For years we have been seeking to fully restore our ancient way of life, utilizing various methods in our practice to bring our folk together under a banner of kinship and camaraderie. Because of this, we feel that it is time for us to take the next step into rebuilding our tribal heritage once and for all.
Our purpose here is to guide you in the foundation and establishment of a Clan or Ætt (pl.Ættar) within a structure fully designed for the Sedian way of life and using a reconstructed body of traditions based on the sources significant to the ancient religion of Northern Europe. We then adapt these traditions for our modern usage, so that we can develop a network that is both modern and traditional; cultural and progressive. We practice the ancient religion of Odinism, Asatru, FornSed, etc. and no matter what you call it, we honor the legacy of our forefathers, and seek to add our places within the legacy of this faith by bringing its redevelopment to full fruition and starting the next stage. Our School of Thought is Sedian, meaning “Customary” or “Traditional,” which was designed to bring our folk back to the light of the Gods in a sacral and religious manner. For this purpose, it is our goal to reform the customs used by the ancients into a method of organizing our folk that reflects the only means we know our ancestors actually put into practice. It is nocoincidence that we are called Teutons, meaning “People of the Tribe,” and we feel that it is high time we reintroduce this sacred aspect of our culture as an intrinsic part of our religious movement.
` There are two reasons why this traditional rebirth is so vital to our progression: first, it is part of who we are, a part of our DNA as Europeans with a proud heritage that once centered around the formation of families into Clans, Clans into Tribes, and Tribes into Nations. Our people were tribal, and expressed their religion through their tribal culture. When they sought to distinguish themselves from others as groups, the family (kyn– kindred or hús–house) would unite with other families to form a Clan (Ætt), which would then join with other Clans to form a Tribe or Nation (þjóð, related to Germanic theudanoz, from which Teuton is derived). These Nations contained tribal names, ultimately derived from those of Clan elders or chieftains, many of which survive today in the names of European countries. England got its name from the Angles and one Angli, Denmark gets its name from the Danes and one King Dan, France from the Franks and King Frank, while Sweden was originally named Sviþjod, “The Nation of the Svi,” and its earliest king, Svidur. The modern existence of such an ancient institution is a testament to its profound significance as a hallmark of our ancestral belief system.
The second reason the reformation of the Clans is so important is because the means to establish one, if done properly, shall become a part of our cultural identity, a part of who we are. We will no longer have our families subject to the will of popular culture, where our children are left with nothing meaningful in their lives. We will no longer sit idle while the future of our people is robbed from us, while our cultural identity is completely wiped out. We are the harbingers of the destiny of this culture and we will be the ones who see to its preservation. The Clans shall be a valuable tool in this reformation.
It is not the goal of this work to dictate to you how you should run your group. That is up to you. The guidelines used here are merely to help each Ætt develop to stand on its own, to establish its own identity as a unique, self-sufficient entity that will recognize and mark its members for who they are and what they are a part of. Every tradition, every ritual, every symbol will be an expression of you and your Ætt, which will then reflect on our folk as a whole. It is both an exciting re-awakening of an ancient model and a huge responsibility for us all as we bring this into the modern era. This is not about practicing anachronism, but rather having a means to establishingour traditional system that will resonate for years to come. The Clan identity, the Clan system, will be passed on to our children’s children’s children if we have anything to say about it, and hopefully we are building a legacy that could last for generations. At the same time, we hope that it will be a significant representation of our religious creed for years to come.
To us, this is the next stage in the revival of the ancient Northern religion, which has been steadily progressing over the past 40 years. The Ætts were such an important part of our ancestors’ culture they prevail in almost all of our early records, and are a part of the central theme in most of the stories in the Sagas and Eddas. Several Sagas are named after Ætts, such as the Völsungasaga, the Ynglingasaga, and the Skjoldungasaga.Even the Gods themselves are dividedinto Clans or Tribes— the Aesir and Vanir.
