Swedish Forn Sed Assembly

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Council gyðja and goði of the Swedish Forn Sed Assembly hallowing the blót at the annual Thing in June 2011. The god-images represent Forseti, Freyja, Freyr, Frigg, and Thor.

The Swedish Forn Sed Assembly (Swedish: Samfundet Forn Sed Sverige; official translation Forn Sed Sweden),[1] formerly Swedish Asatru Assembly (Sveriges Asatrosamfund) is a heathen (Germanic neopagan) organization founded in 1994, one of the most influential such groups in Sweden and formerly the largest.

Sveriges Asatrosamfund was founded in 1994 as an outgrowth of a group that studied Norse history and culture from a non-religious point of view.[2] It became a registered religious organization in Sweden in 2007.[3][4][5][6] Unlike some other heathen groups in Sweden, it is conventionally organized.[7] The annual Thing elects the Board, called the Council, as well as making major decisions.[5] The Council includes a council goði and gyðja.[8] The organization divides the country for administrative purposes into three regions or goðorðs, Götaland, Svealand and Norrland, each of which has a goði and a gyðja,[9] and serves as an umbrella organization for local groups.[10][11][12] At the May 15, 2010 Thing, the organization changed its name to Samfundet Forn Sed Sverige.[13]

Sveriges Asatrosamfund became one of the most important heathen organizations in Sweden,[2] and had grown from approximately 150 members in 1996 to approximately 450[14] when it formed the main subject of Fredrik Skott's study of neo-paganism in Sweden, Asatro i tiden, published in 2000, at which time it was the largest such organization in the country.[11] Skott found that the membership was two-thirds male, mostly in their thirties, and the most active lived in and around Stockholm, but that they represented a cross-section of Swedish society.[11] Members varied in their conception of the Norse gods. Some performed offerings on their own in addition to the organization's collective blóts, (which, like those of the Danish Forn Siðr organization and in conformity with Swedish law, are not animal sacrifices as they would historically have been[12][15]).[11] In the 2000s, the organization was reduced by disagreements; some of the members who left in 2004 founded Nätverket för Forn Sed (The Network for Forn Sed).[14] But later in the decade it was growing again, along with a general growth of interest in heathenry in Sweden; in 2009 it had about 300 members.[16]

In common with most Swedish heathen organizations, the Swedish Forn Sed Assembly is "antiracist or ethnic" rather than völkisch.[17] It "requires its members to adopt a non-racist and democratic stance."[10][18] Its own statement is that while non-dogmatic, its value system is "based on a humanistic and democratic ethos that recognizes all human beings" and it "stand[s] for religious tolerance and religious freedom in a multicultural society."[19] It set up a níðstǫng on its site against racist and xenophobic misuse of Norse symbols, which has become "something of a marker" for the group.[20] It is also establishing itself as particularly gay-friendly.[21][22]

The organization held a ceremony at the Kings' Mounds at Gamla Uppsala in 2000 in celebration of the dissolution of the Swedish state church,[14][23][24] the first heathen blót at the site in more than 900 years.[25] It has since held open blóts there every spring and is perhaps best known for that.[3][6][12] Goði for Svealand and former Chairman of the Board Henrik Hallgren has represented Ásatrú at the "Spirituality beyond Religions" international conference organized in Jaipur, India, in 2006 by the World Council of Elders of Ancient Traditions and Cultures, presenting a paper entitled "Ecological spirituality and Forn Sed,"[26] and in 2010, 2011, and 2012 presented programs on heathenry in the Vid dagens början series of religious and philosophical reflections on Sveriges Radio,[27][28] provoking criticism from Siewert Öholm that Ásatrú was not worthy of broadcasting.[29]

