The kinship structure of Rúnatýr Kindred has been a fluid one over the past years. There have been up to now three distinctive methods of internal governance from Yule 2008 till Yule 2014. These periods are those of the pre-Innanguard, Innangard and post-Innangard/Stewardship periods. Each of these periods brought with them interesting, powerful and emotional changes which have lead us to the current model of kinship, leaving governance to ‘efforts put forward by Stewards’. We will not elaborate upon the past periods, as they are in the past and have now been committed to the well. That being said here is a flow chart demonstrating the kinship structure (not equated with governance) which has existed from the earliest years:
Rúnatýr Kindred is best described as a Personenverbandsstaat, a German term describing a ‘state of unified peoples’ somewhat comparable to a confederacy, where smaller groups (tribes) once coalesced from time to time, to form larger tribal polities. This was the condition which gave rise to such arch-heathen super-tribes/kingdoms as the Franks, Alamanni, Visigoths, Ostrogoths and Anglo-Saxons. In such a way, the Kindred is considered the Inneryard, directed by Stewards, where thew is made manifest by way of communal kinship activities as feasting, worship, ritualized drinking etc. The thew then informs the sido of Rúnafolk.
The Kindred is headed by Stewards, taken in its most historic form of OE stīweard (sty-ward) meaning ‘household-keeper’ and in our own understanding ‘one who maintains a hearth’. Stewards of Rúnatýr Kindred come together to steer the Kindred, call it an organic form of governance, by way of their combined stewardship. This stewardship is defined by the Rúnafolk as ‘an exchange of efforts for the caring and improvement of the kinship’. It is by way of Steward’s will and ken that the Kindred is maintained: Strong Hearths make for a Strong Kindred.
Hearths are what inform the Kindred, members and Stewards of Rúnatýr bring about an exchange of ideas from all realms of heathendom: Feasting, Scholarship, Craftsmanship, Skaldry, Cultus etc. They also bring with them sido ‘a custom, use, manner, habit, practice, good conduct’ just like in the early years of notable confederated arch-heathens, such as named above. Ideas, values and beliefs are brought to the table and over time the Rúnafolk come to gravitate towards some over others. In time these beliefs become so entrenched and beloved that strong customs and traditions evolve becoming thew ‘a custom, usage, general practice of a community’. This makes that the Kindred is organic and great changes can happen in short time. If members decide to leave the kinship, or attend only sporadically, then unless their hearth sido has become so deeply entrenched into thew, attraction may be lost for their efforts causing dramatic shifts in thew.
Hearths inform the Kindred, but Kindred also informs the hearths and, like astral bodies, their gravitas pulls ever greater on one another, until bonds of kinship are hardened. It is these bonds which link each member together, becoming the shade granting us respite under the Banner. Beyond the Inneryard, is the Outeryard, i.e. the rest of the known universe! Beyond the Banner’s shade, lies a world set apart from the Rúnafolk where there is no sanctuary. No folk, no kinship; no kinship, no thew; no thew, no folk.