Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Kindred Godi And Gythia

The Kindred Godi And Gythia Cover The AFA also introduced organizational structures, based on the Icelandic Eddas, Sagas, and other lore, that have proven enduring in the Nordic Pagan community. At the local level, Heathens who worship together may form associations known as kindreds, also known as hearths or fellowships and by other names. The members of such an association are bound together by oaths of loyalty and mutual assistance, forming a supportive, often closely knit community. These local organizations range in size from as few as several members to as many as 100. An important characteristic of these associations is their generally democratic and nonhierarchical nature, with decisions made by discussion and consensus and leaders elected to various administrative posts, often on a rotating basis. Powerful personalities do, however, dominate, and there is a continuing tendency for dissatisfied minority factions to split away from the main group and form new associations. There is also a further category of Nordic Pagans—“solitaries” who practice rituals alone, as are also found in Wicca and other modern Pagan traditions.

Kindreds meet With Other kindreds for regional meetings known as Things, an Old Norse term referring to the ancient Scandinavian practice, well described in the Icelandic Saga literature, of gathering together at regular intervals through the year to reaffirm laws, oaths, and contractual relationships; determine the leadership of local communities; mediate disputes; conduct rituals and commercial transactions; and feast and celebrate. For Nordic Pagans living in the United States today, many of the legal and quasi-governmental functions of the ancient Thing have been taken over by the civic structures of American society, but the Things remain important occasions for solemn worship and reaffirmation of oaths as well as not-so-solemn feasting and celebration, games, and competitions. There are also workshops offering Instruction in traditional Nordic crafts and skills and merchants selling wares such as drinking horns, hand-carved runes, medieval-style clothing, small metal hammers of Thor worn as medallions, and other Nordic paraphernalia. Several American Nordic Pagans from the New York metropolitan area who were interviewed for this article spoke of a regional gathering known as the East Coast Thing (ECT) as a seminal event in solidifying links between followers of Asatru and Heathenry in the area.

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Aleister Crowley - The Equinox Vol I No I
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