Keeper of Seasons Hall Charter and Bylaws

Official Name, Symbol, and Significance:

Keeper fo Seasons Full Raven LogoThe official name of this organization is ‘Keeper of Seasons Hall’, which is frequently abbreviated as ‘KoSH’. Due to seasonal visits by ravens to the Albuquerque area in which KoSH operates, the raven has become its official symbol. The phrase ‘Keeper of Seasons’ is a modification of an extended metaphor, known as a kenning, found in Snorri Sturluson’s Skaldskaparmal. Sturluson’s kenning refers to ravens as ‘year-counters’. This meaning, added to the local seasonal significance of the ravens, led us to coin ‘Keeper of Seasons’ as a modern kenning for ‘raven’. The name Keeper of Seasons, as applied to our group, refers both to the seasonal observances practiced by members of the group and to the notion that they should be kept in time with local seasonal changes as opposed to calendar dates. The practice of celebrating seasonal holidays on calendar dates was a common practice for Ásatrú groups at the time of KoSH’s formation, despite the fact that seasonal changes may or may not have occurred in a specific group’s locale.

History:

KoSH was formed as an independent Ásatrú group in 1998. Erich Campbell and Mark Hosselton chartered KoSH following the departure of the main organizer of Lyfjaberg Kindred, an Ásatrú group to which both belonged. KoSH organized under the term ‘hall’ as opposed to the commonly used ‘kindred’ as they eschewed the artificial family/clan unit model often associated with the latter. The term ‘hall’ recalled images of religious and social gatherings like those described in the literature in which Ásatrú finds its inspiration. In these gatherings, attendees assembled in the feast-hall of an important local person, were often comprised of people from multiple family units and served as forums at which important matters were discussed, relationships established and maintained, and religious observances held.

Definitions:

The following definitions are stipulated for this and all hall documents, unless otherwise indicated:

Ásatrú: The reconstruction and revival of pre-Christian religious and social beliefs and practices of the peoples commonly referred to as Germanic. KoSH sees Ásatrú as a lifeway and lens through which one perceives life rather than an isolated religious movement.

Pre-Christian: Pre-Christian, in this context, refers to the time previous to the conversion to Christianity by each Germanic group. Conversion occurred over a long period of time across the Germanic peoples, having reached Iceland only in the year 1000 CE.

Germanic Peoples: The Germanic peoples are a historical group of peoples from Northern Europe, identified by their use of Germanic languages. Though they diversified as they became more geographically spread and integrated with existing populations on the continent, the Germanic peoples displayed a uniform material culture and common religious beliefs in the Migration Period (300-700 CE). Common cultural threads remain evident in the peoples descended from these Migration Period Germanic peoples.

Blot: A religious ritual characterized by devotional speeches followed by a votive offering. This ritual may also include a sacral feast.

Sumble: A religious ritual characterized by three rounds of ritualized drinking and toasting. The rounds are devoted to gods and goddesses, ancestors and the departed, and boasts and oaths respectively.

Statement of Purpose:

Keeper of Seasons Hall is a non-hierarchical group, existing to facilitate the directed and scholarly study of both historical religious and social practices of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples and the reconstruction/revival occurring in modern-day Ásatrú. KoSH also exists to facilitate networking and organization directed toward the active practice of said reconstruction. Toward those aims, KoSH intends to carry out the following actions:

  • Hold monthly meetings dedicated to study and discussion at a fixed time and public location. Each meeting will be at least partially open to the public to allow non-members access to the experience and expertise of the members. These meetings also provide time for members to handle business related to KoSH
  • Provide carefully selected information and resources useful to those who wish to gain knowledge of Ásatrú both locally and on the Internet
  • Locally organize religious and social gatherings for group members in the Albuquerque area.
  • Pursue other projects germane to the stated purpose at the behest of the membership as time and resources allow

Membership:

KoSH membership is open to anyone interested in Ásatrú who is over 18 years of age.

Any full member may nominate a non-member for membership. This member becomes the nominee’s sponsor. The sponsor takes responsibility for the actions of his or her nominee at any KoSH events to which the nominee is invited. Sponsors must make themselves available to his or her nominee, answering all pertinent questions and providing necessary aid within reason.

Members must vote on all new memberships before or during the meeting following the nomination. If accepted, nominees become probationary members for one year. For these purposes, KoSH counts one year as the space between monthly meetings of the same month in consecutive years. Upon completion of the probationary period, probationary members must be confirmed as full members, held as probationary members for a specified time, or dismissed.

Probationary members can lose sponsorship, and thus probationary member status, by the decision of the Sponsor or through a vote initiated by the other members when they consider the actions of the probationary member no longer in keeping with the policies and purposes of the Hall.

Dismissal of full members occurs under the same circumstances as those given for probationary members, save that no sponsor is involved.

