaiian groups. Specifically, these types of items which are found and scientifically dated to a time prior to 1492 C.E. are to be turned over to native American tribes. This would include any future discovery of Viking burials, such as those from Leif Ericson's lost colony (which is thought to be similar to L'Anse aux Meadows).

On October 24, 1996, McNallen and the AFA filed suit in U.S. District Court in Portland (Asatru Folk Assembly v. United States) to attempt to stop the US Army Corps of Engineers from turning over the prehistoric remains of the Kennewick man to local native Americans. Several prominent scientists and archaeologists also filed suit, to block the reinterment of the remains. Kennewick Man was the oldest intact human fossil ever found in the Pacific Northwest. Genetic tests to identify ties to modern people or tribes were inconclusive due to the deteriorated condition of the remains. McNallen became embroiled in the Kennewick Man issue and appeared in Time Magazine, The Washington Post and on television, arguing that modern adherents of Ásatrú have more in common with the prehistoric Kennewick Man than modern native Americans. This claim, as yet, cannot be established without DNA tests on the remains.

After a protracted legal battle, the court ruled that the human remains were not "Native American" within the meaning of NAGPRA. The remains currently are curated at the Burke Museum in Seattle. As a direct result of his portrayal by the media, McNallen later stated that he no longer advocates public Ásatrú rituals or media presence at Ásatrú ceremonies.[3]

Written works[edit]

  • Rituals of Asatru. 3 vols. Payson, Arizona: World Tree Publications, 1992.
  • Living Asatru: A Handbook of Simple Celebrations. Nevada. City, CA: with and Matty Hutter, 1993.
  • Thunder from the North: The Way of the Teutonic Warrior. Nevada City, California: Asatru Folk Assembly, 1993.
  • Runestone magazine (The Runestone Journal)
  • An Odinist Anthology: Selections from the Runestone, 1983
  • Asatru Book of Blotar and Rituals, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 1, 2009)
  • What Is Asatru, 1985
  • The Values of Asatru, 1985
  • The Lessons of Asgard, 1985
  • Asatru Book of Faith: For Those in Harm's Way
  • The Twelve Days of Yule
  • A Book of Uncommon Prayers
  • The Philosophy of Metagenetics, Folkism and Beyond
  • Asatru: The Soul and Initiation, 1997
  • So you're a European-American who's attracted to Native American spirituality..., 1995
  • Portraits from the Past
  • A Runic Inspiration
  • Vinnish Word Hoard
  • Wisdom from the Edda


  1. ^ A Marriage! TOP ASATRU NEWS STORIES OF 1997 (2247 R.E.) ONN- Odin's Nation News
  2. ^ Stephen A. McNallen, "Three Decades of the Ásatrú Revival in America", in Joshua Buckley & Michael Moynihan (eds.), TYR: Myth - Culture - Tradition, Volume 2 (Atlanta: Ultra, 2003-2004), p. 205.
  3. ^ Buckley (2004) p. 217


  • Buckley, Joshua (2004). "Three Decades of the Ásatrú Revival in America by Stephen A. McNallen". Tyr: Myth-Culture-Tradition Volume II. Ultra Publishing. pp. 203–219. ISBN 0-9720292-1-4. 
  • Gardell, Matthias (2003). Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism. Duke University Press. pp. 269–283. ISBN 0-8223-3071-7. 

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