Haus Rheinwood: An Active Heathen Presence in Wichita, Kansas
Heil To One And All! May our gods show favor upon you and your house! May Wunjo (joy) reign in your heart.
My name is Vaygar-Ingvald Elmersson, Harugari of Haus Rheinwood in Wichita, Kansas.I want to tell you about our Liut.
Haus Rheinwood grew out of a need to fill the void created by the demise of New Gladhome Church of Asatru of which I was a member.After its demise, I floundered around for nearly a year trying to figure out what to do.A very wise man connected with the Asatru Folk Assembly encouraged me by saying something to the effect that if nothing is happening where you are, MAKE IT HAPPEN!I took those words to heart and began formulating what was then RheinWood Asatru Assembly.
Close to where I lived in north Wichita is the Little Arkansas River.There is a short stretch of woods close by and I have long enjoyed this land.What I didn’t appreciate was all the litter (what I call “human remains”) scattered throughout.I took it upon myself to clean up this portion of the woods in a sincere effort to honor my Heathen gods.At this point, there was no name connected to this outside of the Little Arkansas River.
After giving it some serious consideration, I came up with the name of Rheinwood, to honor the great Rhein River as I experienced her while in Koln/Cologne, Germany.Please understand that I am well aware that there is no comparison between the great Rhein River and the Little Arkansas River, but my experiences in Rheinwood have told me that the gods have definitely smiled upon my efforts in this regard.I have been face to face with raccoons.I have watched a whirlwind as it walked itself down a path and come to rest by my side.I have been within a few feet as I watched a hawk chew on its prey.I implored Frigga for aid and she told me to look up as she released fifteen starlings to pass on the message to the All-Father.Yet, THE most fantastic thing I have experienced in Rheinwood was to catch a momentary glimpse of an eagle, a very Odinnic figure, flying south, just above the top of the water.
It has been a natural progression to take my experience in Rheinwood inside as I began to create an assembly room that gives adoration to the ideals of Asatru/Heathenry.As Asatru/Heathenry is a tradition steeped in connection with ancestors, you would have a representation of ancestry.Also understanding that Asatru/Heathenry is a very warrior-like tradition, you will find a various array of weaponry (both ancient and modern) throughout.You would have also found a wide assortment of books on subjects pertaining to Asatru and other Pagan and Heathen thought.
The Asatru Folk Assembly (http://www.runestone.org/flash/index.html) (henceforth called AFA), the Asatru Alliance (http://alliance.eagleut.com/) (henceforth called AA) and more recently the former Irminen Gesellschaft (http://irminengesellschaft.blogspot.com/) (henceforth called the I/G) have all played vital roles in the formation of Rheinwood Hearth Kindred.We at Rheinwood Nordliut, in (a rather loose) association with the AFA, AA and (more specifically) the ideals of the I/G and the Irminenschaft, all have our own way of expressing our beliefs through vocabulary, imagery and celebrations.The Irminenschaft is the cultural German expression of Heathen lore.Please feel free to continue on and read of our observances.
Rheinwood now has its own free-standing Haruc as well as an outdoor Wîhstat. Only since Yule of 2009 has Rheinwood Asatru Assembly/Rheinwood Hearth graduated to Rheinwood Nordliut. As I take the concept of Kindred very seriously, it has taken me almost a decade to find a group of individuals with whom I can embrace as Sippa/family. We stand now as blood-oath-sworn members, myself, Gretchen, Steve, Tyra, and connected families, have come together; standing firm in a family-first format to proudly form Haus Rheinwood!
As of Mid February, 2012, I have created an Irminic Fellowship page called Die Irminen Gemeinschaft dedicated to the forwarding of the ideals of the former Irminen Gesellschaft. The website is http://irminenschaft.weebly.com/.