The Asatru Alliance (AA) is a US Ásatrú group, succeeding Stephen McNallen's Asatru Free Assembly (The old AFA) in 1987, founded by Michael J. Murray (a.k.a. Valgard Murray) of Arizona, who is a former vice-president of Else Christensen's Odinist Fellowship. The AFA seceded into two groups, the other one being The Troth. The Ásatrú Alliance was for the most part a reconstituted AFA, dominated by prior AFA members, and acting as a distributor of, previously, AFA publications.
McNallen formed a new group (as Asatru Folk Assembly, (The new AFA)) in 1994, and the two organizations have existed in parallel since, temporarily united within the International Asatru-Odinic Alliance (1997–2002). Gardell (2003) classifies the AA as folkish. The AA defines Ásatrú as "the ethnic religion of the Northern European peoples".
The Ásatrú Alliance is recognized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit religious organization, or church. The AA was formed on June 19, 1988 by seven kindreds, which were members of the disbanded Ásatrú Free Assembly, who ratified on this day a set of by-laws to preserve and promote the beliefs of Ásatrú in the United States of America.
The Ásatrú Alliance promotes the native culture of the Northern European peoples. The organization denounces racism.
The AA is currently headed by a board of directors composed of representatives appointed by their kindreds, to speak on their behalf for any AA business.
The AA held its 32nd annual Althing gathering in September 2012. Kaplan (1996) estimates the AA has between 500 and 1,000 members.
As a definition of Asatru, AA cites a 1995 essay by McNallen on "what is Asatru", which concludes by summarizing the main goals as the practice of "courage, honor, the importance of the family and ancestral bonds, strength, freedom, the preservation of our kind, and joyful, vigorous life."
World Tree Publications is the Asatru Alliance's publishing house.
Valgard Murray (Michael J. Murray), born in 1950 in Iowa to a Mormon farming family, to Thomas and Marion Murray of Scottish, Lithuanian, Irish, and German descent. He is the Allsherjargoði of the Ásatrú Alliance of Independent Kindreds, Inc. Valgard has five daughters, one son, and eight grandchildren.
At the age of four, Valgard was burned on over thirty percent of his body. By the age of eleven, he would have a vision which we would later recognize as Oðinn on Sleipner leading the Wild Hunt. Six years later, he would meet a woman who would introduce him to a group of Northern Folk who kept the old ways. This group would eventually become the Arizona Kindred of Ásatrú Inc. Murray has stated that he has also had a vision of Odin at the age of four.
Murray later moved to Arizona and became an electrical engineer.
Murray was involved with the American Nazi Party (ANP) into the late 1960s. and came to know of Odinism/Asatru through Elton Hall, the Arizona organizer of the ANP. He later became the Arizona organizer of the ANP. He has also bee the spokesperson for the Arizona based National Socialist outlaw brotherhood Iron Cross MC.
In the early 70's Murray and Hall formed a kindred and made contact with Else Christensen.
Between 1984 and 1987 he was a representative of the AA, and was on the board of the International Ásatrú-Odinic Alliance (IAOA), and chosen the first honorary IAOA Allsherjargoði for the three year period. Although, Murray states the IAOA title was 2003 for 3 years, even though the IAOA disbanded in 2002.
In 1984 the Arizona Kindred instead chose to affiliate with the Asatru Free Assembly (old AFA). When that folded, he and Robert Taylor of the Tribe of the Wulfings, formed the Asatru Alliance in 1987, inviting other kindreds to a formational Althing in 1988, and also served on the Board of Directors and as General Manager of the Ásatrú Folk Assembly.
In 1987 he served as General Manager of the AFA, and in 1986 founded World Tree Publications.
In 1997 he was elected the Alsherjargothi of the Ásatrú Alliance. Although, Gardell says that this decision was made and ratified at the 1988 formational Althing, he was only honorary Alsherjargothi in 1988, and in 1997 officialy accepted overall.
At the second Althing of the AFA, Murrary allegedly threatened to kill a homosexual attendee with a Mac-10.
In 2009 Murray was criticized heavily by Heimgest, the Director of the Court of Gothar (DCG-OR)/Alsherjargothi of the Odinic Rite for the views, and lies, he expressed in his 'Deposition in Eberle vs Wilkinson & the State of Ohio'
In 2014 Murray was interviewed in a 3 part series by George Whitehurst Berry on the Sedona Dreams Show. During this interview, Murray stated that Asatru means, “faith in god.” Asked if it actually refers to the Gods and Goddesses, he responds, “Well, yes it did, but the word itself is not plural, it just means faith in god. And, it does of course mean, in the old way, respect in honouring the old gods and goddesses of the Northern European people.
- Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism.
- Part 1 (archived), Part 2 (archived), Part 3 (archived)
- Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism, page 261
- http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/1998/winter/the-new-barbarians Archived April 18, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism, page 262
- Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism, page 263
- http://www.worldtreepublications.org/page1.aspx Archived February 9, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- Holley, Jeffrey (aka Heimgest), 'Presenting the Truth: Correcting the inaccuracies and falsehoods of Valgard Murray's Deposition', Odinic Rite. See also www.odinic-rite.org/Valgard-deposition.pdf
- Editor, Author at Sedona Dreams Archived February 24, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- http://www.worldtreepublications.org/page009.aspx Archived May 1, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- Lewis, James R.; Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft, State University of New York Press, 2006. p. 203-204
- Heimgest, Presenting the Truth Archived February 3, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- Owen, Laurel, 'A Commentary on Valgard Murray’s Deposition' Archived February 3, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- Murray, Michael J., 'Deposition in Eberle vs Wilkinson & the State of Ohio'
- Clements’ Murder Suspect Practiced Controversial Religion In Prison « CBS Denver Archived November 5, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- http://wildhunt.org/tag/asatru-alliance Archived April 2, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
- Part 1 (archived)
- Gardell, Mattias (2003). Gods of the Blood The Pagan Revival and White Separatism. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-3071-4.
- McNallen, Stephen A. (2004). "Three Decades of the Ásatrú Revival in America", Tyr: Myth-Culture-Tradition Volume II. Ultra Publishing, pp. 203–219. ISBN 978-0-9720292-1-6.
- Kaplan, Jeffrey. 1996. "The Reconstruction of the Asatru and Odinist Traditions." In Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft, edited by James R. Lewis, State University of New York Press.
- Chadwick, H. M. The Cult of Othin. Cambridge, 1899.
- Coulter, James Hjuka (2003). Germanic Heathenry A Practical Guide. ISBN 978-1-4107-6585-7.
- Gundarsson, Kveldulf. Our Troth. 2006. ISBN 978-1-4196-3598-4
- Paxson, Diana L. (2006). Essential Asatru Walking the Path of Norse Paganism. Citadel Press. ISBN 978-0-8065-2708-6.
- Puryear, Mark (2006). The Nature of Asatru An Overview of the Ideals and Philosophy of the Indigenous Religion of Northern Europe. iUniverse. ISBN 0-595-38964-3.
- Shetler, Greg (2003). Living Asatru. Booksurge Llc. ISBN 978-1-59109-911-6.
- Asatru Alliance
- World Tree Publications
- About Valgard Murray (official biograpgy)
- Alternative official biography