The Swedish Forn Sed Assembly publishes a periodical called Mimers Källa.[14][30]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Samfundet Forn Sed Sverige (Forn Sed Sweden), retrieved 15 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b Fredrik Gregorius, "Modern asatro och dess historia," in Catharina Raudvere, Anders Andrén, and Kristina Jennbert-Spång, eds., Hedendomen i historiens spegel: bilder av det förkristna Norden, Vägar till Midgård 6, Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2005, ISBN 978-91-85509-20-1, pp. 133–64, p. 150; GoogleBooks numbering p. 50 (Swedish)
  3. ^ a b Ulf Törnberg, "Freja, Oden och Tor får officiell status," Sydsvenskan February 14, 2007.
  4. ^ Saga Sunniva Bergh, "Vårblotet i Gamla Uppsala," Gamla Uppsala För och Nu 2009, Uppsala: Gamla Upsala Hembygdsförening, 2009, ISBN 97891974399611, (pdf) pp. 21–24, p. 23 (Swedish)
  5. ^ a b Om Samfundet, Samfundet Forn Sed Sverige, retrieved February 5, 2012 (Swedish)
  6. ^ a b Josef El Madhi, "Det våras för hedningarna: Efter tusen år av kristendom blotas det återigen vid högarna. Sveriges asatroendes samfund är numera officiellt erkänt av staten och det våras för hedningarna," Svenska Dagbladet April 9, 2007, updated September 27, 2007 (Swedish)
  7. ^ Mattias Gardell, Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism, Durham, North Carolina/London: Duke University, 2003, ISBN 978-0-8223-3059-2, p. 384, note 65.
  8. ^ Rådet, Samfundet Forn Sed Sverige, retrieved February 5, 2012 (Swedish)
  9. ^ Godeord, Samfundet Forn Sed Sverige, retrieved February 5, 2012 (Swedish)
  10. ^ a b Kennet Granholm, Embracing the Dark: The Magic Order of Dragon Rouge: Its Practice in Dark Magic and Meaning Making, Åbo: Åbo Akademi, 2005, ISBN 978-951-765-251-3, p. 105.
  11. ^ a b c d Fredrik Skott, Asatro i tiden, Småskrifter utg. av Språk- och folkminnesinstitutet, Dialekt-, ortnamns- och folkminnesarkivet i Göteborg 1, Gothenburg: Språk- och folkminnesinstitutet, 2000, ISBN 978-91-7229-009-9; Review by Morten Warmind, Chaos: Dansk-norsk tidsskrift for religionshistoriske studier 37 (2002) pp. 158–59 (Danish)
  12. ^ a b c Anna Westin, "Blot utan offer men på fullt allvar,", Upsala Nya Tidning March 29, 2005 (Swedish)
  13. ^ Samfundet Forn Sed Sverige—Vårt nya namn, Nyheter, Samfundet Forn Sed Sverige, May 15, 2010 (Swedish)
  14. ^ a b c d Gregorius, p. 151, GoogleBooks p. 51.
  15. ^ Svanberg and Westerlund, p. 308
  16. ^ Marie Ström, "Asatron växer i landet," Upsala Nya Tidning April 10, 2009 (Swedish)
  17. ^ Gardell, pp. 226–27: "Most heathen networks in Sweden—such as Yggdrasil, Ratatosk, Breidablikk, Sveriges Asatrosamfund  ... —are either antiracist or ethnic in orientation."
  18. ^ Warmind review of Skott, Asatro i tiden: "Der kræves et demokratisk sindelag for at være med, og racisme er ikke tilladt." - "You have to have a democratic spirit to be in it, and racism is not permitted."
  19. ^ Om Samfundet: "Samfundet har inga religiösa dogmer, däremot har vi en starkt uttalad värdegrund som utgår från en humanistisk och demokratisk livssyn och som erkänner alla människors lika värde oavsett kön, ursprung eller sexuell läggning. Samfundet och dess medlemmar ska också stå för religiös tolerans och religionsfrihet i det mångkulturella samhället."
  20. ^ Gregorius, pp. 151–52, GoogleBooks pp. 51–52.
  21. ^ Karin Hylander, "Homofolk tar plats i nyhedendomen," Svenska Dagbladet November 4, 2009 (Swedish): "Sveriges Asatrosamfund håller på att etablera sig som en hbt-vänlig rörelse." - "Swedish Asatru Assembly is in the process of establishing itself as a GLBT-friendly movement."
  22. ^ Karin Hylander, "Svagt stöd hos forskningen," Svenska Dagbladet November 4, 2009 (Swedish), an interview with Fredrik Gregorius, author of a recent PhD dissertation on modern Ásatrú: " Även om hbt-anhängarna har ett starkt stöd i Sveriges asatrosamfund . . . . , mer nationalistiska nyhedniska grupper har lyft fram en mer negativ bild av homosexualitet." "Even though LGBT advocates have strong support in Swedish Asatru Assembly . . . . , more nationalistic neo-heathen groups have emphasized a more negative view of homosexuality."
  23. ^ Ingvar Svanberg and David Westerlund, Religion i Sverige, Stockholm: Dialogos, 2008, ISBN 978-91-7504-199-5, p. 28 (Swedish)
  24. ^ Bergh, p. 22.
  25. ^ Gamla Uppsala, Planeten Uppsala, retrieved February 6, 2012.
  26. ^ International Asatru Summercamp 2009, IASC Herald #2, (pdf) p. 6.
  27. ^ Vid dagens början archive, Sveriges Radio, retrieved February 4, 2012 (Swedish)
  28. ^ Ny "Vid dagens början", lördag 13:e november, "Vid dagens början"—Om den hedniska julen, 18/12 2010, I alvatid: Ett nytt "Vid dagens början," Nyheter, Samfundet Forn Sed Sverige, November 12, 2010, December 18, 2010, November 1, 2011 (Swedish)
  29. ^ Stefan Arvidsson, Bokrecensioner: Britt-Mari Näsström: 'Nordiska gudinnor. Nytolkningar av den förkristna mytologin,'" Dagens Nyheter January 12, 2010 (Swedish)
  30. ^ Mimers Källa, Läs mer, Samfundet Forn Sed Sverige, retrieved February 6, 2012 (Swedish)

External links[edit]