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This material was apparently excerpted from a book titled What is Odinism?. We encourage you to visit The Odinic Rite for more information. --sacred-texts Editor

                                 ODINISM, WHAT IS IT? 
     1.  What do you mean by Odinism?

             Odinism isthe indigenous religiousfaith of theScandinavian, British
     and other  peoples of Northern Europe; it is an amalgam of attitudes, ideas
     and behavior,  both a  personal faith and  a communal way  of life.  In its
     beginnings Odinism is probably as old as our race. Historically it may be
     divided into three periods:

          A.   Before the coming of Christianity
          B.   Its gradual merging with Christianity and the ensuing Period of
               Dual Faith, and
          C.   Its efforts in the present century to free itself of Christian
               influences and to reassert its ancient independence.

      2. How have the tenets of Odinism been preserved? 
         Is there an Odinist holy book?

         The ancient oral traditions of Odinism were during the Middle Ages
     embodied in writings, the Odinist books of wisdom, the principle of which
     are the Eddas.  The poetic Elder Edda presents the Odinist cosmogony, the
     mythological lays and the heroic lays, including the story of Sigurd and
     Brynhild which were in later times moulded into the Lay of the Nibelungs.
     The Younger Edda is a prose synopsis of the Odinist faith.

      3. When did Britain and the rest of Europe cease to be Odinist?

         The first of our Northern countries to succumb to the false promises of
     the  new religion were  the Goths, in  the fourth century  of the Christian
     era; the  Icelanders became Christians by official  decree in the year 1000
     CE, to be followed by the  Scandinavian countries over the next two hundred
     years. England was "converted" between 597 and 686 CE and Scotland somewhat
     earlier (although some of  the people of Ross-shire were  still worshipping
     the old Gods as late as the seventeenth century). Ireland, when Patrick the
     Proselytizer landed  there in the  year 432,  was described  as "a  heathen
     land";  Dublin and the other principal Irish towns were actually founded by
     Odinist Vikings, who dedicated the country to the god Thor.

      4. Well, the people were converted to Christianity.  
         Would you have denied them their freedom of choice?

         They had no choice. Most of those who were "converted" had little 
     knowledge of Christian doctrine; the new religion was imposed on them by
     sword and sermon. The Revd S. C. Olland's Dictionary of English Church
     History is explicit:   "The adoption of Christianity generally depended
     upon State action: the king and his nobles were baptized and the people
     largely followed their example. . . . .The wholesale conversions. . . . .
     could not have implied individual conviction."  On one day alone in the
     year 598 more than ten thousand English "converts" were baptized in a mass
     ceremony; it is unlikely that they had received a great deal of instruction
     in the Christian faith. Even in the twentieth century the  vast majority of
     Christians  are still quite ignorant  of Christian doctrine.  It was always


     5.  Why do you say that Odinism was practiced in the Church
         during what you have called "the Period of Dual Faith"?

         We can see the evidence everywhere, even today. When the foreign
     missionaries subverted Britain what they  could they repressed and what    
     they could not they ignored or adopted. The ancient spring renewal festival
     of  Summer  Finding  was  transformed  into  the  Christian  feast  of  the
     resurrection; the Mid-winter festival of Yule became Christmas. Not only
     the folk festivals connected with the great changes of season - May Day and
     Midsummer  and  Harvest  -  but numerous  customs  associated  with  life's
     milestones, birth  and marriage  and death,  all showed  that the  old Gods
     lived  on in  the life  and in  the  language of  the people.  Many of  the
     external signs of the ancient faith were retained: water was consecrated
     and wood was blessed. A Christian writer, Professor P. D. Chantepie de la
     Saussaye DD, has said, "We recognize in this folklore a form of historical
     continuity, the bond of union between the life of the people in pagan and
     In Christian times." Even today when we say, "Touch wood!" we are recalling
     the  sacred nature of an important symbol  of our ancient religion; and how
     many people are aware that they  are paying unconscious tribute to the Gods
     of  Odinism when  they light  their Christmas or  Paschal candles  or their
     bonfire  on the  fifth of November?  Or that  the very  "Christmas tree" is
     itself the  World Ash of Odinism? Even the sign  of the cross is really the
     sign of Thor's hammer!

     6.  How long did the Period of Dual Faith last?

             The  period during which Odinism  was actually practiced within the
     Church extended in Britain from about  the seventh century CE right down to
     the 1930's, when the purity of ancient worship was revived by a number of
     groups working outside  the Church for the  first time for more  than a    
     thousand years.  

