A Clan, or Ætt, is established as part of an alliance using a proven method employed by many different organizations, where a probationary period of one year is required; here called The Year of Establishment.
However, this period is not designed for us to simply monitor groups and individuals to see if they shall be positive, productive associations for the Nation. Here we shall work together in creating a solid, traditional foundation for your Ætt identity, while introducing you to the other Ætts within the registry, as well as the many educational services we offer.
The Year of Establishment allows us an opportunity to become familiar with applicants and determine a proper fit, and for this reason is encouraged as part of the membership requirements for individual Ætts as well. The most important part of this is in aiding you to orchestrate the customs and rituals that will represent your group in its outward appearance. This will involve close association with Ætts already established within the Nation to help guide you on your path to discover your own sacred legacy.
The first things you will need are methods for people to contact you. Technology offers so many ways to do this now, so this should not be too difficult. We simply need some way to have constant contact with you, as will others once you start to consider looking at bringing members into your Ætt. It is also important for you to be able to keep up with any information or events relative to what we are doing within our alliance.
It is necessary for members of other Ætts in the Nation to be able to work with you, and for people seeking certain positions within the Ætt (see below) to be able to correspond with others having the same roles so they can see the inner workings of their responsibilities, while the correspondence itself develops new traditions and ideas. For this purpose, we shall have forums and discussion groups for members to exchange information and help one another. If you take this one step at a time, allow ideas to flow and coalesce amongst those of your particular Ætt, allowing all to have a part in the decision-making process, you should have no problem creating an institution or legacy that you and your folk can be proud of.
It should be noted that an Ætt must consist of no less than two families or Houses. Every person is a member of a family, so two individuals from different families may set up an Ætt. If there is only one family or House, this cannot by its very definition be an Ætt.
Individuals who are not able to form their own Ætt may seek membership into the Nation through sponsorship by one of our already established Ætts, regardless of proximity, until such time as they can establish their own. Preferably, this would be an Ætt close enough to them so that they can attend gatherings and meet in person. The internet certainly allows us to connect to one another in many different ways, but it cannot beat personal interaction. Still, people can seek sponsorship from any Ætt within the Nation, as long as they meet the membership requirements of our overall organization and that particular Ætt.
Later on we are going to discuss exactly how one would go about establishing their Ætt identity, but for now it is important to know that everything you put into this, every symbol, every rite, every tradition you establish will be recorded and added to our Ætt Registry, so that future members can better understand our system, and so other Ætts can study your traditions to see what makes you special and unique.
This will include the Ætt’s name, the Elder’s name, all symbols of position and station (see below), any special ceremonial traditions, the Ætt’s banner and crest, and anything else you deem important. In the Year of Establishment we are working towards your identity’s foundation, to create those traditions that represent your outward appearance to the world.
You may be building customs for years to come, as new research becomes available and new ideas emerge. We must remember though that any and every tradition we use is built upon one notion: repetition. These ideas must be repeated continuously in order for them to become a part of a traditional foundation. For right now, within The Year of Establishment, the Society mainly needs you to focus on the meaningful, external symbolism that will solely belong to you and yours. Once you have established (typically by vote) and recorded your traditions, we will ask you each month to fill out a Registry form to help us in cataloging all of our Ætts.
In studying the Ætt Registry itself, you will want to avoid mimicking others as much as possible so that you can create something that is truly unique. However, it is perfectly acceptable if you decide to borrow some ideas here and there from fellow members of the Nation (with so little left to us in our ancestral records it would be impossible for us to avoid at least a little repetition), especially in areas where they will never clash, such as private ceremonies, festivals, or other gatherings. There will be some aspects of your Ætt that are required to be unique, such as the Ætt’s name, banner, motto, coat of arms, etc. If you are truly to stand out, you will have to be creative and innovative, as well as studious in your research to remain within the confines of Northern European culture.
No matter what we do, we always start small at the beginning, taking baby steps to reach our goals as we progress. The Norroena Society itself began as a couple of people rebuilding an organization gone for over a century, slowly putting the pieces together as best we could for years. We still work and grow to this day, and hope to for many years to come.
