I first joined the Asatru Folk Assembly in 2009, soon after realizing the awakening which I had been undergoing for the last couple of years was a spiritual one which required knowledge of my ancestors’ true religious heritage, and participation in the Folk. Drawn to what I came to know as Asatru through an instinctive quest for racial spiritual identity, as the material manifestation of community I had begun to feel on another plane altogether, I felt and feel myself fortunate to have more or less stumbled into two positive groups which, at the time, interacted: a local Asatru kindred, known as Vidarshof, which included AFA members, and the AFA itself. Although Vidarshof has ceased to exist, or at least to meet, I didn’t realize at the time how rare it was to have an Asatru kindred, much less a Folkish one, close by.
As to the AFA: I knew that I was drawn at least to exploring the path of the Norse and Germanic gods, and that my attraction was to the Folkish side and not the universalist. Stephen McNallen’s AFA seemed to fit the bill and had a bit of an internet presence, so I joined; I went to first AFA event, then called the Florida Moot (which took place in Georgia) with three friends from Vidarshof. My attendance seemed cursed by a rare illness; I had somehow come down with some sort of stomach and digestive illness (which first manifested itself in an urge to projectile vomit which occurred during my friend Jule’s first public blot) which disabled me from most a day’s activities. Nevertheless I made friends and acquaintances there which have stayed with me through Asatru and more (two of my AFA friends turned up surprising, inexplicably during my exploration of the Dharmic/Hindu stylings of the dishonest teacher Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya, in Omaha, as recently as 2014).
I explored a lot of groups and teachers in the early days of my move away from Buddhism, but I always came back to the AFA, even during periods when I was more drawn to say, Hinduism or to more esoteric practices. I always maintained by AFA membership, simply because I though Stephen McNallen’s cause was worth supporting; and in a broader movement marked by many flaked on the fringe and infighting splinters, the AFA seemed central, wholesome, family-oriented and safe. Which is why I was surprised and dismayed to see that last year, in the year or so since Mr. McNallen announced his retirement and he and/or the AFA put in place what I at the time perceived to be a triad to replace him, that the AFA had encountered controversy, including attacks from left-wing, SJW and Antifa groups, based on what appeared to be innocuous and necessary statements made by new front man Matt Flavel. I also found it annoying, when I went to register for this year’s Ostara in the South, that the AFA was keeping the actual location of event “secret”, or at least non-public: You got the address after registering.
I had gone through this, “pay first, we’ll let you know where later” business in the three times I’ve been to hear David Irving speak, but I knew that Mr. Irving’s meeting had been attacked before. On the other hand, I’d been to Amren which was quite public about its location, and I hated to see the AFA, whose public presence had always been so inviting, forced to go the path of more secretive groups. But these are strange times; the enemy, having had a poke or two in the ribs this year, is wide awake and more annoying than ever; and I get the impression some force of repression out there was trying to prevent this event. Which they didn’t, and it was hugely successful, I think at least in terms of numbers. Hail the AFA!
I reported here on last year’s Ostara in the South, which was the first large AFA event I had attended since 2010, and which to me was seminal, due to my meeting with my old friends and Omaha comrades Allen and Brad (with Gilli), the best conversations I’ve had with Stephen McNallen, meeting new friends like Jim B. and many of the “new” (to me) people who are now running the AFA; as well of course Henrik and Lana from Red Ice. I was surprised to find at this year’s event, that most did not consider last year’s event a success, due to low numbers. For me it was such a watershed and a genuine breakthrough that I felt that I was bound to be disappointed this year, without McNallen’s leadership (and as I feared, he did not attend), or several of my old and new friends whom I knew were not attending). So that I hesitated to attend at all.
