Section 1: Conduct & Behavior
Section 1.1 Kindred Expectations
The Shield Wall Kindred holds a high value to Kindred law; however, it does not allow for outlaws, criminals, or otherwise disruptive influences that puts the safety and stability of itself or its members in jeopardy with governing laws outside of the kindred. Reckless behavior that endangers the Kindred or the image of the greater Asatru community will not be tolerated. Although the membership will often be comprised of principled, strong-willed people that may often be placed in situations of moral complication and potential incarceration, the Kindred maintains an advisement to its members to be wise in their conduct and behavior, and reminds that the Kindred is the example of Asatru.
Section 1.2 Member Expectations
All full members and potential members will conduct themselves in a manner that brings honor and respect to the Kindred. While often a matter of personal discretion, membership within the Kindred is restricted to persons believed to understand the expectations of this behavior. The Kindred will take all necessary actions to protect the identity of the Kindred and the community, including the removal of any individuals seen ignoring Kindred law, and risking the community and/or its identity with poor behavioral choices.
Section 1.2.1 Member Interactions
Each member is expected to conduct themselves in a manner that promotes positive interaction with other members. The Shield Wall Kindred is a community of like-minded individuals which have gathered together to build and facilitate growth within a close and worthy culture. Members of this community recognize the importance of maintaining a positive culture through individual and group contributions. Each member is expected to assist in creating a community that is welcoming to each other and potential members.
Section 1.2.2 Disputes
Feuding within the Kindred will not be tolerated. If feuds do arise, they need to be taken to and settled within a private forum. If the feuds cannot be resolved privately, the involved parties are expected to seek the assistance of the Council of Elders to find resolution. Any feud that extends to and affects uninvolved Kindred membership may be met with punitive action, including probation, suspension, and/or removal from the Kindred.
Section 1.2.3 Member Participation
Members are expected to maintain consistent participation within the Kindred. This includes: Kindred spiritual events, Kindred meetings, and social media platforms. If there is an observable pattern of inactivity by a member, the Council of Elders may take disciplinary action. Members are reminded that at any time, they may speak with the Council of Elders about any difficulties that may prevent them from participating, and may even request a leave of absence.
Section 1.2.4 Kindred Funds
Members are encouraged, but not required, to make a recommended monthly donation to the Kindred funds to pay for group expenses. Such expenses include, but are not limited to: Kindred events (food, location, supplies, etc.), Kindred resources (books, religious items, member gifts, etc.), and other expenses (branding, merchandise, legal expenses, etc.). All expenses must be approved by the Council of Elders, and a receipt for expenses must be given to the Kindred Treasurer. Under no circumstances can Kindred funds be used for personal gain or profit.
Section 1.3 Religious Expectations
The Shield Wall Kindred is a religious organization of Heathen folk dedicated to Asatru and Odinism. It is open to approved Folk who strive to live by the cultures and traditions of the Norse Gods and Goddesses and their Heroes. Its members are expected to follow the path of a life worthy of their attention; as such, each member represents the religion, culture, and community. Due to this representation, each member is expected to act in a way that promotes a positive image and builds positive ideas about Asatru, Odinism, the Folk, The Gods and Goddesses, and their Heroes. While maintaining this positive image, it is also expected that the Kindred membership does not allow this positive image to require forfeiture of its ways or culture.
Section 1.4 Extremism in the Community
The Shield Wall Kindred has a strict no-tolerance policy for extremism of any kind. Any and all forms of extremist behavior is unwelcome within its walls and it will take all necessary action to root out and remove the proponents of these behaviors.
Section 1.5 Social Media Expectations
Social media is a large part of modern society and is a useful tool as many of the Kindred membership is spread across a wide geographic area and may be unable to find regular face to face time. While using social media, members are encouraged to be thoughtful to protect the identity and image of the Kindred, while also maintaining the right to speak and make statements as felt necessary. The membership is also reminded that anything said, texted, printed, and/or posted can be used against the individual and Kindred in legal court and other public domains
Section 1.6 Potential Member Expectations
Potential members are to be treated with the same respect as full members. Potential members are not to be made to feel excluded or of less value than a full member. Full members in contact with Potential members are responsible for helping them adapt to the lifestyle and culture of the Shield Wall Kindred.
