Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Trothmoot 2013!

Hail all!

Trothmoot 2013 starts tomorrow at Tehachapi Mountain Park in California.

The Rede, many of the Stewards and Officers, and many Troth members will be in attendance. 

We are really looking forward to this weekend! We wish everyone who is going a safe trip to and from the park.

For those who cannot attend Trothmoot this year, our members (inspired by our New Zealand Steward) will be undertaking what we call a Rolling Idunna Blót, meaning members around the world will be holding a blót to the goddess Idunna on Saturday, June 1, at 4:00 PM (16:00) in their time zone. Thus, the honoring would "roll" around the globe as 4:00 PM hits each time zone.

Idunna is the Patroness of The Troth and is the Keeper of the Golden Apples that keep the Gods and Goddesses youthful and healthy. May Idunna bless and rejuvenate The Troth and our members around the world. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Right Wing Pagan Intellectual Suicide in Notre Dame

It is with great distress that The Troth reads of the suicide of Dominique Venner in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, on May 21, 2013.  

This was an act of both personal and political nature. Dominique Venner was a Paratroop veteran of the OAS Algeria. The Algerian crisis divided France between the elected De Gaulle, who had chosen to give back Algeria to the native Algerians, and the colonists and mutinying troops, who harboured the dream of a resurgent French Empire, post WWII. The veterans of that war struggled to find meaning with their personal experiences and losses. Dominique Venner found meaning in the pre-Christian identity of his European tribal ancestors. Similar to the Thulean movement of 1930’s Germany, Dominique's embrace of his pre-Christian religious and cultural heritage instilled in him a belief that the greatness of France was in its traditional values and racial identity. The influx of those of other backgrounds into France, and the alteration of the marriage laws to permit same-sex couples to marry were to him attacks on his vision of a French religious, cultural and racial identity.  

The Troth is a registered religious not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the honouring of the Germanic gods. As an organization honouring the pre-Christian faith and culture of our Northern European ancestors, we understand the positive benefits of reconnecting to our cultural roots. We respect the right of all peoples to worship as their conscience dictates, but we respectfully disagree with Mr. Venner in his belief that people of any racial backgrounds or orientation cannot become a vital part of our culture and nations. The Troth’s understanding of our ancestral heritage has given us the belief that inclusion, rather than exclusion, has always been the foundation of our European heritage.

Mr. Venner’s death was on one level a political act, which, as a not-for-profit religious institution, The Troth has no position on. Mr. Venner’s death was also the loss of a husband and father and the death of a veteran. We ask that all peoples extend their support, whatever their political or religious affiliation, to the family at this time.

The Troth has always worked hard to extend help and direction to our own veterans in learning to use the teachings of our ancestors to incorporate the experience and trauma of military service into a healthy and life affirming context. We regret the loss of each of these wounded warriors, who were not able to integrate their experiences successfully.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oklahoma Tornado Relief Efforts

The information below was provided to The Troth discussion group by Destiny Ballard of Bifrost Way, which is a Troth-affiliated kindred based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

We in The Troth wish to express our condolences to those who were impacted by the tornado, and we are grateful to have local members of The Troth and other Heathen groups actively engaged in relief efforts. We stand in solidarity with them in this time of crisis. May the gods and goddesses bless their work and bring comfort to those in need.

------------------

Hail the List!

Writing to report that all known Troth members and extended heathen folk in Oklahoma have been accounted for and we are now regrouping and figuring out how to best help those in need. No one has suffered injuries or loss of property. There have been no reports of harm to extended family either.

Access to the affected areas is limited and local crews are asking for those wishing to extend their help to start with monetary donations and if within distance of a drop off point to offer assistance through donations of requested items for those who have been displaced.

Central Corridor Heathens has started a collection, which can be accessed here:

Text based monetray donations can be made here:
TEXT BASED DONATION INFORMATION: STORM to 80888 for The Salvation Army USA. REDCROSS to 90999 for Redcross, or FOOD to 32333 for Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Each text is for $10 charged to your phone bill.

