Asatru Folk Assembly
The Asatru Folk Assembly was founded in California in 1994
by Stephen A. McNallen, the pioneer American advocate of
the magical polytheistic Norse Neo-Paganism that became an
international religious community in North America and Europe
in the last quarter of the twentieth century. McNallen
founded the original North American group of the Asatru (literally,
loyalty to the Germanic deities), the Viking Brotherhood,
while a college student in Texas in 1971. (Unknown to
him at the time, other groups were being created simultaneously
elsewhere a periodical, The Odinist, was first published in
Canada; the Committee for the Restoration of the Odinic Rite
was organized in England; and the Asatru movement emerged
in Iceland.) That organization became the Asatru Free Assembly
(AFA) later in the decade. In 1980 the AFA held the first annual
Allthing (national gathering). McNallen also assembled a
calendar for seasonal observances, wrote a three-volume book
of rituals, and produced a series of booklets and tapes. However,
in 1987 McNallen, feeling burned out with his leadership
of the assembly, disbanded it and allowed it to continue
through several other organizations, primarily the Asatru Alliance.
After serving several years as a junior high school teacher,
McNallen decided to return to active leadership in the faith
community he had largely founded. In 1992 he restarted The
Runestone, the old assembly’s periodical. Then in 1994, he created
the Asatru Folk Assembly, modeled on the previous assembly.
The new assembly continues the beliefs and practices appropriate
to the acknowledgment of the ancient Norse deities.
New local kindred groups have been organized and the annual
gatherings revived. As with the former AFA, several guilds (special
interest groups) have emerged, and Wolf Age, a periodical
for the Warrior Guild, appeared. The new AFA has even gone
to court to protect the remains of an ancient man, believed to
be caucasoid, discovered in America.
As of the end of the 1990s, the revived assembly is still very
much a small emerging organization. It may be contacted at
P.O. Box 445, Nevada City, CA 95959. Website http
www.runestone.org.
Sources
McNallen, Stephen A. Rituals of Asatru. 3 vols. Breckenridge,
Tex. Asatru Free Assembly, 1985.
———. What Is the Norse Religion Turlock, Calif. The Author,
n.d.

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