Full members who are no longer able to actively participate in hall activities due to changes in life circumstances (such as, but not limited to, needing to transfer out of state or having ongoing employment obligations at the same time as Hall functions) may ask to have their status changed to Friend of the Hall, subject to approval by majority vote of other full members in KoSH. Though they lose voting privileges, Friends of the Hall may continue to participate in the closed portions of the forum and meetings, and they may attend holiday observances.

A Friend of the Hall who becomes able to fully participate in KoSH again may ask to have their status changed back to full member, subject to approval by majority vote of current full members of KoSH. No sponsorship or probationary membership will be required prior to the vote to reinstate the Friend of the Hall as a full member.

Meetings and Events:

KoSH holds a monthly meeting on the second Sunday of each month. Each starts with a members-only period for the discussion of internal business. An open portion follows, during which all other discussion materials shall be covered. Interested non-members may initially attend the open portion without advance notice. Continued attendance of the open portion by non-members is at the discretion of members. If the members determine that a non-member or probationary member should attend the members-only portion of the meeting, they may vote to invite said individual. Spouses and significant others of members are allowed to attend the members-only period of the meeting. If a regularly attending spouse or significant other seeks membership, members should vote on the continued invitation of the now probationary member.

Members may not miss more than two consecutive meetings and must attend at least six of the monthly meetings in a calendar year, barring circumstances that justify the continued absence. Members not attending monthly meetings with this frequency will not be eligible to vote on any matter until they resume attendance.

Official events held by KoSH are open to all full members, but are not mandatory. Non-members may attend official events only by invitation. All such invitations require a majority vote of full members for approval.

KoSH observes three main holidays, being Midsummer, Yule, and Winternights. These observances are not mandatory to the operation of the hall, but members traditionally consider them official events. Members may elect to hold other observances or social gatherings at their choice; however, KoSH considers such observances official KoSH events only upon a majority vote of full members. Member may hold personal observances outside of official events. These personal observances will not be associated with KoSH. The host of such a personal event determines the list of attendees with neither an expectation of complete openness to KoSH members nor of the exclusion of non-members.

Official religious observances held by KoSH are dedicated entirely to Germanic gods, goddesses, spiritual entities, and deal exclusively with Germanic customs and concepts. All attendees, including non-members who have acquired an official invitation must respect this restriction. Though the aforementioned personal events are not associated with or controlled by the hall, KoSH expects disclosure about events outside of this scope presented for possible attendance at meetings or through any means of communication officially connected to KoSH.

Voting

All full members carry one equal vote, which may be cast by proxy with advance notice. Votes may also be cast by mail, telephone, or other electronic means. A quorum is the majority vote of all members and advance proxies active and in contact with the hall when the issue for voting is presented. Probationary members and non-members carry no votes.

All issues that require a vote must be presented to hall members no later than one week prior to the close of voting. Voting may occur at any official meeting or event sponsored by the hall.

In the event of a tie, the Ritari in office will serve as tiebreaker. This provision does not include the vote held to determine the holder of the Ritari’s office. In the case of a tie for the office of Ritari, the hall members must hold a discussion meeting away from any candidates for the office, that they may come to a decision, again by majority vote.

The Ritari will record and announce the results of each vote to the membership in order to ensure that all members are in agreement and aware of the decision reached.

Officers and Elections:

At the time of this charter, KoSH has one office: Ritari, or as commonly called, Secretary.
KoSH may add other offices when the membership deems necessary. At present, the duties of the Ritari are:

  • to keep current membership records
  • to organize and gather members for KoSH meetings
  • to conduct correspondence on behalf of KoSH
  • to keep members advised of incoming information and business pertinent to KoSH’s operation
  • to publicize open meetings/events
  • to maintain KoSH’s Internet presence.

The Ritari is encouraged to enlist any willing member to aid with his or her duties at need, though the full members must review all official materials set to appear on KoSH’s website or in official printed materials previous to publication.

Term of office for the Ritari is one year, at which time the members may either re-instate the current Ritari or elect another. Current full members can nominate potential candidates for Ritari. Potential candidates must receive their nominations and make their candidacy known no later than the September monthly meeting.

KoSH will hold its election at Winternights. The current Ritari will assist the incoming Ritari, turning over all necessary materials by Yule of the same year.

Our Position on Politics

Keeper of Seasons Hall meets for religious and social purposes only. The hall will not accept members who promote discrimination, intolerance, or hatred on the bases of age, color, ethnicity, gender, language, national origin, race, sexual orientation, or any other divisive criteria.

Ásatrú as defined by KoSH is open to everyone and welcomes any who honestly express a desire to join. Anyone willing to enculturate himself or herself within Ásatrú and to abide by and exemplify the values learned thereby is not only welcome, but also encouraged to seek membership with KoSH.

Amendment

Any full member may propose changes to this document. All proposals will be voted on no earlier than one month after the proposing member has presented their emendation to all full members. If the proposal is presented to the membership at an official monthly meeting, the period between monthly meetings is considered sufficient. As with all other decisions made by the membership, a majority vote is required to approve the emendation.