For those in Oklahoma and surrounding areas Admiral Express is accepting donation of the following items only at these drop off points to be delivered to relief sites throughout Oklahoma:

Diapers
Bottled Water
Shovels
Buckets
Work Gloves
Heavy Duty Rakes
Heavy Duty Trash Bags
Wheel Barrows
Gatorade
Wet Wipes
Individually wrapped snacks
Hand Sanitizer
Sun Screen
Towels
Batteries
Flashlights

Tulsa/Broken Arrow
1823 N Yellowwood Ave, Broken Arrow, OK
918.249.4000

Oklahoma City
4020 Will Rodgers Pkwy, Oklahoma City, OK
405.942.6060

Joplin, MO
1122 N Illinois Ave, Joplin, MO
417.781.2343

Springfield, MO
1794-5 N Woodview, Nixa MO
417.429.2752

Springdale, AR
855 Clayton St Sguit B, Springdale AR
417.429.2752

FURTHER RESOURCES

American Red Cross

The American Red Cross has several shelters open in Oklahoma and Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles have begun delivering hot meals throughout the affected areas. The Red Cross is also working to link loved ones in Moore who are OK through a website called Safe and Well

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is activating disaster response teams and mobile feeding units to help residents and rescuers in Moore, as well as in other locations in the Plains and the Midwest that were impacted by tornadoes. Make a donation by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY. If you're sending a check make sure you put the words "Oklahoma Tornado Relief" on the check, and mail it to: The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 12600, Oklahoma City, OK. 73157.

Operation USA

Los Angeles-based international relief agency Operation USA announced it's providing emergency aid where needed to community-based health organizations across Oklahoma. Donate online, by phone at 1-800-678-7255, or by check made out to Operation USA, 7421 Beverly Blvd., PH, Los Angeles, CA 90036. You can also donate $10 by texting AID to 50555. Corporate donations of bulk quantities of disaster-appropriate supplies are also being requested.

Samaritan's Purse

Samaritan's Purse, which provided relief to residents of Moore after the devastating tornado in 1999, deployed two Disaster Relief Units from their North Carolina headquarters before dawn on Tuesday. One will be based in Moore, and the other in Shawnee. Samaritan's Purse is looking for volunteers to help with the relief effort.  You can donate online or by phone at 1-800-528-1980. To give by mail, please send donations to: Samaritan's Purse, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607-3000.

Save the Children

Save the Children is mobilizing staff to provide support, relief and recovery services to communities and families in Oklahoma. The organization is prepared to deploy their Child Friendly Space kits in shelters, creating safe play areas for kids. They are also ready to deploy infant and toddler hygiene materials to support young children displaced from their homes. Text TWISTER to 20222 to donate $10 to Save the Children and help the response effort. You can donate online or call 1-800-728-3843.

Operation Blessing International

Operation Blessing International, a Virginia-based humanitarian group, is deploying to Moore, after working on tornado relief in Granbury, Texas, following last week's storm there.  A caravan of OBI emergency equipment was sent to Moore, including a construction unit, mobile command center, trucks full of tools and supplies, and a team of construction foremen. You can donate to the group online  or donate by phone at 1-800-730-2537.

Let us heal with good words carried forth into good actions,
Destiny 
Biforst Way Kindred

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Heathen Woman Stands for the Fallen

Outsiders have always liked to portray Heathenry as male dominated, both in gods and in practice.  Heathens themselves understand this differently.  While we give honour and reverence to both male and female ancestors, it is the Disir, the female ancestors that we turn to, even before our gods, for the protection of our line.  In peace or in war, in childbirth, or in loss, it is to the Disir the Heathens of ancient times turned first, even as it is to the living wives and mothers we turn for advice and solace.  I speak now of one such wife and mother who has fought for her own, to win the right for all Heathen service folk to be buried under Mjolnir, even as Christians can be buried under the cross, or Wiccans the pentacle.

In August 2012, a Heathen mother buried her Marine son, Shane.  He had been raised and taught his duties by his Heathen parents, had lived under the Hammer, and she deemed he should lie in ground hallowed by it, and under its sign.   Her husband Mark, himself a retired Airman Vietnam veteran she had already buried, at a time where the faith he lived and taught his son was forbidden to place on the stone the nation provided its military dead.  Here is a woman who had given her husband and son to the service of their nation, and then to the grave.  She had given more than most, more than we dare ask of any, but not more than she felt was required.

