For the last decade, Asatru UK has held to its core values and mission statement: to further Heathenry, to hold gatherings and events across the country, and to create a space for Heathens to discuss and worship together. But, always in the back of our minds and at the heart of our efforts has been the dream of owning land!
In 2022, we held our first Althyng with a record number of Heathens attending to join us in Blot, Sumbel, feasting and merriment - but also to plan for the next nine years. During our discussions with the community over that weekend we laid bare our plans for the future and asked for more feedback in those aims. The community responded and reacted with remarkable productivity and overwhelming positivity. What we can say now is: The dream of land ownership has never been more real and never been more achievable than it is today.
For years now every penny that Asatru UK has made from our events, our merchandise and our patron membership has always been reinvested back into the community. From paying Heathen artists to design our shirts and imagery, and craftspeople to build our Godposts and weave frith cords. We have also managed to squirrel money away and begun creating reserve funds, funds that cover running our website, laying deposits on sites for events and most importantly for- eventually - buying land!
This year we are proud to finally announce the Nerthus Initiative!
Our plan is simple: we intend to create a fund, a fund that is untouchable until the day comes when it reaches the goal set to buy land that we as a community can manage, gather on, feast on and worship the gods on.
How will we buy land and with what money?
Much like with our “portable Vé project” it will be funded by the community from books sales, event profits, merchandise sales, donations and, most importantly, our patron membership. 100 patron subscriptions a year pays for the commissioning of an annual Godpost, while 200 patron memberships would begin to grow the Nerthus Initiative and within a few short years, we will find ourselves in a strong position to find and buy land. We will also begin specific fundraisers and competitions to gather donations to this cause.
What will be on the land?
We have no idea, yet! Once we find ourselves in the position to start looking, the committee and our volunteer teams will commence the arduous task of finding affordable land that suits the needs of the Heathen community in the United Kingdom. It might be land that needs a great deal of work and tender loving care, requiring careful management and time from volunteers of the community to help make it thrive and become healthy and beautiful. It might be perfect with woodland, a river and heathland. It might be somewhere in between; we have no idea yet but when the time is right, and the search begins, the Gods will see us to the land they want us on.
Once we have found the perfect site then the fun really begins. We will build a permanent Vé - the portable Vé project has started the process of allowing for ritual leaders and kindreds to focus their energies on consecrating Godposts, performing larger scale blots and ritual to the gods. One of the first and most important things we will do with the land we have is to build a permanent Vé, one that groups and individuals can travel to so they might make offerings to the gods and worship there. With the experience of our ritual leaders deepening and growing, these blots will be a true testament to the wonders of our community and the Heathens who have worked tirelessly to make it happen for so many years.
Who can use the land?
Heathens! Heathens and other pagan groups who align with our inclusive values will always be welcome on the land we intend to own. Groups, hearths, kindreds and families may use it to camp on and, of course, our largest gatherings and festivals will take place there. There are, naturally, many obstacles to consider with this, but as we grow into the initiative and begin to understand the processes required for allowing groups to use the land, and ways in which it can be used, will become clearer.
Will there be buildings on the land? A temple?
Once we have had a few years of land ownership and getting it to a place where we want it to be, the next step for Asatru UK will be to build a temple on the land, yes! This may take many, many years and no small amount of money and planning but that has always been the dream and focus to build a Hof once we have land.
Other buildings will also become extremely important: toilets, a shower blocks, storage facilities, shelters etc.
We may find the land is perfect as it is and not want to build on it, or the land wights might have other ideas. We won’t know until we have it.
How can I help?
Patron membership has been the biggest boost to Asatru UK in the last 3 years. It’s allowed us to realise the goal of the portable Vé, it’s allowed us to put on large festival type events and it’s allowed us to fund these events. By becoming a patron member for £16 a year you are showing us your support, and will also benefit from our monthly assembly meetings, access to the patrons’ camping moots and discounts at some of the Heathen traders who support Asatru UK.
We also will begin fundraising specifically for this initiative. As a registered CIC we have access to apply for grants and schemes that can help us realise this goal.
This project has long been excitedly spoken about at our moots and has often been considered nothing more than a pipe dream, one for tomorrow - but tomorrow is here! We are finally on our way to doing something we have never done before - buying land for the Heathen community of the United Kingdom.
So many of you, in one way or another, have supported us over the last decade, so many friendships have been made and Heathenry in the UK has never looked stronger. The support has been incredible, the trust and faith unbelievable. Together we can walk into the next stage and realise the dream so many of us have had for so long, the Nerthus Initiative is now live!
Hail to you all and in frith,
The Asatru UK Committee