Monday, April 28, 2014

Havamal Analysis - Stanza 1

The discussion and analysis presented after these translated stanzas is our opinion. Read the translations for yourself and our analysis, but also seek out varied sources and come to your own conclusions.


Auden and Taylor:

The man who stands at a strange threshold,
Should be cautious before he cross it,
Glance this way and that:
Who knows beforehand what foes may sit
Awaiting him in the hall?


Within the gates | ere a man shall go,
(Full warily let him watch,)
Full long let him look about him;
For little he knows | where a foe may lurk,
And sit in the seats within.
Bellow's Note: This stanza is quoted by Snorri, the second line being omitted in most of the Prose Edda manuscripts.


At every door-way,
ere one enters,
one should spy round,
one should pry round
for uncertain is the witting
that there be no foeman sitting,
within, before one on the floor


Watch out and check all gates before faring forth.
One should spy around,
one should pry around.
Hard to know what foe
sits before you in the next room.


Have they eyes about thee when thou enterest
be wary alway, be watchful alway,
for one never knoweth when need will be
to meet hidden foe in the hall.


At every doorway what you have to do
is look around you
and look out;
never forget: no matter where you are
you might find a foe.


1. All door-ways,
before going forward,
should be looked to;
for difficult it is to know
where foes may sit
within a dwelling.


In a fairly straight-forward way, this stanza is telling us to be cautious when entering a hall or building. It warns us to look this way and that before entering, because you never quite know what dangers might be waiting for you in there (in the form of foe or foes).

The stanza suggests we live in a somewhat dangerous world, and that being cautious and truly considering those dangers is well worth your time. For me, the stanza applies to more then just entering strange doorways. Anytime you are encountering a situation or people that are outside your trusted inner circle, you should keep you eyes open to the possibilities that a "foe" may be nearby. Even an unseen or unrecognized foe among people you are meeting and encountering.

In very simple terms, the stanza is telling us not to be a naive moron stumbling unknowingly into trouble. Be aware of the dangers and keep your eyes open for them. It is certainly a warning to "look before you leap."

In a modern context, the stanza works in a literal sense. When you attend a party, a social gathering, or an event with lots of should be aware of who is present, who is in the room, who is near you, etc. Is there someone there you don't want to be around, or don't want to have any contact with? Is there someone you don't know yet who is drinking too much, visibly angry, or looking like they might cause trouble? What is the tone or mood of the room or environment? Is this a safe place for you to be, or do you need to take precautions to make sure you are safe?

In a less literal sense, when you are entering into a new effort, a business venture, a new job, or any other new situation...what are the hidden dangers? Have you really thought about it with your eyes wide open to the possible problems and pitfalls? Is everyone involved trustworthy, and do they all have your best interests at heart? Are they fair and honorable? Have you left yourself unnecessarily vunerable?

One point I've heard made, is that there seems to be a presumption that the doorway will be entered. It is not a warning to not enter new doorways. It is not a warning to pick and choose which doorways you do decide to enter. It simply warns to be aware of the dangers before you make that step through the gate.

Another point I've heard made focuses in very closely on the people in the room you are entering. Do they seem to be friends but aren't? Do they smile to your face and say kind words, but then turn against you when you aren't there with them? For some, this stanza points out the difficulty of knowing who is your friend and who is your foe. And this can certainly be a difficulty in life.

It is interesting that this is the first verse of the Havamal, because it is the "doorway" into the Havamal in a sense.

For me, Chisholm's translation of this stanza seems to read the clearest and is the one that is easiest to understand.

To view this analysis on the Temple of Our Heathen Gods website, Click Here.

Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods

Havamal Analysis - Stanza by Stanza

The easiest way to study and understand the Havamal is to read and analyze the poem and its meaning stanza by stanza. In order to assist you in this task, we have put together a page for each stanza of the Havamal, presenting multiple translations of the same stanza side by side. We then provide our thoughts and analysis on that particular stanza. Please understand that these are just our opinions. Please seek out other sources, think for yourself, and come to your own conclusions. As you are reading the various translation so the same stanza, look for commonalities and differences in meaning. Keep in mind that there may be several levels of meaning, and various ways that one could interpret each stanza.  Here is the page where this project is developing:

We'll also be sharing each stanza's translation comparison and meaning here on the Kansas City Heathen blog.

Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Nine Men's Morris - My First Board

This is a Nine Men's Morris game board, and the first one I've made. Nine Men's Morris, or Mills, is an ancient game. It likely originated with the Romans, but our Northern European ancestors also played Mills. Many Tafl boards had a Mills boards carved or burned on the on the flip-side. Some viking food boards had a Mills board on the flip side, so they could play the game after a meal. It took me a several days to finish this board, because my daughter and I kept playing the game on the unfinished board!

Click Here to view the full album on Facebook.

The holes were drilled, the lines were burnt, the board was stained, and then the playing area was dry-brushed with gold paint. Then everything was given a nice glossy clear coat.

Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Establishment of Local Heathen Communities is a Holy Act

The establishment and growth of an active and tight-knit Heathen community here in Kansas City is quite literally a Holy act on the part of everyone involved. It is a right and worthy deed to which all of us can contribute and benefit. It is not about individual needs, though clearly many individual needs will be met. It is not about personal glory, though as a group our efforts may obtain some level of recognition. It is a community effort. We are each a cog in the machine working toward the same community-oriented goals. We are each important to the effort, but no one of us is more important than the effort, or each other. It will take dedication, generosity of time and effort, and sacrifice. But, in the end we will have built something that no one of us could have accomplished on our own. We will have created something from nothing, and be able to pass our efforts on to those of our children that wish to carry the torch forward. And what will this effort require?

It will take a willingness to be there regularly, once a month, so that we may build bonds, honor our Gods and Ancestors, learn together, and begin to work together. It takes the dedication to give the practice of your religion and community-building efforts some priority in your life. Family and being able to support that family always comes first, but where does your loyalty to your Gods, your Ancestors, our Ways, and your fellow local Heathens fall in your life? What priority are you willing to give these things? It means getting involved. Offering to help with things that need doing. It means reaching out and opening yourself up to making new friendships with those that share your beliefs and your practices. It means a shift in how you view that you see yourself as an integral part of the Heartland Hof & Hall effort. And why do it?

Being involved in the Heartland Hof & Hall effort will enrich your life and the life of your family. Involving yourself in the local Heathen community assists you to be more focused on your native Folkway. It makes it easier to learn and grow more solid and knowledgeable in your beliefs. It allows you to put your Heathen world-view into practice, as you interact with an entire community of Heathens who share that same world-view. It allows all of us to be there for one another, when each of us inevitably needs a little moral support. For me, there is also the spiritual aspect of knowing that our Gods and Ancestors watch us every day. What are we doing to remember them and honor them? What are we doing to ensure the survival of the Ways of our People? What are we doing to pass our ways onto the next generation of Heathens? And that brings us full circle. Our involvement in building and growing an active and tight-knit Heathen community here in Kansas City gives our Gods and Ancestors their answers to these questions. This effort is quite literally a Holy act on the part of everyone involved.

I think it is important to be very intentional in your deeds, and to understand exactly what drives you.  Living intentionally requires understanding the meaning of your own actions in your life and the lives of others.  I believe that every effort to bring Heathens together into local groups and communities is a spiritually important and Holy act.  If you don't see your own efforts in this light, think on it a bit.  If the establishment of local Heathen communities is not a Holy act, of the greatest importance to ourselves and our families, then I don't know what is.  Seeing these efforts in this light, can bring new focus and energy to your own efforts, whatever stage of success you find yourself.

To learn more about the Heartland Hof & Hall effort, visit the HHH Page.

Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

First Heartland Hof & Hall Meeting - Jan 12, 2014

Starting in January of 2014, we will be start something called the Heartland Hof and Hall Meetings every month. These monthly meetings will be open to the public. At each meeting, we will honor our Gods and Goddesses with a faining. There will be a workshop on topics that we will announce, followed by a study-group activity.

