The Banishment of Alienation
The Asatru Folk Assembly's Declaration of Purpose contains something I would like to talk about in this run-up to Yuletide and the start of a new year.
IV. The restoration of community, the banishment of alienation, and the establishment of natural and just relations among our Folk Our ancestors had religious and social folkways that gave them a feeling of continuity and community while jealously preserving individual rights; we can and will reestablish this natural order among our Folk. Asatru encourages sound, traditional families while providing an extended family or tribe to support the basic family unit. We help each other materially, socially, and religiously while respecting the privacy of individuals and families. Society would work better if families and communities cared for each other, rather than relying on coercive, intrusive “help” from outside sources such as the government.
We help each other materially, socially, and religiously while respecting the privacy of individuals and families.
We have all seen the various collections for our Folk in need via the Folk Services Fund, but I think a lot of our members might not be aware of how much occurs behind the scenes because the AFA can't "boast" about some of our activities while also respecting the privacy as we have promised to do. In my position as an AFA Witan and Gothi, I see it all the time, when an AFA member mentions to a Folkbuilder or our clergy that life dealt something unexpected and every time the AFA offers help.
Since I cannot brag about how the AFA had helped others, I will brag about a time the AFA offered to help me personally. My privacy is my business after all!
Years ago, I used to drive a 1987 Jeep YJ Jeep Wrangler that was affectionately and jokingly called the "Jurassic Jeep" among AFA members and a few leaders because it was the same as the Jeeps in Jurassic Park and because it had a logo on the doors for "Paragon Park" which was a rock climbing park that used to own the Jeep. This Jeep was a real clunker, but like all Jeeps, it would always go even if there were a trail of smoke and people on the highway suggesting I pull over. "No, it's fine. It's a Jeep" was always my reply.
In 2013 or 2014 I drove this Jeep down I-95 from Pennsylvania to Georgia with our Gythia and Gothar program coordinator Rebecca as a passenger, and the then "AFA East horn" (the sister horn to the one currently at Óðinshof) that was in my care from Gythia Pat Hall. We were on an overnight mission to get our Gythia Rebecca down to Ostara in the South for a presentation, and then she was returning to Pennsylvania by train the same day. I was going to stay the night Saturday, and then would be going home on Sunday.
The trip down was uneventful, the presentation was well-received, and the "AFA East horn" was present for this great event, and it was very much appreciated by the Folk that it was brought down. I stayed up late enjoying the short time I had with my Folk and when it was time to drive home the next morning, I was very tired.
I started to doze off in North Carolina, so I decided to exit the highway and find a place to take a nap. As I was turning into a truck stop, I cut off a Ford Mustang which then tboned the Jeep. I was very lucky that I bounced off of a curb and didn't roll because I most likely wouldn't have survived if the Jeep rolled. The Jeep was totaled and the AFA East horn had a large crack near its mouth. As soon as I had contacted someone, I received calls from numerous Folkbuilders, Gythia, and Mrs. McNallen. I was astonished by a few things.
No one cared that the horn was cracked
They were all concerned that I was okay and had somewhere to spend the night
Mrs. McNallen knew how much this Jeep meant to me and offered a loan from the AFA to help replace it.
I had always heard about how the AFA cares for its members and had been a witness to the AFA's hospitality, but this was the first time I was able to witness in a very personal way that the AFA means it when we say, "we help each other." I was fortunate that I didn't need to take that loan since I was a single young man and had the resources to take care of things. If this happened to me today as a husband and father, I would probably accept the loan. The horn was repaired, although sadly it was stolen years after this. (that is another story!)
Please, never be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help. The AFA takes care of our family, and that means you.
Witan Clifford Erickson