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 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
In house feuding 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 Thule, Gothar, and 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 1.2.2(a) 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 SWK Social Chat, as well as any other chats as seen fit by the Council of Elders.
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 honing and helping them adapt to the lifestyle and culture of the Shield Wall Kindred.
Section 2: Removal & Leave
Section 2.1 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 re-entrance into the Kindred. Individual cases may be evaluated at the discretion of the Council of Elders and will require final approval of the Kindred Gothar.
Section 2.2 Voluntary Removal
If a member of the Shield Wall Kindred choses to voluntarily remove themselves from the Kindred for any reason, there will generally be no possibility of re-entrance into the Kindred. This will be decided on a case by case basis at the discretion of the Council of Elders, and requires final approval of the Kindred Gothar.
Section 2.3 Leave of Absence
Leaves of Absence may be taken with approval of the Council of Elders. If approved, there will be no repercussions to the member and, when the Leave of Absence is ended, they will be welcomed back with membership reinstated within the Shield Wall. Leaves of Absence taken without or before approval of the Council of Elders will be considered voluntarily removed.
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. Failure to return such items will be reclaimed through necessary local and legal means.
Section 3: Bylaw Changes and Voting
Section 3.1 Changes to Bylaw
Additions and modifications to the bylaws must pass through the Kindred Gothar and the Council of Elders. Modifications may be submitted by any member at any time. Submissions do not guarantee approval. Once a potential change to bylaws has been approved by both the Council of Elders and at least one of the Kindred Gothar, it will be submitted for approval by a two-thirds membership vote. If a change to bylaws submission 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 Gothar. Any change to bylaws denied twice shall no longer be considered passable, and resubmission of a change to bylaws is once again required to first be approved by the Kindred Gothar and the Council of Elders following a six-month probationary period.
Section 3.2 Vote Procedures
All votes shall take place in an official physical meeting. When any notion 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 notions shall pass with a simple majority. Any notion resulting in a tie shall be counted as denied.
Section 3.2.1 Proxy Voters
In the case that any member may not be present, it is the individual member’s responsibility to assign a proxy voter. Proxy voter relationships will be recorded by whomever is running and 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 votes.
Section 4: Membership Requirements and Unique 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 at least one Gothi. 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.
The New Shields Chat shall consist of all new potential members, the entire Council of Elders, the Kindred Gothar, and the Thule. 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.
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 Becoming a Member
Full membership within the Shield Wall Kindred requires a majority Kindred vote held within an official Kindred Meeting. The candidate is required to have been approved as a potential member, though there is no time requirement between potential member and full membership. When a potential member feels ready, they may petition the Kindred membership for full membership, by bringing the vote to the Kindred during an official Kindred meeting. The potential member is expected to speak for and present themselves to the Kindred when petitioning for the vote of full membership. By majority vote approval of the Kindred, a full member is granted immediate access to Kindred resources, which may include (but is not limited to) exclusive full member chats, digital media (the Kindred Drive), and the physical Kindred library. A potential member must be physically present at the Kindred meeting when petitioning for full membership, and must be physically present when the vote is taken.
Section 4.3 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, by majority Council vote (not necessarily requiring majority Kindred membership vote). An Elder is elected from the membership of the Shield Wall Kindred by majority vote. 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, 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 physical leadership and growth of the Shield Wall Kindred as a religious organization. To this effect, every Elder that is named by Kindred majority vote 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 their position or should be relieved. There is no limit to the number of Elders that may serve on the Council. Any Elder may be removed by majority Kindred vote at any time.
Section 4.4 Kindred Thule
The Kindred Thule is responsible for maintaining the well-being of the Shield Wall. This includes mediating disputes between members, monitoring all chats, and ensuring that all members act according to the bylaws. 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 or Gothia may choose any person to act as ceremonial Thule, regardless of Kindred Thule status.
Section 4.4.1 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 Shield Wall, a new Thule shall be chosen by majority 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 should be relieved. There is no limit to the number of Kindred 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 Thules removed in this manner may not be nominated for the position again for at least one year.
Section 4.5 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 before the purchase is made. The record shall be maintained in the Kindred Drive, easily accessible for everyone to see. Treasurers are not allowed to approve Kindred expenses without the approval of the Council of Elders.
Section 4.5.1 Treasurer Selection
At all times, there is required to be one Kindred Treasurer. In the event that a Treasurer has taken a leave of absence, voluntarily removed themselves, or otherwise been removed from the Shield Wall, a new Treasurer shall be chosen by majority 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 should be relieved. 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 in this manner may not be nominated for this position again for a period of one year.