AlThing 27 Report
By Valgard Murray
AlThing 27 Report
The die was cast during the business meeting of AlThing 26 in Memphis, the Arizona Kindreds would host the next AlThing. So at our 28th Annual YuleFest, Arizona Kindred, The Wanderer Kindred, and The Nine Kindred of Arizona set to work, appointing committee heads, and discussing plans for this historic event.
Throughout the year final plans and preparations were made, so by time AlThing 27 began, we were prepared to host the best gathering of the Asatru Alliance to date. So when the trucks and trailers rolled into Valgards drive on Wodanesday the 19th of Shedding, we were ready to load up and go…
Tyr’s Grove is located in the mountains of central Arizona deep in a pine and oak forest at 6,500 feet elevation. To say that the scenery from the grove is spectacular and enchanting is an understatement, there is a 360 degree panoramic view of the mountains and forest that is perfect for setting the mood and spiritual enlightenment for the days to come. The Grove also has a resident herd of Rocky Mountain elk which adds even more to the ambiance of the event.
When our caravan arrived at the Thing site about 30 minutes later, Robert, Oskil, Kollr, Valgard, Jan and Tom, Clayton, and James and Misty, set to work unloading massive quantities of supplies, canopies, tables, tents, stoves, firewood, and literally the kitchen sink, after hours of just plain hard work, we were now ready to receive the folk. We were not disappointed.
Before long Vince, Dani, Patti, Sterling, and the kids rolled up with their motor hof. George and Sue with their 5th wheeler, Amber and Sigurd, Jason and Richard, followed by Cliff and his family, Mitch, Darren, then Randy, Aundrea, Cain, and Bobby, followed by Randy and Sarah. Eleven kindreds were now present and ready to go. By time that the evening meal was served I estimate we had over 35 of the folk on site.
Following dinner, a fire was prepared in the ritual center and preparation for our customary introduction ritual which we call Mead and Cookies. This is an old ritual going back to the beginning of the Things in Vinland which serves to break the ice by allowing everyone to comfortably introduce themselves to the folk. Mead and quality cookies were dispensed, and so it began…
After the introductions many of the folk remained around the fire to celebrate happy reunions, and to make new friends. The fact that the evening temps were dipping into the 40’s may have also reinforced the need for warmth and kinship in the circle by the fire.
On Thorsday morning after the traditional Hammer blessing of the feast, we enjoyed a brief respite over breakfast which would prepare us for a busy day ahead.
In early afternoon we gathered at the ritual site for the opening ritual of the AlThing. Valgard formally welcomed everyone and then led a dissertation on the lore and importance of Tyr to our proceedings and to the blot in His honor which we were about to begin.
After a moment of meditation the procession formed and walked up the mountain to the blot site. Valgard opened the blot with galdor and the ancient blessing of the ve with crossed swords and spear. After the invocation to Tyr and the blessings then bestowed on the folk, Valgard assisted by Mitch Zebrowski then witnessed the blessing of steel.
At the conclusion of the blot the traditional salute to Tyr began with our weapons held high into the sky and, three throaty cheers to Tyr.
The folk then gathered at the Thing site for the opening session of the law body. Kollr Logmather served as Thing Speaker and Oskil Foringi as Thing Secretary. The Thing itself started with the invocation to Tyr delivered by Randy Milleson, followed by the seating of delegates, the reading of the By Laws, and the delivering of the financial statement by Valgard Murray. After a short discussion on planned legislation and other issues to be dealt with at the following session. The Thing was declared in recess by the Speaker until the following morning.
Later in the afternoon, after the arrival of more families, we gathered at the long house for the blessing of the evening meal which consisted of grilled bratwurst, sauerkraut, baked beans, and dessert.
As dusk approached, a fire was prepared at the ritual center for the AlThing sumbel. Oskil presided, with mead provided by Cliff and Jason of the AZ Nine Kindred. The three traditional rounds of sumbel began with the first round dedicated to Tyr and other High Ones. The second round was dedicated to our heroic dead, and special note was the passing of Sue McNews father the night before who was a veteran of the D Day landings on Utah Beach. A special offering of our finest mead and single malt scotch was offered to this hero of WW 2. by George McNew. Susie had left that morning and flew out of the Phoenix airport to be with her stricken father and her family in Northern California. The third round being the inspiration round was time for boasting, poetry, singing, and proper honor to kith, kindred, and kin. Following the traditional blessing, the sumbel was closed, and the social began around the fire.