     7.  But the adoption of Christianity, a creed that preaches peace on earth
     and  the equality of all men was, surely  you must agree, a step forward in
     the civilizing of our people?
         Odinists were happy enough to put up with the new doctrines so long as
     they were  allowed to go  on practicing their  own faith in peace.  But the
     inherent contradiction  at the heart of  Christianity is that it  denies in
     action the  faith  that it  professes  verbally.  There is  no  history  of
     religious warfare in Europe before the coming of Christianity. It is ironic
     indeed that the message  of peace on earth has been propagated with so much
     bloodshed.  As for the equality  of all men, we just  do not believe in it;
     and even the Christian god has his "chosen people".

     8.  Why is it now necessary to reassert what you describe as Odinism's
     ancient independence? Why can you not , in the present unsettled state
     of  society, leave  well alone. Surely  we should be  getting together, not
     creating more divisions amongst ourselves?

         First of all it is necessary to state that because of its organic
     origins  and   development  Odinism  is   a  religion   of  visual   truth.
     Nevertheless,for just so long  as Christian and Odinist ethics  coincided -
     even superficially - it was possible for Odinists to worship the Gods under
     their  Christian  designations;  but only  for  so  long  as they  remained
     adequate interpretations of the true divinities of Odinism (the nature of a
     god being of greater importance than his name).


         The Churches are today opposed to many of the things that Odinists hold
     sacred:  they sin against nation and people by espousing causes whose
     ultimate  aim is our destruction;  they condone legislation  that has given
     statutory  approval  to  unnatural  sexual deviance  and  perversion;  they
     encourage criminal activities by calling for the exemption from punishment,
     or  even  prosecution, of  whole  categories of  lawbreakers;  they provide
     financial aid  for revolutionary  propaganda and even  terrorist activities
     against our  own people; they remain totally indifferent to the rape of our
     countryside in the  short-term interests of  economic gain and  technology;
     and they have  successfully divided the people  of our own  islands against
     themselves  (eg, in  Ireland).  Life in  Northern  Europe is  today,  after
     fifteen  hundred  years of  Christianity,  almost  entirely concerned  with
     material wealth and self-indulgence  and the Christian clergy have  largely
     forsaken  their  spiritual  vocations in  order  to  preach  the causes  of
     subversion and revolution.

              The people yearn for spiritual bread but have been offered by the
     Churches only a political stone. It is no longer possible for anyone who is
     aware of  his debt to  our past or  who has concern  for the future  of our
     nation and  race to  remain within  the  Christian Church.  This must  not,
     however be taken  to imply that Odinists bear hatred towards Christians; we
     recognize that there are many good  and sincere people within the Christian
     community  from whose example Odinists themselves could not fail to profit.
     But the Church  is itself  largely responsible for  the "present  unsettled
     state of society". Odinists see it as their duty to oppose those who menace
     the things that they regard  as holy. If we cannot in justice  always blame
     the sheep we should and do attack the shepherds.

     9.  But surely it would be preferable to have one god for all mankind?

         Why? One god or many Gods, it really does not matter. Our true Gods are
     actually  worshipped by  peoples  all  over  the  world,  using  their  own
     mythologies and adapting their worship to local cultures and conditions.
     We prefer to  worship the Gods in our own way  with people of our own kind.
     And  we respect the right of others to their own beliefs. It was an Odinist
     gothi (priest), Sigrith,  who told  the foreign missionaries,  "I must  not
     part from the faith which I have held, and my forefathers before me; on the
     other hand  I shall make  no objection  to your believing  in the god  that
     pleases you best."

     10. You have mentioned the "Gods of Nature". Does this mean that Odinists
         are nature-worshippers?

         Odinists recognize man's spiritual kinship with Nature, that within
     himself are in essence all that is in the greater world, which perform
     within him the same functions as in the world. Thus there are in man the
     four elements, the vegetative life of plants, an ethereal body - the god-
     soul - corresponding to the heavens, the sense of animals, of spiritual
     things and reason and understanding. Because in this way man comprises
     all the parts of the world within himself he is thus a true image of the


         Also containing the essence of the universe within themselves, the Gods
     are everywhere and in everything: they show themselves to us as fire,  as a
     flower, as  a tree.  Odinists  believe that  all life  should  be lived  in
     communion and in accord with the mind of the Gods. Christianity turned away
     from Nature and concentrated its adherents' attention on the human soul and
     became obsessed with the fall of man, by which it was  implied that man had
     brought  all Nature down into  sin with him.  Christian teaching encouraged
     man to  see Nature only in her physical form whereas Odinists regard Nature
     as a true manifestation of  the divine. "We and the cosmos  are one," wrote
     D. H. Lawrence, "The  cosmos is a vast living  body, of which we  are still
     part.  The sun is  the great heart  whose tremors run  through our smallest
     veins.  The  moon is  a great  gleaming nerve-centre  from which  we quiver
     forever.  . . . Now  all this is  literally true, as men  knew in the great
     past and  as they will know again." Whoever shall properly know himself and
     all  things in  himself shall know  the Gods.  The Odinist,  because of his
     awareness of his relationship with Nature, is able to feel a consanguineous
     kinship with plants and animals and the land - a complete oneness.

