AlThing 35 Report
By Kollr Logmather
It was a dark and stormy evening… sorry folks not this time. Althing 35 started out with perfect weather this year, with Sunna’s light shining from Wednesday to Sunday. I hurried as fast as I could to get to Payson where most of us rendezvoused at Valgard’s house and finished up the packing of the field kitchen and Viking game materials for our annual pilgrimage to the Thing site. Still at Valgard’s house were members of Draupnir Kindred; George and Magni complete with his new blushing bride, Angela and a delegation of Hvitulfrheim Kindred from Washington to follow.
Once we packed up we headed for the site at Sharp Creek where we met up with the rest of the Wednesday crew. Lief and Sven along with the rest of the Gladheim Kindred (David, Jennifer and Nate) were feverishly setting up the kitchen. Bob and Katherine the ‘La Presidente’ were already set up in fifth-wheel fashion. That is not to forget Clayton, Hoopie (Idunna) and truck drivin’ Chris who unknowingly would be receiving his name giving on Saturday. Also to arrive that day were our Texas comrades; Bagger & Wife, and Mitchell and Amanda our favorite Christian. Southeast Kindred from Florida established their presence shortly thereafter with Magnus, Courtney and Cassie. Many others of the folk arrived before the evening meal when we had over 45 Asafolk on site.
We continued to set up camp and hang the banners. Devon introduced a new area to the Althing and that was the Wunjo Village. A place where anyone can come and relax and commune in a more spiritual fashion complete with plenty of space and hammocks to lounge in. The World Tree tent went up and Frigga’s Finery along side of that. Before we knew it camp was taking shape, and then the Calvary came. For all you that know Jubal he never does anything small and like charge of the Volsungs the Northern Roots Kindred came in with full force complete with a portable tattoo parlor. It’s really something to see.
That evening after our feast, we enjoyed kinship by the fire with our traditional mead and cookies event. This consisted of a one-round introduction of everyone present, who they were, where they came from and their affiliation to the Alliance. Shortly after that, most of us turned in for the night and others chose to stay up a bit later.
Thursday morning came quick and breakfast was served at 9am sharp with an abundance of breakfast burritos and hot sauce for everyone with a strong constitution. After that most of us fell into a food coma and remained socializing with one another the rest of the morning. At 1pm seminar’s started with ‘yours truly’ teaching an introductory lesson on single knife tactics in close quarter combat. Only a disappointing 4 showed (thank you for your understanding and respect). To the rest of you I hope your guns never run out of bullets because when they do, you’re all foocked.
Valgard then conducted a seminar titled, “The Myth of Loki” where he spelled out in no uncertain terms that Loki in the Eddas was a complete fabrication by the endeavor of Snorri to both insult the Gods and Goddesses of our ancestors. But to also prepare the Northern Folk for the establishment of Christianity. After a lively discussion and many questions answered to the satisfaction of all in attendance, the Loki cult on the fringes of Asatru was put to shame once and for all.
Around the same time at the main area auction, items began to gather and take up the whole central distance of the Hall. This year there were so many items to be displayed that it took hours to catalog and display the assorted items. A special thanks goes to George Berry of the Arizona Kindred for his kind donations.
Before the Tyr Blot which opens the Thing session, Becky and Ingvar of the Nine Kindred arrived and said their hello’s to everyone. During the blot members of Helge Ve Kindred also arrived.
The Tyr Blot was different this year because Valgard wasn’t at the helm. Last year I did it only as a default Gothi because Valgard felt that he didn’t have the stamina to project the necessary energy at the time. Heading any Blot takes a lot out of the individual and requires full attention throughout the entire ceremony and if you are not having your “A” game then it is best not to show the Gods your weaker side. Still, I don’t give Blot like V1 and perhaps never will, but maybe one day I will aspire to stand beside the ranks of the Gothi’s who have passed down their wisdom to me. At the conclusion of the blot, with weapons held high, three mighty ”HAIL TYR” echoed off the canyon walls.
After the Tyr Blot and blessing of steel, the Thing session was called to order with an invocation to Tyr. Valgard served as Thing Speaker and Magni as Law Gothi. Wolf Tree Kindred from Wyoming was accepted as a full voting Alliance Kindred and other new business was raised and then later tabled due to Thing protocol it was to be discussed during the next days agenda. Fourteen kindreds sent delegates to the opening of the Law Session.
Later that night David Garrison from the Gladheim Kindred took charge of the dinner menu and served up some excellent chicken and pasta. I must say it was a rather clean meal for Althing and I feel it was an excellent health conscious change for everyone involved. Thank you again, David for a job well done. At 8pm that night we had sumbel by the fire ring. It was a larger than usual number who attended Thursday night Sumbel this year so it took some time for us to finish. It is always worthwhile as the folk shared many personal things about themselves, their experiences, ancestry and their accomplishments. I hail to all who shared and welcomed the rest of us into your ring of trust. Later that night 5 of us snuck away for a seith session and soon after that 5 more came and joined in. As you all probably know this is as much about Seith that I will talk about due to its personal nature of the individuals involved.
Friday morning breakfast Sven and Lif cooked up biscuits and gravy. Talk about a stick to your ribs how-do-ya-do greeting to your colon. Ugh, so delicious and sinfully good. Special thanks to Sven and Leif for doing such a wonderful job all these years with the Althing kitchen. We love the menu and all the work that you put into doing such a great job. Hail…!