We feel it is important for Heathens in our area to gather as a group on a monthly basis in order practice our religion and learn more about our ways together. It has been the goal of Heathens in our area to work towards having land and a place of our own in which to worship, and the ultimate goal of the Heartland Hof and Hall Meeting is to work toward that goal as an united community.

Visit the Heartland Hof & Hall Website to learn more about this new monthly event in Kansas City.  The meeting dates are there for all of 2014, as well as a summary of the activities and theme of every meeting.

Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods

Monday, September 30, 2013

Nine Worthy Steps to Advance Heathenry

The Nine Worthy Steps described below represent our approach to advancing our native Folkway.  As modern Heathens we face a daunting task.  How do we reconstruct what was taken from our People?  How do we return members of our Folk to the ways and world-view of our pre-conversion Ancestors?  How do we transition from the mainstream culture within which we were raised, to the culture and values that are natural and appropriate to who we really are?  What steps are necessary for building something lasting for both ourselves and the generations to come?

These nine steps are not the only deeds that can advance our Folkway forward.  This list and the brief descriptions of each step are simply a method of outlining the work that many tribal Heathens are doing at this very moment.  Much more could be said about each deed and, with time and experience, we will of course learn more about what needs to be done and how to do it.  But, these nine worthy steps are the focus of the work being done by Jotun's Bane Kindred and many other good Heathen individuals, families, and kindreds among our People.

FIRST WORTHY STEP - We must bring positive attention to our Folkway, making it easier for members of our Folk to find Heathenry, learn more about it, and become actively involved.

The vast majority of our Folk do not even know that Heathenry exists, let along what it is, what we do, and for what we stand.  They are in the thrall of the foreign religion or, being dissatisfied with it, have run to another foreign religion, or become agnostic or atheist.  These members of our Folk are lost in darkness, whether they realize it or not.  It is up to us to shine a light into that darkness, and serve as a beacon so that our People can find their way home.  But, how do we do this?

It is not difficult to share resources and information on-line and through other forms of communication.  Outreach can take many forms.  As a heathen individual, family, or kindred we can make ourselves available to new Heathens in our local area giving them some guidance and advice by phone or in person.  We can start study groups or hold local Heathen events that allow those that are curious or new to Heathenry a way to actually meet other Heathens and learn more.  We can schedule classes and workshops on Heathen topics at a local bookstore, coffee shop, or community college.  We can share links to existing resource websites, assist with the improvement of these websites, or start our own.  We can even blog or post about our own beliefs and practices, and what they mean for us in our lives.

When we encounter someone curious or new to Heathenry, we can give them a good first impression.  Be understanding of the fact they are new, and give them information and advice without attempting to demean or alienate them.  If we live honorable lives of worth, when new Heathens contact or encounter us they will see by our example that living by the values and beliefs of our Folkway makes our lives more natural, fulfilling, and successful.  Bringing more members of our People home to their native ways and world-view takes a lot of time and effort.  But, it is the first step in advancing our Folkway forward.

SECOND WORTHY STEP - We must encourage our families to become involved in our Folkway, and structure all of our efforts to encourage other families to become involved.

This step can be difficult for some depending on their situation.  Many individuals find Heathenry later in life, and while they embrace our native Folkway - their spouse may not.  It is not advisable or healthy to attempt to force or coerce your spouse to convert.  Even if your spouse never converts, always make sure they know they are welcome at Heathen activities or gatherings you attend.  Many kindreds have non-Heathen spouses that attend all the events and truly enjoy interacting with everyone there.  Heathenry is more than just a set of religious beliefs and practices.  Heathenry is a world-view, or a way of looking at things.  It is a culture and a set of values that anyone can benefit from, even if they are not particularly religious.  So, making sure non-Heathen spouses feel welcome and included is an important part of getting families involved in our Folkway.