Why is the Clan so valuable? It is a direct link to our ancestry and to our descendants, beyond a simple gathering of people under a fictitious name. It is something handed down to us so that we may, in turn, pass it on to the next generation. The Clan is always named after an honored ancestor or Clan founder (followed by the suffixes -ing or -ung in the ancient Teutonic languages, which mean “descendants of” or “people of’), and as such identifies the members of that Clan with a common foundation, even if they are not born of the same family. We have to remember that our religion, call it Asatru, Odinism, or whatnot, is much more than this in the sense that it embodies
the entire cultural spectrum of beliefs and practices that predate all mainstream religions today. It is an ethnic, esoteric faith centered on the ideals of family and folk, and as such, needs the Clan as its highest form of social organization.
At least fifty Clans and Tribes are known from our sources, including the most famous ones—the Skjoldungs (Skjoldungar), called the Scyldings by the Anglo-Saxons, the Ynglings (Ynglingar), the Völsungs (Völsungar), and the Hildings (Hildingar). These each relate to their famous founders, heroes of their people, whose names are immortalized by that of their Clan, like a plaque or memorial statue in their honor. By reading the sources we can use their traditions as a guide in forming our own Clans and in conducting our affairs within them. Because this system is so prevalent among our sources, we can use it to piece together the rituals and customs needed to reform our proper unification, while at the same time it can inspire us to develop our own rites and traditions to make our particular Clans unique. These center around a core institution, represented in many cases in our lore by the Gods themselves, and as such should be recognized and valued as sacred to all of those who follow the ways of the North.
Registry within the Ætts establishes a confederation of all the Ætts developed, and because of this we consider the alliance of all to be a Nation, a Thjod in and of itself. The identity you establish here for your Ætt must be your own, even though it is set up using a standard method.
The key here is to celebrate the cultural diversity of our people in recognizing the differences we can develop as part of one strong legacy. It is this concept that gave Europe a more varied social landscape than any other continent on Earth—why there are more languages, more variations in nationality, and more differences in customs and culture than anywhere else. It is why a Dane seems completely distinct from a German, or a German a Scot, or a Scot a Dutchman, yet all are connected as Europeans. These Clans formed their own unique identity, separate from the rest, and then allied with other Clans to become Tribes. With these Clans and Tribes came territories, land marked as their own, some of which, as stated, would become the countries of Europe we know today. Of course, in our modern incarnation, we will have restrictions on our claims to land, but there are ways we can adopt this tradition to meet our purposes in the modern era.
You may notice that most of the terms used in this text are Old Norse derivatives, for this language is considered to be sacred to many of the followers of our ways. However, this is simply a preference, and it must be remembered that your Clan identity is your own, created by you and the other members of your group. The establishment of your Ætt means that you can use terms from any Northern European language you prefer, including English. Also, do not feel pressured to make every tradition you institute different from all the others within our Ætt registry. Such would really be an impossibility. It will be your own personal combination of symbols, rituals, and customs that will identify your Clan will be there to help you every step of the way. The idea is that when we gather at festivals and Things as a Nation, every individual will be recognized by the symbols of their Ætt. What you come up with is up to you, and we encourage research into the various peoples of our ancestral lands so that you can find what is right for your group, while the work set forth by the Circles of the Norroena Society is designed to help you in this endeavor.
Even use of terms such as Asatru, Odinism, Forn Sed, etc. may be a part of your traditional makeup, and this is fine as well. The Nation is not going to limit itself to a single designation or a single language (in spite of our name), when our religion was celebrated on the lips and in the hearts of people all over Europe in many different forms. As long as what you establish properly represents folkish Teutonic religious and cultural values and the principles of Sedianism, we will welcome the unique blend of traditions that will identify your Ætt as special, as its own personalized unit within our Nation.
We have been striving in our religious revival for almost half a century now without interruption. Every day we see new ideas formed and made reality. Those of us involved in our movement have the privilege to witness the sheer will and determination of good, decent people focused strongly on regaining the once honored status of our ethnic birthright: the indigenous religion of Northern Europe. In taking up the methods described in this work, you are essentially taking up the relit torch that carries with it the fire of our very existence as a people. For this, we will be the voice of tomorrow, as the children of our fathers and the fathers of our children. We will be the heralds of a new awakening for our folk, grown by decades of dedication and vigilance.
We will be the beacon of hope for those lost in the darkness of cultureless individualism. Together, we again shall be the People of the Tribe!