Thursday, September 17, 2015

The First Days at NewGrange Hall

Hwær cwom symbla gesetu? Where are the seats at the feast?
Hwær sindon seledreamas?  Where are the revels in the hall?

                                                   -The Wanderer (Old English Poem - 10th C)

Oak prepared for carving 
The call went out, and was answered.  40 AFA members and friends came, armed with paint rollers, weed whackers, hammers, chainsaws, post hole diggers and a lot of energy.  We built fences, cleared land, painted the inside of the hall, forged hinges for the new doors and put our hearts into the NewGrange Hall.   

We certainly raised the interest of the locals in Brownsville, many stopping by and inquiring about the our activities. The Grange Hall has been a part of this rural community for many years, and we discovered that it had gone through many different incarnations, a school, a church, even a youth center.  Some of the folks we talked to were relieved that it was wasn’t being turned into a bar and many were just happy that it was occupied and that we weren’t going to paint it purple!  One local just asked us a simple burning question ‘You don’t vote for Obama, do you?!'

Families working together

Exhausted, but well fed from the meat cooked on our impressive grill, the evening brought us to the most important event, our first ritual.  The Alsherjargothi, Stephen McNallen,  stood in the candlelit hall, with his folk around him and gave blót to O∂inn. The echo of his words shook the old boards, and the shadow of his hand raising the mead-brimming horn seemed to pass through the high gabled roof.  We gave our troth to the Allfather into that horn, and mead was scattered, sanctifying the assembly and the hall itself.  

Asatru kids paint the school bus stop at the hall 

We stepped quietly away from the blót to internalize the momentus occasion that we had witnessed.  Our Gods, our Folk, our Gothi, our Hof…it all came together.  This is our Wyrd.  We came back to share in our revelry, raise glasses and horns together, share stories and eventually, sleep.  As I rose in the early morning, I couldn’t help but see my kinfolk, asleep at the corners of the hall after a great feast and think of how much like our ancestors we really are.  

The Altar Stone
The next morning, our stove roared to life, cooking up a splendid breakfast.  With such a well equipped kitchen and able hands, we knew we would not go hungry.  We set to work again, anvils ringing, joined by a  chorus of power tools and Wardruna, carried from someone’s speakers.  That afternoon, we carried the folk flame, person to person, staged like sentinels around the border to our land.  Mead rained from the evergreen sprig as the Alsherjargothi blessed the land as we walked together, our words simple “Æsir and Vanir, Wights, all holy! Hallow and hold this place!”  We ended our rite between the Godpoles, facing our mighty altar stone.  

The Alsherjargothi raises the AFA Flag over the Hof
A close look at the altar stone reveals an Othala rune, which I placed there the day after AFA Midsummer in the Sierras, when a small group of us first saw the property.  That day, we poured mead upon the rock,  watching it run over and into the soil, seeping in the shadow of the pines.  Just a few weeks later, we would have the keys in our hands.

Thank you to everyone that has helped us, through your hard work and your donations, we continue our work to turn this grange hall into a Hof worthy of our Gods.  Even though our indigogo campaign has ended, donations to the Hof can still be made using the Donate button at

This is merely the beginning…

Brad Taylor-Hicks
AFA Chief of Staff/Clergy

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The End of the Campaign!

Whew!  What a furious forty days it was! 

Here's what we did:  We raised a grand total of $54,490 on the Indiegogo site.  There were actually a few thousand dollars that came in outside the Indiegogo system, too  -  so while we officially raised 73% of our goal, that number is a little higher  -  I'd guess (not having the figures at my fingertips) that the real amount was 75 to78 percent. 

While we did not get the entire amount at which we aimed, this campaign was an obvious success.  Most importantly, we got the hof! In a little over five weeks we mobilized more money than has been collected for an Asatru purpose since the beginning of our faith's re-awakening.  We galvanized support from around the globe, much of it from men and women who had never heard of us before, and who may or may not ever see the hof they have helped to establish.  Followers of the Way of the North, whether they called themselves Asatru or Odinist or some other name for our holy religion, pulled together on this history-making endeavor!

Let me emphasize, however, that you can still contribute to the hof by going to the AFA web site at and making a donation!  We got the hof, now we need to keep it, and expand it into a living spiritual center for our Gods and our Folk!

Thank you...Each and every one of you, whether your donation was large or small.  Thank you to you who will donate in the days, weeks, and years to come.  You are participating in a great historical event. 

Now we will begin the process of getting your donation perks out to you!  This will take some weeks, but we have begun this day.  In the meantime, we will keep you updated with news on how things are going.  We have built a community here, and we do not intend to let it evaporate just because Phase One is completed!

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly

[You can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter with the handy links below!]

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Despite Today's Momentous Announcement, The Next Few Days are Crucial for the Hof - And Here's Why!

