AlThing 40 Report

For so many of us, AlThing is the highlight of the year. It is a treasured occasion for reconnecting with friends, building relationships, celebrating life passages, governing the Alliance, and lifting our hearts and voices to the Gods and Goddesses with joy and aspiration. Each AlThing has its own unique character that gives us the gift of special memories and AlThing 40 was no exception.

We were thrown a bit of a last-minute curve by the U.S. Forest Service. Less than two weeks before AlThing was scheduled to begin, they closed Tonto National Forest to campers due to the fire danger resulting from a poor monsoon season over the summer. Thanks to Valgard’s quick thinking and resourcefulness, we were able to secure the R-C Boy Scout Camp between Kohl’s Ranch and Christopher Creek, 3.8 miles closer to Payson. The new venue was not without certain challenges, but the Folk quickly adapted, and the site served our needs well.

AlThing began on Wednesday, September 30th. In the evening, we observed the custom of mead and cookies while introductions were made all around. We were joined for the first time by Phil “Irish” Barlow from New York, Jack, Sloane, and their adorable baby daughter, Anja, and Klay from southern Arizona. These folks were excellent company and make great additions to the Alliance. We were also honored by the presence of Steve and Sheila McNallen of Calasa Kindred in Grass Valley, California.

On Thursday, I served as gothi for the Tyr Blot and over forty of the Folk were in attendance. We celebrated the blót in the main dining hall of the R-C Boy Scout Campground. It was a large room with a high ceiling, so the collective shouts of “Hail, Tyr” sounded like thunder. Later, as the Thing Session began, Steve McNallen offered a moving invocation to Tyr for his favor upon our endeavors. Kennari served as Þing Speaker and Valgard served as Secretary of the Þing. The Delegates of Record of twelve kindreds were seated and voted in favor of the following:

We thank Tyr for his divine guidance and favor upon the Thing Session and Kennari, Valgard, and all Delegates of Record for their work on our behalf.

Later that night, Kollr led a beautiful and moving sumbel. A smaller, more intimate group than normal were in attendance, but the power of the devotion and sentiments expressed made a lasting impression on me and, I’m sure, on all in attendance.

On Friday, Valgard gave our dear kinswoman, Becky Eminhizer, her tribal name: Reginleif (“Daughter of the Gods”). Kollr celebrated a beautiful memorial service for our kinsman, Yngvar (aka Jason Eminhizer), who passed to the Halls of his Ancestors earlier in July. I celebrated a memorial service for Chip Johnson, a long-time member of the Alliance, and Valgard gave a moving eulogy.

Later, that afternoon, Lif and Heithr Skogarlands Kona, facilitated a discussion about our beautiful and wonderous AlMother, Frigg, and the esoteric implications of the distaff and spinning. Their presentation was followed by a powerful blót celebrated by both gythjur.

In the evening, we celebrated the “Ceremonies of the Folk.” Kollr passed the Oath Ring of the Allsherjargothi to me with such power and beauty that it moved me to tears. After that, Chieftain Kodi inducted me into the Bear Clan in an equally moving and beautiful ceremony. Perhaps, most importantly, as my first act as Allsherjargothi, I administered the Oath of the Gythjur to my beautiful, brilliant, talented wife, Heithr Skogarlands Kona (more commonly and affectionately known to us as “Skogul”). Having watched her spend so much time working hard, studying, reading, and serving as gythja for three public blóts prior to this occasion moved me at a depth of spirit that I have seldom experienced.

On Saturday, the Viking Games were held. Hail, the Victors! Adults: Children: In the early evening, Kollr celebrated a powerful and moving Odin Blot with many Folk in attendance. After an amazing feast, courtesy of Þorvald Forengi and friends, we met in a cabin for the evening’s festivities. With the permission of the Board of Directors, the Chieftain, and the Law Speaker, I ceremonially declared Valgard Murray, Stephen A. McNallen, and Kollr Logmather to be “DIAR,” that is, High Priests of Odin. More specifically, this was an act of recognition of three extraordinary men through whom the spirit and power of the Gods and Goddesses have worked to the benefit of the Folk and the furtherance of Asatru.

Kollr then served as auctioneer for our annual auction and the occasion was filled with laughter, fun, and a great spirit of celebration. A generous sum was raised for the Alliance and I left that occasion with deep gratitude and joy to be a part of such amazing Folk on whom the spirit of the Gods and Goddesses clearly rests.

On Sunday, we enjoyed our usual sacred SPAM breakfast sandwiches and departed with love and sadness but hopeful for the promise of seeing each other again.

An occasion such as this does not magically pop out of thin air. A great deal of hard work goes into making an AlThing happen. We ate like kings and queens during this AlThing and that is due to the hard work and culinary genius of Thorvald Forengi. While so many of us spent time talking and relaxing, Thorvald was working hard to make sure we ate well, and he never failed to exceed our expectations. His bacon and cheese stuffed porkchops were a masterpiece and every breakfast and dinner he prepared was always delicious. In addition to providing us with wonderful music and a generous spirit of exuberant friendliness, he is a study in what the true spirit of hospitality really is. It is truly my honor to call him “friend.”

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the excellent Folk who assisted him. His beautiful wife Sigrdrifa (lovingly known to us as “Siggy”), Dakota and Jamy Roberts, Jan Winters, Bronwyn Thompson and other members of Wolf Tree Kindred and all others who worked hard to make this AlThing a success. We are also grateful to Sven Bjorn, Lif, Valgard and all others who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this AlThing a gift to all the Folk.

Valgard, Skogul, and I have spoken about AlThing 40 many times and have dubbed it “Wunjo-Thing.” The ease, peace, and comfort with which we all spent time together, the relaxation that characterized our interaction as Folk, and our treasured time together defines who we are. It is an occasion for which I will always be grateful, and I look forward to creating more joyous memories with you in the future. In your service,

Ottar Fjallakappi,

Allsherjargothi -The Asatru Alliance