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Henning Klovekorn

Asatru – Henning Andreas Klövekorn (2013)

I actually do not know how it comes that it took me almost two years to get Klövekorn’s other book. Previously I reviewed his book about Freemasonry.

Like the later edition of the Freemasonry book, Asatru is available as a cheap print-on-demand book. The author surely does not want hindrances for people to obtain his writings.

Besides being a Freemason, Klövekorn is ‘Asatruar’, a “gothi” even. The author was born in Germany, lived in South Africa, but I think it was in Australia (where he still lives) that he started to pursue the path of Asatru. The little book of 226 pages makes a somewhat shallow introduction into the subject. As there are not many writings of contemporary heathens, this is good for people who are looking for first info, but less so for people who hoped for more in depth insides.

There are quite a couple of negative things to say about the book. Klövekorn uses the term “Asatru” as a very general term but I do not know if a new reader will know it is but an umbrella term. What always stings me a bit, is that Klövekorn uses the same term to refer to the religion of old. So people who lived centuries back, were also “Asatruars” while the term is only a few decades old. Even Stonehenge is an Asatru monument to Klövekorn, so the generalisation also crosses cultures.

Then there is the fact that the author is very loose with his retellings of myths and sagas. Odin made his spear Gungir himself from a branch of Yggdrasil. Eh? Also Odin was blown into the same tree by a strong wind and hung there for nine days head-down. Eh?
Oftentimes I have the idea that Klövekorn wrote the book by heart without cross-checking too much.

There is also an ‘American lean’. The author names Asatru festive days which includes commemorations of ‘heroes’. I know this happens in the USA, but I have never heard any group from Europe doing that.

Klövekorn seems to like to show himself too. There is a “Klövekorn rune alphabet” and there are “Klövekorn Asatru rituals” which include a poem of himself. Especially with the futhark that feels a bit weird. A few ritualistic guidelines may be helpful for people who are new to the field, so this is a good inclusion. I do not see any obvious Masonic influences in the rituals by the way.

My last remark, and then I will stop complaining, is that, just as in the other book, there are many typos, spelling errors and general miswritings. Here and there Klövekorn wants to show his German roots by, for example, naming Charlemagne “Karl der Grosse”, but there are also German words contain typos (and why not just write “Karl der Große”, but both spellings are correct, so…).

My hope was that the author would say something about the practicing of a ‘Northern hemisphere religion’ on the Southern hemisphere, but that is not the case. It looks like that Klövekorn” as his group practices Yule in the middle of summer, december, sticking to the ‘original dates’.

Be all that as it may. With a bit of a critical view, here at least we have a contemporary book on heathenry from a practicing Asatruar. There are too few of these. It is cheap, easy to get from Amazon, available for ereaders and makes a nice read. Just be sure it is not the only book on the subject you read.

2013 CreateSpace, isbn 1481947737

99 Degrees Of Freemasonry * Henning Andreas Klövekorn (2006/2015)

A book about Freemasonry by a man who also writes about Asatru. That could be something for these pages, right? Henning Klövekorn was born in Germany in 1975, lived in South Africa, but now lives in Australia. Klövekorn joined an Australian lodge in 1997 (age 22). Nine years later the first edition of this book was published. Both this edition and the reprint became so popular that high prices are asked for copies, so in 2015 the author decided to make a print-on-demand version to ensure its accessibility.

Besides being a Freemason Klövekorn is a successive businessman, philanthropist, diplomat and in spite of all this success, openly Asatruar. The book even features a photo of him with a square and compass with two runes in the middle instead of the usual letter G. So would this book fulfill the promise of Klövekorn’s “[w]ork on the Anglo-Saxon of the origins of Freemasonry”? In a way, but not really in depth.

Actually, the book is a fairly general introduction into Freemasonry. What is different about this book from most similar books, is that it is not limited to so-called “regular” Freemasonry. The author also sketches the the rise of ‘progressive’ forms of Freemasonry. Also he gives information about kindred organisations, such as “friendly societies”, other “fraternal societies” (other from Freemasonry), an idea of the wealth of exotic Rites and ‘high’ and ‘side’ degrees, developments within the world of Freemasonry, some history of course and a part of Freemasonry that usually gets less attention, the charitable side of especially Freemasonry in the USA and the UK. At the end there are a few words about Masonic symbolism in art and monuments of Freemasonry.

There are almost 30 chapters which are fairly short. The book touches on a lot of different subjects, but does never really go into any depth. The author’s ‘Anglo-Saxon thesis’ is only touched upon, so maybe the “about the author” refers to another book. What seems to be the basis of this approach is that Freemasonry not only came to the British isles by fleeing Knights Templar, but also by Norse settlers from France who brought with them memories of Northern European life. Also there is a chapter about very early (1250) Freemasonry in Germany.

I think that “regular” Freemasons may not always be too happy with this book, but this is all the better for the many ‘progressive’ kind of Freemasons in this world. I do find it a bit weird that the mixed gender order Le Droit Humain is listed in the chapter “Related and Rival orders” between the Thule Society and the Bavarian Illuminati, while there is also a chapter about women in Freemasonry and Le Droit Humain is a Masonic society.
Also strange, even though this is a third edition, there are some strange errors, such as an alinea that is printed twice and some information that has not been worked out too well so it can cause confusion.

Should you enjoy reading the long lists of elaborate names of high degrees, this book is for you too. The author also deals with the basic symbolism behind a list of degrees.

“99 Degrees of Freemasonry” makes a nice introduction into the subject, but it is not really more than an introduction. It touches upon elements of ‘Masonic myth’ such as Egyptian origins, Knights Templar, etc. Hopefully the book is meant as a step-up to a better foundation of the more ‘controversial’ elements that Klövekorn seems to try to get across. Also it is nice to run into a book that does not shy some less popular angles on the subject. Since it is not expensive (under $ 20,- when you get the printing on demand) this title might be added to your wishlist.

2015 CreateSpace, isbn 9781466467583