Founded by Stephen McNallen in Northern California, the AFA reached 24 U.S.-based chapters, or kindreds, in 2021 with numerous other chapters around the world. Members of the AFA subscribe to a belief that pre-Christian Norse and Germanic religions can only be practiced by individuals with ancestral roots in those Northern European regions – or more specifically, white people.
While AFA leadership has often couched the group’s bigoted views in “cultural preservation” rhetoric, the “Declaration of Purpose” on the group’s website belies those curated claims in stating: “If the Ethnic European Folk cease to exist Asatru would likewise no longer exist. Let us be clear: by Ethnic European Folk we mean white people.” Such beliefs in white genocide undergird the AFA’s adherence to ethnocentrism and rigid gender roles, two through lines connecting AFA’s ideology to that of the broader far right.
In Their Own Words
“Being a Confederate is no longer about where you live or even on which side your ancestors fought. You can be from Ohio or Pennsylvania or New York because what is now happening in New Orleans and elsewhere in the South, is your battle, too. The same interests that are demanding an ISIS-like erasure of history when it comes to the statues of Confederate heroes are the same forces tightening the lefist and globalist stranglehold on y’all up in the North, and those of you out West, and those of you from coast to coast and around the world. They’re the people who believe racism must be extinguished even if it means white people need to be extinguished. The same people who attribute white success to white privilege. The people who think that Black lives matter, but blue ones not so much. The people who want more immigration for the precise reason that it will ensure a non-white majority in America. … These people are not just after Southerners, they’re after you too.” – Sept. 2, 2020, video posted by the Asatru Folk Assembly on Bitchute, titled “The Attack on the Confederacy – We are all Confederates Now!”
“The racial stuff or ethnic end of it was not immediately apparent to me. I think many people first get involved in racial politics, and then later decide that maybe Odinism or Asatru attracts them. With me, it was quite the reverse as I was attracted to the religion first, simply for its own value, and it was only later that I began to realize that there’s an inherent connection between one’s ethnicity and the religion that they follow.” – Stephen McNallen, as quoted in Mattias Gardell’s book Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism (259-60)
“The myth cycle, our powerful truths, they’re not literal truths, they’re pathways to truth. They show us truth in ways that our mind and our soul is uniquely capable of understanding the divine. And you find that because that’s developed through thousands of years of the experiences of our people. That’s why I think it is uniquely suited to each of as people of Northern European descent, as people who trace their roots back to that font of Aryan consciousness to embrace that spirituality. And you see that expressed throughout Europe and in little corners of the rest of the world that have since been diluted by white genocide.” – Excerpt from “Asatru: A White Man’s Religion,” a speech current AFA leader Matt Flavel delivered at the Northwest Forum, a conference organized by white nationalist Greg Johnson of Counter-Currents Publishing
“If the Ethnic European Folk cease to exist Asatru would likewise no longer exist. Let us be clear: by Ethnic European Folk we mean white people. It is our collective will that we not only survive, but thrive, and continue our evolution in the direction of the Infinite. All native religions spring from the unique collective soul of a particular race. Religions are not arbitrary or accidental; body, mind and spirit are all shaped by the evolutionary history of the group and are thus interrelated. Asatru is not just what we believe, it is what we are. Therefore, the survival and welfare of the Ethnic European Folk as a cultural and biological group is a religious imperative for the AFA.” – Second point in the Asatru Folk Assembly’s current “Declaration of Purpose,” featured on the organization’s website
“It can be hard to know where we, as women, fit in today’s modern society; what exactly our role is; our purpose. Guerrilla feminism has torn the fabric of collective female self-awareness, and we are all led from birth on a journey away from ourselves, destined for confusion and depression via mass media marketing. We are brainwashed from birth to believe that our value as women is dependent on a combination of base sex appeal and a willingness to imitate our male counterparts in both personality and lifestyle. We’re taught that aggression is a virtue, promiscuity is empowering, and only oppressed women stay home to raise their own children. As a result, we are lost adrift. We are the victims of an ideological war – one that has taken us so far from our natural state as nurturing mothers, spiritual vessels, Creators, Goddesses, that many of us barely recognize those aspects of ourselves anymore. … Ásatrú is not just a “boy’s club”, where men reconnect with their inner barbarian and learn to fight for glory; there are likewise innumerable lessons to be learned and inner connections to be made for women who follow the old ways as well.” – Excerpt from an article written by Emily Fehr, a founding member of the AFA-affiliated Vinland Volk Tribe in Vancouver, Canada. The article, titled “Asatru and the Modern Woman,” was published in the September 2019 edition of The Runestone.