In other cases, non-Heathen spouses do become Heathen over time.  Usually, interacting with other Heathens face-to-face convinces them that Heathenry is a positive and healthy belief system.  Sometimes they see the positive changes it makes in their Heathen spouse, and this convinces them to become practicing Heathens themselves.  But, this is something that is their decision, and it happens in its own time.  It requires a very intentional patience, as well as a high level of communication and understanding to smoothly transition a family in its entirety back to the native ways of our People.

Having families involved, brings depth, strength, and longevity to the results of our efforts on behalf of our Folkway.  Families honoring the Gods together and working side by side, can accomplish more than individuals can alone.  Kindreds with families involved, tend to be more stable than kindreds without families involved.  In addition, no matter how much you accomplish in this life, it is nothing compared to what your children, and their children, and so on...can accomplish when they add their own efforts and deeds on top of the foundation you have created for them.  Involving our families in our ways, practices, and traditions is the second step in advancing our Folkway forward.

THIRD WORTHY STEP - We must build bonds among our Folk at the local grassroots level,  bringing together Heathen individuals and families for local events, such as coffee-shop moots, pubmoots, study groups, Heathen workshops, fainings/blots, pot-luck dinners followed by symbel, and other community-building activities.

Our pre-conversion Ancestors focused heavily on both family and community.  Bringing together Heathen individuals and families at the local level, provides the opportunity for face-to-face Heathenry in our daily lives.  This lessens our dependence on the internet for interaction with others that share our beliefs and world-view.  Creating local communities based on friendship, respect, and loyalty brings into existence a network of support where none existed before.

These local communities give us other Heathens of worth with which we can talk, study, honor our Gods, exchange ideas, interact socially, and help each other when help is needed.  Many of the values and concepts within the world-view we are reconstructing involve how to interact honorably with other people in our lives.  Interacting with local Heathens gives us the chance to be around people that share an understanding of these concepts and values, and who live by them as well.  This is a rewarding experience for adults, but it also allows our children to observe and learn from these interactions.

Just as Heathen families can often accomplish more than a single individual, Heathen communities working together can often accomplish more than a single family could.  They also provide an excellent environment for new Heathen individuals and families to become more fully involved in our Folkway.

FOURTH WORTHY STEP - We must form stable local kindreds made up of dedicated Heathen families and individuals of worth, with a focus on building a state of true Frith among those involved.

The natural result of creating active local communities, is the eventual formation of kin-groups or tribes of loyal, like-minded, and hardworking Heathen families and individuals.  Membership within these groups is clearly defined, and they are usually based on some form of kindred-oath or obligation.  The Heathen families and individuals within each kindred share Frith, meaning that every accomplishment is celebrated as a group, every hardship is faced as a group, and everyone involved shares collective Gefrain, Luck, and Honor.

Kindreds made up of multiple families and individuals offer a level of encouragement and support to their members that is similar to what one would expect from a close-knit and healthy extended family.  Over time, kindred traditions, beliefs, and practices form and evolve that represent the shared expectations and understandings of the group, based on trial and error and their collective experiences. Involvement in an active kindred provides a context for living one's Heathen life that cannot be provided by any other organizational structure.

These local kindreds are the grassroots engine that make things happen within modern Heathenry, at both the local level and the regional level.  The frith and strong bonds of loyalty and friendship they share, combined with the various strengths, talents, and skills brought together within the group, allow kindreds to accomplish things that Heathen individuals, families, and even local communities cannot make happen.  Kindreds host both local and regional gatherings and they create and provide resources for other Heathens.  They also provide a point of contact for new Heathen families and individuals in their area, and host open events in their area that local Heathens can attend.

Many of the remaining Worthy Steps are made easier, or can only happen, through the efforts of hard-working and dedicated local kindreds.

FIFTH WORTHY STEP - We must share practical information between individuals, families, local Heathen communities, and kindreds regarding personal practices, group practices and traditions, and organizational methods, with an understanding that we can learn from each others experiences, but that we will likely all do things differently.

Scholarly study and understanding of the Lore and world-view of our ancestors is important.  But, there is a deep need for the sharing of practical how-to information among those practicing our Folkway.  How to build a local community, how to start a kindred, tribal dynamics within a group, the role of a Chieftain or Godhi within a kindred, information on how to maintain a kindred and its traditions, building relationships with other Heathen in your region, or tips regarding Heathen marriages and families.  The choice of topics is endless.