The rest of the morning was spent with a few of the numbers going into town for more ice and provisions. Others hung around and played Kubb, an old Viking strategy game best done with beer in hand. The down time gave others a window of opportunity to seek advice from the Elder Greybeards and Gothi’s alike. The Wunjo Village wasn’t booming but had a steady flow of occupants throughout the weekend. This was good to see.
The Thing reconvened at 2pm focusing on new business which included two new formational Kindred’s applying for probational status, both from Texas, Bifrost Bridge Kindred and another Texas Kindred known as the Woden’s Kindred. Something of a different nature of who will be hosting next years AlThing, as Elizabeth Salix of Hvitulfrheim Kindred petitioned the Thing to host AlThing 36 in Washington State just above the Oregon border at a site near the Columbia River. The majority agreed and it looks like we’re going to Washington next year.
Dinner was served at 6pm with even more guests arriving after work. As the sun set and nightfall came a huge roaring fire took place up by the Thing grounds and a name giving took place. Chris Sommerkorn was asked to step forward after a quick sermon about name giving and was asked to grab the ancient spear of the Alliance and was from there on known as Modi Isason. It had been days before when Isa (Katherine Stewart) approached me with the idea and intent to adopt Chris and thus giving him her name as his new surname. After that we did a group healing for Gothi Jerry Parker in Missouri. Get well soon, Jerry we need you.
And then the mead competition happened…
It seems to me that each year the mead hogs get more and more obnoxious. They had some crazy chant going on that sounded like the slurring a swine cries and joyous calamity. At one moment I looked over and swear that Clayton was side- stepping back and forth like the 1980’s video game, Space Invaders. Although I must say that I don’t think anyone got sick this year, so that’s a plus! A special thanks to Nate Brown who chaired the event and to the first place mead winner David Garrison and his wife Jennifer who was elected queen of the mead hogs. For the rest of the evening most of us loitered outside the Wolfskin tattoo parlor and shared in the merriment of the evening’s festivities.
Breakfast came at 9am sharp as a tack. Great job, Cooks! Some moving slow and others were fresh as a daisy. By this time we had over 90 of the folk on site. At 11 o’clock Devon started the Viking Games. Most of the campers participated in all the events offered like axe throwing, knife throwing, caber toss (light and heavy), archery and the cut & pillage. Children were also encouraged to partake in the event and partake they did. All in all the event was a hit and all who participated had a great time. My hat is off to those who organized the Viking Games and saw it through until its end.
Some time was allowed to go by after the games had ended and many of the folk gathered to hear the old bear speak. This year, as requested Valgard addressed the elements and issues of the spirit world which rolled into a gathering of the Clans. Please note that this is the FIRST time that this has ever been done at an Althing. It was documented and it is now fact. For those of you who couldn’t make it, all of the different Clans gathered and separated into their own species specific groups and strengthened their bonds. This means that the Bear Clan was once again reunited and for the first time, The Raptor Clan, Wolf Clan and Varmint Clans were finally all together.
It wasn’t long before the folk started donning their tunics and ceremonial garb in preparation for the Odin Blot. This year the Gothi on deck was Jubal Dean and let’s just say that he showed up in glorious fashion. Words cannot describe how awesome this man looked. If you get a chance try and find him on any Asatru media such as his website or Face Book. All the folk gathered in the grove with Jubal along with his Kindred came prepared. It was a great and powerful Blot and is one I will never forget. Kudos to the Northern Roots Kindred for putting on such a great ritual.
A grand feast followed until our bellies were full. Then award presentations to all the winners of the Viking Games categories. This year Sven and Lif presented handmade rings for the victors. By this time the auction table was spilling over with more than enough auction items. Special attention was made to the raffle items this year. A handmade horn, quilt, and shield were donated by skilled crafters of the Alliance.
The auction then commenced with George McNew serving as auctioneer backed up by Valgard, Kollr and Magnus. As the night progressed the auction carried on and by the end of the evening almost all the items were sold. In the end fatigue got the better of us all and it was time to throw in the towel and call it a night. I think it worth mentioning, that the Asatru Alliance does not collect dues from its members, we barely cover costs with AlThing attendance fees and Vor Tru subscriptions, so the raffle and auction is our main fund raising method. Those who donated items and those who bid on them are most deeply appreciated.
Sunday morning was the much anticipated Spam breakfast cooked by an elite squad of Spam Gothar. This is tradition followed for decades and will probably never be broken. During this time the folk work very hard to break down their camps and pack up their vehicles and prepare for final departure, while the Gothar cook and serve breakfast to the folk. For meritorious service to the Folk by cooking and serving over 100 sandwiches each, Elizabeth and David were formally ordained into the Gothar by Valgard.
I’d like to sincerely thank all of our steadfast volunteers who worked so hard to make this one of the greatest and most enjoyable AlThing to date. Without your attention to even the smallest of details, we would not be able to proudly say; “We are the Asatru Alliance, we have the greatest folk of all Odin’s Nation”.
In the end we left the campsite on time and headed back into Payson to Valgard’s home to unload and say our final goodbyes. My last reflections of Althing are always the same. Saying goodbye is never an easy thing. All the years we spend and time we invest all seem so bittersweet in the final hours of Sunday. Whenever I say goodbye to any of the greybeards there is always a notion in the back of my head saying that this might be the last time I see this person. Others emphatically say, “I’ll see you next year for sure” and then…nothing. But living in the past or dwelling on the future never really gets us anywhere. It is the here and now where we revel in the joy and laughter with one another and say that in that moment in time, this was the best Althing ever.
Allsherjargothi -The Asatru Alliance