     11. You speak of "the Odinist mythology". Do you really expect anyone to
         believe in a myth?

             Every  religion is  mythical in  its development. Mythology  is the
     knowledge  that  the ancients  had  of the  divine; it  is  religious truth
     expressing  in  poetical terms  mankind's desire  for personal  and visible
     gods.  The mythology of Odinism consists of a group  of legends, fables and
     tales  relating to  The Gods, heroes,  demons and other  beings whose names
     have been preserved in popular belief. Our object must be to discover, with
     the  help of  our mythology,  the Gods  who manifest  themselves throughout
     Nature:  in the streets and in the  trees and in the rocks, in the  running
     streams and in the  heavy ear of grain, in  the splendor of the sun  by day
     and in the star-strewn sky at night.  But it is not the myth  that Odinists
     believe in but the Gods whom that myth helps us to understand.

     12. What, then, is the Odinist mythology?

         Briefly, our mythology unfolds in five acts (which may be compared to
     the evolution of the seasons of the year):

           A.   the Creation (spring)
           B.   the time preceding the death of Balder (summer)
           C.   the death of Balder (summer's end)
           D.   the time immediately after the death of Balder (autumn)
           E.   Ragnarok, the decline and fall followed by the regeneration of
                the world (winter and spring)

         The first effort of speculative man has always been to solve the
         mystery of existence, to ask what was in the beginning. The condition
         of things before the world's creation is expressed in the Eddas
         negatively; there was nothing of that which sprang into existence:

                                        Nothing was
                                        Neither land nor sea,
                                        Nor cool waves.
                                        Earth was not ,
                                        Sky was not,
                                        But a gaping void
                                        And no grass.


         Ymir was a frost-giant, eg chaotic matter:

                                        From Ymir's flesh
                                        The world was made,
                                        And from his blood the sea.
                                        Mountains from his bones,
                                        Trees from his hair,
                                        And the welkin from his skull.

             There were as yet no human beings upon the earth when one dayas the
     Gods Odin,  Hoener and Loder were  walking along the seashore  they saw two
     trees from which they created the first human pair. Odin gave them life and
     spirit, Hoener endowed them with reason and the power of motion  and Loder
     gave them blood, hearing, and a fair complexion. The man they called Ask
     ash)--and the woman Embla (elm). As their abode the newly-created pair
     received from the Gods Midgarth and from them is descended the whole human

             Balder is the godof the summer, the favorite god ofall Nature and a
     son of Odin; he is one of the wisest and most eloquent of the Gods and his
     dwelling is in a place where nothing impure can enter. The story of Balder,
     well-known in the Northern  countries, finds explanation in the  seasons of
     the year,  in the change from  light to darkness; he  represents the bright
     and clear summer and his death is the impermanent victory  of darkness over
     light, of winter over summer, of death over life. When  Balder is dead, all
     Nature   mourns.  His  death   presages  the  disaster   of  Ragnarok,  the
     consummation of  the world,  followed by  its cleansing  and return to  the
     primal state.

         Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods, represents a great conflict between
     good and evil  powers. The idea  is already suggested  in the story  of the
     Creation in which the Gods are represented as proceeding from giants, that
     is from an  evil and chaotic  force. And whatever  can be born must  surely
     die. In the seasons and activities of Nature we see a constantly recurring
     picture of the necessity for death and the equal certainty of its being
     overcome. At Ragnarok all the worlds of Nature will be destroyed and even
     the giants must die. But from that catastrophe will emerge a renewed world
     and the Gods themselves will be born again. We see this drama enacted
     every year in miniature when autumn heralds the period of decline and decay
     until with the spring we witness the magic of resurrection and new life.

         This, briefly told, is the myth that explained to our ancestors their
     origin and the origin of the world, the creation of life from chaos and the
     mergence of evolution and harmony.

     13.  Who is Odin?

             Odinis the first and eldest ofthe Gods, the all-pervading spirit of
     the  sun, the moon, the stars,  the hills, the plains and  of man. With his
     help were made heaven and  earth and the first man and woman. All knowledge
     came from him; he is the inventor of poetry and discovered the runes; he
     governs all things, protects the social organization influences the human
     mind, avenges murder and upholds the sanctity of the oath. He is well
     named Allfather. And because he chooses to surround himself with a
     bodyguard of those who have fallen in battle he is also known as
     Valfather, Father of the Slain.


         In the mythology Odin's single eye (the other he sacrificed in exchange
     for wisdom) is the sun, his broad-brimmed hat the arched vault of heaven,
     his  blue  cloak the  sky.  A conspicuous  passage  in the  Edda  is Odin's
     sacrifice of himself to himself:

                                        I know I hung
                                        on the windy tree
                                        nine nights through:
                                        I know I hung
                                        I know I hung
                                        myself to myself,
                                        on the tree
                                        that springs
                                        from roots unknown.