The motivation for sharing this practical information should be to simply help others learn from your experiences.  It is not about control.  It is not about making people do things your way.  It is not about creating divisions within our native Folkway.  Those receiving the information will use what works for them, and they should discard that information that does not work for them.  The sharing of information should be a give and take, back and forth between Heathens and Heathen groups, allowing all of them to learn from successes and failures of those Heathens they know and trust.  The reciprocal exchange of information allows individuals and groups to build on each other's knowledge and experience.

Information shared between Heathens that actually know each other on a face-to-face basis, is much more valuable than information you might read in a book or on the internet.  When you actually know an individual or group, then you know if they actually walk the walk, or if the information they are sharing is just talk.

SIXTH WORTHY STEP - We must bring our People together at regional gatherings and with face-to-face visits, so that Heathen kindreds, families, and individuals can build bonds, work together, learn from each other, and come to personal understandings of each other that helps prevent needless conflict.

The only true way to know a person, is to meet them face-to-face and spend time with them.  It can't happen on a message board or social networking site.  We must encourage Heathen kindreds, families, and individuals to gather together at face-to-face events, and get to know one another.  These events build friendships and alliances.  They encourage the exchange of information and ideas between people that actually know each other, and this exchange will drive our Folkway forward.  These gatherings also build trust between Heathens, and this trust helps prevent or diffuse unnecessary conflicts among our Folk.

The more often Heathens are able to gather together, the more their friendships and trust will grow.  The more often they can gather, the more opportunities there are for them to exchange information, work together, and assist one another.  So from a practical standpoint, regional gatherings must be our focus.  Here in the Midwest, many of us can travel and attend gatherings around the region 5 to 6 times a year, or more.  We see our friends around the region every month or every other month.  In this context, the bonds between Heathens in our region are relatively strong.  It is impossible for this same frequency of interaction to happen on a widespread basis on the National level.

Meeting other Heathen kindreds, families, and individuals at regional gatherings also inspires an increase in travel and personal visits between Heathens within the region.  Both the gatherings and personal visits encourage the next generation of Heathens, our children, to play together, learn together, and build friendships and trust.  As our children across the region grow into adult Heathens, they will already know each other and share bonds that will serve their own families and kindreds, and the region as a whole.

SEVENTH WORTHY STEP - We must put regional organizational structures in place that encourage positive cooperation between Heathen kindreds, families, and individuals in the region, while also respecting the autonomy and independence of those involved.

The goal is to engender a sense of unified purpose across the region without requiring or attempting to enforce unified orthodoxy or orthopraxy.  As bonds of trust grow and deepen across the region, alliances and formalized methods of interaction and cooperation can be put into place.  This requires everyone involved looking to the similarities they share with others, rather than harping and fighting over their differences.  The leaders of the participating kindreds and families, must be mature and reasonable enough to accept that beliefs and practices among Heathens will differ, and that this is healthy.

Whatever method of formalized organization is put in place, it is important that the autonomy of every involved kindred and family is respected.  A Thing structure or loose confederation of kindreds and families, allows each kindred to participate, contribute ideas, and partner with other kindreds and families in the region without any one person being in charge.  Strong independent kindreds can then participate, communicate, collaborate, and support one another, without any one kindred or person being "in charge."  This maintains the grassroots tribal nature of our native Folkway, and avoids top-down organization, dogma, and divisions among our People.

A Thing structure of loose confederation of kindreds and families must be based on face-to-face meetings and interaction.  This is most easily done at regional gatherings of our Folk.  The telephone and internet can be used for communication between gatherings, but without the foundation of real face-to-face conversations and relationships, organizational efforts are unlikely to succeed.

EIGHTH WORTHY STEP - We must acquire at the local level tribal land where we can establish Hofs and Halls as a regional gathering place for our People.

