By Heimgest DCG
It is a well known fact, that if a folk are detached from their past, if they have no sense of their heritage, then they become lost. A folk with no knowledge of where they came from, and care little about where they are heading, just as a tree without roots will wither and die. It was for this reason (among others) that the early Christian zealots were under orders to destroy the sacred places of the “heathens, they wished to subjugate, destroy their artefacts and writings, and corrupt their myths. Those things they could not eradicate they sought to take over; hence many of the supposed Judeo-Xtian festivals are in fact mere overlays on the ancient festivals. In the case of Easter, they didn’t even change the name , yet how many today know it is the name of an Anglo Saxon Goddess. This of course is well known by Odinists and knowledge is a potent tool in the reclaiming of our spiritual and material birthright.
Thankfully our folk also have many heroes from the past who not only can inspire us today but also give us a sense of who we are. It is for this reason that many modern state operated educational establishments (or so called educational establishments) no longer teach the history of our people. The New Awakening is at a stage now where we also have heroes from the much more recent past– truly Odinic heroes and heroines who have dedicated themselves to the restoration of our ancestral way. There are now those pioneers who have passed from this realm but can be hailed as heroes and heroines of our folk faith struggle. Some are known and are now being given due recognition. Rudd Mills is one such man and of course the Folk Mother Else Christensen.
Others are not so well known or remembered. A couple whom can be remembered with honour by the Odinic Rite in particular are Lothar and Olaf, both of whom have now passed from this realm but in their time in Midgarth, did much work to advance our sacred way.
But one who deserves special merit and yet who is so little known is John Gibbs-Bailey, known as Hoskuld CG. This article seeks to redress the fact that he is an unsung and almost unknown hero of our folk so we, who owe him much, can honour this great Odinist.
It is not surprising so little is known of him, for he was a very self effacing man, a modest man and a true gentleman. I only ever met him a handful of times in the mid to late 1980s at the time I folded the Heimdal League and joined the Rite. Even then he was elderly and in poor health. He also looked after an ailing wife, and these facts meant he no longer travelled much. Much about his past was also unknown and rather mysterious. His contemporaries who knew more said nothing and on the occasions I did meet him, I felt too much respect for him to have the impudence to pry. I have often wish I had, but such is the way with hindsight. There are also some things which will be known when the time is right and to those who would benefit by knowing.
But things that are known and can be made known I shall do so now. Scant as these details may be, they are enough to realise that he is truly a great hero of our folk faith in general and the Odinic Rite in particular because he was one of the two founding members of the Odinic Rite. Hoskuld had become an Odinist in the 1930s. Then of course he was a young man who had a profound love of his folk and the proud heritage of his folk. He saw that it was threatened and that for a restoration to occur there needed to be a reawakening to our true spiritual path. Our folk needed to turn again to their own Gods and set aside the desert creed. The 1930s were of course a turbulent time with tensions between radical political and social doctrines and the more conventional ones mounting. Hoskuld, being then an idealistic young man, at times was in the thick of battles. Of course the tragedy of WWII and its aftermath for Europe set back many of the Odinist initiatives that likely would have taken place. But Hoskuld’s faith was strong and endured.
For a long while after the war, he was part of many of the myriad Odinist and cultural societies which flowed and ebbed, most being small and almost unknown. Some were secretive of course as the Judeo Xtian influence was still comparatively strong in Britain then. It was in one such group that Hoskuld helped develop the eight charges and virtues, which were added to by one when the OR was founded to give the well known “noble nine” we have today.
At the close of the 1950s, it seems that Hoskuld and the younger Stubba met at a cultural society. At that time Stubba (John Yeowell) was not an Odinist as such, but Hoskuld’s influence was strong and at a later time Hoskuld revealed to him that much of his outlook was basically Odinist. In time, Stubba realised this and embraced Odinism. The two remained in close contact and then in 1973 decided the time was right to formally found an overt Odinist organization, and thus in April 1973, “The London Committee For the Restoration of the Odinic Rite” was formed. The name was unwieldy and so was generally shortened to The Odinist Committee and then finalised in 1980 as the Odinic Rite. The blue print for the organisation’s structure and aims was influenced greatly by Hoskuld, who brought decades of Odinic practice to the new organisation, so while the name was new, in a way it was a continuation of something which had been forming since the 1930s. And that is a very important fact, one I mentioned in the interview I gave to Ravencast;
the OR did not just appear out of nowhere. It was, in fact, the expression of something planned, tried, tested and honed for decades before all that experience manifested as what today we know as The Odinic Rite. Hoskuld was not the only one to bring this long experience, but he was among the most seasoned and influential.
On the organisation’s formation it was felt that Stubba was better suited to the more overt face and activities, and thus he took the role of Director while Hoskuld’s activities were more behind the scenes, and as well as he gave highly valued counsel while he was the first treasurer. As said, even then his health was not good. He was getting on in years and had an ailing wife to care for.
I never met Hoskuld at Hearth moots; whenever I met him it was at separate meetings and then only a handful of times. The first time I met him was basically a meeting to see if I would make a suitable CG member. The nuts and bolts of that meeting are vague, but I clearly remember actually meeting him. He was frail then, but still stood upright and you could tell in his younger days he would have been a physically, as well as mentally, fit man. He was wearing a dark top coat with a black turtle neck shirt. He had clear light blue eyes, which held both a steel and keen awareness and, like other Odinists I have met of his generation, was a perfect gentleman. Polite in an almost formal way, but still with a warmth of comradeship. I can’t recall the questions I was asked as such, but he wanted to hear my overall view on a range of things and also what I had done to further my beliefs.
The next time we met was just before I was sworn in to the CG when he handed over the treasurer’s items, for I was to be installed on the CG as the Treasurer. This time was possibly more relaxed and he spoke a little of his early days. Again it was with humility and with the kind of humour one feels when looking back at one’s actions and feelings as a young man. He asked me how many members I thought we had. I had no idea, but guessed, and he was amused at how optimistic I was. There were far fewer, and he told me how we really were still in the earliest of days and how in these days, it was important to ensure solid foundations were built rather than be concerned with numbers. Else Christensen would still reinforce that every time I met her. That policy though of building sound foundations, has proven itself to be vital over the years and has been how we have survived many a time of storm. I was always impressed with his steel resolve; though physically frail, he had a very powerful inner strength and his love of our Gods and folk was clear. We spoke a little of ritual and runes, of culture and renewal and the cycle of things. He was there when I was installed onto the CG, and I remember his firm handshake and steady gaze as he congratulated me and wished me well in serving the High Ones and the Rite.
I saw him only a few times after that and briefly, though always they were enjoyable meetings. I never saw him again after the Fall of 1989 and Stubba, who knew him so much better, rarely mentioned him even when asked, though he admired him much. I do not know when he was born, and I do not know when he passed from this realm, for he has surely passed from Midgarth. But the work he undertook lives on, and his influence lives on, and he is with us each step as the Odinic Rite, the movement he played such a role in creating continues its advance. Unsung for a long time, now is the time to remember and honour this great Odinist.
Hail The High Ones
Hail The Rite
Hail Hoskuld CG