I know the AFA sees this year’s Ostara, in the new and great location, as a success, and I would agree. It would seem that membership has thrived, and not only increased in numbers, but has moved in several ways in which I had hoped it would go. I think there were seventy adult attendees, and I have to state my pleasure at the number of families with children who attended. Most Asatru and other gatherings I’ve attended have wanted to claim to be family friendly, and this one truly was, Easter egg hunt and all. It’s genuinely encouraging to be able to say that I really see children being raised in a healthy, spiritual, tribal and Folkish tradition loyal to our ancestors and not to the Demon from the Desert. Also, there are several AFA kindreds, notably the Irminfolk (and I need to know more about the Iron Guard) which appear to consist mostly of well-disciplined young adult males. We need both if we are to survive as a community, and surviving as a community is what the AFA is all about, now more explicity than ever.
It’s true that there were problems, from my point of view, what I would attribute to new management; last-minute schedule changes of which I, at least, was not aware, which moved activities (including one of the paid-for meals!) into Friday when we had just begun to travel, a paucity of meaningful activity on Saturday, the main day (event being oddly scheduled instead on Sunday morning, when usually everyone is mostly getting ready to leave – last year’s Friday night Rune Galdr was one of the highlights for me). And there was a general lack of adherence to the schedule in general, which by late morning Saturday had me wondering if anything was going to happen at all. Nevertheless, with all this in place and the same people running the show – and if number continue to build, probably fueled somewhat and equally by both success and adversity, I would expect next year, and even this year’s later events, Midsummer (in Calfornia) and Winter (in Pennsylvania) to be even more successful.
Which leads me to the questions: What the AFA, and who are its members in regard to “our movement”, and the necessity of defining that movement itself – to the extent I do and don’t take part in it. I’ve never been comfortable with the term “Alt-Right”, for many reasons. First, I don’t think the left-right polarity is helpful or useful any more; I early considered myself to be a Third Positionist. But I’ll save all that for elsewhere. “Alt-Right” sounds new agey, trendy, smarmy, and above all, temporary. It occurs to me that while the AFA is certainly Folkish, in terms of Asatru, and while that adjective applies to them perfectly, with their emphases on family community, for the movement as a whole I think I will revert to the original German term Völkisch. While “folkish” has connotations, especially to me, being from and living in the South where “folks” is still in use, of country or ordinary people (and which you might see for example on the menu of a Cracker Barrel), Völkisch connotes our race, our culture and our community – the only seed from which a true Nation can spring. National Socialism was Völkisch, Fascism was not.
Therefore from now on, if you ask me what movement I’m a part of, or rather which one I encourage with the right hand – for right now, rather, the answer will be Völksich.
Of course the Right Hand path of Völisch community is not the only one which needs to be trodden, and for me will almost certainly will never be the main one. If I were in my twenties or thirties and wanted to do everything I could to ensure our people’s survival, the Asatru Folk Assembly is where i would be putting my energy right now. As an older single male with no children, I find myself pulled in different directions, so I think that I will certainly continue to support the AFA as long as it maintains it current direction and form, I will probably always remain tangential, on the fringe, a supporter who comes to visit. I had spoke with Stephen McNallen last year of his attraction to the Left Hand, and I witnesses that usually not-so-public side of his earlier, at the fairly horrendous Rune Gild Moot of – 2011? when Mr. McNallen seemed to be by far the best speaker, and for me ensured the only coherency of an event mangled by egos – the largest danger of the Left Hand path – and bitter vindictiveness. I am extremely happy for McNallen, as he seems to be happy for himself, seeing him able to strongly express himself, in his more recent writings, without the weight of feeling that every statement he makes must be taken as the statement of an organization. I wish him well in his retirement and would again like to express my appreciation for his inspiration and influence.
As always when I haven’ written for a while, I’m going to leave this one right here for now – and come back to some issues, such as the emergence of harder-core elements within the AFA and groups like it, which arising I see as both necessary and dangerous; and the necessity of other paths. In many ways it seems to me that while the family- and race-based community which the AFA encourages and helps build is necessary and vital to our survival, by itself, it is not enough. It seems to me that this is the way we will have to be, and should be, if we are to survive What Comes – but that the Hand of Providence will need to be invoked in a more meaningful and mystical way for that survival to occur.
For myself, I must go to the Black Pill and beyond, to find the ultimate meaning, which I truly believe is beyond humankind itself. But for now, we have this Family Moment.