Sunday, October 20, 2013

AFA Winternights 2013

I had the very good fortune to spend Saturday in Pennsylvania attending the now-annual AFA Winternights event. Unfortunately, although I had originally planned to spend the whole weekend at the event, the world conspired to not make that possible. Still, I spent the day, and was able to bring my daughter.

Gotta say it was a blast, as was last year's event, and I can't wait to go again next year.

I could mention the excellent Dísablót, and the Tyr blót where various weapons were blessed, and the auction, and the talk by Steve McNallen on ritual and the nature of the Gods. All were superb as expected. But what I would like to mention is the simple act of hanging out with fellow Ásatrúar.

What I love about these sorts of events is that I come away feeling energized. It's all too easy to live in a bubble, talking with the same folks day in and day out, and doing ritual with the same group of people, and even interacting with folks online.

But I find there is something incalculable about actually being on the same land with new people (and old people with whom one has not been in touch with in years, as I had the great good fortune to do). There's something energizing about being in a ritual with people from all over the country (indeed, all over the world, in this particular case), who have come together to worship our Gods and honor our Folk. I, in particular, love to see the little variations in the way different people from different places do things. Whether it's the blessing of the food before the meal, or the structure of the blót itself, I love to see the various ways we all find to do things - different, yet recognizable.

We all benefit not only from the cross-pollination of ideas, but also from the simple act of human contact. Get off the computer, get out of the rut of your usual group, and go honor the Gods with someone new. At the very least, you will have an opportunity to learn and share.

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