It was my pleasure to be interviewed on the Expedition Truth program about women in Asatru. I would like to thank Rev. Jack Ashcraft for inviting me to his program and also for his fair and respectful interview.
The topic I would like to bring to the Runestone this month is directly from that interview.
Frithweavers of the Asatru Folk Assembly.
Frith is so much more than the simple definition of “peace” so commonly used to describe it or define it. It is a reciprocal relationship between folk for mutual physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. It is a term we use within the AFA often but can never have too much practice of!
As women, we are the mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and wives of the AFA. We are also the frithweavers.
The first Frithweaver of the AFA is Gythia Sheila McNallen, wife of Founder Stephen McNallen. Prior to ever receiving her ordination as Gythia, she was weaving the frith of her Folk. She helped create the Asatru and the AFA we know today. She truly is THE FRITHWEAVER of the Asatru Folk Assembly, and has set a standard of excellence, understanding, and caring that we all strive to attain. Before I continue, I want to thank Gythia McNallen for her dedication to her folk and the personal instruction and education she has given me over the past couple of years through not only her words, but her example.
As women and frithweavers, we hold a unique ability within us to build these bonds of frith.
First, we support one another. We celebrate together as women in times of happiness and success, and we stand together and unite in times of struggle and sadness. We are sisters, before our gods and under the flag of our church. The support of the women of the AFA has brought me through tough times and made the great times even greater.
Secondly, we build frith through the raising of our children. As mothers and grandmothers, we find ourselves in a special and important place in the lives of the young. Through our influence, we help them to build long-lasting and meaningful relationships with their Folk. As women, we tend to use the “community” idea in tending and raising our children. If you have ever been at a large AFA event, you will see the children laughing and playing, safe and sound, under the watchful eye of not just one woman, but many. When a child’s laughter rings through the hall, or they cry out for any reason, each of us instantly becomes a mother, a grandmother, an aunt.
We have the gift of weaving not just our children together, but our families as a whole. Through our tended friendships, we bring generations of a family together with bonds that last and influence our lives in the deepest ways. We heal division, hurt feelings, or concerns within the Folk in nurturing ways that are gentle when needed and strong when appropriate.
One must not be a mother to fill this role. While motherhood is a blessing, gift, and responsibility greater than all, there are many who have not been blessed in this way. If you are not or cannot be a mother, you can still be a sister. You can still be an aunt. You can still help to raise and tend to the children of the church, support your sisters when they need it most, and to provide comfort and friendship to our elders. You, too, are important and needed in the fold of frithweaving.
For ladies who have not yet discovered the beauty of the friendship of the women of the AFA, please, reach out to me or any of our other ladies in leadership! We can help connect you to this amazing network of wonderful women!
Witan Brandy Callahan