Those cultures remembered as “warrior cultures” in European history, the Germanics and the Spartans have one unifying factor; they were both hated and ridiculed for the strength and independence of their women, even as they were feared for the strength and courage of their men.  You cannot have the one without the other.  Plutarch tell us the last words a Spartan woman would give her husband or son marching to war were these “come back with your shield, or on it.” Since you could not flee with your heavy shield, this was a simple statement that she would rather have you come back an honoured fallen, who stood his ground, than a live coward who betrayed his folk.

Tacitus tells us the Germanic women would take it farther, following their husbands and sons to the battlefield, placing themselves where they could be seen, that any man who turned from the line would see their courage, and take heart, or see that they would not flee, and be shamed into standing.

“Moreover, close to the field of battle are lodged all the nearest and most interesting pledges of nature. Hence they hear the doleful howlings of their wives, hence the cries of their tender infants. These are to each particular the witnesses whom he most reverences and dreads; these yield him the praise which affect him most. Their wounds and maims they carry to their mothers, or to their wives, neither are their mothers or wives shocked in telling, or in sucking their bleeding sores. Nay, to their husbands and sons whilst engaged in battle, they administer meat and encouragement" (Tacitus Germania Chapter 7).

If you would judge the strength of a people, it is always to the women that I would look.  Where the women are strong, proud, and capable the folk are strong.  Where the women must stoop, lest they stand taller than their men, where the capability of women is seen as a threat to the perceived power of their men, then the folk becomes weak.  Let us examine the strength of one Heathen woman.

Blessed with a son, Mark and his wife raised him in the Heathen faith, and taught him the ethics of his ancestors.  When death took her husband, his service as an Airman to his nation in Vietnam earned for him the right of military burial, but the sign of his faith was not permitted upon his headstone.  Although he lived under the Hammer, he was not given the choice to be buried under it.  Seeing her son Shane follow his father’s footsteps both into living heathen, and serving his country, she proudly watched him march away to war with the USMC.

In time she got to bury a second fallen soldier, as her son’s heart muscle failed where his courage did not.  This time, other symbols than crosses were permitted for fallen servicemen, but the Hammer of Thor was not among them.  Husband and father given to the service of the state, she was determined to fight for them as hard as they fought for their hearths and homes.  A full year of struggle, assisted by various Heathen groups resulted in the VA sending her the letter notifying her that her husband and son’s blank headstones would be replaced with headstones crowned with the Hammer of Thor.  As they lived their lives under the faith, they will lie in death under the sign.  Because of her struggle, future Heathens who serve the US military may be buried under the Hammer sign.  Hail the Disir, hail to the mother.  We lift the horn to your fallen husband and son, we will keep their names ever bright, as they are our bannermen for all future Heathen fallen.

John T. Mainer
Western Canada Steward
The Troth

Friday, May 10, 2013

Thor's Hammer Approved for Military Headstone

Below is the official Troth statement regarding approved request for placement of a Thor's Hammer on a military headstone:

To our knowledge, current procedure to add an emblem of faith to a military headstone requires that the next of kin for a deceased Veteran request it. Josh Heath, of the Open Halls Project, has requested information in writing from the Department of Veteran's Affairs, but at this time we do not know who the Heathen service member was. In Heathen tradition, we greatly honor our slain warriors and offer Blóts and Fainings to them as the Einherjar, those warriors collected by Odin and Freya to take to their halls in Asgard. We are ever grateful to this fallen service member, both for their sacrifice to our country and for requesting Mjöllnir, or the Thor's Hammer, for their headstone. We solemnly anticipate the time we can honor this newest of the Einherjar by name. 

Any additional questions regarding The Troth's position on this very important issue may be addressed to troth-questions@thetroth.org.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Trothmoot 2013

Hail all!

Trothmoot 2013 is only three weeks away!

You may have seen the Trothmoot 2013 Frequently Asked Questions document posted on The Troth's Facebook group. The organizers of this year's Trothmoot have been working arduously to create a meaningful and memorable event of ceremony, frith, fellowship, and fun.


