By Hodekin AOR
The Great Moot… What a wonderful title to conjure with!
And for someone who is still very much a newcomer to the OR, and in spite of the many posts on the forum which said everyone would be welcome and no one would be left alone, for me it was still something of a daunting prospect to attend a meeting in which I would come face to face with the very people who I regard as being the living breathing heroes of the Great Awakening. Now, for anyone who knows me, they also know that I could not exactly be described as being a shy and retiring wallflower! But even so, to say that I was nervous, apprehensive and just a little bit scared would not be pushing the realms of credibility too far. But the hotel was booked, I was in my car for the 60 minute journey to the venue and I was on my way for my long awaited meeting with (some at least) of the blood and bones behind the Odinic Rite, my fellow members!
Mr. Satnav ensured that I easily found the venue and in time for the proposed 09.30 start. Did I say 09.30 start? LOL…..more of that later! As I drove into the car park that fronted the very impressive hall that would host our meeting, I noticed two figures standing outside the entrance chatting, by the time I had parked and locked my car and was walking to the entrance only one now remained and as I got closer I recognised him from the many pictures I had seen.
They say that first impressions are always the most important and most lasting and here was this very smartly dressed character in black suit, black shirt and black tie, the only contrasting colour coming from his very distinctive OR lapel badge. His beaming smile told me that he also knew who I was and we fell into one another’s arms amid much back slapping and laughing….I had finally met Heimgest!
In truth, I cannot now recall what exactly we said to each other in those first moments, but I do remember the overwhelming sense of warmth and comradeship which I felt. Although this was our very first face to face meeting, such was the instant connection and intense rapport between us that it would be somewhat of a massive understatement to say that, at that moment I felt as if I had known him for years.
After a short while chatting, Heimgest explained that we were still waiting for a lot more people to arrive and that the proposed 09.30 start would be inevitably delayed, that being the case I went into the hall to meet my fellow Odinist brothers and sisters who had already arrived. I felt entirely at home and no longer felt apprehensive, not one little bit. Inside, the hall was a flurry of movement, rows of chairs were being put out, and in the kitchen (the hub of any dwelling) there was also considerable activity.
The first person to come over and introduce himself to me was Sigbert OR, closely followed by Ben of Fylfot Hearth OR, we chatted briefly but it was obvious they had work to do so I let them get on with that whilst I perused the merchandise table which held books, stickers, tee shirts and badges enough to satisfy any Odinist! It was here at the merchandise table that I had my first in depth chat with any of our members; it was Ralf, who had flown over from Frankfurt to attend the GM. Such a nice and unassuming man, he apologised for his ‘bad English’ but I understood everything he said and we had a good long talk about things, in fact we sat next to each other throughout the meeting, a good friend and blood comrade indeed! Also I had a great conversation with Torthred OR, as we chatted about his South African roots.
By now more people were turning up and the hall was a flurry of greetings and handshakes, I wandered into the Kitchen to see that Hengest and Fran had arrived and we warmly introduced ourselves. At this point I have to say that Fran is one of the nicest ladies I have ever met; always a smile and nothing too much trouble. It was plainly obvious to me that nearly everyone there already knew one another, and that I was possibly the only ‘Newbie’ on the day, but in many ways that made it easier for me, also the fact that I had a picture of myself on my forum info page meant that people were coming up to me and knowing who I was straight away. Next I quite literally bumped into Eowyn OR and we had a brief chat. Brief as it was, Eowyn confirmed my already held belief that she is one very switched on lady and the OR is indeed fortunate to have someone of her undoubted calibre. Her later address to the meeting served to underline that confirmation even more!
Then a cheer erupted, this was of course to herald the arrival of the mini bus containing Hariulf OR and the Swiss contingent, also with them was Paolo and his brother Kveldulfr who had travelled separately from Langbard in the north of Italy. And now combined with several others who had all the while been steadily arriving we were just about ready to start…more like 10.30 than 09.30, but we were ready none the less!
I had previously asked Heimgest some weeks before if he would dedicate the ‘Odin Guard Hearth’ Raven Banner at the GM and he had graciously agreed, and now as I sat next to Ralf waiting for the start of things, he approached me to say that it would be the first item on the agenda!