“In these mixed up times it is important to remember not only that it is okay to be white, but also that we owe to our descendants the same sturdy roots from which we ourselves have grown. We Asatruar are on the side of nature, of family, and of life.” – Caption of a November 2017 post to the Asatru Folk Assembly’s Instagram account
1969-87: Viking Brotherhood to Asatru Free Assembly
In a time when segments of the far right in the United States were becoming disillusioned with Christianity, progenitors of the neo-Völkisch, or folkish, movement emerged. Neo-Völkisch groups in the U.S. that embrace racial, ethnic and/or cultural essentialism generally identify themselves and their groups as “Folkish” and/or “Folk”-rooted – English translations of “Völkisch” and “Völk,” respectively. Stephen McNallen, one of the early adherents to this ideology, founded the Viking Brotherhood in 1969.
Concurrently, Danish immigrant Else Christensen was forming the Odinist Fellowship in Clearwater, Florida. Both folkish organizations professed a belief in the roots of an individual’s religion in their ethnic heritage. While Christensen openly maintained ties to national socialists and recruited largely through prison outreach, McNallen sought to uphold the Viking Brotherhood commitment to ethnopluralism – a term white nationalists use to obscure their white supremacist beliefs with a facade of separate but equal ethno-cultures. In addition, McNallen infused his nascent organization with a warrior ethos inspired by his time serving in the Army.
In his early texts, McNallen used “Norse religion” to describe the foundations of his new organization. He soon adopted the word “Odinism” from Else Christensen and eventually settled on “Asatru” after finding the term in a book about pre-Christian Norse paganism. Asatru roughly translates to “belief in the Germanic gods.” Asatru is itself an Icelandic pagan faith grounded in universal inclusion. McNallen co-opted the term, twisting it to describe ethnic and racial exclusivity.
In 1971, McNallen began publishing The Runestone, a quarterly “journal of the ancient Norse religion, known as Odinism or Ásatrú.” He delivered the first edition to only 11 subscribers whom he had attracted through an advertisement in Fate, a magazine covering paranormal phenomena.
McNallen discharged from the Army and returned to the United States from his post in West Germany in 1976. He changed the organization’s name from the Viking Brotherhood to the Asatru Free Assembly and shortly thereafter, published an article titled “Metagenetics” in the Winter 1980 edition of The Runestone.
The term “metagenetics,” coined by McNallen, relies heavily on Dr. Carl Jung’s conception of the “collective unconscious.” As posited by Jung, humans inherit an unconscious psyche which is built from the images and experiences of one’s ancestors. As McNallen extrapolates from Jung’s writing, this genetically inherited “reservoir of primordial … predispositions and potentialities” link mind, body and spirit to one’s ancestors. He thus makes the claim that the ancient regional cultures of northern Europe are connected across centuries to the genetic makeup, religious belief systems and cultural fabrics of their descendants. This erroneous connection, which McNallen calls “biological kinship,” is a strain of pseudoscience that throughout history has been used to justify many ethnocentric, racist and classist tropes. The eugenics movements of the 1920s and 1930s in the United States and Germany are an example of how “biological determinism” has been used to justify government-sanctioned atrocities.
The ethnocentric beliefs of “metagenetics” were foundational in the conceptualization and trajectory of the Asatru Free Assembly. Several pages later, in the same issue of The Runestone, McNallen detailed the organization’s Declaration of Purpose. In a promise to “our ancestors, ourselves and our descendants,” the Declaration’s 12 tenets are grounded in the desire to “preserve the cultural and biological identity of the Northern peoples, from whose soul Odinism sprang.”
Also included on the back cover of this same 1980 issue of The Runestone, requirements for AFA membership were printed. Membership to the organization was open to those who “accepted the timeless religion of [their] ancestors” and who could “contribute one percent of [their] income, before taxes, to the Asatru Free Assembly.” These dues were spread between one’s local kindred and the larger AFA organization, while also providing the individual with a subscription to The Runestone.
Editions of The Runestone between Fall 1981 to Winter 1982 featured full-page back cover advertisements for The Turner Diaries. This novel about a race war in the United States helped motivate numerous terror attacks and hate crimes, most notably the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing. The promotional description of the book reads in part: “Author Andrew Macdonald is a nuclear physicist and an expert in improvised munitions, terrorist gadgets, and military/industrial sabotage. His descriptions of devices and techniques are graphic and detailed. His scenario is terrifyingly realistic.” To purchase, readers were encouraged to send $4.95 and an additional 50 cents for postage to the neo-Nazi National Alliance Books.