As the grove grew quiet in late evening, one could hear the elk bugling in the ravine below, as well as the occasional howling and barking of a troop of coyotes not too far to the east of the grounds.
Friggasday morning saw the camp bustling with activity, the World Tree raven tent was erected and the inventory displayed on the tables. Over at the long house, the cooks were buy preparing the morning meal which was a build it yourself breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, ham and bacon, cheese, and hash browns wrapped in a flour tortilla and christened with copious amounts of Tobasco sauce to add some spice to the morning.
After a delicious and nutritious breakfast, we all headed for the Thing Site to open the second session of the Thing. After the custom invocation to Tyr, the delegates were seated, and the work began. Our first order of business were proposals for a change in voting procedures, these were discussed and voted upon and approved. Next the additions to the Tribal Law specifically dealing with the terms of office and duties and responsibilities of both the Law Speaker and the Allsherjargothi were discussed, voted upon, then added to the Law book.. It should be noted that Kollr Logmathers 3 year term of office has expired and that he was no longer serving in that capacity, so an election was then held with Oskil Foringi assuming this post for the next 3 years. It was then announced that Valgard Murray's 9 year term of office would expire at AlThing 28.
The Law Body then head the petitions of two Formational Kindreds which applied for Probational status, after the customary question and answer period, The Nine Kindred of Colorado and Tribe Gungnir's Kindred of the Henge were elected to become Probational Kindreds by the Thing. Next year they can appear again and petition for Full Kindred rights.
The Last order of business brought before the Thing was which kindred would host the next AlThing. The Great Plains Kindred bravely stepped forward and offered their proposal for acceptance by the delegates, after some discussion and offers of support by those assembled, it was agreed that the next AlThing would be held in Oklahoma and hosted by the Great Plains Kindred. Following this last action, the Thing Speaker adjourned the Law Session for the duration of the weekend.
In late afternoon Valgard's grandson was involved in a bicycle accident on the Thing grounds, and we had to take him to the emergency room at the Payson Regional Hospital, it seems that he broke his right leg in 2 places and had to have surgery to repair the fractures. As of this writing, Skylar is doing fine and walking quite well with the aid of crutches.
Soon after our departure, the dinner horn sounded at the long house, and the folk gathered to enjoy a hot evening meal consisting of home cooked sloppy joe sandwiches green beans and potato salad.
After dinner everyone gathered at the ritual grove for Ceremonies of the Folk. Vince and Dani received an Asatru wedding presided over by Gothi Kollr. Valgard then witnessed the Oath of the Gothar sword by Randy Milleson, and then Valgard and George McNew took the rite of blood brotherhood on the ring and the spear.
This concluded the ceremonies in the ritual center, so we then returned to the long house for the 23rd Annual Mead Brewing Competition hosted by the Brewers Guild of the Asatru Alliance. This event was chaired by our able doctor Kollr and 11 esteemed judges who were also brewers, and a huge unruly horde of Mead Hogs, the deliberations began. When the dust finally settled, our own Kollr won first place, followed by our other Doctor present, Mitch Zebrowski taking a hard won second place. This concluded our scheduled events of the day.
On Satyrday morning after another hot breakfast served by our dutiful cooking staff, The Wanderer Kindred hosted the 23rd Annual Viking Games on the field of honor. Events for the kinder were held first, then a number of events were conducted for the able adults on the field. The classic Pillage and Cut was ran. Archery, spear throw, Hammer throw, varpa, and the tug of war as well.
Next we held the Children's Hour, where first we had planned a very well thought out puppet show for everyone hosted by Dani and Patti of the Wanderers, the wind had come up suddenly and destroyed their stage...we hope to continue the show at our YuleFest celebration later this year. The children had to settle for a coloring contest instead. This front moving in would prove to be the leading edge of a tropical depression which before the day and night was over, would drop over 4” of rain on the grove.
In late afternoon, Gothi Kollr presided over the customary Odinn Blot of the AlThing, which allowed many who arrived after Thorsday's Tyr Blot to partake in the ancient sacrament in the grove.
