The field of mathematics known as “chaos theory” holds that seemingly insignificant actions can, under the right conditions, produce incredibly large results. The example most commonly used is that of a butterfly which flaps its wings and sets in motion a chain of events culminating in a hurricane a thousand miles away. Obviously, we can never know if a butterfly’s wings created a huge storm, but the basic idea - that unnoticed incidents can trigger gargantuan responses - is not only believable but, according to chaos theorists, mathematically certain.
So what does this have to do with Asatru?
In recent issues of AFA Update you and I have discussed the other end of scale. We have touched on public relations breakthroughs, marketing campaigns, and similar plans dealing with the “macro” rather than the “micro.” In this issue, I’d like to put away the telescope and drag out the magnifying glass. Let’s consider how the tiny things we do in our everyday lives can make a big difference - and what that has to do with our spreading Asatru.
Suppose, one day, you decide to wear your Thor’s hammer on the outside of your shirt rather than tucked out of sight. You’re walking down the street when a woman sees your hammer, asks you about it, and is given the address of the Asatru Folk Assembly website. A month later, she gives that URL to a friend who visits our site. This friend in turn mentions it to a multi-millionaire, who is so impressed that he leaves his entire estate to the AFA. Within five years, Asatru has a million adherents from coast to coast and is making significant, long-term changes in the culture of the United States….all because you decided on a whim to wear your hammer where it could be seen by passers-by. You’d never know what you had done, any more than we can blame a butterfly for starting a hurricane, but nevertheless you are ultimately responsible.
Suffice to say that Wyrd’s web is tightly woven.
We cannot predict which of our tiny, daily deeds will bear fruit next week or next century. But we can increase the odds by doing many such deeds, any one of which might make a difference in the long run. I try to build a lot of such occurrences into each day. I wear my hammer proudly. I don my “Odin’s Folk” tee shirt at the gym, or maybe the tie-dye one with runes on it that my son found at the thrift store. I drop comments in public dealing with heritage or the ancestors, just so see if anyone will bite. And of course, when I send out this AFA Update, I’ll wriggle many pairs of wings - amazing how this list has grown! - excluding bad addresses and those who delete these words unseen .
I have no illusion that any of this is going to bring the AFA a million dollars. But then, it might! At the least, it contributes however slightly to building a new culture, one more influenced by Asatru.
I hereby invite you to join in Operation Butterfly. I know many of you are already making these little efforts - but if we do it more deliberately, more often, we can have a greater impact. Who knows what a few hundred of us can do if we try? Get out there and stir that pot of chaos! Vibrate the Web of Wyrd! Flap the wings of your Will and let the storm arise!
Asatru Folk Assembly