In this early stage of the reconstruction of our Folkway, Heathens tend to gather in each other's living rooms and finished basements.  As local kindred's and the Heathen communities around them grow, gathering in someone's home becomes increasingly crowded and difficult.  When multiple kindreds and families gather in any sort of numbers, we are forced to rent a campground, or reserve space in a hall or hotel.  Logistically, it makes sense that we should move toward establishing at the local level, facilities for gathering that we own and maintain.

There is a sense of permanence that comes with acquiring tribal land, and establishing holy places and halls in which to gather as a People.  These local hofs and halls become a gathering point for Heathens in the local community, and an important destination for Heathens in the surrounding region.   Events can be held there.  Weddings.  Funerals.  Coming of age rituals.  A burial ground for Heathens can be set aside, so that we can honor our dead in the ways that we wish.  Imagine for a moment three hofs and halls in your region, and what that could do for face-to-face Heathenry and regional efforts.  Imagine a few years later, there being ten such gathering places, and what that would do to advance our Folkway.

Most hof and hall locations would be suburban or rural in their surroundings, while a few might border on an urban environment.  These locations could offer religions activities and workshops, but there is also an opportunity to offer traditional craft classes and cultural events that would draw in members of our Folk that have not yet found their way home to Heathenry.  The only organizational structure that has the resources, man-power, and motivations to establish tribal land on the local level, are kindreds.  Very few individuals or families could ever afford to establish and maintain a facility of this nature.  Loose-knit Heathen communities usually do not have the structure or unity to successfully mount the effort, or maintain it.  National Organizations may one day establish a national headquarters or gathering point, but it is unlikely that it will be in your local area.  (And it most certainly won't be in the Midwest).  For the Eighth Worthy Step to happen, it will take the work of local kindreds.

The kindred or local group that is able to establish tribal land and to build a hof and hall will be leaving an amazing foundation for their Heathen children and the next generation of Heathens to build upon.

NINTH WORTHY STEP - We must pass onto the next generation of Heathens and Asatruar a solid foundation upon which to grow and develop our native Folkway far beyond what we were able to accomplish.

We are rebuilding our native Folkway against incredible odds.  The world-view, as well as the religious and spiritual perspectives, of our People were drastically changed by the Christian conversion.  The beliefs and practices of our Ancestors were suppressed and buried, so much so that the vast majority of our People do not even know that they are following a foreign religion that was methodically and successfully forced upon us.  That leaves us often reconstructing our Folkway from bits and scraps of information.  It leaves us in the position of an "alternative religion," and a rather small one at that.

But against these difficulties, we put a determined will and enormously hard-work to the task at hand.  The final, and probably most important step, is that we leave our children and the next generation of Heathens in a better place than we find ourselves.  Success at the previous 8 steps will accomplish that goal.  If when we are done, there are more Heathens, more Heathen families, larger Heathen communities, more Kindreds, better sharing of practical information, bigger and better regional gatherings, a regional organizational structure that helps everyone involved, and hofs and halls on tribal land here and there across the landscape, then our children and the next generation will be able to take our Folkway places that is likely impossible for us to achieve in our lifetimes.

But, this also means teaching our children and giving them the knowledge and the tools to be better at this than we are.  They aren't coming to Heathenry 20 or 40 years into their life.  If we are doing our job, then they are being raised within a family, a community, and a kindred that lives Heathenry.  They are immersed in our world-view, and participating in its reconstruction from an early age.  These  young Heathens will have plans and goals that are completely beyond us.  They will have a drive and determination that will shame us, if we live long enough to see what they accomplish.  They are our partners in what we do...they are the next leg of the race...and we need to give them the best start we are capable of providing them.

CONCLUSION - Are there other deeds that can grow and strengthen our native Folkway?  Of course there are.  These worthy steps reflect the focus of my kindred, and other like-minded tribal kindreds.  These steps were carefully chosen to express the vision behind the work we do.  We are utterly dedicated to making progress on these steps.  They were also carefully put into an order that shows the natural progression that often occurs on the local and regional level.