         Order is the basis of Odin's government. Nature the garment by which he
     manifests himself. Odinism says:  study the natural laws, conform to them
     and you will prosper; ignore them or violate them and you must suffer.
     Just so far as you study and obey Nature exactly so far will Nature reward
     or punish you. For under Odin the government of Nature is harmonious and

     14. Who are the other Gods of Odinism? What kind of Gods are they?

         We have already spoken of Odin and Balder. Of the other Gods the best-
     known is Thor, the most famous story concerning whom tells of this
     Warrior-God crushing the powers of chaos. He rules over clouds and rain
     and makes his presence known in the lightning's flash. He is the protector
     of the farm worker, the chief god of agriculture, a helpful deity who makes
     the crops grow and who also blesses the bride  with fertility. In the words
     of  Professor P. V. Glob,  " He wishes  all men well and  stands by them in
     face  of their enemies and against the new God, Christ."  Tyr is the God of
     martial  honor, the  most daring  and intrepid  of the  Gods. He  dispenses
     justice in time of peace and valor in war. He it was who sacrificed  a hand
     when  overpowering the evil Fenris Wolf,  showing us that we ourselves must
     be prepared  to make sacrifices in  order to protect ourselves  and our kin
     from those who seek to cast our society into anarchy and chaos.

         Frey is God of the harvest and is therefore also a God of fecundity and
     growth;  some  authorities  believe that  he  and  Christ  may have  become
     blended, in England at least, in so a God of fecundity and growth; some    
     authorities believe that he and Christ may have become blended, in England
     at least, in the new religion of Christianity. Freya is a Goddess of love
     and the sister of Frey: barren women may invoke her and she is also the
     Goddess of death for all women. Another God, Vali, is called he Avenger
     because when he was yet only one night old he avenged Balder's death, thus
     demonstrating the moral obligation we have of punishing society's enemies.
     Other Gods include Brage, Heimdal, Vidar, Frigg and Forsete.


         The Gods of Odinism are the ordaining powers of Nature clothed in
     personality. They direct the world which they themselves created. They are
     referred to collectively as the Aesir, of whom every living thing forms  a
     part (thus not all the Gods are necessarily good ones). Objects and
     phenomena that are regarded as greater or lesser Aesir are qualities such
     as thought and memory, and natural things such as the sun, rivers,
     mountains  and trees as  well as animals  and ancestral  spirits. There are
     also  the guardian  Gods of  the land,  of skills  and occupations  and the
     spirits of national heroes, the Einheriar and other men and women whose
     outstanding deeds and virtues have contributed to our civilization,
     culture and well-being.

     15. Is there a table of commandments that sets out the rules to be
         followed by Odinists?

         The main rules of Odinist conduct are listed in the Nine Charges which

         1.   To maintain candor and fidelity in love and devotions to the tried
              friend:  though he strike me I will do him no scathe.
             2.   Neverto make a wrongsome oath: for great andgrim is the reward
            for the breaking of plighted troth.
         3.   To deal not hardly with the humble and lowly.
         4.   To remember the respect that is due great age.
             5.  To suffer noevil to go unremedied andto fight against the      
       enemies of family, nation, race and  faith:  my foes will I fight        
     in the field nor be burnt in my house.
             6.  To succor thefriendless but to putno faith in the pledgedword  
           of a stranger people.
         7.   If I hear the fool's word of a drunken man I will strive not: for
              many a grief and the very death groweth out of such things.
             8.   To give kind heedto dead men:  straw-dead, sea-dead or        
         9.   To abide by the enactments of lawful authority and to bear with
              courage and fortitude the decrees of the Norns.

             The Chargesare based on the rules oflife indicated by the High Song
     of Odin and in the Lay of Sigurd in which the Valkyrie gives counsel to
     Sigurd. They may be summarized as demanding in the struggle for life a
     self-reliance which should be earned by a love of learning and industry, a
     prudent foresight in word and deed, moderation in the gratification of the
     senses and in the exercise of power, modesty and politeness in intercourse
     and a desire to earn the goodwill of our fellow men.

     16. The first four Charges seem fairly innocuous, but I must say the
         Fifth Charge sounds rather sinister! Isn't it all very violent and


             "To suffer no evil to gounremedied," does appear to run contrary to
     the  trends  of  modern progressive  thinking.  And  the  idea of  fighting
     "against the enemies  of family, nation, race and  faith" would be anathema
     to many people. Unlike the Christian,  whose duty it is to "turn  the other
     cheek" (advice that is  more often observed ub  tge breach than  otherwise)
     and to be patient and long-suffering under the most grievous attacks, it is
     the duty of the Odinist to punish wrongs and above all those wrongs offered
     to his own family and kin. Society's enemies already know the basic law of
     life:  that the race is to the strong and that the meek will inherit th
     earth only when the earth inherits them dust to dust. Others should also
     learn to recognize this truth.

