Q: Who are you?
A: We are a Heathen kindred centered in Gettysburg, PA. Our members are typically within 2 hours driving distance of Gettysburg.
Q: What is your cultural focus?
A: We are Anglo-Saxon, but we do study material from the Continent and Scandinavia.
Q: What is the difference between Anglo-Saxon Heathenry and Asatru?
A: Go here.
Q: How many members do you have?
A: There are currently 6 Elders (oathed members) and 4 Gildan (intermediate members).
We have other acquaintances who frequent our rites to varying degrees.
Q: When and where do you meet?
A: We usually meet Sunday afternoons, but occasionally other times. We usually meet in the Gettysburg farmhouse of two of our members, though occasionally we may meet at a pub, campground or other event.
Q: What do you do?
A: We honor the Germanic gods and ancestors through blot (offering ceremony) and symbel (ritualized toasting ceremony). We have lore workshops. We go on fun outings. We also eat, drink and be merry. Oh, and we all hold down day jobs, too.
Q: What can I expect from a typical outing?
Our events are typically open at 2pm for socializing and chit-chat.
At around 4pm we have a Lore workshop which is a discussion session focused on a particular, relevant topic.
Our rituals begin around 5pm and usually last 45 minutes to an hour.
Potluck dinner and dinner table conversation starts around 6pm.
Guests are expected to start dispersing around 8pm or so.
Q: Do you honor non-Germanic gods?
A: Some of us in our private lives, or through different groups, may honor non-Germanic deities. But as a group assembled, our devotions are directed exclusively to Germanic deities and beings.
Q: How do you feel about GLTB people? How do you feel about polyamory? How do you feel about (insert various kinds of kink and sexual fetishes)?
A: What two (or more) consenting adults do in the bedroom has nothing to do with Heathenry. People of all sexual orientations and appetites are welcome. That being said we’re a family religion. Our group is about Heathenry, not about lifestyle choices.
Q: Are you Nazi/White Power/Skinhead/1488?
A: No. We believe Heathenry is about honoring the Germanic deities and ancestors. It has nothing to do with the socio-political views of a 20th century Catholic psychopath and his henchmen (or their modern day admirers). Being white is not a culture. We have Germans, Irish, Native Americans, Puerto Ricans and all variant of people that are welcome in our kindred.
Q: What do you think about Loki?
A: Loki is a complicated, ambivalent figure in Norse myth, and has a controversial following in modern Heathenry. Whether people choose to honor him or not in their private home is up to them. However, when assembled as a group we do not honor Loki for several reasons, not least of which is that he falls outside an Anglo-Saxon cultural perspective.
Q: Do you honor the giants?
A: If by giants you mean those beings who embody chaos and are otherwise the enemies of the gods, the answer is no. No one will be hailing the giants at our meetings.
Q: How do I meet you?
A: We do not bring strangers into our homes. The first meeting is always on neutral territory, such as a pub or restaurant. It is an opportunity for the kindred to explain what we are about, and a chance for you to explain what you are looking for in a group. If both parties mutually feel that their interests coincide, then the kindred will invite you to our next public function where you can see how we operate.
Q: How do I become a member?
A: We have three membership tiers.
Friends of the Kindred are invited to our public potluck functions. They can participate in our Symble but have no role in liturgy or other aspects of the kindred. A Friend is basically a guest who is welcome to observe us and see if they fit in with us.
Members (Gildan) of the kindred are Friends who have been elevated. They can have a role in liturgy or hold non-administrative office, but they do not vote.
Elders are the senior members of the kindred who have sworn an oath of Frith to each other. They are voting, dues paying members who are eligible for administrative offices.
Q: Do you believe in magic? Can you teach me magic?
A: We believe in culturally derived magical systems specific to Heathenry. The two most prominent examples are runes and seithr. We perform runic divination at every ritual, and we have attended seithr rites. That being said, our group is dedicated in the main to votive relations with the gods and ancestors through blot and symbel. If you are coming from a Wiccan or Neopagan background and are looking for a group to teach “spellwork,” we respectfully submit there are better groups out there than us to cater to your interests.
Q: Do you believe in warrior values?
A: We are not pacifists. Defending hearth and kin is a very Heathen thing to do, and some of our members served in the military. That being said, we are a peaceful lot. We seek devotional relations to our gods and ancestors, and to be respected members within our Heathen and secular communities. An over-emphasis on Viking warrior values is not within our group mentality.
Q: I have been a Heathen for X number of years, and I feel what you are doing is wrong.
A: You are entitled to your opinion. And we are entitled to ours. We are willing to learn from our Elders who are respectfully trying to teach us something. But we and we alone will determine who our worthy Elders are.
Q: I heard X about your group.
A: Please keep in mind we try to keep a very reciproal and positive relationship with the heathen community. We have a lot of friends and associates that we share drinks with regularly, and there may be occasions where some of them may express what sounds like an opinion of Great Valley Kindred. However it is always encouraged to go to the source, and expressly only contact an actual member of Great Valley Kindred for accurate information.