Section 2: Leave, Removal, & Disciplinary Actions
Section 2.1 Leave of Absence
The Shield Wall Kindred recognizes that there are times and events which make the responsibilities of membership difficult to uphold. For this reason, a member may choose to request a leave of absence at any time. A leave of absence will generally only be considered for members who have consistently upheld member expectations. In order to receive approval, a Leave of Absence form must be completed by both the member and the Council of Elders. Taking a leave of absence voluntarily forfeits any and all elected positions within the Kindred. A leave of absence taken without approval will be considered a voluntary removal.
Section 2.1.1 Terms of Leave
Terms will be negotiated by both parties and defined on the Leave of Absence form, which will include the following categories: Access to social media, vote by proxy, social and spiritual event invites, kindred meeting invites, donation expectations, length of leave, expected communications with the Council of Elders, and continuation of membership. The member and the Council of Elders must agree unanimously to the terms of the leave.
Section 2.1.2 Military Leave
The Shield Wall Kindred supports our active and reserve military members. In the event that a military member has been deployed, they will be granted a military leave. A military leave is identical to an approved leave of absence with all terms listed as approved.
Section 2.2 Voluntary Removal
If a member of the Shield Wall Kindred chooses to voluntarily remove themselves from the Kindred for any reason, there will generally be no possibility of readmittance into the Kindred. However, readmittance may be evaluated and approved at the discretion of the Council of Elders and the Kindred Advisor. If approved, the person may return as a potential member.
Section 2.3 Forced Removal
If a member of the Shield Wall Kindred is removed due to infractions of the Bylaws, there will generally be no possibility of readmittance into the Kindred. However, readmittance may be evaluated and approved at the discretion of the Council of Elders and the Kindred Advisor. If approved, the person may return as a potential member.
Section 2.4 Kindred Resources
If a potential or full member leaves the Shield Wall Kindred at any time for any reason, all items purchased with Kindred funds must be returned to the Kindred. If there is a failure to return such items, they will be reclaimed through necessary local and legal means.
Section 2.5 Disciplinary Process
In the event that a member has committed an infraction of the bylaws, the Council of Elders and the Kindred Advisor shall decide and vote upon an appropriate disciplinary action for the nature of the infraction, which includes but is not limited to: Probation, Suspension, and Forced Removal. Under no circumstances will the disciplinary action assigned be allowed to include any form of monetary compensation. If a disciplinary action is denied by the vote, the case shall be dismissed and the member can never be charged for this instance of infraction.
Section 2.5.1 Suspension and Probation
Probation is a temporary removal of all positions held for a period determined by the Council of Elders for the severity of the offense, suspension is a full removal of all positions, and an inability to vote for a period determined by the Council of Elders for the severity of the offense. Both suspension and probation also result in a removal from the Shield Wall Kindred Chat, as well as any other chats as deemed appropriate by the Council of Elders.
Section 2.5.2 Thule Inclusion
At the discretion of the Council of Elders, the Kindred Thule(s) may be included in the vote to enact any disciplinary action.
Section 3: Bylaw Changes and Voting
Section 3.1 Changes to Bylaw
Additions and modifications to the bylaws must pass through the Council of Elders and Kindred Advisor. Changes may be submitted by any member at any time. Submissions do not guarantee approval. Once a potential change to the bylaws has been approved by both the Council of
Elders and the Kindred Advisor, it will be submitted for approval by a two-thirds membership vote. If a potential change is denied by this vote, it is allowed one more vote after revisions. Revisions shall be made by the Council of Elders and the Kindred Advisor. Any change to the bylaws denied twice shall no longer be considered passable, and resubmission of a change to the bylaws is once again required to first be approved by the Council of Elders and the Kindred Advisor following a six-month period.