In the following years, membership and activism expanded. However, the AFA structure still centered largely around McNallen and his then partner and fellow neo-Völkisch adherent, Maddy Hutter. In editions of The Runestone from the 1980s, Hutter is listed as “Production” and McNallen as “Editor.” Conflicts arose due to this consolidated focus on McNallen and Hutter and the tension it created with members advocating for a kindred-based decentralized framework. Additionally, McNallen was challenged by more and more fascists seeking to join his organization.
McNallen shuttered the Asatru Free Assembly in 1987. The Asatru Alliance carry the mantle of the folkish movement in the United States.
Re-establishment: Asatru Folk Assembly
Following a five-year hiatus, during which he joined the National Guard and lived with Maddy Hutter in a remote region of Northern California, McNallen reemerged on the neo-Völkisch scene with the reintroduction of The Runestone in Fall 1992. Heralding his publication as “America’s premier journal of Nordic Religion,” McNallen reassured subscribers that “five years of productive dormancy” had honed The Runestone into a “more tightly focused, but as innovative and intelligent as ever” publication. He also asserted that he had “no intention of rebuilding the elaborate structure that characterized the AFA.” He continued, “you won’t get guilds, membership, gathering, or kindreds from us.”
After two years of publishing The Runestone without an official organizational affiliation, McNallen claimed in the Winter 1994 issue that it was “time for a stand.” Given the rise in popularity of the universalist heathen group the Ring of Troth, McNallen stated: “the time has come for a group which will clearly and uncompromisingly advocate the folkish viewpoint. It can’t be the old Asatru Free Assembly, because we can’t relive the past. But it can be the Asatru Folk Assembly, taking the best of the old AFA and presenting it in a stronger, wiser, more mature form. I am now calling for the formation of such an organization.”
In the newly established Asatru Folk Assembly’s guiding principles, McNallen asserted that, “Asatru is the indigenous religion of the northern Teutons. As such, it is one expression of a common European spirituality which unites all the far-flung sons and daughters of Europe, weather (sic) Germanic or Celtic, whatever their nation of origin.”
In the same 1994 publication, McNallen wrote: “What will the Asatru Folk Assembly do? We will of course present the folkish viewpoint, but beyond that, we will form kindreds, train our own clergy, start guilds, and organize systems to help each other. Ultimately, we will grow into a new tribe, or a network of tribes, and gain international recognition as such.”
The first guilds – or smaller collectives focused on a specific trade, skillset or interest – to be introduced were the Aerospace Technology Guild and the Warrior Guild. The latter published the Wolf Age quarterly for “martial artists, soldiers, policemen, adventurers, soldier of fortune, and wandering barbarians.” By 1997, the Asatru Folk Assembly had developed three additional guilds: the Seith Guild, the Genealogy Guild and the Organic Gardening Guild.
Introduced in summer 1996, the Genealogy Guild aimed to help members explore their ancestry “from distant times through the recent past.” Around this same time, advertisements began to appear in The Runestone for “The Enhanced Community.” Founded by Michael (Reinhold) Clinton and his wife Cathy, the ads called for “Asatru couples who want to move to the Pacific Northwest.” Aiming to draw 12 young couples to Camas, Washington, the community would have a “Viking Hof on donated acreage that will function as an Asatru church, community center, school, and educational center.”
As the networks of AFA members began to expand, so too did the organization’s work and relationships in the broader neo-Völkisch community. Following the 1993 imprisonment of Else Christensen on drug smuggling charges, the Asatru Folk Assembly took up her cause. According to Mattias Gardell, author of Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism, Christensen practiced “a more political and racial [folkish religion] with notable national socialist influences.”
In addition to providing frequent updates on Christensen’s imprisonment and imminent deportation to Canada upon her October 1997 release from prison, McNallen spearheaded efforts to raise money for her defense fund by selling T-shirts and posters. He also took charge of her prison outreach for several years. He eventually had to discontinue the program in spring 1998 due to a lack of leadership and several interactions with allegedly exploitative inmates.
However, the Asatru Folk Assembly continues to honor Christensen as the “Folk Mother” of their belief system. In a January 16, 2021, post on the group’s website, Else’s ideology was lauded as having been “heavily influenced by the idea that the gods were encoded in the collective unconscious of the Aryan race.” In May 2021, the Wisconsin AFA kindred also hosted the group’s first event honoring Else Christensen.
