Within the last couple of months there has been requests or questions regarding starting Ásatrú Kindreds or groups.
Below you will find information on starting your own group. As we are not tied to any group, we will not endorse any organization.
The very first thing you must do is sit down and decide that even if there's just you, you are a group/Kindred/Freehold/Hearth, etc. Decide what the name of your group is to be, then construct By-laws. This always helps as it gives others when they join an idea of where you are coming from. It can start out to be something as simple as the 9 Noble Virtues.
COURAGE - The bravery to do what is right at all times.
TRUTH - The willingness to be honest and say what one knows to be true and right.
HONOR - The feeling of inner value and worth from which one knows that one is noble of being, and the desire to show respect for this quality when it is found in the world.
FIDELITY - The will to be loyal to one's Gods and Goddesses, to one's folk, and to one's self.
DISCIPLINE - The willingness to be hard with one's self first, then if need be with others.
HOSPITALITY - The willingness to share what one has with one's fellows, especially when they are far from home.
INDUSTRIOUSNESS - The willingness to work hard--always striving for efficiency--as a joyous activity in itself.
SELF-RELIANCE - The spirit of independence which is achieved not only for the individual but also for the family, clan, tribe, and nation.
PERSEVERANCE - The spirit of stick-to-it-iveness that can always bring one back from defeat or failure--each time we fail we recognize failure for what it is and, if the purpose is true and good, we persevere until success is won.
The more details you give, the more this will all take on life.
Although most will never seek status as a Church, I have included some of our Articles. These can be used by your group as By-Laws.
ARTICLE I should explain who you are. What is the name of your group and why. Here is what we have.
Section 1. The name of this organization shall be "Wolfgar Freehold."
Section 2. Wolfgar Freehold's banner is described as a dark green shield with an upright spear and a wolf's head in the forefront. The spear stands between the green field of Midgard and the Fenris wolf, the forces of chaos which would destroy our world.
ARTICLE II might include you Statement of Purpose. Our Statement of Purpose is:
"Wolfgar Freehold is an independent agency seeking to preserve and protect the ancient faith of our ancestors. Our purpose is to promote Ásatrú, the religion, and to provide our Folk with a sense of faith and kinship."
ARTICLE III might include something about membership. What is the age requirement? Are dues expected? Do you have a probationary period? How many functions must a person on probation attend? We do not allow anyone under the age of 18. This is from our personal experience. We also have a probationary period of 9 months. Most groups out there will be in a hurry to get members and will overlook many faults - quantity instead of quality. Nine months is just long enough for the honeymoon to be over.
You may also want to include something in regards to disciplinary action and what really constitutes breaking the frith in your group.
Although in a small group, I have never seen any acts of violence, I have known of it to happen at larger organizational meetings. After raising kids, it has been my experience to spell things out. After breaking up a fight, the last thing you want to hear is: "But you never said I couldn't", OR "What do you mean? I've never heard you say that before!"
Here is a part of what we include. "Disciplinary action will result from a member causing injury of body or reputation of another member, families of member, or the reputation of Wolfgar Freehold. Acts of violence against any member or guest at a meeting will result in a period of banishment for brandishing a weapon, or expulsion if blood is drawn. No exceptions to this rule will be allowed."
ARTICLE IV might include some of the Rights and Privileges of members verse those on probation. Do both have the right to attend all functions? Even business functions? Can those on probation bring guests? Who is responsible for the guests?
ARTICLE V might include voting information. Who is allowed to vote, only members? Must the voting be unanimous or is a 2/3 vote acceptable to vote in new laws and maybe even new kinsmen.
ARTICLE VI might include something about group occasions and meetings. How many business meeting will you have a year to discuss internal affairs? Are these mandatory for all members? How many holidays must members attend? Now, this may all sound ridiculous, after all, why would anyone want to call themselves a member and then not attend group gathers. Trust me on this, there are flakes out there who will attend maybe two of your groups functions for the year then go on to tell everyone that they are a member of your group!
That is why we establish from the beginning just how many gatherings you need to attend before you are considered a member. If they can't make it while on probation, they won't do so later as a member.
I have always heard that you should never mix business with pleasure, but running Wolfgar Freehold is a pleasure. Hence the reason we do have business meetings before our holiday gatherings.
Wolfgar Freehold recognizes, and celebrates the following holidays:
Barri - February 2nd
High Feast of Ostara - March 21st
Walpurgisnacht - April 30th
Midsummer - June 21st
Freyfaxi - August 28th
Winter Findings - September 21st
Winter Nights - October 12th
Yule - December 21st
ARTICLE VII might include something about the outside functions of your group. We include this:
"Section 1. Wolfgar Freehold shall endeavor to spread the word of Ásatrú. This may be through the selling of items at fairs, handing out brochures, etc.
Section 2. Any monies gained will be put back into Wolfgar Freehold.
Section 3. No funds of Wolfgar Freehold may be diverted for any political activity, and members are urged to disdain from political discussion or activities at Freehold functions."
I know of some groups that go to prisons to discuss and provide for inmates', Ásatrú literature. If this is something that is of interest, you should also include it here.
ARTICLE VIII might include information on leadership. Who are the leaders or Chieftains of your group? Who are the spiritual leaders? Do they have a set time in "office"?
These are some of the things that makes a group run smoothly. Besides, I like being up-front about Wolfgar Freehold. I want people to know straight-up where we are coming from. It saves a lot of hassles down the road.
Okay, now you have your By-Laws, the next step is to get members - other kinsmen. First off - GET A MAILING ADDRESS OR P.O. BOX
The next thing is to then get information out that you exists. We have several brochures, and flyers that we put in the local Pagan Bookstores/Shoppes. There is a lot of information on Ásatrú, so making up brochures is the easy part.
Go to S.C.A. meetings. Sometimes people there want to do more than dress-up in their personas for the weekend.
Also, get to know the Pagan community in your area. If they are having events, go. Take your brochures with you. Some of the best Ásatrúars I have met come from Wicca. If there are Pagan newsletters in your area, submit articles about Ásatrú.
Get a booth. There are a couple of places here online that offer Ásatrú products such as Thorr's hammers, books, tee-shirts, etc. Start out small if you have to. Some of the items we are making are: Viking Bind Rune jewelry and Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsche) Hex Signs. We plan this year to attend all the "Craft Fairs" with our handmade items, along with the pagan events. Check your newspaper for local events. We have Mountain Man Rendezvous, Festival of Nations along with various other "happenings" that we will be attending. The more events that you attend, the better your chances of running into others who will be interested. Put your brochures on your table. Check around online. There are Ásatrúars who make things if you are not able.
Get up a webpage. Link it to other Ásatrú webpages. Let others know where you are from.
Some of you have probably even wonder why? Why even bother? The obvious reason is for kinship. Outside of that, to me the next reason has always been - to promote our faith. There are many out there who have no ties to organized religion and are searching. It is time to call our kinsmen home.
Over the last decade or so we have checked out various groups. From our standpoint, we have found that no one group reflects the sum of our beliefs. There are some very good groups out there with excellent leaders. Unfortunately some of the people who make up the group do not reflect what we hold Ásatrú to be.
Remember your mother always telling you that "birds of a feather flock together", or "lie down with dogs, get up with flees"? Keep this in mind when researching Ásatrú/Nordic Organizations.
Always keep in mind - You do not have to join any of these organizations to be Ásatrú!
Talk to Frigga! Ask Her for help. She presides over the hearth and home. Remember the Gifú rune - leave Her an offering. Remember though, the Teutonic Gods and Goddesses will meet you halfway. If you are not willing to take the first steps, they usually do not bother.