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By-Laws of the Bilskirnir Hearth




 
         Name
    The name of this organization shall be Bilskirnir Hearth

         Purpose
II    The purpose of Bilskirnir Hearth is to be a cultural and religious organization
       for those who follow and honor the ancient ways, beliefs, and traditions
       of our ancestors.

          Rights and Freedoms
III   All members shall have equal rights and the freedom to follow the paths
       they choose.

          Formal Matters
IV  Policies concerning Bilskirnir Hearth shall be voted on by all members that are
      present, majority rules. The leadership cannot make unilateral policies or
      decisions without majority membership vote majority rules. 

        Diplomatic Relations
V   All members will vote on policies regarding Diplomatic Relations With other
     Asatru/Heathen/Pagan groups and organizations of the making of allegiances. 

        Organizations and Offices
VI  As an organization a chain of command is necessary to ensure that things run
      smoothly and that policies are adhered to, and that conflicts are solved
      as quickly as possible.

        Offices
1. Chieftain: the administrator; work leader of Bilskirnir Hearth responsible for
        overall leadership.
2. Godi/Godia: the spiritual and religious leaders of Bilskirnir Hearth and are
        responsible for the training of the priest and priestess, the spiritual well
        being of  the hearth and its members, and to make the rituals of our
        ancestors as pleasant as possible for all who come to this hearth.
3. Lawspeaker: the Lawspeaker keeps the peace at all times
        and presides over Thing. 
4. Assistant Lawspeaker: assists the Lawspeaker in keeping the peace
        and assumes the duty of the Lawspeaker when the Lawspeaker
        is not available.
5. Warder: the Warder protects the honor and name of Bilskirnir
        Hearth and enforces the bylaws of the hearth.
6. Assistants to the Warder: the Assistant Warders also protect the honor
       and the name Bilskirnir Hearth and also enforce the bylaws of the
       hearth and assume the duties of the Warder when the Warder is not
       available.
7. Bard: Bard is responsible for singing the songs and stories of our ancestors.
8. Scholar: the Scholar compiles the saga's and knowledge of our ancestors
       so that all can have access to all of the stories of our people.
9. Wordsmith: the Wordsmith keeps the records of all events within the Hearth.
10. Scribe: the Scribe puts all of the Wordsmith's records on file and prints out
        the events so that all may have a record of the event/rituals.
11. Cleric: administrator of the act of healing the physical body. 
12. Assistants to the Cleric: Assistant Clerics are responsible in helping the
        Cleric administer the healing arts.
13. Photographer: Photographer is responsible for taking pictures of and
        keeping a photographic record of the hearth.

                Responsibilities of Offices
VII   All offices will be voted on by ballot vote. Majority rules.
             Every two years offices will be reviewed by the membership to determine
             that the persons of the offices have maintained and distributed their
             duties in a responsible manner.
       If the majority of the membership votes that this has not happened then a
       ballot vote on the affected offices will be taken to correct the problem.
        (A). In no way does this reflect on a persons honor or ability.
        (B). Ridicule or personal attacks on a member that this has happened to will
               not be tolerated at all.
        (C). The purpose of this is to be democratic, and open and honest
               with one another.

             Houses
VIII  Houses will be set up to find new members and to share our beliefs with
              those who are seeking our path.
        All Houses will be free to follow their own religious convictions and
              make policies, provided they do not violate the bylaws of Bilskirnir
              Hearth.
        Founders of Houses will be known as a House Drighten, House
             Drightens will be responsible for teaching the lore and traditions of
             our ancestors.
        Houses will be known by the last name of the House Drighten.

               New Membership
IX  New members must attend three consecutive rituals to be oathed in as a friend
           to the hearth.
      They must attend another three to be eligible for full membership.
      All members must vote on the approval of a prospective new member, the vote
          must be unanimous.
      If one member votes (NO) then that member must explain their reason for a
          (NO) vote.  If it is decided by the other members as a valid reason then
          the perspective member in question will be put on a period of probation
          to give both parties an opportunity to see if the reason is of merit.
       If the membership agrees that the reason is without merit or of unsubstantial
          claim then the majority vote carries and the prospective new member is
          accepted by all members.