     17. What do you mean by "kinship loyalty"?

             We mustof course give loyal service to anyoneor any concept to whom
     or to which loyalty is due. But we owe our loyalty in the fullest degree to
     our immediate family and to  those who are related  to us by blood-ties  or
     blood-brotherhood.  A husband owes loyalty  to his wife,  for instance, and
     vice versa, just as  a son owes loyalty to his parents  to a greater extent
     than  to anyone  outside the  immediate family circle.  Beyond that  we owe
     allegiance  to  our own  country  and  racial kindred  before  we can  even
     consider giving it to strangers who  must therefore have the last call upon
     us.  But  there may  be  occasions  when loyalty  to  nation  and kin  must
     transcend even our loyalty to our own family.

             This concern for kin is an essential part of Odinist teaching. More
     than twelve centuries  ago the Christian  proselytizer, Boniface, wrote  of
     the  Odinists, "Have  pity  on  them, because  even  they   themselves  are
     accustomed to  say,  "We are  of  one blood  and  one bone".  Filial  love,
     patriotism and kinship loyalty are religious principles still adhered to by
     Odinists. In the words of the Edda:

          We shall help our kinsmen as foot helps foot. . .
          If one foot stumbles then shall the other restore balance.

     18. You seem to have an exaggerated respect for things like law and order!
         What about unjust laws?

             No, not an "exaggerated respect for law and order"; just regard for
     the rules  by which  civilized man must  live. But laws,  to be  just, must
     apply equally to all citizens and groups without discrimination. Odinists
     certainly have a duty to oppose what they regard as unjust laws but in
     doing so they accept the consequences of their opposition and do not expect
     to be given exemption or favorable treatment.

     19. What view do Odinists take of modern, enlightened substitutes for
         traditional, repressive forms of punishment? Do you agree that the
         wrong-doer in our society is more often than not the victim of his
         environment and that we are thus all guilty?


             Odinists refuse to accept responsibility for the actions of others.
     Just as  it would be wrong to accept credit  for another person's merits so
     it is wrong to  relieve the wrong-doer  of responsibility for his  actions.
     "Crime  should  be  blazoned abroad  by  its  retribution,"  wrote Tacitus.
     Punishment  should be  an  unpleasant and  memorable  experience. Those  in
     authority who neglect to punish the criminal adequately place themselves in
     the position of  being accessories  after the fact.  Odinists believe  that
     anyone who seriously  or continually flouts  the law should  forfeit for  a
     period  of time  his rights to  protection under  that law;  enemies of the
     community should not be  permitted to run with the  hare and hunt with  the

     20. The Sixth Charge speaks about putting no faith in the pledged word of
         a stranger people. What is meant by "a stranger people"?

             By "a strangerpeople" we mean those from differentcultures than our
     own.  It is a warning that words often mean different things to different
     peoples, that their standards are not always the same as our own. It is
     simply one of those things in life that ought to be widely known and
     appreciated but does not seem to be!

     21. Please explain the Ninth Charge, which speaks of "the decrees of the
         Norns". Who or where are the Norns?

         The Norns are the three Fates of Northern mythology, the Goddesses of
     time. They are named Urd (the past), Verdande (the present) and Skuld (the
     future). They watch over man; they spin his thread of fate at his birth
     and mark out with it the limits of his sphere of action through life;
     their decrees are inviolable destiny, their dispensations inevitable
     necessity. Urd  and  Verdande,  the  past  and  present,  may  be  seen  as
     stretching a web from the radiant dawn of life to the glowing sunset,
     while Skuld, the future tears it to pieces!

         Man's fate must be met but the way in which it is met rests with the
     individual; and by the way in which he meets his fate man is able to
     demonstrate his free will. This important principle shows a man that it is
     worth while fighting life's battles courageously while at the same time
     fate's inexorable nature allows no room for careful weighing of  arguments
     for and against or for anxiety about the nature of things that are in any
     case destined to happen.

     22. What other aspects of human behavior are admired by Odinists?

         The Noble Virtues are held in high esteem.   They are:



         The Odinist must do what lies before him without fear of either foes,
     friends or the Norns. He must hold his own council, speak his mind and
     seek fame without respect of persons; be free, independent and daring in
     his actions; act with gentleness and generosity towards friends and
     kinsmen but be stern and grim to his enemies (but even towards the latter
     to feel bound to fulfill necessary duties);  be as forgiving to some as he
     is unyielding and unforgiving to others. He should be neither trucebreaker
     nor oathbreaker and utter nothing against any person that he would not say
     to his face. These are the broad principles of Odinist behavior, features
     of the spirit that made our Northern peoples great.

