AlThing 37 Report

By Kollr Logmather

In the days before Althing was about to begin, news from the highlands spoke whispers of a grand event that was about to take place. I had heard from Valgard that we were expecting about a hundred of the folk by Saturday as I took very tongue and cheek at best, because I had heard that song before. Still I couldn't help but feel the excitement of our annual gathering. Seeing old friends and getting everyone charged up is not only what I needed but I feel it is the shared feelings of all the Alliance Kindreds who attend.

Althing 37 started out with perfect weather this year with Sunna's light shining from Wednesday to Sunday. I hurried as fast as I could to get to Payson where most of us rendezvoused at Valgard's house and finished up the packing for our annual pilgrimage to the Thing site. By the time I got there the Valgardian Pack had already left. George, Magni and "very much pregnant" Angela along with Elizabeth and Mac traveled forth to the site where others were already waiting.

Lif and Sven along with the rest of the Gladheim Kindred (David & Jennifer) were already setting up the kitchen when I got there. Also to arrive that day were our Texas comrades; Bagger & Wife, Mitchell and Amanda our favorite "Pregnant" Christian. Florida established their presence shortly thereafter with Magnus, and Courtney. Magnus had mentioned that this is the first Wednesday he's made to an Althing since he first started coming around because of military deployment issues.

That evening after our feast, we enjoyed kinship by the fire with our traditional mead and cookies event. This consisted of a one-round introduction of everyone present, who they were, where they came from and their affiliation to the Alliance. Shortly after that, most of us turned in for the night and others chose to stay up a bit later.

The banners were hung thanks to Derek and crew and The World Tree tent went up amongst all the organized chaos. Before we knew it camp was taking shape. That evening after our feast we enjoyed kinship by the fire with our traditional mead and cookies event. This consisted of a one-round introduction of everyone present, who they were, where they came from and their affiliation to the Alliance. 47 were present at the fire that evening which was a record. Shortly after that most of us turned in for the night and others chose to stay up a bit later.

Thursday morning came quick and breakfast was served at 9am sharp with an abundance of breakfast burritos and hot sauce for everyone with a strong constitution. After that most of us fell into a food coma and remained socializing with one another the rest of the morning. Around the same time at the main area auction items began to gather and take up the whole distance of the Long House. This year there were so many items to be displayed and special thanks to Mitch Zebrowski for his kind donations which took up an entire section of the auction table.

Tyr Blot came in the early afternoon. There was a short delay waiting for Steve and Sheila to arrive but before too long the group had a procession to the sacred grove where Blot to Tyr and a blessing of steel was made. I will admit my nerves were a little dicey having two Allsherjargothi's present who were also some of our founding fathers of the Åsatru movement attending at that moment. It ended up being a successful Blot with all weapons steel held high in the end shouting to Tyr and making the grove echo with power.

After the Tyr Blot the Thing session was called to order. Patrick Henry served as Thing Speaker and Valgard served as Secretary. Hammers of Asgard from Phoenix was accepted as a full voting Alliance Kindred and other new business was raised concerning another Kindred's full status acceptance and due to a controversial loophole in the tribal law. I think it is okay to have these things come up once and awhile to keep the law body on its toes and also to learn from our mistakes so that we can make our laws more iron clad and professional.

Later that night Thorvald from the Gladheim Kindred and Glen fron Innergarth Kindred took charge of the dinner menu and served up some excellent stuffed pork chops. I must say it was a rather clean meal for Althing and I feel it was an excellent health conscious change for everyone involved. Thank you again, Thorvald and crew for a job well done. At 8pm that night we had sumbel by the fire ring. It was a larger than usual number who attended Thursday night Sumbel this year, 67 to be exact so it took some time for us to finish. It is always worthwhile as the folk shared many personal things about themselves, their experiences, ancestry and their accomplishments. I hail to all who shared and welcomed the rest of us into your ring of trust.

Friday morning breakfast Sven and Lif cooked up biscuits and gravy. Talk about a stick to your ribs how-do-ya-do greeting to your colon. Ugh, so delicious and sinfully good. Special thanks to Sven and Lif for doing such a wonderful job all these years with the Althing kitchen. We love the menu and all the work that you put into doing such a great job. Hail...!

Soon after Valgard conducted a very timely and interesting seminar on self-reliance and preparedness for aborted emergencies. It was well attended and many of the folk realized just how dangerous Vinland had become in the past several years.

The rest of the morning was spent with a few of the members going into town for more ice and provisions. The down time gave others a window of opportunity to seek advice from the Elder Greybeards and Gothi's alike. On a side note it was really nice having Steve and Sheila McNallen at the Althing this year. When they showed up on Wednesday Steve got swarmed by many of the folk anxious to talk with him. In addition to that I observed both Valgard and Steve whenever they got time to spend with one another sharing old stories and a few new ones and happy as two grade school kids sharing laughter and kinship. It was really something special to see and maybe someday someone else will be writing a Thing report and say, "it was good to see Doc and Magni, or Ingvar, or Magnus sharing a memory about days of Althing's past or Magni's ham sandwich."