            Initiation of New Members
X   New members that have been voted in shall be oathed in within thirty days
           of the vote of acceptance.
      Their initiation should fall within their attendance of their next ritual.
      Within that period of time the members of Bilskirnir Hearth shall take up a
           collection for the purpose of buying an initiation sword as a gift of
           welcome from all the members of the hearth to the new member.
      This is a gift from the hearth if at a later date the member wishes to sever
           ties with the hearth No Member shall ask to purchase back or for the
           return of the member's sword. This action is not one of honor or
           friendship of this hearth.
      This is a gift from the hearth as a whole and not to be used as a person's
           individual gain. Any member doing this shall be looked upon with
          disfavor and may stand to be voted out of the Hearth.
      Persons who become members of Bilskirnir Hearth who later feel that they
          cannot live up to the responsiblities of their oaths and the by-laws, and
          wish to relinquish their oaths as family and member of this hearth, but
          wish to attend as a friend of this hearth, will have to return their initiation
          sword to this hearth for the reasons as follows:
               (A) The initiation sword is a benefit of membership.
               (B) Friends of the hearth have no voting priviledges but are required
                       to uphold their oaths of frienship and responsibilities covered
                       in these by-laws.
              (C) The iniation sword shall be held in trust for sixty days to give
                      the individual time to consider his/her choice to either remain a
                      member or become a friend of the hearth.
              (D) If the person chooses at the appointed time to remain a member
                      and uphold the responsibilities of oaths and by-laws then the
                      sword shall be returned.
              (E) If the person chooses at the appointed time to still remain as a
                      friend, the iniation sword shall raffled off to the current membership.
              (F) Raffle of the sword shall be that all members donate a dollar to the
                      hearth fund. The money shall be used to purchase hearth related
                      items. The person who wins the  raffle shall then be excluded
                      from the next raffle. 

              Termination of Membership
XI    Members of Bilskirnir Hearth retain the right to deny membership to any
             parties applying to join the Hearth whose policies, actions, and
             attitudes directly conflict with the standards or policies of the hearth.
        Membership may be revoked with a majority vote by all members, except
             in instances covered elsewhere within these bylaws.
        Membership may be terminated due to lack of attendance.  If you are a 
             member and you fail to attend at least Six (6) Months out of a calander
             year without mitigating curcumstances (i.e. medical disability, out-of-state
             absentism, employment, etc.) then your membership may be terminated.
 

           Persons Under the Age of Eighteen
XII   Persons not known to a hearth member must be accompanied by their
            adult parent. Persons known to a hearth member may attend only with
            the full approval of the hearth.
        If a member plans to bring a guest not of age, they must inform the hearth
            at the ritual before to get approval to bring their guest.
        Their guest shall be treated as their conduct merits. If a member's guest
            becomes disruptive that hearth member will be informed that if their
            guest wishes to attend again it will have to be with the presence of
            their parent.
                           THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS

                Oaths, Blots, Rituals, and Ceremonies
XIII  Oath breaking is a serious crime and will be treated as such . Breaking an
              oath will result in loss of membership and the dishonorable party will
              be wolfs-headed (banished).
         Sumbels can be held whenever a house chooses to hold such events.
         Rituals will be held in accordance with the dates prescribed by our ancestors.
         Other rituals can be held whenever a house chooses to hold such events.
         Births, Namings, Weddings and Funerals will be overseen by any members
             who wish to attend.
        The Priest/Priestess will be responsible for scheduling events and organizing
            and performing rituals, blots, and ceremonies of Bilskirnir Hearth.

              Disputes
XIV  Disputes between hearth members will be considered hearth business.
         Disputes within the hearth will not be taken outside the hearth, to do so
               will result in probation of a period of one year and the loss of any
               offices held at the time.
         Disputes of personal natures outside of the hearth will stay as such,
               unless one of the persons asks for mediation.
         This is an informal meeting to find a solution to the problem.
         If the problem carries over into the hearth another attempt to mediate
              will be made.