     23. You call industriousness a Noble Virtue?  What is so spiritual about

         Industriousness is a virtue which, partly inherited, is nevertheless
     acquired largely through training  and self-discipline; it is at once
     something we owe to ourselves, to our family and to the community. There
     is a time for relaxation as there is a time for most things but it is not,
     for instance, during our working hours; neither should it be at the expense
     of other members of the community by way of the so-called welfare state.

     24. What about material possessions?

             A principle of Odinism is the realization of the worthlessnessand  
     fleeting nature of  worldly possessions. Enough should be  enough. Adam of 
     Bremen,  a Christian,  remarked how  Odinists with  whom  he had  come into
     contact "lack nothing of what we revere except our arrogance. They have no
     acquisitive love of gold, silver, splendid chargers, the furs of beaver and
     marten or any of the other possessions we pine for". One thing alone is
     worth while in this life:  the stability of a well-earned reputation.
     "Goods perish, friends perish, a man himself perishes," says the Edda "but
     fame never dies to him that hath won it worthily."

     25. You describe self-reliance as one of the Noble Virtues. Surely even
         you must admit that none of us is, or can be, self-reliant in these

         Self reliance does not, as you appear to suggest, imply selfishness or
     mean that a man must live in isolation from his fellows. We recognize that
     men are dependent upon Nature and on the community of which he forms part;
     he has obligations to that community as well as to his employer (or
     employees). He receives from society and he owes a debt to society.
     Odinism teaches that people must be encouraged to stand on their own feet
     and  not to ask  continually, "When is  somebody going to  do something for


     26. Do Odinists believe in prayer?

         Odinism is not a philosophy invented to ease mankind's comfort or to 
     assuage his fears; that kind of  religion acts against rather than in man's
     interests because it takes from him his independence and self-respect and 
     makes  of  him  a  humble  supplicant   by  encouraging  him  to  shed  his
     responsibilities. The person who prays to a saint or God asking for help 
     or guidance is seeking to shift the responsibility from his own shoulders, 
     surrendering his own faculties of thought and physical action, unless he 
     also does something to help himself. To pray is to beg and plead; it is 
     self-abasement ("we worms of the earth"). That is not the object of true 
     religion which, as Carlyle has told us, is "transcendent wonder":  wonder 
     without limit or measure, reverent admiration alike for the immensity of 
     creation, the inspiration of the human heart and the capability of the 
     human brain. 

             Odinists in theirinveitan (praise); singular, inveita) callupon the
     Aesir to approach them in their thoughts as  they themselves strive towards
     the   Aesir. Through increased understanding is achieved wholeness, a unity
     with the Gods that helps us to think out our problems and how they may be 
     overcome.  We  project  the  Gods  within  ourselves  and  that, externally
     realized, speaks to the divine in others. Through their invetian Odinists 
     express gratitude for life and the world they live in and resolve to try 
     to make it better - not just to  leave it to "someone up there" or hope for
     something better in the next world. 

     27  How do Odinists regard good and evil?

             Evil of itself cannot originatein man but must always beregarded as
     an intruder, like an illness or  an affliction; as such it must  be opposed
     and  expelled. Good and evil  are relative:  there can  be no absolute norm
     and actions must depend upon circumstances and motives as well as time and
     place. The ethical standards relating to custom and tradition are flexible
     and responsive to the specific demands of different ages, so that moral
     judgments of what is right and wrong cannot be placed in a fixed system
     of standards but must vary according to time and situation. Just as the
     world is constantly changing so are values constantly changing, so that
     nothing can be regarded as unconditionally good or evil in all ages. In
     general, that which disturbs the social order and peaceful evolution and
     causes unhappiness - including such natural disasters as floods and
     earthquakes, disease and pollution - obstructs the natural development of
     the world and must be regarded as evil. As for sin, Odinism knows but two
     major sins -  perjury and murder:  that is sin against the Gods and sin
     against one's fellow man.

     28. Do you believe in Original sin?

             Man is inherently good andthe world in which he livesis good. There
     is no sin in man which has been inherited from his first, or any other,
     ancestor;  it is  enough that  he should  be held  responsible for  his own
     actions. But a lthough his spirit is good, his flesh and his senses may
     succumb to evil, especially when by neglecting his own spiritual well-
     being he has left his defenses weakened. So it is necessary for him to be
     able to distinguish between what is good and what is evil.


     29  What do Odinists believe about marriage - and divorce?

             Odinists support theinstitution of marriageand marital fidelity.But
     a broken marriage is and unhappy marriage and traditional Odinic law allows
     great latitude  to separation of husband wife, at the will of both parties,
     if a good reason exists for the desired change. It is recognized that the
     worst possible service is rendered to those who are forced to live together
     against their will; but it must be borne in mind that marriage is basically
     a solemn exchange of vows between two people and  as such can only be ended
     by agreement between the same two people.