Late in the afternoon, the gjallerhorn sounded at the long house and summoned the folk to the Grand Feast of the AlThing. Our devoted kitchen staff had prepared a sumptuous meal of classic portions,
and after the meal was blessed by the Hammer, over 60 of the folk lined up to feast on grilled beef and ham steaks, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, green beans, a tossed green salad, dinner rolls, and dessert made in the dutch ovens.
During the Feast, the raffles to benefit the Asatru Alliance and the World Tree Outreach Ministries were held, Mitch Zebrowski was kind enough to donate the Kirby Wise sax back to the Alliance which he had won the previous year, Valgard had donated a Asatru ritual package to the World Tree which consisted of an oak bowli, oath ring, Thorrs Hammer, and gander. Well, Mitch won the sax again, and was generous enough to give it to Gothi Randy Millisson who would use it for his kindred blots and rituals. Amy Venezia won the Ritual Package from the World Tree, which is quite understandable because she is my administrative assistant for the ministry, the Gods have their way...I might add, that about this time the Thunder God crashed his Hammer and the heavens opened up with a torrent of rain which would continue on and off through the next morning. I might also add, that during all this time, one heard nothing but praise and Hail Thor and Hail Freyr throughout the grove. For the forest needed every drop of the precious gift.
Before too long, it was time for the AlThing fund raising auction to benefit the general fund. Throughout the year, many members of the Alliance had been sending me a wide range of items which would appeal to everyone's tastes and pocketbook. We had a rare oil painting depicting a scene from Gisli's Saga donated by George Berry of the Arizona Kindred which brought us $800.00, also an exquisite brisingamen necklace donated by Amy Venezia of Blood Eagle Kindred, also brought $800.00 for the Alliance. There was also music CD's, DVD's, fine meads, backed goods, handy items such as a flashlight, a beer bottle opener, and a fine corncob pipe, as well as books, posters, a magnificent statue of Odin donated by Mitch Zebrowski of Wolf Binder Kindred, and many other items which all added up to bring the Alliance over $4,000.00 from the auction.
I would like to thank, George McNew our auctioneer, as well as Vince who helped me with the all important paperwork. But most all, those of you who donated items and those who bid for them. Without your sacrifice and dedication to our Alliance, we would be much less indeed.
Following the auction, the rain let up long enough for some to visit around the campfire, while others met under the long house where live music was played by Helgi on the guitar, and many of us just hung out enjoying each others company for the last evening of the AlThing.
On Sunnasday morning, the rain continued to pour while the Spam Gothar cooked the final meal of the AlThing. While Valgard manned the stove, Mitch, Keldan, Regin Lif, and Helgi sliced 9 cans of Spam, cracked almost 100 eggs, and the muffins had cheese applied in the ancient manner. Although it was rather cold outside, everyone enjoyed a hot meal to start them on their journey home.
Fortunately, in spite of the weather and road conditions, everyone made their flights okay, and everyone made it home safely.
For the record, I think that AlThing 27 was a huge success, there hasn't been this much harmony and co-operation among the folk in many years. Everything went almost flawlessly, and the folk have proven their dedication to our common cause.
My sincerest thanks to all who made the sacrifices necessary to attend, and those of you who worked so hard for your committees. Jan you and your hard working crew did an excellent job as kitchen boss from the beginning to the end. The food was great, we had lots of it, and the menu was perfect, the bar of excellence was raised another notch. Hail the cooks!
Vince, James, Helgi and the Wanderer Kindred shined with your dedication to the Viking Games, your penchant for detail and perfection showed.
Kollr and Oskil ran the Thing business in a professional manner, and because of planning and focus, the Thing session went smoothly and were very productive.
The Nine Kindred of Arizona, my special thanks for the great amount of excellent mead which was donated to the sumbel and other events, you guys rock!
Also a special thanks is in order to the roadies, who helped pack and transport material to the Thing site, and then in the pouring rain, pack it up and then transport it to my home in Payson, and then hang around long enough to help unload and stow everything correctly. To Kollr, Oskil, Cliff, and Sigurd, mange takk!
And so it goes, at the completion of yet another historic gathering of the folk, planning has now begun on the next...Hail Tyr! Hail the Folk! Hail the Asatru Alliance!