Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Originally, this new blog was supposed to help readers follow the development of my upcoming book on Asatru. It will still serve that function. But there will be much more, as well...my thoughts on many things ranging from the plight of indigenous peoples, to the special issues facing men and women of European descent, to the dangers facing all life on Earth, and anything else that crosses my mind and seems noteworthy.
Please come by http://stephenamcnallen.com and pay a visit! If you subscribe to my blog, you can download a free manuscript I wrote giving three things you can do to have a better day, every day.
Hail the Gods!
Hail the AFA!
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Many of the readers of this blog will be very familiar with this pillar of Asatru, but most people have never heard of it. All the better, then that Eoghan Odinsson has written a version of Havamal - which he has titled Northern Wisdom - that is eminently understandable to the modern reader. Eoghan was kind enough to ask me to write a Foreword for his volume. I have included it here because I believe it points out some cogent reasons why this document, and other essentials of Asatru, are so little known to the general public.
By the way, you can order a copy of Northern Wisdom through the Asatru Folk Assembly store, at http://runestone.org!
In all the writings of our Northern European ancestors, one source stands head and shoulders above all the others when it comes to practical knowledge on how to live a good life. That work, composed in poetic form in Old Norse, is the Havamal. The name translates as The Words of the High One - that is, of Odin, the father of the Nordic gods and the epitome of the wisdom-seeker. In short, this is the advice of a mighty deity: winner of the magical runes, thief of the Mead of Inspiration, the one who gave and eye to drink from Mimir's Well of Wisdom. One could hardly ask for a better mentor for a life of success and happiness!
So why have so few people heard of it?
The answers are several: First of all, it's written in a language understandable today only to inhabitants of Iceland and the Faroe Islands north of Scotland, plus a relative handful of specialists. It has been translated into English and other modern languages, of course, but these have all been written by scholars, for scholars. Some versions try to maintain the original poetic meter, at the price of comprehension. Others focus on being absolutely literal, but they, too, use a vocabulary and a phraseology from early medieval times. Without exception, they treat The Words of the High One as a historical document - not as a handbook for life today, in the twenty-first century!
Eoghan Odinsson and his crowdsourcing friends have composed a version of the Havamal that is eminently understandable. No Old Norse poetic forms, no archaic terms, no fuss and no bother. And more than that, this version shows how very relevant this material is! The words of Odin are, as we might expect from a god, every bit as applicable to our lives today as they were a thousand years ago. Good sense is still good sense. We are not so different from our ancestors, after all - we are them recast in a different time and place.
It is my pleasure to write this foreword to Northern Wisdom. I urge you to read it and apply it to your life!
Stephen A. McNallen
Friday, February 3, 2012
It's on "Asatru Morning Rites," and should be useful to many folks.
Please tell others about it!
Asatru Folk Assembly
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Why should a man busily re-establishing our native Germanic faith go to all this trouble? Why should I care what happens to Tibetans and Burmese and Nigerians? Don't we Germanics have enough problems of our own?
As a man of European descent, and as a follower of the indigenous European faith of Asatru, I have a spiritual obligation to care for and defend my own heritage. Less obvious is another truth - that I should also care about the fate of other peoples.
Ultimately, we European-descended folk are in the same boat as the Tibetans, the Karen, and the Amazonian tribes. We're all trying to preserve our peoples, cultures, and native religions in a world where transnational corporations and intrusive governments work to destroy all differences, to smooth out humanity into one featureless, deracinated "norm-man" fit only to produce, consume, and obey. Where will our vaunted Germanic freedom be then? What will happen to the Norse spirit, the Faustian upward reach of the European soul, when we're all slaving on the global plantation for the bankers and the corporate elite? Let me tell you: These historic traits of ours will be dead. And the only way to prevent this "death by homogenization" is to be who we are, to honor that which makes us unique. We should do that for ourselves as Northfolk, and we should encourage other groups to do likewise.
Someone once said of me that "Steve wants to help every ethnic group but his own." That's not true; my own folk are closest to my heart and will always have first claim to my loyalty and love. That is only natural and good. But the world is not necessarily a zero-sum game, and there are plenty of win-win solutions to our mutual problems. There will always be competition between groups, yes. But all of us who want to preserve our identity against the pressures of the global monoculture, regardless of our race or culture, have a common enemy in those who would make us all the same. If the transnationalists are to sell us Coca-Cola made in the United States and toys made in China, they have to "modernize" us first. Modernization is of course a two-edged sword; some aspects are beneficial but others are designed make us abandon our ancestral ways, pledge allegiance to the bank and the television set, and become a "world citizen." This is as true of First-Worlders like Americans and Germans as it is of tribal societies in the Third World, and nothing could be more disastrous to groups who wish to retain their distinct identity in the 21st century.
Environmental issues are a part of this struggle. Industrial development and resource extraction do not always take into consideration the needs of the environment and of the local peoples most directly affected. As I write, the last forest homes of the magnificent and extremely endangered Sumatran tiger are being sawed down to make - toilet paper! (Asia Pulp & Paper products marketed in the US under the Paseo and Livi brand names.) If that seems too far away to care about, don't worry; there is a long list of less dramatic species pushed to the brink in Europe and in America. People, too, are organisms adapted to a particular habitat; destroy that habitat and you undermine the existence of the people themselves.
I will gladly stand alongside those who are true to the ways of their people and their ancestors in the face of the global juggernaut. This is one of the great challenges of our age, and in it lies our duty to the ancestors who gave us life as well as our descendants, who will have to live in the world we forge. You want a heroic struggle? Don't pine for the past - you and I are fortunate enough to live in the most heroic age of all!
Asatru Folk Assembly