Asatru Folk Assembly
The Asatru Folk Assembly, or AFA, an organization of Germanic neopaganism, is a US-headquartered, but international folkish Ásatrú organization, with chapters worldwide, founded by Stephen A. McNallen in 1994.
The AFA is recognized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit religious organization, or church and is headquartered in Grass Valley, California. The organization denounces racial supremacism. Still, McNallen believes in an "integral link between ancestry and religion, between biology and spirituality," and according to Jeffrey Kaplan the organization was founded in part to counteract rumored "universalist" tendencies he discerned in Ring of Troth.
The Asatru Free Assembly has its roots in the Viking Brotherhood which was founded by McNallen in 1972. McNallen was one of the earliest advocates of reconstructing Germanic Paganism in modern times. The Viking Brotherhood later evolved into the Asatru Free Assembly.
A group called the Asatru Free Assembly founded by McNallen and Stine in 1974 was disbanded in 1986, splitting into two successor organizations, the "folkish" Ásatrú Alliance, and the "universalist" The Troth. In 1986 the Asatru Free Assembly ceased operations, due to burnout and disputes within the membership. McNallen says that despite reports to the contrary, it was not due to racial politics, but that he worked as a peace officer in Stephens County Texas sheriff's office jail and Sheila kept books for an oil company, and both were logging around sixty hours and forty hours per week, respectively, on Asatru-related matters. Both knew that they could not continue putting out this effort without financial compensation, which would allow them to cut back on these mundane jobs. When they approached the membership, the general reaction was negative. Some accused them of trying to "establish a priesthood" or of being "money hungry." Surprised and bruised by this rejection, they tried cutting back on membership services to make the job more manageable. This in turn caused more complaints among members. Realising this was a losing battle, both at the end of their financial and emotional resources, the AFA was disbanded, with the ashes turned over to Valgard Murray, leader of the Arizona Kindred, who used them as the foundation for the Asatru Alliance. McNallen took a sabbatical for several years, resuming publication of The Runestone in 1994 and forming the Asatru Folk Assembly in 1995. He continues to lead this organization today.
Eight years later, in 1994, McNallen formed the Asatru Folk Assembly, intending it to be the successor organization to the Asatru Free Assembly. The defunct Asatru Free Assembly is sometimes distinguished from the newer Asatru Folk Assembly by the usage of "old AFA" and "new AFA", respectively. From 1997-2002, the AFA was a member organization of the International Asatru-Odinic Alliance.
In 1999, the assembly almost acquired land in northern California, aiming to base a communal project with room for agriculture and religious worship. However, the organization never held legal title to the land. Upon promises that the subject piece of land would be donated, some members of the AFA built a simple Hof on the land, after which the actual owner of the land chose not to donate it.
In the late 1990s, the assembly got involved with the protracted fight over the remains of the so-called Kennewick Man: they claimed that these were the remains of a European ancestor and were allowed to approach, but not touch, the coffin holding him.
Newgrange Hall Asatru Hof
In August 2015 the AFA acquired a former Grange Hall in Brownsville, California, built in 1938, to be used as a hof and community center under the name Newgrange Hall Asatru Hof. It was previously the Youth Center of the Mountaintop Christian Academy of CA, and at another time the Marge Moore Youth Center.
Declaration of Purpose
The AFA sets out a number of their basic goals in their "Declaration of Purpose." These goals are the following:
- The practice, promotion, development, and dissemination of the religion of Asatru.
- The preservation of the Peoples of the North (typified by the Scandinavian/Germanic and Celtic peoples), and the furtherance of their continued evolution.
- The issuance of a call to all our brothers and sisters of the People of the North to return to this, their native religion and way of life.
- The restoration of community, the banishment of alienation, and the establishment of natural and just relations among our people.
- The promotion of diversity among the peoples and cultures of the Earth, in opposition to global monoculture.
- The fostering in our people of a deep love of freedom and a hatred of all forms of tyranny.
- The use of science and technology for the well-being of our people, while protecting and working in harmony with the natural environment in which we live.
- The exploration of the universe, in keeping with the adventurous imperatives of our kind.
- The affirmation of the eternal struggle and strife of life, the welcoming of that strife as a challenge, the living of life wholly and with joy, and the facing of eternity with courage.
- The Asatru Folk Assembly's Symbol
- The Meaning of the Asatru Folk Assembly symbol.
- Gardell 152, 261.
- Gardell 261
- From the Asatru Folk Assembly's Bylaws: "The belief that spirituality and ancestral heritage are related has nothing to do with notions of superiority. Asatru is not an excuse to look down on, much less to hate, members of any other race. On the contrary, we recognize the uniqueness and the value of all the different pieces that make up the human mosaic." "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
- Kaplan, Jeffrey (1997). Radical religion in America: millenarian movements from the far right to the children of Noah. Syracuse UP. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-0-8156-0396-2. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- Strmiska, Michael (2005). Modern paganism in world cultures: comparative perspectives. ABC-CLIO. p. 133. ISBN 978-1-85109-608-4. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- 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. 208-9.
- Bay-Hansen, C. D. (2002). Futurefish 2001: Futurefish in Century 21: The North Pacific Fisheries Tackle Asian Markets, the Can-Am Salmon Treaty, and Micronesian Seas, 1997-2001. Trafford. p. 214. ISBN 978-1-55369-293-5. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- http://realestate.nevadacounty4sale.com/idx/details/listing/a276/20151469/8408-La-Porte-Road-Brownsville-California[permanent dead link]
- Gardell, Mattias (2003). Gods of the blood: the pagan revival and white separatism. Duke UP. ISBN 978-0-8223-3071-4. Retrieved 30 January 2012.