         At this time it will be considered formal hearth business and will be treated as
             such by all. If the dispute is still not resolved then a panel of five members
             will be chosen at random by ballot.
         Both persons will present their sides of the dispute with witness' if it happened
             in more than one persons presence. The mediators involved will also inform
             the panel of their attempts to solve the problem.
         The panel will render a decision to both parties.If the parties agree to the
             decision then all will be put in the past and the disputing parties will
             shake hands and apologize to each other for the incident.
         If the parties cannot agree to the panels decision then it will go to personal
            combat (Holmganga).

                     Holmganga
XV   Personal combat shall be in the traditions of our ancestors.
        A specific area shall be measured out and the disputing parties will choose
             weapons of equality. (ex.-broadsword vs.broadsword)
        Combat will commence and the person who scores three killing blows
            first shall be considered absolved of all wrong doing in the situation
            By the Gods. 
        The five member panel will judge the Holmganga.
        After the decision is made the disputing parties will shake hands and
            apologize to each other, the dispute will be considered over and
            no more will be said of it ever again.

              Thing
XVI   Thing is an assembly in which all members will come together to meet
              each other, make policies and laws, discuss matters of importance
              to their respective houses and the hearth as a whole, to settle diputes
              and create frith for all. 
         Thing is a holy function and will be observed as such. Offending members
         shall be escorted out by the Lawspeaker and Warders.
         Houses of Bilskirnir Hearth should send one representative to Thing.
         Trials and punishment shall be held and dealt out by all at Thing.
         Verdicts and punishments will be passed by majority vote by all present.
         (A) Moots may be called for anytime of the year, bylaw XIV Disputes.

              Personal Conduct
XVII  No member or persons shall degrade or demoralize another persons
               appearance or possessions (ex. clothing, weapons, armor, helms, etc.)
          All members or persons will be expected to live by the Nine Noble
              Virtues, the Havamal, and the ancient rites of hospitality as set forth
              by our Gods and ancestors.
          Any member who violates these rules of conducts shall be looked
              upon with disfavor.

                 Hospitality
XVIII  The ancient rules of hospitality are sacred to Bilskirnir Hearth.
           All members or persons will follow them. Treat those as you would
                  like them to treat you.

                     Rituals
XIX  Before rituals begin they shall be discussed with everyone as to ensure
                that everyone knows what to do at the proper times, this is to
                keep things running smoothly.
         (A). Alcohol
                No alcohol will be used in the horn so that those that do not drink
                     can participate and not be left out of ritual.
         (B). Those who do drink must clear it with the owner of the house.
         (C). Those who do drink will limit their alcohol intake, be responsible.
         (D). Rituals that involve theatrical plays will involve all members taking
                    turns at playing the parts when they come about.

                 Ritual Feasts
XX   The host and hostess will provide the main course of the feast.
         All members or persons attending will bring a food or drink item of sufficient
              quantity for the feast so that there is plenty for all.
        (A). When Feast is ready to be served take enough to eat but please be
                      considerate to others when filling your plate, you can always go back
                      for more but make sure everyone gets their share of food and drink.
        (B). After the feast is finished, please help clean up (dishes trash etc.). Many
                      hands make for light work.
        (C). After feast is over, sumbels shall be held to honor the Gods, Heros,
                      and ancestors, there will be a two round free for all after this
                      has been done. 
       (D). After Sumbel is over, for those interested at each ritual a book shall
                     be read with each member reading a passage and a short discussion
                     of what it meant to them and  the others.
                     (ex. Poetic Edda-Volspa, Books of Myth, etc....)

            Illegal Activities, Racism, Drugs
XXI   Racism, Bigotry, Fascism, and Neo-Nazism will NOT be tolerated by this hearth.
          Substance abuse will NOT be tolerated by this hearth.
          Anyone caught doing so will be banished without probation.

                 Ratification of the Bylaws
XXII  New bylaws may be submitted at any gathering but the majority of members
               must be present to vote. (bylaw IV formal matters)
          The purpose of these bylaws is to ensure that we are all examples not
               exceptions to the law, all are accountable to these laws.
 

 


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