Thursday, February 11, 2016

Who's Hijacking Who?

Asatru before the folkish came along,
er... maybe
The SJW element in Asatru is fond of saying that those of us on the folkish side of the Folkish/Universalist divide have "hijacked" Asatru. As if, Asatru was a happy meadow filled with joyful prancing hippy-dippy universalist Asatruar from the early 1970's until... whenever the Freikorps units of folkish Asatruar stormed in, suddenly claiming the word Asatru to describe their own religion (or to get a religious "cover" for their real, but naturally hidden, beliefs), and thus tainting the universalist vision of Asatru with our nasty "pride in our European ancestry" ways.

The reality is quite a bit different, of course.

Steve McNallen, acknowledged as the "founder of Asatru in America" by no less an authority than Stephen Grundy (Warder of the Lore for the Troth)*, had founded the Asatru Free Assembly in 1974, which was from the start what we would call folkish in orientation, but still stopping short of (and actually outright condemning) actual racism. In fact, it might be said that in the earliest days of Asatru, the first fault line was not folkish vs. universalist, but folkish vs. racist.

The big split between the Folkish and Universalist camps happened in 1986/7, with the dissolution of the old Asatru Free Assembly and the creation of the Ring of Troth (now known as The Troth) and the Asatru Alliance. The Alliance has always been what we would today call folkish, while the Troth was neutral on the question of folkishness vs. universalism at its inception:
The Ring of Troth, as originally conceived, was to act as a body for the training and licensing of a "priesthood" -- to be called Elders. At first, it also steadfastly refused to make any overt statements concerning matters of race or sexual orientation. ... It seems that once the door to "tolerance" was opened, the Ring of Troth was quickly and completely transformed into a "politically correct" version of the troth. (Edred Thorsson, A Book of Troth, p. 19)
And of course McNallen went on to found a new organization, the Asatru Folk Assembly in 1994, which is also explicitly folkish.

Althing XII (1991)
So, when we have a history of Asatru in America since 1972 being dominated by folkish organizations, when the history of Asatru in America is the history of folkish Astru until 1992 or so, and an organized voice for universalist Heathenry wasn't even around for the first twenty years, and only then do we start hearing that it's the universalist view that's mainstream within Asatru (a view that would have been unheard-of prior to the post-Thorsson Ring of Troth era), the answer to the question posed in the title of this article becomes clear.

Of the two strains of Asatru under discussion, one was here long before the other. One was not only the mainstream of Asatru for twenty years, but completely monopolized its institutions and represented the majority of Asatruar at the time. The other is a latecomer, trying desperately to change the fundamental character of the Asatru religion in order to better reflect its own liberal political biases and agenda.

It's the unversalists who have hijacked Asatru, not the folkish.

And we're going to take it back.

* "Steve McNallen, the founder of Asatru in the United States and leader of the Asatru Folk Assembly..." (God in Flames, God in Fetters, introduction page x, by Stephan Grundy, Troth Publications, 2015)

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