Friday, December 19, 2014

AFA Folk Services Announces the Yule "Helping Hands" Project!

Yuletide is upon us, and it's time to consider those of our fellow AFA members who might need a little extra help this year.  Times are tough out there  -  and we want to help where we can!  Your donation to the AFA Folk Services may mean a toy for a child who wouldn't otherwise get one, or a little food for a bare pantry, or a winter coat...AFA members helping AFA members!

In the last few days we've already provided heat for a family with children, and arranged some firewood for another family.  You can keep this coming!  Your donation to the AFA, through the web site or via Paypal to afa@runestone.org, will be applied to the Yuletide "Helping Hands" project IF you indicate this in your comments and let us know that was your intent.

Recipients are selected by a three-person panel based on their needs, and our ability to help. Our resources are limited, but sometimes it doesn't take a lot to make a difference.

We are not just a "national organization," or even an "international organization"  -  we are a community!

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly
http://runestone.org

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Date and Time for the Winter Solstice

Since many Asatruar may want to perform their own rites at the moment of the Sun's rebirth  -  or may want to do their rituals at sunrise the next morning after:  The solstice this year is on December 21, at 3:03 PM Pacific Time.

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly
http://runestone.org

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Yule and Awakening - Part Three!

My post on Wednesday was about the rune Berkano, and how we can use it for our personal transformation at Yule.  Today I have some comments about Uruz, or "aurochs."  The aurochs was the powerful and dangerous bison of old Europe, standing almost two meters tall and armed with mighty horns.  The Germanic initiation into manhood required the youth to slay one of the these impressive beasts.  To do so, he had to take on the traits of the aurochs  -  strength, courage, wit, instinct.  All these traits are needed for any spiritual transformation.  Invoke the power of the aurochs, bravely face your weaknesses, and overcome them. Every time you pass the horn this Yuletide, remember that in the old days it might have come from a noble aurochs, and strive to take the might of that beast into yourself!

But Uruz has another meaning, too  -  "slag."  We must remove those parts of our being which are merely slag from our spiritual self-forging.  What remains will be fine iron, purified and strong.  Weakness, laziness, dullness, and bad habits can be identified by careful self-examination, then discarded just as the swordsmith beats the slag from the blade. Thus, with this "secret of steel," we change ourselves.

Let Sunna reborn bring you rebirth, as well! 

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly
http://runestone.org

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Yule and Awakening - Part Two!

In Monday's post, I wrote about using Yule to promote our spiritual transformation.  I spoke of the sunwheel, and the powerful imagery of rebirth associated with it.  I described the ancient burial site of Newgrange, and noted how we can think of personal evolution at this time of year.

Today I want to discuss the rune Berkano and how it relates to this process.  Berkano, the rune of the Birch Goddess, is associated with birth, rebirth, and transformation  -  including the rites of passage that mark our social lives, such as coming into adulthood, marriage, and death.  But Berkano also is useful in interior, spiritual "rites of passage"  -  the acquisition of wisdom, worth, and consciousness.

You can see, too, how this rune fits in with the womb-like imagery of Newgrange, as described in Monday's post.

Think on Berkano this season.  You may want to incorporate it into a ritual as Sunna's first rays peek over the horizon on the solstice morning.  Strive for spiritual rebirth this Yule!

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly
http://runestone.org

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Yule and Awakening - Part One!

Once again, Yuletide is upon us.  The focus of Yule in our ancestral faith is mostly social  -  interacting with family, friends, ancestors, and the Holy Powers themselves.  Nevertheless, this very special season also brings us opportunities for Awakening  -  for rebirth, for evolution, for transformation.  In this post and the two to follow on Wednesday and on Friday I want to write about these opportunities, and about the symbols associated with the Awakening process.

Northern Europeans knew about this transformational process thousands of years ago.  Consider, for example, Newgrange  -  a massive stone-and-earth tomb north of Dublin, Ireland.  The remains of the dead were placed in a chamber at the center of the mound, accessible by passage running.  The whole arrangement of mound, chamber, and narrow corridor leading in from the outside is reminiscent of a womb.

Every winter solstice, the first rays of the rising sun penetrate the narrow corridor that runs to the middle of the tomb.  The sunbeam hovers there for seventeen minutes, then disappears until next year. It is as if the rays of the reborn sun somehow imparted transformation, life, and immortality on those whose bones lay in the chamber  -  giving them rebirth, or Awakening.

The first symbol I will associate with Yuletide Awakening, then, is the Hyperborean sunwheel:  a circle with crossing lines in the center.  Think on the sunwheel, and on the kind of spiritual Awakening you want to experience, this Yuletide.  Greet the first rays of the rising sun on the solstice morning, and take them within you.  Open yourself to transformation  -  seek Awakening!

Wednesday I will consider a rune I consider to be closely related to this process of Awakening.

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly
http://runestone.org

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

An Experiment with Runic Divination

From my upcoming book  -

"Many years ago, in the midst of a prolonged spiritual crisis, I blindly drew one rune stave per day out of a set of twenty-four (the Elder Futhark) for five consecutive days.  The staves were carved on wooden pieces that could not be distinguished from each other by feel. Each of the five days, my hand drew forth the same stave.  The odds against such a coincidence are approximately eight million to one.  The stave that kept coming up was not just any old rune, but one named Perthro  -  whose meaning is connected to the divinatory process itself.  Years later, I read that this particular stave often comes up when one is not supposed to know the answer to a question."

  -  Chapter 22, "Runes: Mysteries of the Universe"

https://www.facebook.com/StephenAMcNallen?ref=br_tf

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly
http://runestone.org

Monday, December 8, 2014

AFA Members - Don't Forget to Claim Your Tax Deduction!

Just a reminder that your donations to the AFA between now and the end of the year are deductible from your income taxes!  Wouldn't you rather made a contribution to the AFA rather than to those people in Washington?

One hundred percent of your donation goes to further the AFA's projects.

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly
http://runestone.org

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