We are all looking forward to a fantastic visit to Tehachapi Mountain Park in California!

Hail The Troth!


Monday, May 6, 2013

The Troth's Response to Evan Ebel and Asatru's Role in the Murder of Tom Clements

For the context of this response, please visit the following sites:
The Wild Hunt: An Infamous Murder and Asatru in Prison
CBS 4 Denver: Clements' Murder Suspect Practiced Controversial Religion in Prison

The murder of Colorado Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements was a disturbing and tragic event. The fact that the murder suspect, Evan Ebel, associates himself with the Asatru religion is an outrage to the Asatru and wider Heathen communities. Although Ebel’s culpability remains to be determined by a jury of his peers in a fair trial, the racism and radicalization of inmates in the prison systems is a topic of conversation and of action within the Heathen community.



Various forms of Heathenry, including Asatru, are growing rapidly in virtually all prison systems in the United States. In many situations, the only exposure that inmates have to any of the Heathen paths consists of materials tinged with racism and white supremacy. These destructive materials are passed from inmate to inmate and are used as tools by those with a racist agenda to foster a false sense of security based on little more than the color of one’s skin. These materials do not reflect the opinions, the practices, or the daily reality for the vast majority of those who self-identify as Heathen outside of the prison system. Thus, the inmates are being led into circumstances and practices that are antithetical to historical and current Heathenry. 



Whether inmates have access to positive Heathen influences is part of an overarching issue that has an impact on the whole of the Heathen community. In many cases, the perception of Heathenry by the American public is defined by the radical racist elements from the prison population, which leads to a widespread misunderstanding of what Heathenry is and who Heathens are. When these radicalized inmates are released into the general population, the history of their experience and influence will become an even bigger problem for us than it is now. The Troth is proactively undertaking efforts to thwart the racist agenda by increasing the availability of Heathen materials with positive, non-racist messages through the creation of a Heathen prison services program called In-Reach.

Quite a number of Stewards and members of The Troth have been involved in visitation services to prisons for many years. In December of 2011, the first pilot program that would lead to In-Reach began in a New Jersey correctional facility as a joint effort of the New Jersey Troth Steward and the Pennsylvania-based Distelfink Sippschaft. The pilot program has since expanded to two facilities and is preparing to add a third.

In June 2012 at Trothmoot, The Troth's High Rede began discussions about the need for a Heathen Prison Services program. The Rede took the pilot program's experiences into consideration and decided to proceed with the creation of a program proposal. The goal was to have the program created prior to Trothmoot 2013. The program was renamed In-Reach and the proposal was accepted and approved by the Rede on April 17, 2013.



Part of The Troth's Mission Statement is to welcome all people, whatever their religious, cultural, or ancestral background, gender or sexual orientation, who have developed or wish to develop a relationship with our Gods and Goddesses, and would like to know more about Asatru (and thus implying other Heathen paths). It is, therefore, consistent with our Mission to increase the presence of Troth materials and to facilitate and to monitor volunteer visitation in correctional facilities throughout the country.

As an international Heathen organization, The Troth is uniquely situated to provide these services, to train and to vet volunteers, and to stand before the media and the prison administrators as a representative voice of Heathenry. The purpose of this program is to educate the inmates and facility administrators about Heathenry and to aid the administrators in the provision of Heathen services, including ceremonies. Additionally, this program will counteract misinterpretations about Heathenry and conduct outreach to the administrators, including Chaplains. 



The Troth takes the issue of racist radicalization very seriously. The In-Reach program is a major component in our effort to stand for the true values of our religion. We will continue to investigate other options for carrying out our Mission and for building relationships with other institutions and organizations that share our goals for a peaceful and stable society.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Welcome!

As most of our membership knows, The Troth is currently in the early stages of a complete overhaul to the organization's website (www.thetroth.org)

The purpose of this blog is not to replace the current website. Instead, it will serve as an easy-to-update resource to keep Troth members informed of various organizational positions on issues that relate to daily Heathen living. 

This blog will also allow the organization to provide official position statements on issues that affect the interaction between the Heathen community and the wider public.

Please bear with us as we tweak the formatting of this blog.

Thank you!