Concurrent with his efforts to bolster Christensen’s work, McNallen also embarked on a small speaking tour and sought to solidify relations with similarly minded folkish groups. On his spring 1997 tour, he spoke at two colleges, a library and a small club in the Pacific Northwest. On the heels of this tour, McNallen announced the creation of the organization’s first website, runestone.org.
In addition, McNallen participated in a summer 1997 Althing, or parliamentary assembly, in which the International Asatru/Odinist Alliance was formed between himself as a representative of the AFA, Valgard Murray of the Asatru Alliance and Heimgest of the UK-based Odinic Rite. Established in 1973, the Odinic Rite aims to “promote all aspects of [their] ancestral religion today called Odinsim, the organic spiritual beliefs and way of life of the indigenous peoples of Northern Europe.”
Kennewick Man: ‘Ancient Caucasians in America?’
Also in the late 1990s, one of the most galvanizing and enduring events in the AFA’s history was beginning to unfold. On July 28, 1996, the skeletal remains of a prehistoric man were discovered on the banks of the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington. Initial anthropological studies of Kennewick Man, as he came to be known by many, noted that the skull bore some resemblance to Caucasoid remains. Caucasoid is an outdated term that refers to the similar phenotypes of homosapien groups from Europe, North Africa, and Western, Central and South Asia.
McNallen seized upon the term “Caucasoid,” erroneously connecting it through the similarly antiquated term “Caucasian,” to conclude that the Kennewick Man was a white European. In his first article about the Kennewick Man, published in the Fall/Winter 1996 edition of The Runestone, McNallen claimed that the earliest humans to cross the Bering Land Bridge displayed “markedly Caucasian features, and it is possible that they were victims of genocide perpetrated by the proto-Indians.”
Soon after the discovery of the bones, a dispute unfolded between groups including scientists who wished to study the remains further; Indigenous American tribes – led by the local Umatilla Nation – who wanted rights to the bones in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990; and the Army Corps of Engineers, who seized the bones as they deliberated to whom they belonged.
In an effort to build upon his spurious narrative of “white genocide”, McNallen sought to inject the AFA into the legal fray. McNallen hired Michael (Reinhold) Clinton, a member of the AFA-affiliated Wotan’s Kindred, as legal representation. Clinton, quoted in a 1998 New York Times article, claimed, “Kennewick Man is a threat to the Indians because he jeopardizes their moral authority and argument that they were the victims of Europeans which succeeded them.”
As the saga of the Kennewick Man continued, McNallen published pseudo-scientific articles in The Runestone. He attempted to bolster his claims by writing about “an entire culture of long-skulled, Caucasian-proportioned people [who] may have inhabited the American West.”
Each article, mired in claims of anti-white discrimination, echoed the tenets of metagenetics. By asserting that the Kennewick Man shared a “Folksoul, the same essence, the same corner of the collective unconscious” with members of the Asatru Folk Assembly, McNallen was pursuing two main goals. First, he aimed to validate a fabricated narrative that white Europeans were the first to settle on the North American continent and therefore have a right to the land. From that, McNallen also sought to validate the myth that white people are being subjected to an ongoing genocide.
Despite attempts to fundraise for their legal defense, the AFA dropped out of the Kennewick Man case in fall 1999 due to their inability to cover unexpected fees. In McNallen’s view this was largely due to “political power, which the government and Indians have in abundance and we [Asatruar] do not have at all.”
In response to dropping out of the Kennewick Man case, McNallen wrote: “My personal intuition tells me this: Kennewick Man is all about extinction. He came here to tell us that entire peoples can be wiped out, exterminated, replaced.”
Despite the group’s legal divestiture from the case, McNallen continued to provide updates on the state of Kennewick Man well into the 2000s. After years of back and forth and further study, scientists concluded that the Kennewick Man is related to Indigenous Americans and was thus laid to rest by members of the five Columbia Basin Tribes on Feb. 18, 2017.
2000s: Group expansion and leadership transition
Following the conclusion of the Asatru Folk Assembly’s legal endeavors, McNallen decided to take the group online. The Spring/Summer 2000 edition of The Runestone announced that henceforth all publications would be on the organization’s website, runestone.org. In September of that year, McNallen also announced the start of the Kindred Affiliation Program. By Spring 2001, 15 kindreds had applied and been accepted into the AFA fold.