Section 3.2 Vote Procedures
All votes shall take place in an official physical meeting. When any motion is submitted for a vote, all members are always required to submit their vote. Unless specified by the bylaws or the Council of Elders at the time of the vote, all motions shall pass with a simple majority. Any motion resulting in a tie shall be counted as denied.
Section 3.2.1 Proxy Voters
In the event that any member may not be present, it is the individual member’s responsibility to assign a proxy voter. Proxy voters will declare the absent member’s vote, regardless of any communication or lack of communication with the absent member. Proxy voter relationships will be recorded by whomever is recording the current meeting. Kindred members that are not physically present at a meeting and that have not declared a proxy voter will be considered to have forfeited their vote.
Section 4: Membership and Kindred Positions
Section 4.1 Potential Members
Potential members include any person being considered for full membership within the Shield Wall Kindred. To qualify for potential member status, a person must meet independently with at least one Elder and the Kindred Advisor. Following this meeting, if qualified and approved the person may be added to the Kindred’s virtual chats and begin receiving invitations to Kindred events. Potential members are expected to be making active progress towards full membership, while learning about and striving to live by the culture of the Kindred. Potential members are expected to abide by the bylaws.
Section 4.1.1 Adding Potential Members to Virtual Chat
Potential members may be added to any Kindred chat at the discretion of the Council of Elders. However, it is general procedure that each potential member spends five days in the New Shields Chat with an evaluation on the sixth day. If approved, the potential member may be added to the SWK Social Chat and given access to other chats at the discretion of the Council of Elders.
Section 4.1.2 New Shields Chat
The New Shields Chat shall consist of all new potential members, the Council of Elders, the Kindred Advisor, and the Thule(s). When promoted to Member, the individual will be removed from the New Shields Chat. Between being approved for the SWK Social Chat and the time Membership is approved, it is at the individual’s discretion whether or not they stay in this chat.
Section 4.1.3 Potential Member Invitations
In general, a potential member has an open invitation to all Shield Wall Kindred events, unless stated otherwise by an individual event’s host or hostess.
Section 4.2 Membership Petition
When a potential member feels ready for Kindred membership, they may petition the Council of Elders for a membership vote. A meeting between the potential member, the Council of Elders, and the Kindred Advisor must take place to assess if the potential member is ready for membership. Upon approval by the Council of Elders and Kindred Advisor, the potential member will be allowed to petition during an upcoming Kindred meeting of their choice.
Section 4.3 Membership Vote
Membership within the Shield Wall Kindred requires a simple majority Kindred vote held within an official Kindred Meeting. A potential member must be physically present at the Kindred meeting when petitioning for membership, and must be physically present when the vote is taken. The potential member is expected to speak for and present themselves to the Kindred when petitioning for the vote of membership. Upon approval by the Kindred, the new member is granted immediate access to all Kindred resources. These include, but are not limited to: exclusive full member chats, digital media (the Kindred Drive), and the physical Kindred library.
Section 4.4 Council of Elders
The Council of Elders leads the Shield Wall Kindred and reserves the right to make any changes to the organizational structure of the Kindred not already defined within the bylaws. Elders should be able to prove their knowledge if necessary by verbal or written examination, as deemed necessary by the Kindred membership. In lieu of an Oath-sworn Gothi/Gythia, an Elder may lead and/or perform Blót, Rune Readings, and similar religious and/or spiritual rites and acts. However, an Elder’s primary responsibility is to the safety, physical leadership, and growth of the Shield Wall Kindred as a religious organization.
Section 4.4.1 Elder Selection
Elder elections generally occur during Midsommer and Yule. However, an election may be called or dismissed at the discretion of the Council of Elders. An Elder is elected from the membership of the Shield Wall Kindred by majority vote. Every Elder that is elected by the Kindred enters this role under a six-month probationary period. At the end of this period, their capabilities are measured and evaluated by the Kindred membership and another vote is held to determine if the new Elder is suitable to maintain their position or must be removed. Any Elder may be removed by majority Kindred vote at any time. Any Elder removed by Kindred vote may not be nominated for an Elder position for a period of one year. There is no limit to the number of Elders that may serve on the Council. In the event that there are no Elders, an election shall take place at the next Kindred meeting. Until a new Council of Elders has been appointed, all responsibilities of the Council of Elders fall to the Kindred Advisor.