     30. Does Odinism offer salvation to those who believe?

         Odinism offers no salvation in the sense in which that term is used by
     Christians. Instead, the Odinist seeks liberation by bringing the Aesir
     into the world of man and into his daily life - whether at home or at work.
     Liberation refers to the human condition as we know it, which is subject to
     birth and death and decay. It is not, " the kingdom of God which is with in
     you," but the Gods themselves which exist within man.

     31. Does man possess an immortal soul? Is there a life after death and
         will people go to Odin in heaven?

         Odinists believe that man consists of body (i.e. matter) and spirit or
     soul.  Physical man is  born, produces young  and eventually dies.  But the
     whole of  Nature  shows us  that  death is  not  final: the  material  body
     decomposes and recombines, it is regenerated and lives again. As it was in
     the beginning so it is now; every atom continues to exist and must exist
     as in the beginning. There is nothing new under the sun and what we call
     death is really nothing more than transformation.

             Spiritual  man is divided into two distinct souls, one passive, the
     other  active,  the divine  and  the  human,  which  we call  God-soul  and
     human-soul. The first is in the fullest sense a divine being, contemplating
     a past eternity and a future immortality, occupying itself in contemplation
     rather than in action and to be regarded as a kind of guardian spirit.
     Although the God-soul and the material body are associated in this life,
     the former is not bound to man in the way that, say, a limb is (it may
     indeed  absent  itself   from  his   body  during  sleep   or  periods   of
     unconsciousness). Without the spirit there can be no motivation:  when the
     physical change (i.e. death) takes place the God-soul passes to another 
     living  organism -a human being, a tree, an animal, perhaps a bird. This
     is the element that gives man his mystical attachment to a particular
     district or country (which is what we call patriotism):  because it is
     where the God-souls of countless generations of ancestors dwell. It is
     because  of this  that man  is compelled  to nurture,  love and  defend his
     country, which is, in the purest sense, a holy land. The philosopher
     Fichte said, "Death  is the ladder  by which my  spiritual vision rises  to
     anew life and a new nature." This is also the reason why Odinists regard
     all life as sacred and unnecessary violence as criminal.


             The  human-soul  (or self-soul),  is  essentially  individual to  a
     particular person.  It may be likened  to his personality, his  fame or his
     infamy.  Because the  whole of man's life  is a continuing struggle of  the
     good  and light Gods  on the one  hand and the offspring  of chaotic matter
     (the giants, Nature's disturbing forces) on the other, the human-soul is
     extremely active. It is involved in a struggle that extends to man's
     innermost being: both the human-soul and the God-soul proceed from the
     Gods; but the body be longs to the world of giants and they struggle for
     supremacy. If the human-soul conquers by virtue and courage then it goes
     after death to Valhalla, to fight in concert with the Gods against the
     evil powers. If on the other hand the body conquers and links the spirit
     to itself by weakness then after man's death the human-soul sinks to the
     world of the giants and joins itself with the evil powers in their warfare
     against the Gods. Long after his individual identity has been forgotten a
     man's  human-soul,  absorbed into  the  corporate spirit  of  the regiment,
     college, village, nation or other group, continues to demonstrate its
     immortality by inspiring future generations to noble deeds - or to acts of

     32. If the God-soul migrates to other living things after death, how can
         you square this with, for example, the need to slaughter livestock in
         order to sustain human life? Isn't it rather like killing a God?

         The God-soul must not be confused with the being that it inhabits.
     Animals, birds and trees have always been regarded by Odinists with
     respect; it is indeed probable that the domestication of some creatures
     arose from their former sacred character. Every living thing is a
     manifestation of the divine and its spirit is immortal:  every time a tree
     is felled or an animal slaughtered it is indeed a kind of sacrifice. But
     the tree or the animal is only a temporary dwelling-place for the immortal
     God. Everything in Nature has a purpose and it is necessary in order that
     life may be sustained in others for such "sacrifices" to be made. Such an
     attitude encourages consideration and reverence for Nature and discourages
     its wanton despoliation. It is the unnecessary, cruel or unnatural killing
     of animals (or of human beings), the unjustifiable destruction of trees or
     landscape and the defiling of natural resources, that is wrong.

     33. You have mentioned "ancestral spirits". Does this mean that Odinists
         believe in ancestor-worship?

         The human-souls of one's own family ancestors provide us with  moral
     strength and inspiration. Just as we received our spirit from Odin, so we
     received our physical being through our parents and our ancestors from
     time memorial. Our respect for ancestors maintains the continuity of the
     family, the kin and the race. We have a duty to try to attain the ideals
     of our ancestors and an equal duty of cherishing our descendants so that
     they in their turn will come to understand and realize our own hopes and
     ideals. Life is continuing process:  we must try to visualize ourselves as
     ancestors; for ancestors and descendants are genealogically one. Edmund
     Burke once remarked that society was a partnership between those who were
     living, those who are dead and those yet to be born; past and present and
     future are seen as a continuing evolvement and must be looked upon as
     complete being.