The Thing was called to order and proceedings got along quickly. The election of Alliance officers was held, and Sven was re-elected as Chieftain and Magni was elected as Law Gothi. They will jointly serve 3 year terms. Vor Tru magazine was discussed and Patrick Henry will assume the duty of editor after issue after issue 103 Is published. This is a result of Magnus being deployed at sea as an officer in the US Navy. Vor Tru magazine subscriptions was also discussed and the Thing voted to raise prices for domestic and overseas rates for the first time in 20 years. I am proud to report that 21 kindreds attended the Thing.

Deliberation on a few other Issues ran late so the Thing was extended until Saturday morning after breakfast. Spoiler Alert, it was a happy ending.

Next year's Althing will be in Arizona again just squeaking out a victory over the Oklahoma site. AIThlng 38 will be held at the same site during the same week as this year’s AIThlng.

I think special mention should be made of this year’s Kinder Hof hosted by Laura Henry. She provided a safe and productive learning experience and activities and safe environment for a dozen of our Asa Kids for 3 days of the AIThlng. Hail Clan Otter!

Dinner was served at 6pm with even more guests arriving from work. As the sun set and nightfall came a huge roaring fire took place up by the Thing grounds and a name giving took place. Destinee Boring and Mike Thomas had newborn, Ethelind brought before the folk to share her name and power that she brings to the tribe. Jenniffer Garrison (Mieth) was then asked to step forward after a quick sermon about name giving and was asked to grab the ancient ring of the Alliance and was from there on known as Seigur Tiltru.

The expecting mothers were also honored and were given sage advice by many of the other mothers present, plus one dad who raised five daughters.

And then the mead competition happened.-.the winner of the coveted silver bee was Sven Forengi with his vanilla spiced mead. Mike from Southern Norse Kindred won the Mead Hog favorite.

It seems to me that each year the mead hogs get more and more obnoxious. They had some crazy chant going on that sounded like the slurring a swine cries and joyous calamity.

Breakfast came at 9am sharp. Great job Cooks! Some moving slow and others were fresh as a daisy including yours truly. The Thing reconvened and resolved it's issues as we moved on to the next event. At 11 o'clock Magni started the Viking Games. Most of the campers participated in all the events offered like axe throwing, knife throwing, caber toss (light and heavy) and the hammer throw. This year archery was outlawed by the camp hosts and the cut & pillage course was destroyed by the Viking children. All in all the event was a hit and all who participated had a great time. My hat is off to those who organized the Viking Games and saw it through until its end.

It wasn't long before the folk started donning their tunics and ceremonial garb in preparation for the Odin Blot. This year the Gothi on deck was Jason from Hammers of Asgard. All the folk gathered in the grove and Jason along with his Kindred came prepared. It was a great and powerful Blot and is one I will never forget. Hail to the Hammers! A grand feast followed until our bellies were full. Then award presentations to all the winners of the Viking Games categories. This year Sven and Lif presented handmade rings for the victors. By this time the auction table was spilling over with more than enough auction items. Special attention was made to the raffle items this year. A handmade horn, needlework and a sax were donated by skilled crafters of the Alliance. As the night went on the auction carried on and by the end of the evening almost all the items were sold. In the end fatigue got the better of us all and it was time to throw in the towel and call it a night.

I might add that the assembled folk raised by their donations of items and bidding on the items added over eight thousand dollars for the Alliance general fund. Later that night 8 of us stayed by the fire for a seith session which was total judgment call that I left up to Isa and didn't take her long to say, "Go for it.” As you all probably know this is as much about Seith that I will talk about due to its personal nature of the individuals involved. If you know anybody involved in the session that night feel free to ask them of their experience.

Sunday morning was the even anticipated Spam breakfast cooked by an elite squad of Spam Gothar and three new Spam Gothis were sworn in. This is tradition and will probably never be broken. During this the folk work very hard to break down their camps and pack up their vehicles and prepare for final departure. In the end we left the campsite on time and headed back into Payson to unload and say our final goodbyes. My last reflections of Althing are always the same. Saying goodbye is never an easy thing. All the years we spend and time we invest all seem so bittersweet in the final hours of Sunday. Whenever I say goodbye to any of the greybeards there is always a notion in the back of my head saying that this might be the last time I see this person. Others emphatically say, "I'll see you next year for sure" and then...nothing. But living in the past or dwelling on the future never really gets us anywhere. It is the here and now where we revel in the joy and laughter with one another and say that in that moment in time, this was the best Althing ever.

Kollr Logmather

Allsherjargothi -The Asatru Alliance