Section 4.5 Kindred Thule
The Kindred Thule is responsible for maintaining and protecting the well-being of the Kindred. This includes monitoring and protecting the constructive environment of all chats, ensuring that all members act according to the bylaws, and mediating disputes between members when called upon by the Council of Elders. At any event or gathering, the Thule is responsible for helping to maintain a positive atmosphere and a safe environment for members and potential members to be able to enjoy themselves. During a Blót, the Gothi/Gythia may choose any person to act as ceremonial Thule, regardless of Kindred Thule status.
Section 4.5.1 Thule Selection
At all times, there is required to be at least one Kindred Thule. In the event that a Thule has taken a leave of absence, voluntarily removed themselves, or otherwise been removed from the Kindred, a new Thule shall be chosen by majority Kindred vote at the next Kindred Meeting. Every new Thule enters this role under a six-month probationary period. At the end of this period, their capabilities are measured and evaluated by the Kindred membership, and another vote shall be held to determine if the new Thule is suitable to their position or must be removed. There is no limit to the number of Thules, though it is recommended to have no more than one per every ten members. Any Thule may be removed by majority Kindred vote at any time. Any Thule removed in this manner may not be nominated for the position again for at least one year.
Section 4.6 Kindred Treasurer
The Kindred Treasurer is responsible for the recording of all Kindred funds, receiving donations, and ensuring funds are given to members responsible for Kindred purchases. There shall be two records of the kindred funds; one private and one public. The private record shall be used to track every income and expense in detail, including but not limited to: date, member responsible, description, and amount. The private record shall only be accessible by the Kindred Treasurer and the Council of Elders. The public record shall be used to display the totals of each type of income and expense, as well as the grand total of all kindred funds. The public
record shall be maintained in the Kindred Drive, easily accessible for every member to see. At the end of each fiscal quarter, the Council of Elders shall verify the amounts in all records and ensure they match the funds. The treasurer is not permitted to approve Kindred expenses without the approval of the Council of Elders.
Section 4.6.1 Treasurer Selection
At all times, there is required to be one Kindred Treasurer. In the event that the Treasurer has taken a leave of absence, voluntarily removed themselves, or otherwise been removed from the Kindred, a new Treasurer shall be chosen by majority Kindred vote at the next meeting. Every new Treasurer enters this role under a six-month probationary period. At the end of this period, their capabilities are measured and evaluated by the Kindred membership, and another vote shall be held to determine if the new Treasurer is suitable to their position or must be removed. There shall only be one Treasurer, though the Treasurer may appoint a member to assist in record keeping only, with the approval of the Council of Elders. The Treasurer may be removed by majority Kindred vote at any time. Any Treasurer removed by Kindred vote may not be nominated for this position again for a period of one year.
Section 4.7 Kindred Advisor
The Kindred Advisor is responsible for the spiritual advisement of the Council of Elders. The Kindred Advisor is selected from and by the Oath-sworn Gothar of the Kindred Membership. This position has no minimum or maximum time limit. This position may also remain vacant if it is the will of the Gothar. If the Advisor is not able to attend an event requiring the Advisor, the Advisor may nominate any Oath-sworn Gothi/Gythia from the Kindred Membership to assume the Advisor role for the duration of the event. In the event that there is no Advisor, all decisions and bylaws requiring the Advisor shall instead be assigned to the Council of Elders.
Section 4.8 Guests
Guests are welcome to events by invitation only. The invitation must be approved by both the Council of Elders and the host of the event. If the event is a spiritual event, the member leading the event must also approve the guest. Spouses and children of members and potential members are generally considered approved guests, unless otherwise specified. Members and potential members are held accountable for the actions of their guests.