     34. What kind of status do women have within the Odinist community?

             Odinists do  not need  reminding  of women's  rights! Our  religion
     anciently held women in high honor:  not only are Goddesses included in the
     Odinist pantheon, but, when the Odinist priesthood is restored, all offices
     will be open to women just as they were before the Christian usurpation
     relegated them to permanent backbenches of religious life.

     35. What are the chief festivals of the Odinic Rite?

         In ancient times there were three great festivals: Yule (the Mid-Winter
     Festival), Summer Finding (or spring equinox) and Winter Finding (autumn
     equinox). To these we nowadays add the Midsummer Festival.

             Yule, the popularFestival ofMid-Winter (sometimescalled theFestival
     of Light), heralds the beginning of the Odinist year. It is the birthday of
     the unconquered sun, which at this time begins to new vigor after its
     autumnal decline when, having descended into darkness, it pauses, kindles
     the fire of germination and ascends renewed with the fruit of hope. The
     Mid-Winter Festival includes the Twelve Nights of Yule, encapsulating the
     twelve months of the year in miniature, and culminates in the celebration
     of Twelfth Night.

         Summer Finding, in March, is the Festival of Odin. It celebrates the
     renewal, or resurrection, of Nature after the darkness of winter. It was
     transformed by the Christians into their Easter (named after the Odinist
     Goddess of the Saxons, Ostara), Rogation and Whitsun and was also recalled
     in folk custom by the festivities of May Day.

             The Midsummer Festival, theFeast of Balder, is thegreat celebration
     of the triumph of light and the sun.

         Winter Finding mourns the death of summer and heralds the coming of
     autumn. It is dedicated to the god Frey, patron of the harvest, and is
     also sometimes called the Charming of the Fruits of Earth, when we render
     thanks for the years supply of life-giving foods.

     36. What other Odinist festivals are there?

             Besides the great festivalsthere are a number ofsecondary festivals
     and also some commemorations of local Gods or various aspects of life.

         The secondary festivals of the Odinic Rite are:
         The Charming of the Plough,  January 3
             The festival ofVali, Febuary 14, whichcommemorates the family andis
     an  occasion for  betrothals,  the renewal  of  marriage vows  and vows  of
             The festival of the Einheriar on November 11, known asHeroes'  day,
     which honors the dead.


     37. What is the Odinist Committee?

         The committee for the Restoration of the Odinic Rite (to give its full
     title) was set up on April 23, 1973 with the limited objects of restoring
     Odinist ritual and ceremonies, to define Odinist faith and doctrine and to
     constitute a teaching order of gothar (singular: gothi, meaning priest of
     teacher). When these immediate objects have been achieved the Committee
     will  disband. In the past not a great deal of attention was paid to
     systemizing the doctrinal aspects of Odinism and consequently the body of
     writing on the subject has remained limited and uneven. The Odinist
     Committee will place the worship of the Aesir on a more formal and
     permanent basis.

     38. How do I go about becoming an Odinist?

             First of all by understanding, thenby believing. You do not have to
     "be born again" but you are  expected to live your whole life  according to
     the Odinist precepts. There is a ceremony of reception (or initiation) into
     the Odinist community for those who wish it. The secretary of the Odinist
     Committee, 10 Trinity Green, London, E1, will be able to tell you whether
     there is an Odinist group in your neighborhood or, if there is not one,
     how you may form one.

     39. Can the Odinist Committee supply me with a list of Odinist temples
         and shall I be permitted to attend some of the inveitan?

             There are at presentno Odinist hofs (temples) in Great Britain open
     for public worship. Odinism starts with the individual and extends, through
     the family, to the community and the world. So with worship, which is at
     present practiced mostly at family level, the festivals of the Odinist
     year being celebrated in the home, with friends and other Odinist
     sometimes being invited to participate. But it is expected that various
     regional meeting places will be authorized when eventually the ritual of
     Odinist worship has been fully restored and gothar licensed by the
     successor body to the Odinist committee.

                         These things are thought the best:
                                   Fire, the sight of the sun,
                            Good health with the gift to keep it,
                                  And a life that avoids vice.

                                                The High Song of Odin *

     * The verse from The High Song of Odin is from Paul B. Taylor and W H
     Auden's translation of The Elder Edda and is reproduced by permission of
     Messrs Faber and Faber. Other quotations from the Eddas in the foregoing
     pages are from the translation by Rasmus B. Anderson.


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