Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bears, Asatru, and the Holy

I have seen bears twice in the last fifteen years or so. 

In one case, my local group had just created a kindred banner featuring a bear, and we were displaying it for the first time.  A bear showed up on the other side of the fence, thirty or forty feet away.  This was on a 24 acre parcel almost completely surrounded by houses.

The second time was within the last year or so.  I had just completed a ritual that included an honoring of bears.  The rite ended, and within ten seconds my cats came running in from outside.  I walked to the door to see what had caused all the commotion, and saw the form of a bear was lumbering off into the trees.

Anyone care to figure the odds on that?

We are connected with the natural world, with the trees and the beasts and the land in ways we cannot conceive.  May we always respect that relationship, and strive to cooperate with these wonderful, beautiful forces. We must preserve wilderness, and give a home to the other beings with which we share the land! 

Before the coming of Christianity, the bear was sacred to the European peoples.  During the conversion, the Church organized extermination campaigns against the bears, and today there are practically no bears in the European heartland.  As for me, some day I hope to see a large bear preserve in Central Europe!

The Bear:  History of a Fallen King by Michel Pastoureou is a really good book that speaks of the role of the bear, and how the Church replaced the bear with the Christian lion.

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Many Peoples, Many Gods!

I believe there is no one religion that is right for all the world.  The various branches of humanity arose under different conditions, underwent different experiences, and have their own unique way of being in the world.  Their innate spirituality is the distilled essence of their entire history and pre-history.  It is only right that I should approach the Divine in the manner native to my own branch of the human family…in the way of my own ancestors.  To claim that there is, or can be, or even should be a universal religion flies in the face of our genuine diversity. 

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Asatru and Human Potenial

We are kin to the Gods and Goddesses!  Their divine spark lives inside us, and our challenge, should we choose to accept it, is to actualize this God-nature and evolve into more than we are now.  The holy scriptures of some religions may tell you that you are insignificant, or that you are born to do God's will, not your own...but these ideas are the exact opposite of the message of Asatru.

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Asatru - A Native European Religion

This is one of our classic You Tube videos, and to my mind, one of our most important.

If you like this, and if you like our Declaration of Purpose as found on our web site, please consider membership in the AFA!

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Declaration from the European Council of Ethnic Religions

This is, as the title of this post indicated, the declaration issued at the latest meeting of ECER.  I completly agree with this important statement. 

I am proud to note that two Asatru Folk Assembly members in Denmark  -  Lars Irenesson and Soren Fisker  -  went to this conference as representatives of the Danish Forn Sidr organization.  Lars is also AFA Folkbuilder for Scandinavia.  Hail to them, and to the ECER!

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly

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We, the delegates from twelve different countries convened at the European Congress of Ethnic Religions in Vilnius, Lithuania, on this 9th day of July 2014, join our voices together to make the following declaration:

We are members of diverse European indigenous ethnic cultures who seek to revitalize and reclaim our ancestral religious and spiritual traditions. We honor those who went before us, who gave us our life and our heritage. We are bound to the lands of our ancestors, to the soil that holds their bones, to the waters from which they drank, to the roads that they once walked. And we seek to pass that heritage to those who come after us, whose ancestors we are in the process of becoming – our children, our grandchildren, and the many generations yet to be born. We send solidarity and support to those other indigenous nations, races and religions who are also engaged in the struggle to preserve their own ancestral heritages.

Our ethnic religions are the product of the history of this continent; they are the living expressions, in the present, of our most ancient traditions and identities. At a time when the world is precariously balanced on the edge of environmental and economic upheaval, largely as the result of imbalanced individualism and rampant greed, our religions promote very different models of spiritual and social values: living in harmony, balance and moderation with the Earth; the importance of family and cooperative community; and respect and honor for all forms of life.

Yet, in many countries of Europe, the practice of our religions is impeded, restricted, and sometimes forbidden. We urge all European governments to fully comply with, and actively enforce, the provisions guaranteeing freedom of religion to all citizens as stipulated in the Treaties of the European Union, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, the European Convention of Human Rights, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other similar conventions and agreements, and to refrain from granting preferential treatment to some religions over others. We also ask that this equality of religious preference be reflected in the European educational systems.

We urge all our governments to actively engage in the preservation and protection of European indigenous sacred sites – be they human-made structures or natural settings. We further ask that free and open access to those sites be given to ethnic European religions which seek to use them for the purposes of worship and spiritual celebration.

We do not seek ownership or exclusive rights to those sites – the land does not belong to us, we belong to the land.

We object to the use of the term “pagan” by extremist political groups of any kind, as it reflects negatively on our reputation.

Finally, we urge all peoples and all nations to place the well-being of the Earth – who is, literally, our Living Mother – above any and all other priorities.

We send this message in kinship, love, and respect.

Andras Corban Arthen (President), Anamanta, Spain/U.S.A.
Ramanė Roma Barauskienė, Lietuva
Martin Brustad, Norway
Nina Bukala, Werkgroep Hagal, Netherlands
Alexander Demoor, Werkgroep Hagal, Belgium
Valentinas Dilginas, Kuzšei Žemaicĭai, Lithuania
Sören Fisker, Forn Siđr, Danmark
Federico Fregni (Board Member), Societas Hesperiana, Italia
Marianna Gorronova, Czech Republic
Lars Irenessøn (Board Member), Forn Siđr, Danmark
Irena Jankutė-Balkūnė (Board Member), Romuva, Lithuania
Runar Kartsen, Forn Sed, Norway
Daniele Liotta (Board Member), Movimento Tradizionale Romano, Italia
Silvano Lorenzoni, Federazione Pagana Italiana, Italia
Anna Lucarelli, Movimento Tradizionale Romano, Italia
Sachin Nandha, United Kingdom
Zdenek Ordelt, Czech Republic
Elisabeth Overgaauw, Werkgroep Hagal, Netherlands
Eugenijus Paliokas, Šventaragis Romuva, Lithuania
Staško Potrzebowski, Rodzima Wiara, Polska
Prudence Priest, Romuva, U.S.A.
Marina Psaraki, Y.S.E.E., Greece
Vlassis G. Rassias, Y.S.E.E., Greece
Valdas Rutkūnas, Romuva, Lithuania
Ignas Šatkauskas (Board Member), Romuva, Lithuania
Øyvind Siljeholm, Forn Sed, Norway
Dovile Sirusaitė, Lithuania
Eleonora Stella, Societas Hesperiana, Italia
Inija Trinkūnienė, Romuva, Lithuania
Ram Vaidya, United Kingdom

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Spirit of Asatru - A Morality Based on Honor!

Those who do not understand us say we have no morality, but they are wrong!  Our morality does not depend on commandments handed down by a tyrannical deity atop a mountain in the Middle East, but rather arises from the dignity and honor of the noble-minded man and woman.  This is the hardest, most uncompromising morality of all.  We strive to live by it, and if need be, to die by it.

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Spirit of Asatru - We Are One With Our Ancestors!

We are connected to all our ancestors. They are a part of us. We in turn will be a part of our descendants.  The ancestors give us luck, inspiration...and the gift of life, passed down through the generations. The gift we give in return is to remember them, to tell their stories, to visit their graves when we can, and to add good repute to the family name!

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly

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