by Heimgest CG
Reprinted from OR Briefing, Number 101 October/Hunting 1990/2240
Those who have attended the last two National Moots will probably have noticed that all those speaking were drawn from the ranks of the Odinic Community. There are several reasons why the Court of Gothar decided on this policy, one of them being to engender self-reliance within our movement and to give our own people excellence in addressing groups.
Another very important reason is that although an ‘outsider’ may have extensive academic knowledge of Odinism, or an aspect of it, this can never equal the inner, intuitive knowledge and appreciation that comes from a person actually and directly experiencing our living faith. Those who are truly restored to our faith and Folk Soul will experience times of intense insight. These times may last for long periods or seconds. Some will experience them frequently, some only a few times, but they are times when you ‘know things without knowing how’. A purely academic approach will never capture these times, which can’t be described in words. They are religious experiences.
Now this does not suggest that Odinists should reject academia. In fact, we want ‘Odinist academics’ and scholarly works on our faith and heritage are useful and good. But it does mean that we should not allow ourselves to be beguiled by academia. There is sometimes a danger of allowing natural knowledge and instincts to bow down in the face of a stream of ‘facts and figures’. The living shoot can wilt in the wind of dry academia, and sometimes ‘parlour debate’ stifles and strangles deeds and inspiration.
While debate and discussion can be very interesting, informative and important, it must not be allowed to suffocate the essence of our faith. As an example, I once witnessed a forty-five minute debate between two people over the precise meaning of a word. The others present quite naturally became totally uninterested. Now there are times when it is important to know the precise origin of even a single word, but in this case it was mere pretentious waffle for its own sake. It didn’t advance our faith, or anyone’s understanding and appreciation of it one iota. We must also remember that many so-called ‘facts’ later turn out to be wrong.
Twenty years ago the Odinic view of the universe would have been considered ‘cranky’ and all manner of ‘facts’ ranged against it. Today we find the most adventurous and intelligent of scientists presenting it, or something close to it, under the name of the ‘Gaia theory’. (Gaia = Greek Earth Goddess). Recent discoveries in the archaeological field are moving closer to ‘proving’ or substantiating Odinist theories, some so revolutionary, that the established scientific bodies try to stifle them. Not that long ago the early Anglo-Saxons were depcited as little better than wandering, primitive hooligans. Later discoveries have shown them to have had an astonishing level of culture. It must be remembered that there has been and still is a conscious and malicious effort to denigrate our faith and folk. Much about our past and faith has been written by stranger peoples, or those of our own folk who have been separated from the Folk Soul. Works by those people should never be respected. It would be possible for the Pope or Chief Rabbi to have a vast academic knowledge of the outer manifestation of our holy faith – perhaps the Runes – but no-one could seriously suggest that they could express their inner essence. And could we trust a stranger, or even one of our own unenlightened, to record without bias or hostility? No. We have the example of Snorri Sturlusson whose ‘Edda’ displays many perverse passages and feelings fobbed off as ‘facts’. On other occasions one’s ‘facts’ depend on which particular ‘expert’ one cares to quote. Some academics have a tendency to treat the subject of Odinism as dead, or lodged in the past, and this is a wholly wrong way to approach Odinism, our eternal faith. The Odinist scholar would show that while certain physical conditions such as dress, weaponry, speech etc are outward expressions of a by-gone age, the essence is everlasting and alive. They could only gain this inspired approach by experiencing the faith at first hand.
We should not, I stress, reject out of hand academic study, it is needful. Odinists should always seek to improve their knowledge and exercise the mind! We should not reject facts willy-nilly or claim as ‘fact’ what is just personal whim. But also, even the wisest and most inspiring of words are pointless if no one acts on them. Our faith won’t flourish on words only, it needs action and commitment. Like much else, a balance is required, the ‘trick’ is to find and maintain that balance. For Faith, Folk and Family!