It must be understood that something as important as establishing your own Ætt cannot be rushed, for anything done right takes time. You may want to begin filling out your Ætt Registry form right now, to write down as many traditions as you can think of at this very moment, but this could have dire repercussions in the future. For one thing, you will want to involve everyone in your Clan in this, for these symbols represent them as much as you. Collectively, all of us are impacted by your decisions, for we are all a part of this revival of the ancient Teutonic tribal customs, and, as stated earlier, this is a huge responsibility for us all.
We would suggest making a list of all the social elements your Clan will be involved in (see below), take one at a time, and then have your group come up with at least three ideas on how you can employ customs surrounding that element. Hold a Thing (see below) and decide which idea is favored by a vote, then move on to the next. This will insure that everyone participates, that all have a voice, and that customs will be selected at random, providing the special combination of traditions you need. Later on we will go into how to categorize your development of these customs on a month-by-month basis to help you organize these Things as you participate in them.
It is the highest goal of The Norroena Society to provide our people with all the tools and services needed to practice the native Teutonic religion, and to promote the advancement of our movement through the projects we initiate. Because of this, we are here to help you in any way that we can, to provide any aid necessary for you to develop a successful addition to our folk.
When you pass through your Year of Establishment, you become a part of our greater family community, one fully educated by the methods developed by the Society, though independent in its execution. You are bound by blood to your family, which will be bound to your Clan, which will then be bound to the greater Nation.
Establishment into the Clans will ultimately be determined by the vote of our High Council, which we have dubbed the Rigsthing (see below). Building your traditions does not guarantee placement within our confederation, for you are still campaigning for a position within amongst the greater whole.
As you have a responsibility to your Clan, we all have a responsibility to our union of Clans and the men and women who have worked hard to get where we are. We owe it to them to see to it that any groups within the Nation maintain the utmost respect for our faith, our culture, and our alliance. At this point in the process, you will have already seen what we are about, and we will have learned something about you as well, so, barring any negative incidents in the future, acceptance should not be an issue.
Once you have become established, you will be asked to swear a sacred oath of allegiance to the Nation, just as you should have an oath of loyalty for prospective members of your Clan. It is necessary for you to understand the responsibility that you will have to our alliance, whose honor rests upon the shoulders of all its members. So that you may know what you are about to embark upon, here is the oath that will be taken:
This will take place at our annual gathering of the Rigsthing (see below). The Elder of your prospective Clan will step forward to an Elder of an already established Clan of the Nation. They will hand this person a sacred oath-ring that has been dipped in holy mead. This is one of the most solemn oaths you can ever take, next to your own Clan oath and marriage vows. This is the Oath of Allegiance:
“I (name), Elder of the (Clan name) Clan, hereby swear by the Gods and Goddesses of our people, on the holy waters of the river Leipt, and by my own honor, that I will uphold the standards, traditions, and by-laws of the Sedian Nation to the best of my abilities. By this oath I swear allegiance to all the other Clans, present and future, of the Nation, as my own takes its place within this confederation. All members of my Clan, bound to me by blood and oath, are represented by this sacred vow, and all who join us in the years to come shall be by the same means. Now our honor is one, now our alliance is made, and any dishonor to the Nation is a dishonor against myself and those of my Clan. This oath I take, never to break, so help me Odin, Frey, and Njord!”
After this the new Elder takes a drink of mead from a sanctified drinking horn to bind him to the oath and conclude the ceremony.
It is up to individual Clan Elders to see to it that the oaths used in bringing individuals into their Clan coincide with the one given above. Thus, the Elders, as the ones who take the above oath, act as the conduit by which all other members present and future shall be bound to the other Clans of the Nation. Clan members are bound to their Clans through the oaths they give and through their Elders they are linked to the Nation as a whole. When a new Elder succeeds the old, the Oath of Allegiance must be renewed in order to keep our union strong. Given the importance of these oaths, and how they represent actual family relations (as shown in the next section), the confederation that makes up our Nation should be profoundly significant to us all.
While it is ideal that the Nation be built upon a strong foundation of united Clans spread far and wide for us to truly build a revolutionary movement towards the reestablishment of these sacred traditions, we realize that this is not always possible. Isolation, area, or other issues may otherwise prevent one from building or joining an Ætt. For this reason we have developed our guidelines for the creation of Solitary Houses so that anyone of our folk may join our alliance. Much of the procedure in setting up your House will be the same as that of the Clan, except that members may only be related to you by blood. If anyone outside of your House wishes to join, then you have the makings of an Ætt!