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Asatru Prisoner News: Godbey v. Wilson

Out of Virginia comes a ruling in a case, Godbey v. Wilson. The plaintiff alleged that the prison had refused to allow him to drink alcoholic mead during ritual, and to wear a hlath (headband with runes) outside of the prison chapel. The case was dismissed as moot.

I have to confess on this one I agree with the court. There are all sorts of contemporary Asatruar who don’t drink alcohol for one reason or another, and I can see how the prison would have a compelling interest in making sure inmates don’t get drunk. Too, I had never even heard of a hlath before I read the particulars of this case. Sure enough, it’s made its way into the Federal BOP guidelines on Asatru and Odinism, but damned if I can figure out where it came from. The word doesn’t mean “headband with runes” in Old Norse, and a quick Google search for “hlath Asatru” comes up with next to nothing outside of a prison context. Anyone have any more background on it?

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