AlThing 39 Report

By Kollr Logmather

A few days before the Althing and the gathering of the tribes, I had heard from Valgard that we were expecting about ninety of the folk by Saturday and many ceremonies of the folk to be done. I couldn’t help but feel the excitement of our annual gathering. Seeing old friends and getting them charged up is not only what I needed but I trust it’s the same feelings of the Kindred’s will be attending.

Althing 39 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 for our annual pilgrimage to the Thing site. By the time I got there they had already left to set up at Sharp Creek. I was a bit tardy but hey, I made it. Already on site were our Texas comrades; Bagger & Doreen from Texas, followed soon after by the Presidential Palace with Katherine and Hoopie.

The banners were hung thanks to the Hammers of Asgard crew, and The World Tree tent/Moebius Enterprises and Frigga’s Finery pavilions went up amongst all the organized chaos. Before we knew it camp was taking shape. Other of the folk began to arrive, throughout the day, including a large contingent from Colorado, and even Magnus from Southeast Kindred was able to attend this year.

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. Cookies had been sent up the monuntain by Glen & Mare from Innergarth Kindred, who had not been able to make the trip themselves due to emergencies. They sent literally dozens of homemade cookies, keeping everyone on a sugar buzz! 52 of the folk were present at the fire that evening witch was a record. Shortly after that most of us turned in for the night and others enjoyed fellowship by the fire circle.

The banners were hung thanks to Derek and crew and The World Tree tent went up amongst all the organized chaos. Before we knew it camp was taking shape. 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. 47 were present at the fire that evening which was a record. 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. Around the same time at the main area auction items began to gather and take up the whole distance of the Long House. This year there were so many items to be displayed as well as something from Valgard’s private stash, a portrait of the Old Bear himself. Other offerings were brought and we thank everyone for their kind donations which took up an entire section of the auction tables.

Tyr Blot came in the mid afternoon. The group usually leads a procession to the sacred grove where Blot in honor of Tyr and blessings of steel were made. This year the circle and alter were pre-set and folk gathered around accordingly. I added incense to the circle upon entering it as well as some impromptu adlibbing to the ritual. It ended up being a successful Blot with all weapon steel held high in the end saluting Tyr and hailing the Wolf Binder with a powerful chorus of Hail Tyr! This powerful chorus of the Folk reverbed through the glen.

After the Tyr Blot the Thing session was called to order. Kannari served as Thing Speaker and Valgard served as secretary. Another Phoenix Kindred was accepted as a full voting Alliance Kindred and another Kindred petitioning for probational status from Tucson All total 18 Kindreds of our Holy Alliance were present.

Later that night Thorvald from the Gladheim Kindred and assistants from Hammers of Asgard and Southern Norse kindreds took charge of the Dinner menu and served up some excellent feast. 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, Thorvald and your hard working kitchen crew 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, 64 to be exact 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.

Friday morning breakfast David, who has completely taken over the kitchen 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 David “Thorvald” and crew for doing such a wonderful job 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 folk going into town for more ice and provisions. The down time gave others a window of opportunity to seek advice from the Elder Greybeards and Gothi’s alike.

The Thing was called to order and proceedings got along quickly. I must say the Thing this year broke records in the fact that it was the fastest proceedings since I can remember and I’ve been around the Alliance for nineteen years. The Arizona Kindreds were voted to host AlThing 40 next year at the same location.

Dinner was served at 6pm with even more guests arriving from 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. Name giving’s were done for a few of the little ones as well as Clayton, Patrick, Chris and Angie receiving their tribal names before the Folk.

The rituals of the Folk came to a close with the welcoming of Cody Marshall into the Bear Clan and ordained as the new chieftain of the Clan. He is now Bjorn Forengi. If you want details regarding the Bears, you’ll have to ask the man himself.

This year’s mead competition started shortly thereafter. It seems to me that each year the mead hogs get more and more obnoxious. However this year it started out rowdy and tapered off as the buzzes overtook them. There were over 16 entrees and after about the eighth carafes went around the hogs got more quiet to a dull roar. It was nice and took nothing away from the spirit of the competition

Saturday breakfast came at 9am sharp. Great job, Cooks! Some moving slow and others were fresh as a daisy including yours truly. At 11 o’clock Russell started the Viking Games. Most of the campers participated in all the events offered like axe throwing, knife throwing, caber toss (light and heavy) and the hammer throw. This year the archery competition was allowed by the camp hosts and the cut & pillage course survived the assault by the Viking children. All in all the event was a hit and all who participated had a great time. My hat is off to Hammers of Asgard who organized the Viking Games and saw it through until its end.

A special thanks goes out to Sharon and Dave of Southern Norse Kindred for hosting the Kinder Hof where 25 of the Asakids studied the lore, made arts and crafts, and most notably of all, they produced a play where the kids enacted the war between the AEsir and Vanir. They had marvelous costumes, cardboard weapons, the walls of Asgard for a set, and recited the tales of the Gods and Goddesses in this most import chapter of our Asatru lore.

It wasn’t long before the folk started donning their tunics and ceremonial garb in preparation for the Odin Blot. This year the Gothi was Ottar and wife, Skogil who are members of Calasa Kindred but have found a home in Payson. All the folk gathered in the grove as Ottar sent warders to the corners to protect the folk from any intruders seen or unseen. It was a great and powerful Blot and is one I will never forget. Hail to the Gothi for a great Blot!

A grand feast followed until our bellies were full. Then award presentations to all the winners of the Viking Games categories. 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. Handmade items were donated by skilled crafters of the Alliance. As the night went on 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.

Support for the auction and raffle is critical to support the Asatru Alliance, we do not charge dues, and the AlThing fees charged do not cover the total costs of the event. This year we raised over $3000 to support the Alliance with our various projects.

Later that night, 8 of us stayed by the fire for a seith session which was total judgment call that I left up to Isa and didn’t take her long to say, “Go for it.” 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. If you know anybody involved in the session that night feel free to ask them of their experience

Sunday morning was an event highly anticipated by the Folk. The Spam breakfast cooked by an elite squad of Spam Gothar and three new Spam Gothi’s, who were sworn in and ritually awarded with their own sacred Spammer after completing a vigorous course on the proper cooking and serving of the sacred pork sandwich. The breakfast was then blessed by Valgard, the Spamjargothi with a huge Spammer. This is tradition upheld for decades and will probably never be broken.

Following breakfast, the folk worked very hard to break down their camps and pack up their vehicles and prepare for final departure. In the end we left the campsite on time and headed back into Payson 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.

Kollr Logmather

Allsherjargothi -The Asatru Alliance