Before the inception of the kindred program, Stephen and Sheila had created the Calasa Kindred of Northern California in 1993. At the outset, McNallen described the kindred as “distinguished by their religion, by their language – a variant of modern American English – and by their governmental system, which is based on a loose network of families and clans.” Through these distinctive elements and their simplistic worldview, the McNallens aimed to imbue members with a cohesive identity. Bolstered by annual AFA events, regular local rune study sessions and the ritualistic worship of Norse gods, this contrived identity forms the core of the kindred structure today.
As the Asatru Folk Assembly moved past the turn of the century, the group’s focus shifted towards internal development and expansion. The organization began a new publication, The Bearclaw, which was eventually rebranded as AFA Updates. In the June 2002 edition of this publication, focuses on building new tribes and advancing “recognition for Asatru as a legitimate indigenous belief” were announced.
Also during this time period, McNallen’s writing with regards to immigrants in the United States and Europe took on a noticeably hostile and racist tone. In January 2004, McNallen lamented white people’s perceived inability to “defend our culture and our ancestors.” Continuing, “the only thing worse than government censorship is self-censorship, and we’ve become very well-trained in the latter. Rather than standing up assertively for our branch of the human race we cower like whipped dogs, putting our tails between our legs and pissing ourselves at the possibility of being called the ‘r’ word. ‘Bad dog! Bad whitey!’” The “r-word” McNallen is referencing is “racist,” thus propagating the white supremacist idea that allegations of racism are aimed at quelling differing opinions.
In following publications from the early 2000s, McNallen refers to Mexican immigrants as “Earth-rapers” and describes the “natural world [as] truly our mother, the matrix from which we spring, she who gave us life and continues to nourish us.” The xenophobic and bigoted descriptions of people immigrating to the United States in juxtaposition to the reverence and sanctity with which McNallen describes the earth draws on centuries of racist narratives. Such narratives aim to demonize men of color and construct imagery of pure white womanhood as in need of protection. The continuity in rhetoric from nature as vulnerable and irreproachable to women as virginal and docile is a mainstay of far-right ideologies.
In April 2005 McNallen opened the Asatru Folk Assembly up to membership outside of kindred affiliation. People who “wanted a sense of community, fellowship, and common cause in furtherance of [their] Folkway” were offered the opportunity to become a “Supporting Member” for $25/year, a “Benefactor Member” for $120/year or a “Patron Member” for $600/year. With the inception of membership tiers also came an increase in subscriptions to the AFA Updates, jumping from $650 in January 2005 to $953 in July.
In 2011, runestone.org, the Asatru Folk Assembly’s website, expanded to include membership portals, contact information, ideological readings and an AFA online store. Also, in April 2016, a link to Amazon Smile was added to the bottom of monthly publications. Due to the AFA’s designation as a 501(c)3 organization, they were able to receive a small percentage of proceeds through the Amazon Smile program. It appears that in recent years, the group has been removed from the list of Amazon Smile charitable organizations. However, numerous books authored by members of the AFA, including McNallen, are for sale on Amazon.
The group also began to publish The Voice, a monthly newsletter produced from 2012 to 2018 documenting the group’s expansion and providing updates on regional kindred activities. To support this growth, McNallen broadened the scope of AFA leadership by building out Folkbuilder and Gothar programs.
Tasked with regional leadership and recruitment, Folkbuilders coordinate local events, orient new members and maintain uniformity across the decentralized organization. Similarly, AFA clergy, or Gothar, help to coordinate kindred formation and activities in addition to “leading marriage ceremonies, funeral rites, [and] naming ceremonies,” among other responsibilities. The two-year program is built on an apprentice-mentor framework and is currently only open to AFA Folkbuilders. At the helm of this program, and the entire AFA organization since June 2016, is Matthew Flavel, a former Folkbuilder in Alaska and coordinator of the Folkbuilder Program.
With a network of tiered leadership coordinating kindreds across the country, the AFA events calendar expanded exponentially. In addition to more frequent study groups and moots – or meetings – hosted on a local and regional scale, the AFA year is marked by annual celebrations of changing seasons, harvests and Norse myths. The largest of these events, Midsummer, occurs annually in June, drawing AFA members from across the country. The Asatru Folk Assembly held its first Scandinavian event from Aug. 3-4, 2013, in Odense, Denmark.
Recent years: Hofs and future plans
To provide a venue for this growing list of events, the Asatru Folk Assembly purchased an old grange hall in Brownsville, California, in August 2015. After several months of work, the building was dedicated on Oct. 10, 2015, as the NewGrange Hall: Hof and Community Center of the Asatru Folk Assembly. In order to pay off this purchase, the AFA ran numerous fundraising campaigns. On Jan. 1, 2019, Matt Flavel posted a video proclaiming, “We raised enough money – Odinshof is ours. … by your generosity and your will we made it happen. Victory is ours.”