These steps are never-ending, or cyclical, in nature.  Even if you are attending regional gatherings and visiting other Heathens in your region (Step Six), you are still attempting to attract new Heathen individuals of worth (Step One) and attempting to involved families in your efforts (Step Two), and so on.  Even when we reach the point where the next generation takes the reins (Step Nine), the next generation will still be working on the previous eight steps, maintaining, improving, and building upon the foundation we have built.

Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Religious Activities at Lightning Across the Plains 2013

Lightning Across the Plains is a heathen event, where heathens from across the Heartland come together to honor our Gods, our Ancestors, and the Vaettir. At LATP tribes, families, and heathens come together for this purpose as part of a larger regional community.

GOD HOF - To the West of our main camping area, there will be a Hof established at Lightning Across the Plains 2013. It will include images and statues of Odin, Thor, and well as areas within the Hof for honoring other Gods and Goddesses. If you have statues or objects you would like included in the Hof throughout the weekend, please bring them along. When you check-in at the registation table, please provide us with those objects. We'll record your name so that we can make sure you get your items back at the end of the weekend. Sacrifices to the Gods can be offered at the Hof, and we will ensure these items are properly sacrificed.

ANCESTOR'S HALL - To the West of our main camping area, we will also set up a hall for the remembrance of our Ancestors.  You can bring artifacts representing and honoring you ancestors to include on the tables in this hall.  There will be chairs in the hall, for quiet contemplation of what we owe our ancestors.  You can write stories or details about your ancestors in the Ancestors Book, which is kept in the hall throughout the event.

OPENING & CLOSING RITUAL - At the start of Lightning Across the Plains there will be an Opening Ritual, declaring grith and frith over the gathering. Tyr will be honored, and the perimeter of the gathering area will be walked in procession, with gifts given to the Vaettir of the land to ensure their goodwill and protection from baneful wights. The help of the children at the gathering will be enlisted, and they will have the honor of distributing gifts to the land wights.

VISITING THE VE - Jotun's Bane Kindred has established an outdoor Ve at Gaea Retreat. It is a cleared circle in the woods, at the roots of a large powerful oak tree named Forn Halr ("old man" in Old Norse).  This is our holy tree, and the Ve has a large stone harrow, a firepit, and benches around its perimeter. It is a beautiful and peaceful place, and it is where our kindred takes our kindred oaths. On Saturday morning we'll lead a walk over to the Ve for those that would like to visit it. And we will honor Forn Halr...and leave offerings for the land wights.

ODIN BLOT - Friday evening after dinner, we'll gather for an Odin Blot led by Fimbul Winter Kindred and other  Heathens from Colorado.  This celebratory event leads directly into Friday night's Folk Symbel.

FOLK SYMBEL - Friday night after dark, we'll gather around a fire and have a Folk Symbel. A horn will be passed, and we will toast the Gods and Goddesses, our Ancestors & Heroes, and then boast of our accomplishments. As a gathered Folk, we'll put our good words and deeds into the Well. If you know a good poem or a song worth singing, please share it with everyone during this Symbel.  While this Symbel is more informal in its structure, every year it is one those events that has a lot of impact on everyone participating.

SATURDAY NIGHT FAINING - After dinner on Saturday night, we'll gather as a Folk and celebrate with a large Faining our relationship with our Elder Kin.

SATURDAY NIGHT HIGH SYMBEL - After the Faining, we will enter the Hall as Tribes, Families, and individual heathens and conduct a High Symbel. At 2012's Lightning Across the Plains, over 150 adults sat in Symbel and spoke good words over the horn. This is a formal event, and if you have garb to wear and are so inclined please wear it. But garb is not required. This is a night for bold and Tru words, gift-giving, and the forming of bonds among the Folk.

THOR FAINING - On Sunday morning, prior to the Heathen Auction, there will be a Thor Faining led by Hridgar Folk Kindred from Texas.  Asa-Thor is honored and asked to grant his protection to everyone in attendance on their journeys home from Lightning Across the Plains.

Mark Ludwig Stinson
Jotun's Bane Kindred
Temple of Our Heathen Gods