This is a personal note from me, Steve McNallen.

It would be a mistake to think that, since we have taken possession of the hof, the battle is over.  Far from it!  We still have to pay for it.

There 12 days left in our Indiegogo campaign.  We got off to a great start but right now we are running behind where we need to be.  This is typically how it works with crowdfunding, but the fact remains  -  this is like a race, and it's time to start our sprint for the finish line!

If you have not made a donation, please do so.  If you have made one, please consider making another (We can consolidate your contributions to bump you up to a higher perk level!).  In either case, please tell others about this important cause and urge them to help.

You might ask, "So what about you, Steve?  Where's your donation?"  Here's the answer:  Sheila and I put in $1,000  -  and more than that, we personally guaranteed the loan.  This latter factor put us at a considerable disadvantage, because it makes it impossible for us to refinance the adjustable rate mortgage on our home.  I don't have to tell you what that means when interest rates go up...but we're taking the chance anyway, because we believe in Newgrange Hof and we believe in the Asatru Folk Assembly.

Stand with us.  Stand with the AFA.  Stand with a future for our holy faith and the existence of our Folk!

Support us at

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly

[Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter with the handy links below!]

The Hof? We've Got It!

The Asatru Folk Assembly now owns the building we call Newgrange Hall. Paperwork was completed and signed yesterday.

Now we have to pay for it!  We'll pay down the loan and transform a venerable old Grange Hall into an Asatru Hof and Hall!  Your donations are needed as much as ever!

There is a lot to be done before Newgrange Hof will take a more or less completed form  -  with all the carved images of the Gods in place, runestones, outdoor ritual sites, and all the carvings and painting and tapestries just the way we want them.  But we are not waiting for all that; the first of our holy rites will be held on this location a couple of weekends from now!

We are having a work party on September 12 and 13, and the building will serve as holy site from the very beginning:  We will do a land-taking ritual and a memorial for our recently-deceased AFA member and friend, Jean Terry.  We will give blot and sit in sumbel.  We will begin using this building for the high purpose that was its ultimate destiny when it was erected in 1938.

Starting with this gathering and running until the Wolf breaks its chains, we will write in the hof's log book the date, and the rites performed, and who was there.  Down through the years the story will unfold; blot and sumbel, happiness and sorrow, feasting and oathing and taking of husband and wife...This record will be preserved as a sacred possession of Newgrange, and as a historical document.

A new phase of the Awakening has begun!

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly

[Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter with the handy links below!]

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Danger We Face Right Now

As of this morning, we have raised $39,036  -  52% of our goal  for the hof -  and we have only 16 days left in our campaign.  We've hit a serious stall, and we need to break out in the next few days if we are to succeed.

Doldrums like this are absolutely typical for crowdfunding campaigns, so this wasn't unexpected.  We're not in panic mode, but we are concerned.  The big challenge is this:  What will we do about it? 

Many of you have been generous, and more than a few of you have been fantastically so!  If, however, you haven't made a donation, please do so now!  This is the most important single project in the modern history of Asatru to date  -  bar none!  -  and we need your support.

To those who have already given, thank you!  Please (1) urge others to do so and (2) suggest venues where I might be able to reach a larger audience with our message.

You can join this historic endeavor at

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly

[Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter with the handy links below!]

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Donor to the Hof Fund Throws Down the Gauntlet!

The hof fund got a donation of $1,000 yesterday afternoon, from a contributor who wants to remain anonymous...and she sent on the following note:

"You are very welcome. I understand how important this is. I offer 10% of my yearly income. I know it isn’t much,but I challenge all others with the strength, courage and wisdom to do the same!" 

Think about it:  This person isn't rich, but her support for this project is rock-solid. She GETS IT.

Anyone out there care to accept her challenge?  Amounts of any size are accepted, of course...

You can contribute at

Steve McNallen

Asatru Folk Assembly

[You can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter with the handy links below!]

Monday, August 24, 2015

Would You Defend the Temples of Our Gods?


Would you defend the Temples of our Gods?

I think I know the answer. I hope I do. I would like to think that if the time came and the call went out, that brave Asatruar from all points would gather and stand at that gate alongside me, whatever the threat might be.

How many of you then, you brave souls, who would be willing to lay down your lives, are willing to help build a temple?

How many would forgo a comfort? A steak dinner, or a video game, or a new TV?

How many of those souls will help us turn a hall, into a Hof? We're almost halfway to our goal, and every bit helps. $20, $200 or $2000. Help us establish the first of what we hope will grow into many temples across this nation. For the Gods, for the folk, for the future.

Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
"To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his Gods."

-Horatius (Lord Thomas Macaulay)

If you have already donated to the Newgrange Hall - Asatru Hof fund, we thank you. If not, please donate to our campaign at the link below.
Brad Taylor-Hicks
Asatru Folk Assembly.