In the same video, Flavel also announced that fundraising for a second hof was starting that same day. That ambition came to fruition on April 1, 2020, with the purchase of the Parkers Grove Methodist Church in North Carolina. Þórshof (Thorshof), as the group has named it, is located in the town of Linden, which has a population of 130, a quarter of whom are Black. While attention from leadership in the town has been minimal, a March 2021 Washington Post article states, “Among [the AFA’s] core tenets is preserving ‘ethnic European folk,’ and leaders Matthew Flavel acknowledged that Black people are not allowed in.”
Soon after the purchase of Thorshof, the AFA announced the purchase of a third hof in Murdock, Minnesota on June 22, 2020. Community pushback against the establishment of an AFA hof in this small farming community was strong and vocal. However, in December 2020, Murdock city council voted anonymously to permit the AFA to gather at an abandoned church in town. When pressed on the matter, Mayor Craig Kavanagh responded, “We just want to be clear we are not discussing race with our decision. This is strictly a zoning issue.”
Flavel has stated that Murdock, Minnesota, and Linden, North Carolina, were chosen due to their close proximity to many AFA members. McNallen’s longstanding focus on proselytizing the group’s beliefs also provides motivation to put down roots across the United States. In a Sept. 2, 2020, video posted on Bitchute, McNallen “contrasts two methods of ‘red pilling’ people regarding white identity and the realities of race.” He concludes by encouraging white people to “load up with red pills and start delivering them to an unsuspecting person – or even a suspecting one – near you.” Derived from the movie The Matrix, “red pilling” someone means exposing them to extremist content with the intention of radicalizing them into a hateful ideology.
In addition to paying off Odinshof in January 2019, Matt Flavel also renamed the monthly publication The Runestone. This updated newsletter maintained the same framework as its predecessor The Voice, with monthly kindred updates and information on inter-kindred undertakings. Examples of such programs are the AFA Asatru Military Program, aimed at establishing contact with adherents during their service, and the Baby Blanket Project, created by the “Women of the AFA” to knit blankets for all babies born to AFA members. More recently, the Asatru Folk Assembly created a South Africa Fund to aid with “the plight of the South African whites” as they face “Marxism and anti-European hate.”
In recent years, several members of the Asatru Folk Assembly have been discharged from their posts in the military and law enforcement due to their hate group affiliations. In April 2019, the Virginia Division of Capitol Police announced that Robert Stamm had been fired from his position after his ties to the AFA were exposed by antifa. Two months later, Stamm become an Apprentice Folkbuilder and was made a full Folkbuilder in June 2020.
Similarly, in June 2019, Trent East, a member of the Alabama/Georgia chapter, resigned from his position as a jailer for the Haralson County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia after antifascists revealed his membership in AFA. In December, he and another member of his chapter, Dalton Woodward, were removed from their posts in the National Guard. Woodward was also outted as having connection with accelerationist white power group The Base. Shortly thereafter, East was promoted to Folkbuilder for the Deep South region.
On October 25, 2021, both Stamm and East were promoted to Gothar – or priests – in the AFA, along with fellow member Daniel Young.
Members of Asatru Folk Assembly leadership also have membership or connections to racist skinhead hate groups. Specifically, those groups include, but are not limited to, the Golden State Skinheads, Vinlanders Social Club and the now defunct Sacto Skinheads.
The SPLC first listed the Asatru Folk Assembly as a neo-Volkisch hate group in the Year in Hate round-up of 2017, documenting activity from 11 AFA-affiliated chapters. In 2020, the SPLC found 21 AFA-affiliated kindreds to be active across the United States, in addition to kindreds in Europe, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.
In the June 2021 issue of The Runestone, Matt Flavel announced a fundraising campaign for a fourth hof in a yet-to-be determined location. On Sept. 21, 2021, in an episode of the white nationalist podcast, Full Haus – following his introduction as the leader of “the Asatru Folk Assembly, a very white-friendly pagan, or folkish faith” –Flavel stated that the AFA was “well underway to getting our fourth [hof].”
When asked to defend the Asatru Folk Assembly against the hate group listing, Flavel defined the group’s belief in the inseparability of race and religion as “a truth as old as time.” Maintaining the facade of separate but equal, Flavel continued, “we are a folkish religion, as opposed to a universal religion. ... We believe each ethnic group has a right to their belief and to the divine.”